Monday, July 19, 2010

An Interview to tide you all over.

We are getting closer and closer to Monster Blood Tattoo Book 3/The Foundling's Tale Book 3 Factotum getting into your hands, but until then I hope this interview at The Enchanted Inkpot will tide folks over (just a little). Thanks to Ellen and her comrades for such great questions.

Oh, and I hope you all will be happy to note that the next Half-Continent book is slowly forming even now...

... and there is a new poll, at last! (just over on the right)


El Grego said...

A nice interview - I am always curious to know how an artist (of any type) approaches and accomplishes their work.

And the sabrine adept is fascinating, especially with two styles of hose!

BrandenRose said...

I am so glad i read this, because as a young author myself I've recently been wondering about my strong interest in writing and if it was detracting from my Christian experience. It's wonderful to hear it from a Christian author that such a thing can actually be God's hand guiding you to who he wants you to be. Thank you so much for that Mr. Cornish.
And, of course, i love the series. I want to meet the people whom Europe is fashioned after, because I have a character very similar to her in my story, my man character in fact(my co-author and best friend writes for someone else) and sometimes she is quite a struggle to define.
In any case, Factotum cannot come quickly enough for my tastes.

noelle said...

Mr. Cornish, I really appreciate your input on being a Christian writer - if you remember, I emailed you about this subject forever ago - but I have one further question. Do you think that it is possible to get too invested in one's fabricated world, to the point that it does become an idol?

I often hear quoted a saying that goes something like, "If you want to know where your heart truly lies, look at where you mind goes when it wanders." In my case, it is always fiction. Sometimes I worry that the fantasy realm has become my first priority, and in this sense I am truly afraid that it is an idol, since it distracts me from spending time with God.

I understand what you are saying, that writing can be a form of worship, but I carry my characters and my worlds with me wherever I go, and it seems to me that I can become so inwardly focused that I often do not acknowledge God's existence at all. It is almost as if I prefer to "play god" myself over the beings that I have created.

Clearly you have put enormous thought and time into creating the Half-Continent, so I assume that you, like me, spend a lot of time in your head with your characters, creatures, and other inventions. How do you balance that with your spiritual life and prevent it from becoming a distraction?

Sorry for the long-windedness of this comment! This is something that has been weighing on my mind for a very long time.

D.M. Cornish said...

Dear noelle, I have laboured under such apprehensions myself for the longest time. Ever since the Lord opened the door with Monster-Blood Tattoo and even more so in the last couple of years, the question no longer troubles me because I have discovered he actually likes what I am doing - indeed, I might go as far as to say he made me to invent such stuff. I am coming to realise (he is showing me, in fact) that he is not some mean spirited fellow covetous of my every moment like some co-dependant ego-maniac. Yet, I fear, this is the sense of him that might lie at our heart when we consider him and such notions as "idolatry". However, this does not seem to corelate at all with Jesus saying such things as, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Being sunk in the world is, I offer, a very differnet thing to being passionate about those things you were made to be passionate about.

I could say more, but it is hard to elaborate in this format. Sorry if it is NOT helpful. Come back at me, anyone, so we might explore this further...

Wolf Blood (Will) said...

Your views have opened new doors for me to explore, Mr. Cornish. I found the interview enjoyable and insightful. I was kind of hoping it was a video so as to see what you look like (I always picture you as looking very similar to Fouracres). I, being a blossoming writer (I hope I am being modest enough), often draw my characters simply to help myself describe them in my works. They are not good drawings, but they help me to get my thoughts down. If I do not, I find my characters are always changing in appearance. I would also like to mention that the sabine's (is that correct?) sword does not appear to be very sharp.

Whew, I believe this is the most I've written in this blog. Can't wait for Factotum!

BrandenRose said...

noelle, thank you for asking that, because that's exactly what my innermost question was...I'm in exactly the same place. As a side note, why did you pick that spelling for your name?
And to Mr. Cornish, thank you for your answer. It's amazing how God finds ways to answer prayers that you never expected to have answered in such a way.

Baby Bird said...

What an amazing and in depth interview. You've been my favorite author since I discovered Monster blood tattoo book one, while I was still in high school and I really enjoy getting an insight into what motivates you and your creative processes^^ It's fantastic to come across a fellow Australian who has such tallent.
You're actually one of the guiding forces behind my choice to pursue a career in illustration^^ So thank you, and I can't wait to read book three

portals said...

Its been a long time since I've been back to the blogspot, but I'm glad that I can see this interview.

I really enjoyed what you wrote about the conflict of faith and writing. I have often wondered about music, and whether a christian musician is obliged to sing christian music.

monday said...

Mr Cornish, your words shall I say it..being a christian author but not really a ''christian author'' were very encouraging. well, you are just a very encouraging fellow anyway, but you put things quite well.
the best thing, I think, is the fact that the Lord is powerful enough to use my silly little words however he wants, and all I have to worry about is writing them down.

D.M. Cornish said...

