Interviewed by Matthew Summers
Ian Irvine has written 32 novels, including the Three Worlds fantasy sequence (The View from the Mirror, The Well of Echoes and Song of the Tears), which has sold over sold over a million copies, and a trilogy of eco-thrillers, Human Rites. Ian has also written 13 books for younger readers, including the humorous fantasy quartet Grim and Grimmer. His next book is The Fatal Gate, Book 2 of the new Three Worlds series The Gates of Good and Evil, to be published worldwide in May 2017. Find Ian at http://www.ian-irvine.com
Ian Irvine, welcome to Snapshot 2016. What are you working on right now? Anything exciting?
I’m doing revisions of The Fatal Gate, book 2 of The Gates of Good and Evil, my new epic fantasy trilogy set in the Three Worlds, and it’s the most fun I’ve had in years. The series begins 9 years after The View from the Mirror and I’m enjoying meeting favourite old characters, some greatly changed, others who should have changed and grown but haven’t, and some terrific new characters as they try to deal with the Merdrun, an enemy more powerful and overwhelming than any I’ve written about before. It’s going to be a wild ride, especially when I begin the third book later this year, because I don’t know what’s going to happen in the end.
You recently released your latest novel, entitled The Summon Stone. How did it feel to return to the world of your View from the Mirror series?
It was daunting because The View from the Mirror quartet is a greatly loved series. It began my vast epic fantasy sequence set in the Three Worlds and many young people in Australia and the UK grew up reading the quartet between 1998 and about 2005. It’s hard to write a sequel that’s as good as the original and I didn’t want to disappoint all those readers and fans, so I spent more time on The Summon Stone than on any book I’ve written since my first, A Shadow on the Glass, which I began in 1987.
It was also a challenge because my writing style has changed considerably since I wrote the quartet, which I finished 20 years ago. The quartet is written in a much more elevated style than the books I do these days and I didn’t want the contrast to be too jarring.
What does the future hold for your writing? Do you have any ideas that you want to explore in the coming years?
In the past 15 years I’ve explored lots of ideas in my thrillers about catastrophic climate change (the Human Rites trilogy), and in 13 books for children and young adults, including a humorous fantasy quartet called Grim and Grimmer. I’ve neglected my main fantasy readers and now it’s time to give them more stories, long and short, set in the Three Worlds. That’s what I’ll be doing in the next three years, and the main idea I’ll be exploring is how a nation, a society or a whole world can be transformed when someone is determined to pursue their ideology or beliefs with utter ruthlessness.
What Australian work have you loved recently?
I haven’t read much Australian fiction lately, though I’m currently reading The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. He’s created a fascinating and original fantasy world.
Which author (living or dead) would you most like to sit next to on a long plane trip? Why?
To be honest, what I most want on a long plane trip is an empty seat next to me. Failing that, David Attenborough – he has such a vast perspective on the world, both culturally, environmentally and on its natural history. It would be a privilege to hear him talk about just about anything.