JMW: Hello, this is Jean Marie Ward for BuzzyMag.com With me, today, is Kevin Hearne, The New York Times’ best-selling author of “The Iron Druid Chronicles”. Welcome, Kevin, and congratulations on making The New York Times list with “Tricked”.
Kevin Hearne: Thank you very much.
JMW: How does it feel?
Kevin Hearne: Well, of course, it feels pretty tremendous–flabbergasting–that kind of thing. I didn’t expect to achieve this much success, so I’m very grateful to my readers for making it happen.
JMW: Why druids?
Kevin Hearne: Oh, part of that is because I, myself, am Irish and I’ve always been interested in it. Part of it is because the urban fantasy market really wasn’t addressing druids very much. There was an opportunity for me to distinguish myself there and, also, I like the fact that there hadn’t been a large amount written about them previously. There wasn’t like a cannon and there wasn’t a lot of rules associated with what druids must be like. So it allowed me to be as creative as possible and definitely put my stamp on things. So a combination of all those things is basically why I went that way.
JMW: How much research was involved? I understand you did research in two directions, not only in the mythology, but also in the market.
Kevin Hearne: Yes, I did. Part of the research was just figuring out what had already been done–I didn’t really want to tread old ground. How are you going to distinguish yourself if you are writing yet another vampire/werewolf triangle, that sort of thing. I didn’t have a lot new to say in that regard, so I wanted to distinguish myself by just writing about druids, period. The other part of the research involved going back to the original mythology, a lot of which you can find on Irish university websites–the Annals of the Four Masters, the old Ulster cycles, the Fenian cycles, things like that. If you go ahead and read the original source material, it’s great fun and I’m not sure why anybody… Very few people, I should say, have tapped that yet. Usually, you see some focus on the Morrigan and her various aspects, but not so much the rest of the Tuatha De Danann, and I thought it would be fun to explore them and give them some face time.
JMW: And perhaps a few cattle raids.
Kevin Hearne: Yeah.
JMW: I understand, from your website, that you were a great comic book geek and maybe still are.
Kevin Hearne: Oh, yeah. I am.
JMW: How did your love of super hero comics and mighty bashings translate into the work that became ‘The Iron Druid Chronicles?”
Kevin Hearne: I think part of it is that they’re always just 22-page stories. A comic is basically a chapter of a book, if you wish, because they often have story art. And so, what that trained me to do, as a reader and eventually as a writer, is to think of things in these little episodic, fun, self-contained adventures. Something gets resolved in every book, but yet there’s a new cliff-hanger at the end that makes you want to turn the page or buy the next issue, that kind of thing. And so it translated into my writing that way–I think of things in sort of episodes. I write chapter outlines, not, I guess, a traditional outline, but basically chapter summaries that I think of as issues of a comic book. And when I write, the way I envision my characters are as comic book characters–they have that look to them, in my head. So that helps me choreograph fight scenes. All the fight scenes I’ve seen in comics help me figure out what would be going on in a fight at this point, and the give and take of a battle. All of that came from my youth and continuing love of comics.
Jean Marie Ward writes fiction, nonfiction and everything in between, including art books, novels (2008 Indie Book double-finalist With Nine You Get Vanyr), and short stories such as WSFA Small Press Award finalist “Lord Bai’s Discovery” and “Personal Demons” in the award-winning anthology Hellebore and Rue. Her videos include author interviews and tutorials.