David Guymer’s Interview(notes) about Gotrek & Felix saga from Track of Words (Rapid Fire)

Credits

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 Nathan Long’s thoughts about Gotrek & Felix saga.
  • Track of Words: What about Felix(and his point of view in the series) or the other companions of the duo?
    • DG: Gotrek’s is an essentially alien mindset. It’s right that after umpteen books we never get to go inside his head ourselves, and as a result his companions, whoever they may be, are essential as relatable narrators on his actions and a foil for his madder tendencies.
  • ToW: What about the longest-serving and most-loved villain of the series who unquestionably is Grey Seer Thanquol who first appeared in Skavenslayer?
    • DG: You forgot to say ‘other than Thanquol’.
  • ToW: The history of writing Gotrek & Felix.
    • Trollslayer was the first Black Library book I read as a young, impressionable teenager. They’re a big deal. When the series was first offered to me with City of the Damned, I felt like I’d been invited to the top table of the geek pantheon, I don’t mind saying.
  • ToW: What was the plan after Kinslayer and Slayer?
    • DG: There was no plan at the time to see him return, and I didn’t know about the Age of Sigmar. I didn’t even know that the world was going to be blown up! As far as we were all concerned at the time, Slayer was Gotrek & Felix’s epic conclusion. I had an easier time of it [writing for the End Times] than Josh, Guy, Gav and Chris, who wrote the main series books. They had the responsibility to tie their novels directly to studio books, while I could just pillage all the benefits of having an epic backdrop to my stories and feature the likes of Aekold Helbrass and Vlad von Carstein. Personally, I love having that bit of structural foundation to build a story around!
  • ToW: What about the differences when writing Kinslayer and Slayer(part of the ongoing series) compared to City of the Damned(a standalone novel)?
    • DG: It was a lot more fun, being able to include characters like Snorri and Malakai, and pick up those story threads that Bill and Nathan left for me. Getting the chance to write Bjarni Bjarnisson was the realisation of a small, but earnestly kept dream. With City of the Damned I went in with the idea that Gotrek & Felix would be great protagonists for a supernatural horror story. For Kinslayer and Slayer, I had the stricter brief of bringing their saga to an end. Whether by accident or intention, Bill King had hinted at a lot by way of backstory while actually revealing very little. This made my job a lot easier than it had a right to be. It’s a favour I’ve tried to pass forward with Realmslayer.
  • ToW: What about the most-loved, favorite companion of the duo in the series?
    • DG: In all Gotrek stories? It’s got to be the aforementioned Bjarni. Essentially the grimdark version of the Discworld’s Cassanunder. Of my own additions to the canon? Probably Kolya’s horse. Sob.
  • ToW: The favourite adventure from amongst all?
    • DG: Without wanting to give too much away to those who might still want to read it, the final third of Slayer is definitely one of my finest hours.
  • ToW: Gotrek has changed since his return?
    • DG: That’s one of the joys of Gotrek Gurnisson: it’ll take more than the ultimate and final victory of Chaos and the destruction of everything to change this dwarf.
  • ToW: Audio dramas, Realmslayer – and its sequel Realmslayer: Blood of the Old World – have a slightly different feel to the novels.
    • DG: This wasn’t Gotrek’s first adventure in audio. I wrote Curse of the Everliving and Nathan wrote Slayer of the Storm God (which I make reference to in Blood of the Old World!) which even fits into the chronological Nounslayer storyline. But doing it the way we did it, in a four part story as a sumptuous box set, allowed us to go all out in a lot of ways. The character had to become a little more vocal and bombastic for the medium, but it’s still the same Slayer.
  • ToW: Audio dramas or writing novel?
    • DG: I’d love to do both! Audios are lots of fun. It’s like prose writing but pared right down to the narrative basics of character and plot. It’s also a great team effort, which makes for a nice change when you’re a solitary, reclusive, and semi-nocturnal creature like most authors are. But there’s no substitute for the total investiture you get over the 3-4 months it takes me to write a novel.
  • ToW: As for Gotrek’s future?
    • DG: I suspect it’ll allow them to tell more stories, although if there’s a plan to tell an overarching narrative with them in the old style, then it’s not a plan I’ve been made privy to yet.
  • 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.
    • DG: Repetition doesn’t seem to be a problem. Without wanting to sign off on my own exit, perhaps the occasional change of author has something to do with that? Whatever the reason, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the series repeat itself. As for escalating the danger…well, I think that airship has sailed since the End Times!
  • 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?
    • DG: Each took slightly different approaches when they started to tackle Gotrek, they all wanted to add depth to his character rather than fundamentally changing anything. It had been pretty constant throughout their adventures, and I wanted to stress that a little. Kinslayer sees them coming back together after Felix attempts a peaceful retirement writing state propaganda, and it was fun to explore all angles of that.
  • ToW: In terms of keeping things fresh and not treading old ground?
    • DG: Referring to Slayer and Kinslayer novels, “no one else has got to throw him at an entire universe!”
  • ToW: So what does it feel like to pick up a character like this and add to the series with brand new stories?
    • DG: It’s not as tough as you might think. Having read all the books already I had a solid handle on the characters. When I was younger, I used to script Star Trek: The Next Generation missions in my head. This is sort of the same. I’ve absorbed so much of the characters over so long that I just know what they’re going to do! Every writer brings their own personality, experience and style to the mix, of course. I’m a different person to Bill King or Nathan Long so I write Gotrek ever so slightly differently.
  • ToW: What will readers get out of these stories?
    • DG: I the hope is that my stories offer enjoyment and the desire for more, and perhaps even, one day, to go back and read or listen again. That’s all I really want to bring.
  • 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?
    • DG: While he’s not technically looking for his doom any more (spoiler: he sort of found it), old habits die hard for this particular Slayer. The romantic in me would like to see him earn some kind of peace one day. What sort of form that might take though after all that he’s been through is anybody’s guess.