Fan Conversations with C. Dale Brittain

 

This is not, strictly speaking, a FAQ page, because some of the questions have only been asked once, rather than "frequently," but they raise interesting points. If you have a question you would like to see answered, e-mail me. Warning: Spoilers ahead! Some of the questions and answers assume you are already familiar with my books' plots.

 

Q: What happens in Yurt-6?

A: The short answer is "buy the book!" The teaser answer is that this volume wraps up the major story lines I've been developing since the beginning of the series. Daimbert is finally going to have to "do something" about Elerius (which will be both hard and dangerous); his marriage to a witch is no longer going to be a secret from the wizards' school (he and Theodora got married the day after Daughter of Magic ended); and King Paul has to sort out his own romantic life. The book's title is Is This Apocalypse Necessary? and it was published in September 2000.

Q: Why, in The Wood Nymph and the Cranky Saint, did the wood nymph go off with Evrard rather than Daimbert?

A: Don't feel sorry for Daimbert! While he found her intriguing, he also thought that Evrard's romantic evening with her was quite irresponsible in a time of serious dangers. Besides, Daimbert was in love with the queen at that time, and the wood nymph was careful to stay away from men who were already in love with somebody else (see p. 215).

Q: What kind of a name is "Daimbert"?

A: It's a good Frankish name, carried by several powerful noblemen (and bishops) in the Middle Ages. In the Yurt books, most of the men have Frankish names, and most of the women Roman or Byzantine names.

Q:Are you going to write more about Daimbert's adventures?

A:Probably not. By the end of Apocalypse he's achieved a position of authority he never could have imagined in his youth, and he's happily married, and he's over sixty. If I write about him much more, I'll get up to Joachim's death, where, frankly, I don't want to go. Daimbert will take it very hard, even harder indeed than losing Theodora. (Both Daimbert and Theodora will in fact live to be 200.) On the other hand, he'll be able to have lots of vicarious adventures through his daughter.

Q: So have you thought of writing "Yurt, the Next Generation"?

A: There's certainly room for a sequel series! Antonia is twelve in the last of Daimbert's series and definitely has an active career ahead of her. In fact, I'm working on a sequel right now.

Q: In Count Scar, what really happened between Galoran and his brother Guibert? How did their sister die?

A: This should emerge from a close reading. When all three (Guibert, Galoran, and Gertrude) were young, there was a terrible fire, probably caused by a coal from a firepit igniting the rushes on the floor, and Gertrude was trapped by the flames. Guibert didn't even try to save her, though Galoran was convinced that he could have done so. Galoran tried himself and failed, so that Gertrude died and Galoran was scarred for life. The brothers never talked about it, but neither of them ever forgot, and Galoran's continued resentment added to the tension that might be expected between brothers, one of whom has inherited wealth and power and one who has not.

Q: Who ordered the first attack against Galoran in the Duke's courtyard? Raymbaud said it wasn't him and so did Prince Alfonso. Was it the duke's son-in-law, hoping to eliminate the competition?

A: Of course we wanted the readers to wonder all these things. In fact, it was a Perfected magian, hoping to get Peyrefixade back for his side (see p. 302). Hadn't you wondered how the murderer of "big foot" got out of that fifth story room without being seen?

Q: How does one pronouce "Peyrefixade"?

A: It's French and pronounced Pair-feex-odd, with the emphasis on the first syllable. This first syllable, because it's a dipthong, should also have an ever so slight suggestion of actually being two syllables.

Q: Do Galoran and Arsendis ever get married?

A: They won't be for a while, but the ending of Count Scar is supposed to suggest that they will eventually work things out between them. And the duke has certainly decided Galoran would be a more than acceptable son-in-law.

Q: Is there going to be a sequel to Count Scar?

A: We wrote the book as a stand-alone, but there are certainly enough plot-threads for a sequel or a series. We've discussed what might happen in "Scar-2," but first we'll have to see if the original Scar sells enough copies to warrant a publisher's being interested in a sequel.

Q: In Voima, who is Roric's father?

A: You're supposed to work it out for yourself. He never finds out--as he's told, knowing would destroy him. But look at pages 6, 22, and 396 for clues.

Q:Will there ever be a movie based on your books?

A: I wish! It seems quite unlikely, however. Movies based on fantasy books rarely do well in the theater (the "Lord of the Rings" movie are an exception). Successful science fiction movies (like "Star Wars") aren't based on pre-existing books. The only time they'll make a movie from a fantasy book is when it's sold extremely well for years (like LOTR or Narnia). If they haven't made a movie from Robert Jordan's books, they won't make one from mine. (And it's no use trying to "suggest" one's own book to Hollywood--people who try that get black-listed. Hollywood has to stumble across you by themselves.) But if any movie producers are reading this, I've written a sample screenplay of Bad Spell!

Q: Who are some of your own favorite fantasy authors?

A: J.R.R. Tolkien of course leads the list. I've loved his books for over 45 years. He knew all the original legends that he reworked in Lord of the Rings, he wrote beautifully, and the fact that it took him 20 years to write meant that he'd really thought out all the issues and characters and plot twists. My other favorite among classic fantasy is the "Gormenghast" series by Mervyn Peake (Titus Groan and Gormenghast). They're wonderful and different from anything else--the field has almost forgotten them, though interest revived with the release of the BBC miniseries. I also really admire Ursula LeGuin's fantasy novels, both her Wizard of Earthsea series and her first three novels, now out in an omnibus from Tor called Worlds of Exile and Illusion. (Officially they're SF but they read like fantasy. Her SF is good too!) Of more recent works, my favorite is George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones, the first of what is going to be a major series. He works on a very large canvas, but his characters and the personal interactions between them are so vivid that I sometimes find myself thinking about his characters, rather than my own, something very few authors make me do. And I highly recommend Lois Bujold's Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls, books based loosely on late medieval Spain, complete with an imaginative theology (the second won both the Hugo and the Nebula).

Q: How about Harry Potter?

A: I like it just fine. It's fun, exciting, with good characters. Anything that makes kids read fantasy has to be considered most excellent.

 

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