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Interview with Mark Lawrence

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To mark the launch of my debut, When the Heavens Fall, I’m asking five different questions to each of five different authors this week. In the coming days I’ll be quizzing Brian Staveley, Luke Scull, Brad Beaulieu and Django Wexler, but first to face the glare of my inquisitorial spotlight is Mark Lawrence, author of The Broken Empire series and the Red Queen’s War series.

Hi Mark, and thanks for doing the interview.

1. Let’s start with something easy. What is your bank account number and password?

#1, and like Jorg my password is divine fecking right!

Ah, a Prince of Thorns quote! And while we’re on the subject of quotes . . .

2. The protagonist of The Broken Empire series, Jorg, has a wonderful turn of phrase. What’s your favourite “Jorgism”, and how long do you think it will be before the word makes its way into our dictionaries?

The most popular Jorg quote on Goodreads is not my favourite: “Tell me, tutor,” I said. “Is revenge a science, or an art?”

But I liked the next three most popular:

  “We die a little every day and by degrees we’re reborn into different men, older men in the same clothes, with the same scars.”

  “There’s something brittle in me that will break before it bends.”

  “Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you'll find an edge to cut you.”

But perhaps you were referring to actual Jorgisms which are things Jorg would say, but didn't actually say in the books. I have some here.

Of Jorgisms I like: You’re either part of the solution or small bloody chunks of the problem.

My favourite is actually sixteenth on the Goodreads list: “Most men have at least one redeeming feature. Finding one for Brother Rike requires a stretch. Is 'big' a redeeming feature?”

3. Neither Jorg nor Jalan from the Red Queen’s War series are what you might call ‘heroes’ in the traditional sense, yet I still found myself rooting for them. What do you think is the key to making an otherwise unsympathetic character sympathetic?

Possibly it's not caring whether you do or not. I just aim to make characters interesting. Sympathy is over-rated. I guess a sense of humour helps. Jalan and Jorg both share that, though they have little else in common.

4. I’ve heard it said that there’s a little bit of every author in each of their characters. Which part of the ‘drinker, gambler and seducer of women’, Jalan, do you most relate to?

It may be said, but I don't think it's true. Once you've written enough characters it's quite clear you can't share something with all of them. I'm not an extrovert, which pretty much gives me zero overlap with Jalan right there.

5. Congratulations on your deal for the forthcoming Red Sister trilogy. I understand the inspiration for Jorg was Alex from Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, and the inspiration for Jalan was George MacDonald Fraser's Flasman. Who, if anyone, is the inspiration for the Red Sister protagonist, Thorn?

In this instance there is none ... I'm ripping nobody off ... scary stuff!

Thank you again for your time!


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