Interview with Kevin Hearne plus giveaway
Hounded by Kevin Hearne was my first read written by a man…and it blew me away. It’s impossible not to be taken in by the world Kevin created and by his characters. I adore his Iron Druid Chronicles books and I am thrilled to have Kevin on the blog today.
Welcome to Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks Kevin!
Grateful for the invitation.
Let’s start off with a quick description of your books. Tell us about your Iron Druid Chronicles series.
IDC follows the adventures of Atticus O’Sullivan, the last of the old druids, who’s now about 2,100 years old. He’s been hiding out in Tempe, Arizona, from Irish gods who’d like to kill him, and once he asserts his power and stands up to them, quite a few more gods want him dead. I have fun juxtaposing old ideas and customs with contemporary ones.
Trapped, the fifth book in your series, was released yesterday! *pops open champagne bottle, warning you to duck to avoid the plastic cork – because I’m nothing if not classy* Tell readers what they can expect from your latest installment.
Atticus needs to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth so that she can tap its magic and become a full Druid. But just as he’s on his way to begin that three-month process, the world that thought he was dead discovers that he’s still alive and they’re not too happy about it. So he has to dodge Loki, Bacchus, and a bunch of dark elves in addition to the occasional Greek mythological monstrosity. OH! And there’s a whole chapter of bow-chicka-bow-wow.
Your books have been very well received…and not just from fantasy fans but also from urban fantasy readers and paranormal romance fans! You know…like me! Does that surprise you?
Yeah, it does! When I was writing HOUNDED I was primarily writing to amuse myself and had no idea it would amuse so many others. I’m tremendously grateful to people who have been telling their friends “You gotta read this” and so on. It’s that kind of support that ensures I’ll get to finish the series—and that’s true for every author, not just me. Word of mouth is still the best advertising.
Atticus, your main hero and the guy from whose perspective your books are told, is such a fabulous character. It must have been a bit daunting coming up with him since he was to be your main guy. You already had him developed from your online comic but obviously, in full length novels, you need more. Did you map him out before you sat down to write the first book in the series, Hounded, or is he the sort of character you wing as you write?
The first book was entirely written on the fly as an extended exploration of character, but since then I’ve been writing outlines to help me with getting the books finished on time. In terms of creating him, a lot of it had to do with research into Irish mythology and world history. He had to be shaped by the pull of world events over such a long lifetime and it’s been entertaining to explore that. His primary emotional vulnerability is becoming bored with the present or living in the past, which is why he obsesses over language changes and bonds with his Irish wolfhound, Oberon. Dogs are better than anyone at seizing the day and living in the present, so Oberon helps keep him engaged and grounded in our time.
Another fan-freakin’-tastic character is Granuaile. Man…I love her! Not only does she fit your world perfectly, she is just perfect for Atticus. How did you pull that off?
I think the world is full of Granuailes—people who would like to escape the forty or fifty years of meaningless work before them to do something truly exceptional. Heck, I know I’d jump at the chance to become a Druid like Atticus. She represents something we all recognize, in other words.
Oberon. I bet he’s the character you get asked the most about. Am I right? (For those who are unaware, Oberon is Atticus’ dog and probably the most lovable character in the series) He’s a “talking” dog. Did you ever feel it was a risk adding a “talking” dog to your story – that it would make it appear cheesy – or did you know right off the bat that Oberon would become probably the most lovable character in your series?
I never felt it was a risk. The whole concept was built around that concept of an ancient person who depended on a dog to keep him centered in the present—or, as the Beatles said, that love is all you need. But I had no freakin’ clue how popular he would become. My editor had to point it out to me. While I was writing book three—this was before any of the books had been published—she predicted Oberon would be the most popular character in the series, and I had a tough time believing it. But in this, as in everything else, she was right.
The world you write is extraordinary! It’s modern day (and you include some pop culture references here and there to prove it) but it feels richer. The folklore and myths that you write into it, the lore you refer to in the stories your characters tell all add something special to your world. How much of your lore is real and how much is you after one too many beers?
It’s all either “real” mythology or kept close enough to the real thing to ring true. I update the myths here and there for the modern world, and we have to assume some of these gods have grown or changed a bit in the past few millennia, but everything I do is based in extant myth.
There is barely a mythological character that you haven’t written about in your series. Irish, Norse, Greco-Roman folklore. Coyote, Flidais, Brighid, Thor… You even write scenes where Atticus hangs out with Jesus! Wouldn’t it have been easier to just stick with one myth? Why did you decide to write about…well, all of them?