Ahh, yes, writing them down... there is that isn't there *looks askance at new and currently neglected story*

Anonymous said...

Pellets and Cockerels! Unfortunately, I can't find a way to edit this post to be shorter than it is. Please bear with me!

On the topic of focusing on God:

I agree, Master Cornish, that God does in fact enjoy what we do if it's in his will for us to do it.

Though I also agree with what people say about innocent things often becoming our idols. Even those gifts given to us from God. Samson's strength was a gift from God. However, he became more focused on that strength rather than God, and suffered for it. Jesus did say what you claim, though it was directed to those in spiritually-fallen cities of his area who were suffering for their sins. He was referring to the assurance (spelling?) they can have for asking forgiveness.

In the previous chapter, He said to his desciples (those already following him) that "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 10:37-39) Anything that directs our focus away from God Himself becomes an idol.

I have great respect for you as a writer, illustrator and world-builder. I personally don't think your work holds your focus away from God. However, because I respect you, I don't want you to end up having spiritual stagnation if your focus was on His gift rather than Him. My pastor once said that we should seek His face, not His hand. I hope that makes sense.

Alyosha said...

Thanks for sharing about the influence of your faith on your writing. I'm not religious myself, but I'm still glad that someone who is, is writing fantasy. Beating up on religion is something of a time honored tradition in the sci-fi realm - one that seems to have bled over into the fantasy genre - and I'm not expecting that to change anytime soon. But lately it's gotten to the point where, even as a non-religious person, I've become weary of the lack of creativity that sci-fi and fantasy writers display when it comes to matters of faith. It's as if the only villain they can imagine is the religious fanatic, and that being either fanatic or in-thrall-to-a-fanatic are the only varieties of religious experience available. So even if you never write about a religion - even a fantasy one - in a favorable light, just the fact that you don't cast religion as evil as a matter of course is a refreshing change.

And now, a question that I think is safe from being a Factotum plot spoiler... I'm wondering about whether or not there is big-M Magic in the half continent world. The world you've created, though fantastical, doesn't seem to have anyone actually practicing magic. What unusual professions are practiced come across more as fantastical-science, or the science of another world rather than as magic. On the other hand, when folks are mixing up potives, the patterns of stirring once this way in a figure eight, then stirring thrice in the other direction, etc. do seem more magical in nature than scientific. Also (referring back to a prior discussion) things like Rossamund's remarkable valise seem more magical than fantasy-science in nature. So, are these glimpses intended to hint at a magic that we've not seen in full yet, or are they more along the lines of half-remembered rules that used to be part of science that was lost in the collapse of earlier empires? And don't think I have any complaint if the answer is that there's no big-M Magic; your books are magical in the best sense even without it.

Wolf Blood said...

Alyosha, I believe that Lampsman Bookchild's strength may come from him being a Rossamunderling, if that is the case. The stirring may be something that has no effect on the potive. It may be part of something that was only half revealed to the Sundergaarians.

Master Come Lately said...

'Ello Wolf Blood! It's been a little while. Alyosha mentioned Rossamund's valise (his bag from the Foundlingery) being magical, but not his strength. I agree with you on the potive stirring though. Its purpose would seem to be for more thorough mixing rather than conjuring magic.

Ben Bryddia said...

Greetings folks. As far as the stirring is concerned, I'd speculate that certain motions are required to prevent solid chemicals from settling to the bottom and burning. Perhaps something like that was said in Foundling. Perhaps the stirring could induce stuff on the bottom to come up and assimilate with the liquid. I know certain wood stains work like that.

A second thing to consider is that, though they use potent chemicals, habilists may not fully understand the chemistry. The skold(s) who invented a certain 'salt' may have done so through a less precise process. So, one or two extra, impotent actions may have been part of the original. Following generations may simply have followed his script and not bothered to streamline the process.

So there's a bit of speculation on the matter of potive concoction.

D.M. Cornish said...

You are indeed correct, oh worthy souls! The stiring is for practical reasons, a formalised methodology to obtain some manner of consistency in the making of a potive.

As to "magic" in the H-c, well, there isn't any - not in the D&D/WoW/high-fantasy kind of way. Threwd and the ability of the more powerful monsters to manipulate is probably the closest thing to it.

As to the valise, it is in fact "blithely", part of a collection of items known (though not commonly) as wentry - these being objects/tools/items useful to men made by monsters and possessing some small part of their intention in its making. For example, a goodly monster might fashion a pair of shoes with the express design to benefit some everymn they know. In this process a portion of their good will and intent will be wound in to the item in some subtle way - not some great deliberate wielding of "magic", just a quiet inclusion of benefit - producing shoes whose soles never wear out, or a bag that feels light even when full, and so on.

Why the monsters do this is more than I have space or time to explore here, but they do, sometimes to profound effect on the everymen who receive them. And how it was Madam Opera came into the possession of one without knowing what it was (a common everymen error) is a whole other story...

Did any of that make sense...?