Kevin J. Anderson Interview

Kevin J. AndersonThe Winds of Dune

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?

Just for extra information, you can check out our websites wordfire.com and dunenovels.com, or follow me on Twitter as TheKJA. Thanks for your interest, as always.

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34 Replies to “Kevin J. Anderson Interview”

  1. He likes Frank Herbert? I thought he hated all those “critical darlings” who take their time and put out ONLY ONE book every couple of years.

  2. and BTW –

    emailing The Jacket a list of questions that
    he responds to with cut & pasties from all the
    other email interviews he does @ Silly-book
    roll-out time doesn’t really constitute an
    “interview” ….. {insert eye-roll smiley}

  3. I like the work that Kevin and Brian are doing to keep people interested in the Dune Universe, and really enjoyed Terra Incognita, The Edge of the World.

    Can’t wait to read the next installment of The Edge of the World, and for the first book in the new Hellhole series…

  4. SaniRider – I haven’t read any of his other interviews. These are the ones I passed along to his publisher for response. Kevin responded via email a day later. Just FYI.

    Other flaming comments are being deleted at my discretion.
    I like sarcasm, just not always when directed at me. {insert smiley}

  5. I did read some of the nuDune books being glad to go back in the Imperium, but I must say that I did not recognize what I saw as worthy Frank Herbert’s legacy.
    Characters with no substance, simplistic plots…
    Dune was a challenge to the mind, this stuff was a challenge to my patience!

    @SFChick: just type KJA interview in google and you’ll see for yourself

  6. I’m in the middle of reading Winds of Dune now. Like other Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson books in the Dune series; this one is GREAT, and I highly recommend it. I’m a big Dune fan; and fan of KJA. Love his Saga of the Seven Suns series and Terra Incognita. Can’t wait for the new Hellhole series to start.

  7. Hi SciFiChick.

    I wish someone would ask KJA about his “Special Forces” website (kjasf.com), if only to see how he reacts. Please go check out the registration page, with its promise of rewards and prizes for posting reviews on Amazon and doing other activities, for yourself. “RestlessKnight” is the known monicker of one member and Robert up there may well be another.

    I also wish someone would try to get KJA to let them tag along for one of his famous “dictahiking” sessions. Of course, it wouldn’t be feasible if he was “working” on something for his next book. Maybe ask that he upload the file for a session for a past book?

    If you had to go through TOR, though, I understand the restrictions on what you could ask.

  8. I liked the interview, but the answers were a bit bland, and more or less exactly what he’s said in past interviews.

    Unfortunately, SandChigger is right; if you email KJA questions, he will either cut and paste standard answers from other interviews, and/or take the opportunity to plug the last 3 or 4 books he’s written rather than answer the question.

    Did you notice that when you asked about the book he was most proud of, he said the most recent book *he* wrote, rather than the co-written book he was on tour to promote? Says it all, really.

    Or rather, *this* says it all:

    Q: What inspires you?
    A (paraphrased): ME!

    HBJ

  9. Jack – I made the comment about “copy & paste”.
    Not looking for credit, mind you, just don’t want
    to further the claims that I’m a SandChigger sockpuppet …

    Chick, it’s your blagh, your rules, but unless someone
    uses “obscene” language or threatens real-world violence,
    deleting comments is a treacherous road to travel.

    Since you seem to have a positive lean toward TehKJAcket,
    deleting dissenting opinions can only be read as fanboy
    bias, and will lessen (or destroy) your credibility with
    the real Dune fans.

    And this isn’t a threat, but you can take it that way
    if you want to : we are on a Jihad against Keith, The
    Other Guy, the HLP and any and all who support them.
    Check out the Dune-related Amazon pages. We gots lots
    of time & patience, and take deletions of comments posted
    within a page’s guidelines as a challenge to keep posting
    until the offender gives up.

    I have nothing bad to say about you personally, or your site. Never heard of it before this, only here to bash Keith, have not and most likely will not look around the rest of the blahg.

    The only negatives I have to say about this article were already stated – you got the EXACT SAME answers as a dozen other webpages this week. And you didn’t send follow-up questions, just posted what Keith sent back.

    I won’t hold the softball, fanboy questions against you either – you most likely don’t know all the issues, so don’t know what to ask. & that’s cool.

    But don’t be surprised at the level of disgust with Keith you’ll see here, and with the arrival of The Jacket’s “Special Forces”, your page has become another battlefield …. sorry about that, but… you could’ve done like all the respectable, professional book-review sites, and just ignored The Hack.

    Oh, and HI BRIAN CONWAY !!
    Good to see you. Did this posting get you
    enough points for that KJA Lunchbox you’ve
    been lusting over ?

