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May 6, 2013 / minusbar

Author Interview: Miles Cameron (The Red Knight)

A Daily Dose of R&R is happy to have Miles Cameron, the author of “The Red Knight,” with us today!

We threw a ton of questions at this poor man and he was kind enough to answer them for us. Truthfully, I’ve no idea how he puts up with it, but I am glad he does! If you are unfamiliar with his book, I suggest you remedy that before reading this review as some content can be considered *SPOILERS.* There you have it, ye be warned!

Enjoy!

For convenience sake, the following has been abbreviated.

Miles – A            Molly and Roger – Q

Q: What is your background, or the beginnings of your writing career? The Acknowledgement page in The Red Knight mentioned thirty or so years of study.

A: I started writing in High School.  My dad is a writer.  I wrote a great deal in the military, too.  I’d probably write even if no one paid me.

Q: What sparked the idea for The Red Knight?

A: Gillian Redfearn at Gollancz suggested a novel with a Wild vs Man theme. Then we talked about Arthurian stuff…

Q: Did you ever have trouble balancing the many storylines in the book? Or did you ever have trouble pulling them together?

A: Yes and no.  The many reviews complaining that the multiple POVs are hard to read suggest I did a highly imperfect job—at least for some readers.  That said—I used to write modern espionage thrillers, so this is pretty straightforward…

Q: Your character development is amazing. Do you ever base characters off of real people?

A: Yes.  All my characters are based off real people.  How could I base them off anything else?  I sit in coffee shops listening to people talk, and I tend to use what I observe about character… but that said, most of what you see among the core characters was observed over years from people I know pretty well.  And from watching people in positions of real power.

Q: Have you read any good books worth noting lately?

A: C. J. Cheryh’s ‘Protector’.  That Foreigner Universe series never gets old for me.  ‘A Dragon’s Head and a Serpent’s Tail’ by Ken Swope—about the First East Asian War (1592-1598) between China and Korea on one side and Japan on the other.

Q: You mentioned in the Acknowledgements of The Red Knight that you like to hike…in full armour. How does that work? It sounds terribly uncomfortable.

A: Armour really needs to fit.  Bad armour is horrible.  I may have—exaggerated—by saying I like to hike in full armour, but I have done it, and it is interesting.  For one thing, all those annoying branches and raspberry patches—they can’t touch you.  You don’t have to go around an alder thicket….  Very tiring, though.  And bad vision.

Q: A lot of interviews have touched on your love of history and reenacting. What other passions do you have that people might not already know?

A: I love to sew.  There, it’s out.  I love to make stuff, and fine sewing—even embroidery (which I’m just playing with) really makes me happy.  I love martial arts.  I love dissecting martial arts.  I LOVE fly-fishing.  I can stand on a wild stream for hours.  It’s better to catch something, and (sorry, modern fishermen) it is even better to kill the fish, make a small fire, and eat it.  Book 2 (The Fell Sword) actually opens with a fishing scene.

Q: How long did The Red Knight take to write?

A: Er, that’s classified.  But I write 3-4 books a year.

Q: Which cover do you like best, the UK or the US one? Why is that?

A: I like the British one better.  I know nothing about marketing, but there are things on the US cover that shout ‘This author knows nothing about arms and armour’.

Q: What characters voice spoke the clearest to you when writing this?

A: Er—Edmund the apprentice? Peter the Cook?  And the Abbess.  That’s my homage to my grandmother…  Ser John Crayford?  He’s me.  It’s going to hurt when I kill him.  J

Q: Which characters tended to try and takeover while writing?

A: Jean de Vrailly.  He kept running off with scenes.  Everyone likes ‘larger than life.’  Ditto Desiderata.  I actually wrote her to be a bit banal, and she grew on me and now (Book 2-5) she has a whole new plot line.  To hell with the trite Arthurian crap…

 Q: You mentioned that you disliked reading fantasy books with multiple POV’s, so why did you elect to write a story utilizing so very many of them?

A: Money.  It is what was requested.  In my other life I write strict single POV, often first person.  That said, though—this is my fantasy world that I’ve been working on since I was nine.  I truly enjoy showing it off.  It is much, much more vast than book 1 shows—book two will go off a bit into other places.  But there’s undead elephants in my Africa, and my ‘Mongols’ are pretty fun, too.  And the Faery Knight…  anyway, there’s more to come.  And multiple POV’s allow me to show more off…

Q: I found Gawin to be a very interesting and underexposed character. Will he play a larger role in book 2?

A: I love Gawin, and he will be a larger—much larger—presence in book 3.  In book 2 he’s still a fairly minor character.

Q: Was there anything that you would liked to have kept in The Red Knight that didn’t make the final cut?

A: No.  I suspect Gillian could—perhaps even should—have cut more.  As it is, almost nothing was cut.

Q: Without saying who, was it difficult for you to kill characters off after investing so much time in them?

A: Not at all!  I loved Old Bob, for example—especially as he’s based on one of my closest friends…  But people who live by violence die by it.  That’s’ the way.  I have, in another genre, killed off the main character.  In a way, without killing beloved characters, you cannot get ‘buy-in’ from the reader.  As I said above, when Ser John Crayford gets it—that’ll hurt.  He’s me!  And he will die.

Q: If you had a time machine for a day, what time would you visit and what would you do? Any concerns about a time paradox?

A: Er—well, if I was concerned about paradox, I wouldn’t go…  Or I would.  And somewhere, I’ve already decided.

A: Anyway, I’d like to hear Socrates.  And I’d like to visit a Renaissance court and see the dancing.  And I’d like to watch Fiore di Le Beri fight in the lists—and perhaps Geoffrey de Charny.  And I’d like to catch some pre-modern Kabuki.  I’d like to peak at a British Army camp of circa 1777.  In fact, I could keep the time machine quite busy just matching fabrics.

____________________________________________________

A huge thank you to Miles for stopping by! The Traitor Son Cycle is a can’t-miss for any and all fantasy readers and I encourage you all to take a look at our review of The Red Knight and keep up to date with the author over on his website!

 Thanks,

Roger and Molly

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