It was actually fairly early on in the process that I decided it was the only way to go. I was determined to treat the Tuatha Dé Danann as real characters, and then the fundamental question became, well, if you’re going to say that they’re real, why aren’t the others real? Can you truly just ignore the existence of every other belief system? And the obvious answer was, no, you can’t. They’re all real, our belief insures it, and that made the world richer instantly, and tremendous fun to write.
Is there a mythological character that you have not written yet that you would like to tackle?
Oh, heck yes! There are several, in fact, and they’re coming up. Don’t want to spoil it, though.
The Morrigan – I frikkin love her! I think she’s my fave for your lore characters – although I did adore how you wrote Jesus, and Coyote is always fun…even though I want to smack him hard where it hurts most of the time. Of all the mythological characters you’ve written, which is your favorite?
My favorite was Väinämöinen, the Finnish wizard who appeared in HAMMERED. Not sure how it came across to readers, but his voice for “The Wizard’s Tale” was a complete joy to write. My new favorite isn’t technically a mythological character—he’s someone I made up based on mythology—but his voice was also a blast for me. Look for him to show up late in TRAPPED; his name is Fjalar.
In the third book, Hammered, Atticus did something that resulted in his getting himself put onto many ‘to kill using spectacular and very painful means’ lists. Since then he is being chased by what seems like pretty much everyone out there! We witness a lot of that in Trapped. Do you ever get confused over who is attacking Atticus and why and when? (Because I sometimes do lol)
For me it’s pretty easy: Atticus is a threat to everyone because he can go wherever he wants, his movements cannot be predicted, and he’s immune to most magic. The Tuatha Dé Danann are likewise mobile and powerful but don’t have that cold iron protection, so they confine themselves to Tír na nÓg and do their best to get along with everyone. What got Atticus in trouble was his decision to fight Aenghus Óg. Once he did that, gods in other pantheons woke up and realized that he was a tremendously powerful being with none of the checks and balances that the rest of them had.
Speaking of getting chased, if the end of Trapped is any indication Atticus will continue being chased through your next book, Hunted (due out June 25th 2013 – and a little side note right here: that is VERY far away Kevin! *glares*) Tell us what to expect from that book.
Well…seven months between books isn’t that bad, is it? But it basically picks up the action two minutes after the end of TRAPPED and goes like hell as several groups of antagonists try to wipe out the Druids once and for all. The bad guys look at it as an historical correction, since the Druids were supposed to have died out at the hands of the Romans. But this time, Atticus can’t simply blame it all on the dark elves. The dark elves are only one part of the conspiracy.
I read in an interview that you hope to write nine books in the series. Only nine books?! But what will we do when there will be no more Atticus and friends? Will that truly be the end of The Iron Druid Chronicles? *snotty sobs*
Well, I do write novellas and short stories in the world as well, and there might be a spinoff book or series down the road, but this particular story is definitely ending at nine.
Final question before your flash four. It’s a serious one. Are you ready? Here goes… Will Atticus ever catch a break?
I think he already has. Oberon and Granuaile are pretty big breaks. J The people we love are always the best of our blessings.
Okay, Flash Four time
Flash Four questions about books and writing ~
How long, from start to end, did it take you to write “Trapped”?
Seven months. September 15 of 2011 to March 15 of 2012.
Did you see yourself being a writer as you were growing up?
Not at all. I didn’t catch the writing bug until age 19 when I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
In what room of your house do you write from?
Usually the kitchen.
Do you tend to come up with the title for your book before you start writing it, while you’re writing it or when it’s all done?
I came up with HOUNDED while writing it, but I came up with all the others ahead of time.
Flash four questions about random things ~
Sweet or salty snacks?
What color is your toothbrush?
Bleu, which is a totally different color from blue.
Your high school experience: good or bad?
I thought the girls were pretty.
What do you like on your pizza?
Ham, tomato, green peppers, and onions.
A thousand times Thank You for agreeing to answer my questions Kevin. I adore your series and I adore your characters. And I STRONGLY recommend to all of my readers to give this series a try. It’s worth it.
I am giving away a book from the Iron Druid Chronicles series today. Which book? Well that’s up to you! I would love to help you continue on with this series or to give it a try. To enter, leave a comment telling me which book in the series you would want if you won. Hounded, Hexed, Hammered, Tricked or Trapped. Giveaway open to wherever the Book Depository ships. You must leave your comment by Sunday, December 1st 2012 11:59pm est. Good luck everyone!