    {delete offending comment ….. NOW ..}

  10. SciFiChick,

    If you want the real scoop, check out the way that five of the people that posted comments on here are a part of a website forum full of people that cannot stand what they see happening with the new Dune books:

    http://www.jacurutu.com

    They go around on the web and pretty much hijack the comment section of every interview they can find about these books and used to hijack every fan forum of Kevin’s which is why he created the “by invitation only” one that SandChigger wants to talk so badly about so that fans can have a place to go without being harassed constantly by these guys, but one person takes it even further and that’s Ronald Craig aka “SandChigger”, he goes after everything Kevin does even beyond the Dune books. His website can be found by clicking on his name or here:

    http://www.hairyticksofdune.net

    On it you can find a lot of nasty comments about Kevin specifically about the Dune series, but also concerning other projects of Kevin.

    These guys will go as far as to go on Amazon and hijack a comments thread just to ridicule people that like the new Dune books! Here’s a current and great example of what they do:

    http://www.amazon.com/review/R13PS7AP7DWQ19/ref=cm_cd_pg_pg1?ie=UTF8&cdPage=1

    On that review a person had deleted their review because of all the negativity they had brought to the comments section, but decided to post it again anyway, but the negativity started again and went on for several pages and it’s still going on. Even though it would take some time, it’s worth a good read if only to see how someone from Kevin’s new site tries very much to reason with them with some very long and detailed posts and all they do is mock and ridicule him.

    And even after repeated attempts to get Amazon to do something about it, they just keep letting it happen.

    You should delete all of these people’s posts on here and warn others that you know in the industry about them. They are a problem that must be taken care of.

    Thank you for your time and comment space.

  11. no we cannot stand what we see happening with Dune as it has turned into a farce…
    Dune was about setting high standards of writing, not playing to the lowest common denominator as KJA blatantly recognizes he does.
    FH knew about letting things unsaid to let your imagination roam free, KJA just doesn’t do that.

    If you have the courage do read those long and detailed posts, written about Dune by someone who hasn’t read any of them apart from one Mc Dune, and check out the responses(they’re much shorter and very polite i should say)

    See also the comments from Prester Dilly you’ll see that mocking and ridicule don’t come from where it has been said.

    But the main thing is that no one can contest the fact that those books by KJA have NOTHING to do with the works of FH, for me they don’t exist and for history they will disappear in the sands of time.

  12. Guys, I’m not a fan of the new Dune books. I’ll admit, I’ve never read any of the ones written by Kevin and Brian. I do enjoy Kevin’s earlier stand-alone novels, so I consider myself a fan. Some of the comments have crossed a line into undue flaming that looks a lot like trolling. Please, save it for the respective forums. If you want to state why you dislike an author’s work, that’s fine. When the attacks get personal, comments may get deleted. I don’t care if that destroys my credibility with certain fans. If the sycophants were bashing anyone personally, I’d probably delete their comments too.

  13. I dislike the fact that this man tramples over Frank Herbert’s work when he should be treading lightly: he allows himself to rewrite and dismiss all the past stories as Irulan’s fancy to brush over his inconsistencies for example…
    Dune was about expanding consciousness not lowering standards!

  14. Oops; sorry, SandRider.

    Three_kings, we don’t “Hijack” every discussion. We voice our opinion about the books and/or interview. KJa acts like he’s doing the SF community a huge favour by adding his stories to the Dune universe. All we want to do is express the opposing view.

    HBJ

  15. Three Kings = Brian Conway, it’s looking like. And that’s a guy who is a MASTER at hijacking threads — hijacking entire SITES, if you’ll let him — so it’s an incredible bit of irony to see such complaints leveled here against the members of Jacurutu.

    But it’s also par for the course, sadly. The biggest hypocrites I’ve ever had the misfortune to deal with have been fans of TheKJA’s McDune drivel.

    +++++

    SFChick, to clarify: other than asking softball questions (sorry, but it’s the truth), YOU didn’t do anything wrong here. It’s just sad that Kevin chose to open his “Answers” document and paste in some standard answers. This is literally true; he cuts-and-pastes all of his interview answers. I could add five links right now, without even trying, to interviews he’s given where the answers are exactly the same as the answers here.

    THAT’s how much he “cares” about his fans. Sad, really.

  16. three_kings – champion of free speech !

    And I do wish that all of TehKJAcket’s fans would use the same user names when posting around the interwebs. After Keith accused everybody of being SandChigger, this is kinda funny. I think I’ll just go around saying every KJA fan on the web is Brian Conway.

