Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Daily Telegraph article

The Daily Telegraph featured the following article on me, published Wednesday July 22:

IT WAS a coffee with one of the world's top fantasy writers that fired Duncan Lay's creative spirit.
The Sydney writer was editing a local paper in 2002 and Raymond E. Feist, author of novels such as the Conclave Of Shadows was touring the area. Lay grabbed him for an interview.
`We started talking about writing and I'd been, like most journos, a frustrated writer,'' Lay says.
`We talked about how you work out your plots and he talked about how his characters take control of the story. He has the bare bones of the story and knows they start at A and finish at Z but how they get there is up to the characters themselves.''
Lay's self-diagnosed problem was that his characters were a bit flat. But, two kids and a few years down the track, Lay felt a little older and wiser and more confident after the chat with Feist. So he had another crack.
He now has a three-book deal with HarperCollins with The Wounded Guardian, the first instalment in Lay's The Dragon Sword Histories, now fresh on bookshop shelves.
And character was the key to his success.
The plot centres on a war hero, Martil, who is persuaded to take a child to her uncle. He is soon caught in tumultuous events and in possession of a magic sword, fighting for his life amid the battle for a kingdom.``I really wanted this idea of an embittered warrior, almost like a Vietnam vet, someone who had seen too much,'' Lay says.
For want of a better description, this is realist fantasy (no elves, goblins or fairies), led by a believable cast of characters.``One of the things I've tried to do is not simply to have this plucky group of heroes on an expedition. They're all unique characters and quite often they don't get along.''
As for Lay's own journey, well he dropped a gracious email to Feist via his management and got a quick reply, including a disclaimer.``Don't go blaming me, mate, if you got the storytelling bug,'' Feist wrote. ``And if you somehow get rich and famous doing this, it's not my fault! Seriously, congratulations.''

This was written by Chris Hook, editor of T Weekend and a former workmate from Cumberland Newspapers. Needless to say, I think he's a great writer!

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