Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas with a Tanith accent

I won’t begin this blog entry with predictable apologies for not having blogged much recently, or any excuses about how busy I’ve been, except to say I’m sorry I haven’t blogged much recently, but I’ve been really busy.

Before I forget, can I remind you all to visit the all-new, all-singing, all-dancing Black Library website, where you can enjoy BL’s blog, and catch up with all sorts of inside information. I think the Black Library website will become increasingly interactive and participatory, although you will all need to interact and participate.

May I also, while I remember (and while Clone 16 has got the web address written down) suggest you check out to watch the “War of Kings” trailer. This little piece of marketing is advertising the cosmic event that Andy Lanning and I are orchestrating for Marvel. It spins out of the two (highly acclaimed, if I may say so) books we are writing, “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Nova”, and is going to be an epic clash between the Inhumans, commanding the Kree Empire, and the Shi’ar Imperium. With origins going back to “Secret Invasion”, Marvel’s most recent company-wide event, this is going to be pretty huge. Andy and I are very excited about the way it’s shaping up, and we’re very pleased with the story we’ve managed to put together. The art, principally by Paul Pelletier, is fantastic. Although Andy and I have worked for Marvel and DC for nearly twenty years, this last year or so, working on Marvel’s cosmic books, has been an absolute blast, and this is where everything steps up a gear.

Early in the New Year, I’ll publish a list of the various signings that are coming up in 09, but it’s worth mentioning that they will include a mini signing tour in Paris and another one in Scotland.

I’ve enjoying the wild and varied posting that has been going on since the last blog, and, of course, I’m delighted to see you all on Facebook. The subject of accents is an interesting one that I probably shouldn’t get drawn into, as my personal theory is that it should be up to the readers to decide what works best for them. This is certainly my policy when it comes to pronunciation of names (Nik and I even argue about how certain character names ought to be pronounced, and you wouldn’t believe how many variations there are for Ravenor, for example. My policy is that the correct way to pronounce it is the way you pronounce it). Having said all that, I thought I’d volunteer the following: I have always imagined the Tanith to be, essentially, a Celtic regiment. In my head, that places them more Welsh or Irish, but there’s just as much justification for them being a little Scottish or even Cornish, or something more exotically Celtic. To me, the Verghast have a very strong Russian or Polish vibe going on: Vervunhive was a very Stalingrad city in my mind and there was an awful lot of mining and smelting. Gol Kolea is a great big bear of a miner. The Belladon, I don’t know about. There’s something quite dashing about them in a French way. The Belladon have a very particular personality in my head, but it doesn’t translate ethnically in the way that, say, the Tanith do. I would have to cast an actor in the role of a Belladon, rather than a national type. Wes Maggs, for instance, is Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine. Interestingly, as I’ve just been discussing with Nik, I’ve realised that I have no idea what Baskevyl looks like, or who I would cast in his role. He’s become such an important character and he has an extremely strong personality that comes through whenever I think of him, but I have no idea at all what colour his hair is. I mention this as an oddity because other characters have left indelible visual impressions in my mind: Gaunt, obviously, Rawne, Larkin, Corbec, Tona Criid, Varl, Ban Daur, Hark etc. Several of you were spot on when you suggested that the Roane Deepers are ANZACs, and the Vitrians are, indeed, black. As for the Narmenians, I did rather imagine them to be Russian too, and the Volpone were just very aristocratic and haughty, so they could have been French or German, or English. They had that old regimental tradition thing going on.

The aforementioned Black Library website has indeed announced that my next Horus Heresy novel will be called “Prospero Burns”. As far as I know, to answer the question that many of you have asked on the blog, or by e-mail, I believe I will be handling the Space Wolves side of the action, with Graham focusing on the Thousand Sons in his follow-up companion piece. We are, of course, talking about novels here, and they are big, complicated, unwieldy and sometimes uncooperative animals, so the end result is likely to be less clear-cut than that. All I can promise for definite is that Prospero will burn.

Anyway, let me get to the main purpose of this blog, which is to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and successful New Year. I hope Santa brings you everything you want.
As we say in our house:
“It’s gonna be,
Chrimbly bimbly be!
What’s it gonna be?

I thank you.