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Guest Post by David Tallerman - Pieces of Cake: Where Giant Thief meets Labyrinth

Please welcome David Tallerman to The Qwillery as part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. David's debut, Giant Thief, was published on January 31, 2012 US/Canada.


Pieces of Cake: Where Giant Thief meets Labyrinth

     One lesson I learned during the writing of my first novel Giant Thief is that you don't always realise your own influences.

     Whatever I was consciously considering, as random as some of the elements I deliberately threw in were, I don't remember thinking much about the movie Labyrinth. Not that it would have been so strange if I had, since it's one of my favourite fantasy films of all time. I'd cheerfully describe it as a masterpiece, and probably will before this post is out. But the gritty yet humorous Crime / Fantasy adventure I had in my head was a thousand worlds away from Jim Henson's delirious, often silly, always brilliant Muppet-featuring masterpiece.

     (Well that didn't take long.)

     Although ... truth be told and now that I think about it, one small similarity did occur to me fairly early on. When I was trying to visualise my protagonist Easie Damasco riding on the shoulder of Saltlick, the giant he'd just absconded with, where could my mind go but to Sir Didymus? Because let's face it, the sight of an insane fox creature mounted on a cowardly Old English Sheepdog takes all the biscuits when it comes to images of things riding on other things.

     As major, conscious influences went, though, it was only when I started trying to come up with concept images for the cover that the first major similarity hit me. How best to describe Saltlick? He wasn't your typical, monstrous giant. In character and appearance both, I had something quite different in mind. Not quite so tall but broader, considerably nicer, a creature of few words but more than capable of picking the right ones at the right time, kind of like ... well ... a lot like a shaved version of Labyrinth's good-hearted monster Ludo.

     That was it, though - as far as conscious influences went. But realising those two was enough to set my mind ticking for unconscious ones. Had a little bit of Labyrinth's Sarah fed into my tough, well-intentioned but sometimes perhaps a little self-deluding heroine Marina Estrada? Was the reason I was determined to have some humour in the mix a hangover from reading too many Terry Pratchett books, or did it perhaps have more to do with the way Labyrinth (and for that matter other classic fantasy films of the time) undercut their more serious themes with heavy doses of comedy?

     Then there's Easie Damasco himself.

     At time of writing, Damasco has already been compared with Shakespeare's Autolycus (by Adrian Tchaikovsky) and Jack Sparrow (by SFX magazine), not to mention my friend Bill Brennan describing him bizarrely as "a cheerful Raskolnikov." But no one has as yet pointed out how much he has in common with Labyrinth's treacherous, stature-deprived, morally see-sawing hero / villain Hoggle.

     So I'll do it myself. Because both have a magpie's interest for gewgaws, which often gets the better of their interest in people. Both are almost blinded by their cynicism and their sure belief that everyone is just as self-interested as they are. Both have a conscience, but also a staggering capacity to ignore it. And, however minor or tenuous some of these influences may have been, I've no doubt that Hoggle's relationship with Sarah fed into Damasco's with Saltlick. Labyrinth toys mercilessly with our instinct to like Hoggle despite his multitudinous flaws, and our urge to trust him just as Sarah wants to trust him. Even as he lets her down, we want to believe the next time will be different. So it goes with Damasco and Saltlick. Damasco is a charming but outrageously flawed individual, and he's the only hope Saltlick has of ever returning home - if he can just stop behaving like a weasel for long enough.

     Anyway, my point here isn't that I've written a colossal rip-off of Labyrinth. I'm hopeful I haven't written a colossal rip-off of anything! No, my point is that a) Labyrinth is a brilliant movie, and a fantasy classic that maybe doesn't always get the credit it deserves and b) like I said at the start, you don't always know your own influences - and discovering them can come as quite a shock.

     However, in the interests of not looking like a big plagiarist, here are some of Labyrinth's vital ingredients that definitely don't appear even slightly in Giant Thief:

     There are no muppets. At no point does David Bowie appear, with or without padded underwear. There are neither goblins nor babies. Nobody sings or narrowly avoids a dunking in the Bog of Eternal Stench. At no point does anyone remove anyone else's head.

     Actually ... no, wait...

     Damn it!


Afternote:

     I wrote most of this piece on the train to Prestatyn, heading for the SFX 2012 Weekender.

