Russell Kirkpatrick's Journal
I've had a few writeups in the print media these last few years - both for the novels and for the atlases - but the article appearing in todays 'Your Weekend' is the best I've read.
Don't know what it was that made the interview go so well. Actually, I do. I've been reflecting on life a great deal lately, and have been subject to intense questioning by a trusted friend. So the interviewer got the fallout from that. I've never been so candid about myself of why I do what I do. Actually, at the time I had no idea I'd given so much away!
'Your Weekend' is a supplement accompanying most major national Saturday papers in New Zealand. I'll check copyright issues, and if I get permission I'll post a copy of it (photos included, so it will be accompanied by a parental advisory) on this website.
Many authors hate fanmail, but I love it. Hearing personally from readers is one of the great things about being an an author. Of course I enjoy the praise: yes, I do occasionally get praise from misguided or sheltered individuals :) But I enjoy the critical emails just as much.
Now my first series is available in the US I get a lot more of the latter, funnily. Those stateside sure don't mind giving me an earful if they don't like my work. I'm intrigued by such gems as:
'I've read all three of your books. I hated the first one and the other two aren't any better.'
The sort of chap who sticks his finger in an electrical socket a second time, perhaps? Did it really hurt that much? Ow!
Or: 'I read your first book and it's crap. I want a refund!'
I replied: 'I'm eating a Big Mac right now with the proceeds of the book you bought. Sorry, but you wouldn't want the refund.'
I've had emails from peope demanding reimbursement from improperly bound books. One castigates me for my 'terible writing [sic]'.
Others, however, have made good points. I even had a reviewer point something out about my first book I hadn't seen: the Company all act as loners, there's no real bonding. On reflection I think she's right.
Keep the fanmail coming.
This one is from the Hawkes Bay Today, the region's daily newspaper:
'Three stories, with seemingly no connection with each other and continents apart, takes some imagination to piece together but Kirkpatrick does it with amazing fluidity, keeping the reader captivated to the last page.
'Kirkpatrick gives no clues as to what will happen but somewhere all three people will meet Husk, but to what ends remain a mystery.
'There is never a dull moment when reading Kirkpatrick's books. Knife-edge fantasy from a master.'
- on Path of Revenge, 22/3/2008
This came across my desk yesterday:
'Top New Zealand fantasy author Russell Kirkpatrick takes no prisoners with his second book in the Husk trilogy Dark Heart (Voyager PB $34). His richly complex plot line brings together his three main characters, fisherman Noetos, troubled brilliant cosmographer Lenares and immortal queen Stella, to consider a joint enemy before forcing them back to their individual journeys. In the background is the spectre of a painwracked enemy they are only just beginning to comprehend. A fascinating world by a master world builder and map maker, full of flying body parts and powerful character development.' - DOMINION POST, Sunday March 8, 2008, p20.
Nice to get reviewed in New Zealand, and even more so when the reviewer has read the book. I do like the 'flying body parts' bit.
By contrast, have a look at this:
'They keep coming, these faux-medieval quest fantasy epics, vast sagas set in mythical lands where people with names like Bregor, Sauxa and Diphona of Hupallage brandish their halberds. Five hundred pages of Path of Revenge by Russell Kirkpatrick hit the Listener in-tray recently, and that's just book one of a projected series called Husk. Well, good on you, Russell (a New Zealander): if people buy them, and HarperCollins is willing to publish them, don't let us stand in your way. But there's almost an element of self-parody in blurbs advising us that "the Undying Man, Lord of Bhrudwo, lies, eviscerated, in the dungeon of Andratan." Bhrudwo?'
Dear old Denis Welch. Long replaced by others as a columnist of real humour, his demeaning job now is to remind his readers of their literary superiority (the Listener is, after all, the intelligent person's choice, far superior to TV Guide - and much more seldom read). They keep coming, these faux-literary reviews, allowing these superior ones to sneer at their less intellectually well endowed fellows. Trouble is, Denis only read the blurb, and he got that wrong. It's Husk lying in the dungeon, Denis. Husk.
I note with interest the following book gets a positive review from Mr Welch: Manhire at 60: A Book For Bill. It's a tribute to a local poet, with a print run of 500 copies. Some are apparently still available from selected book stores, says Denis, perhaps expecting both his readers to rush out then and there, Titanium Visas in hand. Meanwhile, at the editorial desk, the editor wonders why the Listener doesn't sell as well as it used to.
Last week I took part in an interview with the University of Waikato student news magazine. Like all student rags, it's irreverent and cutting-edge. I thought you might be interested in a few excerpts:
'Nexus first spoke to Russell when he failed to show up for a scheduled interview. We dutifully gave him a ring and managed to catch him at home, where he'd been 'recovering' from an appearance at the Conjunction nat-con. He sounds tired when he picks up the phone.
'Brain's a bit scrambled, huh?' I ask, sympathetically.
He laughs. 'It's always scrambled. But now it's worse.'
He arrives at the Nexus offices sporting a Half Life 2 t-shirt and completes the ensemble with jandals, shorts and a wristwatch jammed halfway up his arm. He bears a bit of a resemblance to Peter Jackson - or, maybe, a hobbit.
Thus begins the single most fan-boy-ish interview I've ever done. Kirril, Russell and I turn out to have similar tastes in books, music and rather a lot of other things, and we spend most of our time going off track. It's ridiculously fun. What's not fun is reading the transcribed interview and realising it's entirely unpublishable, on account of not making sense to anyone but us and being about 8000 words long.'
That's enough ammunition for you lot for the moment. Maybe more later!