Friday, December 4, 2009

Interview with Dan Abnett

As many of you know, Dan Abnett (author of a huge number of things, to include Horus Rising, Ravenor, Annihilation: Nova, and Triumff: Her Majesty’s Hero, all featured here at Luke Reviews) is quite highly regarded here at Luke Reviews (Ravenor didn’t get a great review, but hey, no one’s perfect all of the time!). I recently got the chance to sit down and ask Dan a few questions. Enjoy!

Dan, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for Luke Reviews!

My pleasure, Luke.

Right off the bat, I just wanted to mention that you must be amazingly busy right now. War of Kings just wrapped up, with Realm of Kings on the way, along with both Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy, all from Marvel Comics (I only just read Annihilation, so far behind on the times). You are in the midst of Insurrection with 2000 AD (and that is getting rave reviews left and right) and The Authority for Wildstorm. Blood Pact didn't hit the stands too long ago, Prospero Burns is in the chute, and I just picked up a brand new paperback copy of Titanicus today, all from Black Library, and your first creator-owned novel, Triumff: Her Majesty's Hero has just hit the stands in the UK. How do you manage all of these different stories and universes, and for that matter, how do you churn out so many high quality stories so quickly? This seems like an almost overwhelming amount of fiction for one man to be putting out in such a small span of time.

Well, to be fair some of it was produced a way in advance. Some of these projects are going to press faster than others, so it just appears as if I’ve been ridiculously productive. Having said that, I am ridiculously productive. I find I work better and harder if I’m under the gun a little. A little pressure helps, so I do more work, then more…

You frequently work with collaborators (especially Andy Lanning). Do you find that easier/harder than working solo? More rewarding?

It’s just different. I’m a writer, and for most of the time I write on my own. But that can get very soul-destroying. A lot of writers (and comic book artists and so on) can get a little stir-crazy if they only have their writing space around them 24-7. Twenty years ago, Andy and I discovered we could have a laugh and be productive working together, and we’ve done it ever since on a regular basis to give ourselves a welcome break once a week or so from the solo freelancing life. It’s as rewarding. It’s differently rewarding.

Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects? I know there are a couple more books signed for Angry Robot Books, and I am sure there is plenty more with Marvel, 2000 AD, and Black Library. Any hints, or are you sworn to secrecy?

Some of this stuff is still to be announced, but Andy and I have got a big cosmic project at Marvel - Realm of Kings - which is gearing into something bigger for 2010. I’m about to start work on my second book for Angry Robot, and I have more lined up for Black Library, and it’s just been announced that I’ve written the screenplay for the upcoming Warhammer 40K movie, Ultramarines.

Who (or what) inspires your work most, either in the field of writing or outside of it? Do you have a favorite author? Anyone we should look out for while we wait for the next Dan Abnett book to come out?

Actually day to day inspiration can be found everywhere for me: books, TV, newspapers, conversations. I absorb stuff for later use (I never go anywhere without my notebook). As far as favourite authors go - my all time faves are Ray Bradbury, Jorge Luis Borges, John Buchan, HP Lovecraft, Jack Vance, Alan Garner... actually, the list is vast. My favourite contemporary author is probably Kelly Link. I adore her work.

You work in both prose and graphic formats. What are the advantages to each of them? Do you find it hard to shift between the two, or does one fuel the other?

It’s nice to alternate, to keep things fresh. You can get tired if you do one thing for too long. Prose is great, because what you write goes (pretty much) directly to the reader. Comics are wonderful, because you get to engage with an artist and develop stories in ways that you couldn’t have done alone.

Thanks again, Dan. Any final words?

Thanks for letting me blah on.

Note: Luke Reviews is happy to let Dan blah on whenever he likes.

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