Thursday, September 27, 2007


Jet east all the way to Toronto to find fantasy master, Guy Gavriel Kay. Unsurprisingly, GGK was born in Saskatchewan, a strange and mystical land full of intrigue and mystery that must have filled him with bizarre and eccentric tales he was to use later in his fiction. GGK went to the University of Manitoba, became friends with Christopher Tolkien there, and ended up in England helping Christopher edit the notes of his dad, J. R. R. Tolkien, into the book, The Silmarillion. Pretty good apprenticeship for a future fantasy writer! While GGK went on to practice law in Toronto, the fire was lit and he is now a critically-acclaimed and popular fantasy novelist.

Like other writers tossed in the "genre writer" bin, Kay resists the label. But he does generally write within the "historical fantasy" area, with beautifully-written novels such as the three that make up The Fionavar Tapestry trilogy: The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, and The Darkest Road. His latest novel, Ysabel, is a slight departure, in that it is set in the present-day, about a 15 year old Canadian boy vacationing in Provence. Ned Marriner meets a girl, an attractive American exchange student (see? it is a fantasy!), Kate Wenger, who knows the history of the area and the local cathedral by heart. Publisher's Weekly picks up the story:
"In the ancient baptistry, the pair are surprised by a mysterious, scarred man wielding a knife who warns that they've "blundered into a corner of a very old story. It is no place for children." But Ned and Kate can't avoid becoming dangerously entangled in a 2,500-year-old love triangle among mythic figures. Kay also weaves in a secondary mystery about Ned's family and his mother's motivation behind her risky, noble work. The author's historical detail, evocative writing and fascinating characters, both ancient and modern, will enthrall mainstream as well as fantasy readers."
The good folks over at Bookninja have an audio interview with Kay in the spring issue of the Bookninja Magazine:
Kay is not only a thoughtful, graceful writer, but also an erudite, generous and funny interview. Men writing women, what sparks inspiration, the changes writers undergo over their careers, intelligent characters, the boundaries writers of all genres face, and the strength of myth. Fischer Guy asks Guy about his novels, process, and thoughts on literature.


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