     I'd barely arrived and hooked up with my roommate-to-be Lavie Tidhar when I ran into the Angry Robot team who, along with a couple of old friends, were drinking in a quiet corner of a large room being used as a combination cinema / bar. And barely had Angry Robot co-editor Lee Harris popped the cork on the champagne he'd smuggled in to celebrate Lavie and mine's book launches, but what should start playing on the screen?

     Yeah, that would be Labyrinth.

     Sometimes, life is very strange.


About Giant Thief

Giant Thief
Tales of Easie Damasco 1
Angry Robot Books
January 31, 2012 US/Canada, February 2, 2012 UK/RoW
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Guest Post by David Tallerman - Pieces of Cake: Where Giant Thief meets Labyrinth
Meet Easie Damasco, rogue, thieving swine and total charmer.

Even the wicked can’t rest when a vicious warlord and the force of enslaved giants he commands invade their homeland. Damasco might get away in one piece, but he’s going to need help.

Big time.

File Under: Fantasy [ Big Trouble | Deception | Saltlick's City | Hang 'im High ]


About David
From David's website

Guest Post by David Tallerman - Pieces of Cake: Where Giant Thief meets Labyrinth
David Tallerman is the author of around a hundred short stories, as well as comic scripts and poems, countless reviews and articles and at least two novels. Many of these are already available in print, online and in podcast. Others are due to appear over the next few months - including the first of those novels, Giant Thief, to be published through Angry Robot in early 2012 with two sequels following close on its heels.

Not liking to be pinned down, David's work ranges from gruesome horror to comic fantasy, from political science-fiction to tales about mechanically assisted grizzly bears battling Nazi dolphins on the moon.

He's been writing off and on since he was about six, drawing comparisons to Enid Blyton in those early days, but thankfully less so recently. And he's been writing pretty much flat out since around 2005, having realised he enjoys it a lot more than any of the other jobs he's tried his hand at.

Most of his remaining time is eaten up by his regular employment as an itinerant IT Technician, and whatever's left he spends reading books, watching films, hiking, drinking wine and failing miserably to grow bonsai trees.

The photograph was taken near Robin Hood's Bay, which is somewhere behind the camera- person. There are some seals basking off to the left. If you've never seen a seal up close then you should really try to, they're awesomely weird looking creatures.

David's Links:

Website
Blog
Twitter


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a copy of Giant Thief (Tales of Easie Damasco 1) from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

What is you favorite fantasy movie? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition YOU MUST leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Sunday, February 26, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012

And the winners are....


Control Point (Shadow Ops 1) by Myke Cole and SOC Challenge Coin - Ended February 6, 2012 - Read the interview here.

Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012

Question:  What's your magical power?

booklover0226 who said:

My powers would be to "tele-port" from point A to point B in a blink of an eye.


Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012


Giant Thief (Tales of Easie Damasco 1) by David Tallerman - Ended February 7, 2012 - Read the interview here.

Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012

Question:  Who is (are) your favorite bad guy (or guys)?

Tore who said:

My favorite bad guy. I liked Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I always thought he was funny.


Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012


King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn 1) by Elisabeth Staab - Ended February 8, 2012 -Read the interview here.

Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012

Question:  What is/are your favorite vampire movie(s)?

Proserpine who said:

Hi!
I love the classic: Dracula : the one with Anthony Hopkins and Keanu Reeves! I really like the Underworld movies and the Queen of the Damn too but my fav interview with a vampire: the ultimate vampire movie!


Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012


Deliver Me from Darkness (Paladin Warriors 1) by Tes Hilaire - Ends February 11, 2012 -  Read the interview here US/CANADA ONLY

Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012


Question: What is/are your favorite HEA(s) (Happily Ever After) from 2011?

StacieD who said:

My favorite HEA was Adrian Brown's in Never Enough by Lauren Dane. Through the entire series he had to watch as his siblings and friends found their HEA. Adrian finding the woman he loves and the son he never knew was lovely.


Winners x 4 - February 13, 2012


The winners have been notified and have until 11:59PM US Eastern Time on Monday, February 20, 2012 to respond or The Qwillery will very randomly pick a new winner or winners.

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Interview with David Tallerman and Giveaway - January 31, 2012

Please welcome David Tallerman to The Qwillery as  part of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Giant Thief, David's debut novel, is out today in the US and Canada. Happy Release Day to David!


