SciFiChick.com was recently able to interview Kevin J. Anderson, co-author of the latest Dune novels along with Brian Herbert. Their latest release, The Winds of Dune, just came out this past Tuesday.
(Also, don’t forget to enter our giveaway to win a copy of the book along with a custom bag!)
Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about 5 years old, and I kept practicing, reading, plotting, typing, submitting, and finally broke into print before I graduated from high school. My first novel, Resurrection, Inc., was published before I was 25, and just this year I publish my 100th novel. In addition to the many Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune novels I’ve written, my recent books include an epic sailing-ships and sea monsters fantasy, The Edge of the World, and another DC Comics novel, Enemies and Allies, about the first meeting of Batman and Superman in the 1950s.
How did you get involved in the Dune series with Brian Herbert?
I’ve always been a huge Dune fan, and I followed Frank Herbert’s series, book after book, as they were published, but when he passed away in 1986 after the publication of Chapterhouse: Dune, the story ended on a cliffhanger. About ten years after Frank’s death, when I had established myself as a successful and critically acclaimed writer, I contacted Brian to see if he had any plans to complete this great unfinished story. We hit it off immediately and brainstormed together…and since then we have written 12 novels — ~2 million words — together.
How does the creative process work when co-writing?
Brian and I have a lot of energy when we brainstorm together. Before starting a new book, we’ll get together and talk over the plot and the characters, map out the events, work up an outline, and then we divide the chapters in half, choosing assignments based on our personal interests and skills. We each write our own drafts, then exchange computer files and rewrite each other’s material, back and forth, until we’ve polished it as much as possible.
What other projects are you currently working on?
The Winds of Dune is our 11th Dune novel together, and by now we’ve figured out how to work well together. Brian and I have just completed the first draft of a new SF epic, Hellhole, which should appeal to Dune readers, but is our own original series.
For myself, I also have a big fantasy series, “Terra Incognita.” The first book The Edge of the World just came out, and I am editing the second manuscript right now, The Map of All Things, which comes out next summer.
You have such an impressive bibliography. Of which novel are you most proud? What did you enjoy working on the most?
Wow, that’s awfully hard to choose. The Edge of the World is, I think, my best so far and really deals with some things that are important to me (as well as being a great adventure). I love my writing, and I enjoy creating these stories. The Dune series is a big rush for me and Brian and I work together very well. My other favorite would have to be The Saga of Seven Suns, all the volumes of which are now out in paperback.
What inspires you?
All the stories in my mind. I love hiking and being outdoors, looking at the beautiful scenery, and just letting my imagination run.
Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?
Dune by Frank Herbert, obviously — and many of his other novels, especially Hellstrom’s Hive and The White Plague. Outside of the genre, I love Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry, The Godfather by Mario Puzo, Shogun by James Clavell, Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith, and The Stand by Stephen King.
What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?
I think about getting back to writing…
You’ve done quite a bit of traveling for signings and conventions. Do you have any fun stories from your travels or experiences with fans?
Not quite as adventurous as what we put our characters through! On tour we have been through Hurricane Isabel and flooded streets, earthquakes in San Diego, 12-hour train delays from forest fires, and we’ve had many great experiences too. We love the chance to see the fans and hear their stories about their experiences with Dune.
Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?