Darius Hinks’ Interview(notes) about Gotrek & Felix saga from Track of Words (Rapid Fire)

References

  • From Track of Words, Rapid Fire (www.trackofwords.com).
  • Posted in June 2020.
  • Note :
    • This is not an direct interview, but for reading purposes this post is like an interview and in a ‘format’ that is more or less the same with each author’s post. So, here you can read Darius Hinks’ thoughts about Gotrek & Felix saga.
  • Track of Words: Who is Gotrek Gurnisson?
    • Darius Hinks : A vicarious thrill being in his head. Gotrek is pretty much the opposite of me. He says and does exactly what he likes and doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks about him!
  • ToW: Were you already familiar with Gotrek before he started writing about him?
    • DH: I read and loved the Bill King novels when they were originally released, so I feel like this character has been a part of my life for a long time. Then, when I was asked to write a Gotrek novel of my own I caught up on his more recent adventures and found they were great too. I love the way everyone who’s written about Gotrek has brought their own slant to him. There’s something to enjoy in all these stories.
  • ToW: The history of writing Gotrek & Felix.
    • DH: Don’t mess it up! I was excited but nervous when Black Library asked me to tackle him. People really love Gotrek. He’s kind of a nightmare: irascible, cantankerous and wildly unpredictable, but there’s a lot of affection for him in the Warhammer fan base and people have a very clear idea of who he is, so my main goal was to write a book in which Gotrek really feels like Gotrek.
  • ToW: Is Gotrek now starting to feel established in the Age of Sigmar?
    • DH: Gotrek is not someone who cheerfully adapts to new situations, but in Ghoulslayer I did want to give a sense that he’s starting to see aspects of the Mortal Realms that aren’t entirely useless.
  • ToW: What about the most-loved, favorite companion of the duo in the series?
    • DH: Maleneth is a favourite character and features her heavily in Ghoulslayer. Maleneth is a great character! David did a brilliant job with her in Realmslayer and I’ve really enjoyed carrying on her story. Maleneth is what in the Warhammer Old World would probably have been a Dark Elf – an assassin, trained in the temple of Khaine. In the Mortal Realms, however, she (technically) fights on the side of Order, and specifically works for the Order of Azyr. Suffice to say she’s not what Gotrek is used to in a companion, while at the same time he’s unlike anyone she’s ever known before. I like the idea of Malaneth being the polar opposite to Gotrek but being bound to him. It’s a classic odd couple set up. He’s a deranged, doom-seeking berserker and she hates him with a passion, but she has to try and keep him alive(The reasons for which are covered in Realmslayer). It works really well. Even by the end of Ghoulslayer though, the dynamic between them is starting to change as Malaneth sees what an impact Gotrek has on events and people; she’s starting to guess that his importance might go beyond the rune stuck in his ribs.
  • ToW: As for Gotrek’s enemies?
    • DH: Ghoulslayer featured a familiar archetype from old-school Warhammer – ghouls – adapted and updated for Age of Sigmar. Writing about the Flesh-eater Courts was loads of fun. It’s such a tragic part of the Age of Sigmar story and I enjoyed taking it to its logical conclusion.
  • ToW: As for Gotrek’s future?
    • DH: He’s always been passed around from author to author and I think that’s where some of his richness has come from. Just like with your favourite superheroes, characters are revitalised when someone new picks them up (as long as that person gets under the skin of the character rather than just getting a surface-level view of them). Also, I think the key thing with a well-loved, interesting character like Gotrek is to throw him into the heart of the Age of Sigmar narrative. Maybe not straight away, but that’s where he should be headed. He shouldn’t be a footnote to the bigger story, he should be the bigger story! He’s no wallflower.
  • ToW: Of course, with multiple people working with the same character, it’s arguably going to be harder than ever to keep readers interested in a character who’s generally thrown head-first into ever-escalating enemies and dangers. It’s a challenge faced by every author.
    • DH: Gotrek’s challenges go a lot deeper than just killing stuff. The gods promised him a doom and then robbed him of it, he’s lost everything he ever knew and he hates where he finds himself, but he’s not a quitter or someone who’d just accept his lot in life, so where does he go from here? He’s pitted himself against the universe. He’s like a hero in an epic saga. That said, even in terms of physical danger, the stakes have been raised in the Age of Sigmar so, for all Gotrek’s might, there’s plenty of stuff waiting out there to test him.
  • ToW: As a character who has been around for a long time and changed authorial hands several times, writing about Gotrek must therefore be an interesting challenge. How do you make him your own and tell exciting new stories about him without changing things up so much that you take away from what makes a Gotrek story?
    • DH: Even though it’s inherently funny watching him smash through the Mortal Realms with such disapproval of EVERYTHING, I was keen to show that he’s not just a joke. He has values and, despite his gruff exterior, he does care about things. He’s also not dumb. He’s a canny survivor of a culture with a rich, proud history. I was keen not to oversimplify him. Gotrek has depth!
  • ToW: In terms of keeping things fresh and not treading old ground?
    • DH: I was very keen to make my take on Gotrek feel familiar to people who have read about him before, I was lucky in the sense that Ghoulslayer is his first Age of Sigmar novel, so this book was always going to feel different to previous tales because of the ‘stranger in a strange land’ aspect of it. He’s discovering a completely new world and it was fun thinking about how he would respond to it.
  • ToW: So what does it feel like to pick up a character like this and add to the series with brand new stories?
    • DH: I was worried at the planning stage about matching up to what has gone before but, to be honest, from Gotrek’s first line of dialogue I felt like he was in charge and I was just along for the ride. I know this character well so I kind of knew how he’d react to whatever I threw at him. I was laughing out loud as I wrote some of his lines. He’s a lot of fun.
  • ToW: What will readers get out of these stories?
    • DH: A chance to spend some time with an old, familiar friend.
  • ToW: Of course, given that Gotrek somehow managed to survive the End Times, the question still remains of whether he will – or indeed should – ever find his doom?
    • DH: It would be a tragedy if he ever found his doom! The fun is watching him glower, curse and stomp through life with the whole world pitted against him. Where would the fun be in a Gotrek who attained existential peace? I like him best when he’s pissed off. (Don’t tell him I said that.)