TQ:  What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

David:  I don't know if it's a quirk as such, but I don't seem able to stick to any one genre or medium. On top of the novels and short fiction, I've written comics, reviews, poetry and film scripts, and genre-wise I've covered sci-fi and fantasy, horror, crime and what I suppose you'd have to call literary fiction. I've got wide reading tastes, and whatever I like I seem to need to try my hand at.

TQ:  Who are some of your favorite writers? Who do you feel has influenced your writing?

David:  Favourite writers? Off the top of my head and in no particular order, H. G. Wells, Geoffrey Household, Lewis Carroll, Gene Wolfe, H P Lovecraft, Philip K Dick. Currently, I love Charlie Huston's crime fiction, and just about anything Mike Carey writes. Most recently, I picked up the first of Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series as a small thank you for the fantastic blurb he gave me and now I'm hopelessly addicted.

How many of those writers have influenced me, though, I have no idea. I rarely go out of my way to be influenced, and most of the books people have suggested as being similar to Giant Thief - Leiber's Lankhmar stories, for instance - I hadn't actually read at the time. I know I liked the idea of writing a flight-and-chase novel, like Geoffrey Household's Rogue Male. Actually, I drew a lot more from films in the planning stages. Right at the start, I remember thinking a lot about eighties buddy movies, for example ... things like Beverley Hills Cop, where the fast-talking protagonist plays off against the by-the-book straight guy. A lot of that went into Giant Thief's DNA, and then Crown Thief's too, in different ways.

TQ:  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

David:  Both and either, depending on the circumstances. Giant Thief was written with a beginning, middle and end in mind, and everything else I ... er ... "pantsed." That's more or less how I tend to write short fiction, too. Whereas with Crown Thief, not only had I had a long time to think about where I wanted to take it, I knew I'd only have a year to finish the actual writing (compared with the three or so that Giant Thief took me). so I went in with a detailed chapter plan and more or less stuck to it. With comic scripts, I plan in even more detail than that. Pantsing is fun, but sometimes you just can't afford the blind alleys and days of figuring yourself out of plot holes that tend to come with it.

TQ:  What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?

David:  At the moment, the lack of time that comes with trying to manage a professional writing career around a full time day job. Book deals are terrific, but if you're the kind of person that needs to occassionally take time out for luxuries like food and sleep, they should come with a health warning.

TQ:  Describe Giant Thief (Tales of Easie Damasco 1) in 140 characters or less.

David:  If Easie Damasco had stopped at stealing a giant, he might have got away with it. But he didn't - and now he has an entire army on his tail.

TQ:  What inspired you to write Giant Thief?

David:  I don't know that anything inspired me to write Giant Thief exactly. It was more that having concentrated on short stories for a couple of years, I reached a point where I felt I was ready to tackle a novel-length project, and when the core idea of Giant Thief came along one night I realised it might just work at that length.

After that, though, what really shaped its direction was a desire to write a fantasy novel that wasn't entirely like anything else I'd come across. I wasn't out to reinvent the wheel, but I thought long and hard about what I did and didn't like in Fantasy and what I liked in other genres - like Crime and Humour - that could be transplanted. On top of that, I'd read a piece by Ursula LeGuin about racial and sexual diversity in her work, and I realised I didn't want to write a fantasy novel that was basically a load of white guys running around a thinly-veiled version of medieval England. Those were the kinds of ideas and questions that inspired Giant Thief into its final shape.

TQ:  What sort of research did you do for Giant Thief?

David:  I hunted up a lot of photoreference material for myself from a number of different countries, to try and get a better grasp of things like geography, architecture, clothing and weapons ... mostly those first two, because I'm not very well travelled and unfortunately my research budget didn't stretch to a world cruise.

TQ:  Who was the easiest character to write and why? Hardest and why?

David:  My protagonist (definitely not hero!) big-mouthed, disaster-prone thief Easie Damasco was, all puns aside, the easiest. Once I had his voice down, he more or less wrote himself. The villain of the piece, Moaradrid, was trickier. My favourite bad guys are the ones who believe whole-heartedly that they're not bad guys at all, who are so sure they're right that even the reader starts to wonder. I very much wanted Moaradrid to be like that. He's borderline crazy, he has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to get what he wants ... but he also believes beyond doubt that its both justified and necessary. What I eventually realised is that that kind of certainty means he doesn't often feel the need to justify himself. I stripped out more and more of his dialogue with each redraft. Whether it's setting villages on fire, torture or beheading, his actions are more than capable of doing the talking.

