Friday, June 15, 2012

Author Colin McComb's 'Oathbreaker' a different kind of epic fantasy novel

1.) Colin, you have quite the writer's background. Can you tell us a little about it?

My writer's background starts very, very young. I remember writing some stories when I was in 5th grade that were apparently dark enough that my teacher called my mom in for a conference. Now that I think about it as an adult, that's ... that's kind of disturbing. At any rate, I focused mainly on games for a while, and I got a job designing adventures, accessories, and campaign worlds for Dungeons & Dragons when the property was owned by TSR Inc. That job led me to Interplay Productions/Black Isle Studios, where I helped design Planescape: Torment. And at some point in there, I thought, "I really want to write stories."

2.) Why should readers pick up your novel Oathbreaker, Book 1: The Knight's Tale?

People should pick up Oathbreaker because it's epic fantasy without the doorstop aspect. It's a story told through the eyes of people affected by the history, rather than the ones who are writing the bulk of the history. You won't see the thoughts of the king or his betrayers; we don't follow the machinations (at least not directly) of the coup. Instead, we see the ripples throughout the empire, and follow the escape of a cybernetic knight as he flees the capital with the king's infant daughter. What I'm saying is that it's a fun story, different and imaginative (I hope!), and for the price, you're not taking a risk at all. Also, take a look at those reviews!

3.) Which is more fun: Writing fiction or writing gaming material? Why?

They're both fun in different ways; they both have their challenges. Putting together satisfying mechanics, designing a cool trap, establishing a villain who is seemingly unbeatable, creating a shared world experience with a sense of wonder that hundreds of thousands of people can share and participate in themselves ... all of that is just great fun. It's like building a puzzle for players. With the fiction, on the other hand, I don't have to worry about how the players are going to get around my villain. Instead, it's an exercise in telling the story believably, in which the only way past the tricks and traps is the one my characters take. I don't have to plan multiple contingencies ... it's just pure creativity. I realize this answer is a total copout, but it's like when your kids ask you who you love more: the answer should always be, "I love you both equally, but in different ways."

4.) If you could choose any fictional fantastic creature to be real, which one would it be? And why?

Any? You do realize that I've had like 30 years' of gaming to draw on for this answer, right? I could go with the traditional ("Dragons! Because Smaug was so awesome!" or "Unicorns! Because The Last Unicorn was so magical!") or with the creepy ("Vampires! Because they spar ... ow!") or with the truly weird ("The wolf-in-sheep's-clothing!"

Really, the answer I'd give you would have to depend on my mood at the time. Right now, I can only imagine that any fictional creature made real would be tagged and bagged quickly, especially if it was a threat to human life.

5.) What movie have you seen more than any other? How many times have you watched it?

Oh boy. I watch a lot of movies more than once. For instance, I've seen John Carter three times already. Since I can't say for certain which I've watched more than the others, here's a list of my uncounted favorites. Most of these are movies I can put on in the background; I have others that I watch less frequently because they're more gripping (like, say, The Godfather):
-- Star Wars (original trilogy)
-- Raiders of the Lost Ark (original only)
-- The Usual Suspects
-- Fight Club
-- Cube
-- Lord of the Rings trilogy
-- Alien/Aliens
-- Silence of the Lambs
-- Terminator/T2
-- Apocalypse Now

6.) The mob or the IRS or some other goon squad believes you owe them money. They have captured you and tied to you to a chair. The head goon informs you your debts can be wiped away in a matter of seconds, all you have to do is give up a body part. It doesn't even have to be a big body part. Which part do you pick?

Can I pick my hair? Because, man, if they'd just lay claim to that, I could save a pile on razors. Otherwise, I'd choose the second toe from the left on my left foot, because that's the one with the nail that keeps jamming when I run. Also, can I argue with them about how much money I owe? Because if they let me talk, I'm pretty sure I can talk them down a bit.

For more about author Colin McComb, check out his website and blog.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

The best games I've played have obviously been written by folks who love story and how to tell one.