Michael J. Sullivan is the creator of The Riyria Revelations books and of what was my joint favourite novel of the last two years - Hollow World His latest work is due in October and is the latest in the Riyria series, The Death of Dulgath. Today Michael kindly shares his "6 Books" with us...
1. What book are you currently reading?'It's an unusual time for me because I’m not reading like I normally would, which is to say not anything for pleasure or research. Instead of making something up, or rolling back time to what I was reading last, I’ll just put the truth out there. I’m reading, How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. Now, I know that sounds like an unusual book for someone who has fifteen genre novels released (or waiting publication), but there is a reason. I’m teaching a class for Writer’s Digest University in a few weeks, and this is the required reading material that the students will be using. I thought it would be a good idea to know what they are being exposed to so I can augment the class with my thoughts on the various topics covered'.
2. What upcoming book are you really excited about?
'I’m looking forward to City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett. It’s the follow-up to City of Stairs , which came out last year around this time. I tend to spend much of my time “reading broadly” rather than “deeply” so I can see what some of my fellow authors are writing. For this reason, I read a lot of first books, and not many seconds. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the first ones, it’s just that I read slowly, and there’s only so much time in the day. The fact that I’m excited about his sequel says a great deal regarding how much I enjoyed the first one'.
3. Is there a book you're currently itching to re-read? 'In general, I don’t do a great deal of re-reading. My mind is really good about remembering plots and characters, so I don’t “need” to re-read, for instance, when the next book in a series comes out. I do have a few top-shelf books that I re-read, but I do so whenever the mood moves me. In other words, I don’t “wait” to do the re-read such that an itch starts forming...'.
'It's probably sacrilege to say, but I think my love for The Lord of the Rings is born more out of nostalgia rather than my current reading preferences. I find this ironic, especially given what I’m going to talk about in the next question. When thirteen, they rocked my world, turning me not only into a reader, but a writer as well. Fantasy has expanded over the years, and I find there are so many good books these days. If I picked up Tolkien’s work for the first time today, instead of 40 years ago, I think my impression would be different. Because of this change in perception, I put a caveat when recommendation Tolkien's work. Yes, it's still great, but it's not for everyone and so may find it a bit dry'.
5. What's one book, which you read as a child or young adult, that has had a lasting influence on your writing?
'The word “influence” makes this a difficult question to answer because I tend to think of my writing as having its own unique voice. It's not like I can point to a, or b, or c, and say, "Oh I took a little bit of each and combined them together to create my style." That being said, if it hadn’t been for Tolkien, I probably wouldn’t have been a writer at all. Before The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I wasn’t a reader. Afterward, I was so enthralled with the concept of creating worlds and characters that I started putting my stories down on paper. So, the more accurate thing would be to say that Tolkien was the spark that lit the flame. I guess that makes him more of a catalyst than an influence'.
6. And speaking of that, what's your latest book, and why is it awesome?
'My latest book is The Death of Dulgath, the third novel in The Riyria Chronicles series. Upon reading, my wife proclaimed it to be “quintessential Royce and Hadrian,” which is encouraging considering I’ve been away from the pair for a while. I think it has a great mystery and some new characters that I hope people will love. For me, it’s the characters that drive the story, and I think there are few really good additions in this novel. The Death of Dulgath is available for pre-order now, and will ship at the end of October for ebooks and November or December for the hardcover and audio versions'.