TQ:  Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Giant Thief?

David:  My favourite scene is right near the end, so I don't think I can answer that one without giving anything away. Damasco is rarely anything other than obnoxious to his unfortunate companions, stoic, kindhearted giant Saltlick and mayor-turned-resistance-leader Marina Estrada. There's a point in chapter 22, though, halfway up a mountain, where we see - just briefly! - a different side to him. I'm very fond of that scene.

TQ:  What's next?

David:  Well, Crown Thief is next on the novel front. It's more or less finished now, and due out towards the end of the year, I believe. Meanwhile, I'll be starting book three, currently titled Prince Thief, and trying as best I can to keep the plates spinning on all my other projects. I've a couple of comic and film scripts out there that I'd really like to get moving in 2012. Then there's always short stories coming out, with a few already scheduled that I'm very excited about. It's going to be another busy one!

TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.


About Giant Thief

Giant Thief
Tales of Easie Damasco 1
Angry Robot Books
January 31, 2012 US/Canada, February 2, 2012 UK/RoW
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Interview with David Tallerman and Giveaway  - January 31, 2012
Meet Easie Damasco, rogue, thieving swine and total charmer.

Even the wicked can’t rest when a vicious warlord and the force of enslaved giants he commands invade their homeland. Damasco might get away in one piece, but he’s going to need help.

Big time.

File Under: Fantasy [ Big Trouble | Deception | Saltlick's City | Hang 'im High ]


About David
From David's website

Interview with David Tallerman and Giveaway  - January 31, 2012
David Tallerman is the author of around a hundred short stories, as well as comic scripts and poems, countless reviews and articles and at least two novels. Many of these are already available in print, online and in podcast. Others are due to appear over the next few months - including the first of those novels, Giant Thief, to be published through Angry Robot in early 2012 with two sequels following close on its heels.

Not liking to be pinned down, David's work ranges from gruesome horror to comic fantasy, from political science-fiction to tales about mechanically assisted grizzly bears battling Nazi dolphins on the moon.

He's been writing off and on since he was about six, drawing comparisons to Enid Blyton in those early days, but thankfully less so recently. And he's been writing pretty much flat out since around 2005, having realised he enjoys it a lot more than any of the other jobs he's tried his hand at.

Most of his remaining time is eaten up by his regular employment as an itinerant IT Technician, and whatever's left he spends reading books, watching films, hiking, drinking wine and failing miserably to grow bonsai trees.

The photograph was taken near Robin Hood's Bay, which is somewhere behind the camera- person. There are some seals basking off to the left. If you've never seen a seal up close then you should really try to, they're awesomely weird looking creatures.

David's Links:

Website
Blog


The Giveaway

THE RULES

What:  One commenter will win a Mass Market Paperback copy of Giant Thief (Tales of Easie Damasco 1) from The Qwillery.

How:  Leave a comment answering the following question:

Who is (are) your favorite bad guy (or guys)? 

Please remember - if you don't answer the question your entry will not be counted.

You may receive additional entries by:

1)   Being a Follower of The Qwillery.

2)   Mentioning the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter. Even if you mention the giveaway on both, you will get only one additional entry. You get only one additional entry even if you mention the giveaway on Facebook and/or Twitter multiple times.

3)   Mentioning the giveaway on your on blog or website. It must be your own blog or website; not a website that belongs to someone else or a site where giveaways, contests, etc. are posted.

There are a total of 4 entries you may receive: Comment (1 entry), Follower (+1 entry), Facebook and/or Twitter (+ 1 entry), and personal blog/website mention (+1 entry). This is subject to change again in the future for future giveaways.

Please leave links for Facebook, Twitter, or blog/website mentions. In addition please leave a way to contact you.

Who and When:  The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59pm US Eastern Time on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.

*Giveaway rules are subject to change.*

2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January

As part of this year's Debut Author Challenge I thought it would be fun to choose a favorite cover from each month's debut novels. At the end of the year the 12 monthly winners will be pitted against each other to choose the 2012 Debut Novel Cover of the Year.

But I'm not going to choose the winning covers - you are. Welcome to the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars!

Here are your choices for January 2012:





















Guest Post by David Tallerman - Pieces of Cake: Where Giant Thief meets LabyrinthWinners x 4 - February 13, 2012Interview with David Tallerman and Giveaway  - January 31, 20122012 Debut Author Challenge Cover Wars - January

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