    And PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE! do read all the posts @ amazon, and go back read all the ones for all the other new Silly-books, and Keith’s other novels. Read around at jacurutu (parental advisory – contains strong language, for adults ony)(maybe THAT’S the problem – TehKJAcket’s fan have never been adults ….)

    and now I’m feeling kinda bad about tracking mud thru your site, SF_Chick, but this is just where the path has led us ….

  17. Hi again. 🙂

    Which of KJA’s earlier books did you like? I’m curious because, of his non-Dune stuff, I’ve only *tried* reading Hidden Empire and The Edge of the World (both of which I own copies of) and excerpts of a few others online. (I couldn’t get into either of the first two, never gave the others another look.) What did you like most about them?

    (Can I also shout out a big hello to “three_kings”, whoever they are, and a shukran jaziilan for the links to my site & blog! I’m really amused by people who post my real name, which I’ve never tried to hide, but lurk behind an ever changing smokescreen of user names themselves! 😀 )

  18. Funny how you’re so sure everyone will believe the negativity you spout off on your sites that you would thank someone for pointing them out. And do you really want people to see how rude you are on Amazon? You guys are so deluded.

    I also find it amusing that you think I’m someone other than myself. You guys really do think that Kevin has only a very few fans. I sort of doubt that everyone buying his books hate them as much as you guys do. Most people don’t have the tough nipples you guys have to nurse a grudge for so long. I mean don’t you guys have something better to do with your time than all of you being online all day long just to post negativity?

    And if you guys really don’t hijack the comments threads on interview sites and book reviews, then why is it that you always gang up on them as soon as they’re out there? You just want to fill places with so much negativity and drown out and turn away any positive people who don’t want to experience unwarranted personal attacks.

  19. People are responsible for what they choose to believe. I post under my real name on Amazon, and stand behind every comment I make. If I edit something, I indicate that I have done so. I don’t delete my comments when it’s inconvenient.

    “I also find it amusing that you think I’m someone other than myself.”

    I don’t really know who you are, since you lack the courage to *reveal* yourself. But you’re awfully brave bandying about other people’s names from your anonymity. 🙂

  20. I wasn’t “bandying” your name as you say, SandChigger. I only mentioned your name because it would be self evident eventually anyway if she were to go to Amazon and jacurutu, and unlike how I’ve seen you do elsewhere you forgot to include it in your title this time. And if you’re going to criticize me for using the moniker “three_kings” instead of my real name on this site, why don’t you insist on your friends “SandRider”, “TheDukester”, “Ampoliros”, and “Hunchback Jack” to reveal their real names too. It would only be fair. Not that I really want to know their names anyway, just making a point on consistency. We all have our online anonymity for one reason or another.

  21. SandChigger – I enjoyed Fantastic Voyage: Microcosm, Captain Nemo, and more recently The Last Days of Krypton and Enemies & Allies. Microsom was very engaging and suspenseful, read like you were watching a movie.

  22. Thanks, SciFiChick. I’ve looked at online excerpts of the last two, and read about the Nemo one; haven’t heard much about the first.

    I’ve seen it written about a lot of his books that they read like he had an eventual movie version in mind when he wrote them. 🙂

    (The point about consistency and my friends, “three_kings”, is that most of us use the same names wherever we post online; people like RestlessKnight = B. Conway = RedBugPest = RaidKillsBugsDead (= three_kings?) don’t. You I don’t know from Adam.)

  23. “real name” isn’t the issue.

    I post as “SandRider” everywhere I post
    on Dune-related sites, and have a Gravitar
    of the same image. So do most of the other
    OH around the web.

    And now, I’m not sure 3_kings IS Conway –
    This One seems a tad smarter. But, Conway
    has posted around the web under several user
    names now, so I’m suspicious. I’d assume that
    the only way he would have stumbled into this
    site was from the link posted @jacurutu the day
    this article was put up.

    And that’s cool, too, use a hundred different
    names, the net is free zone as far as I’m concerned.
    It’s just easier to discuss something with people
    you’re already familiar with. Conway knows me well,
    by now. He knows where I’m coming from.

    And all this got started by Keith anyway, and his “four or five” rabid OHs comment, implying that everybody was a SandChigger sockpuppet.

  24. Hey, SF_Chick –
    your spam filter is sexist –

    “Sorry, but your comment has been flagged by the spam filter running on this blog: this might be an error, in which case all apologies. Your comment will be presented to the blog admin who will be able to restore it immediately.
    You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him.”

  25. I’ve always tried to remain as civil as possible, even though I’ve been a opponent to KJA from the beginning after reading his Jedi Academy series. I don’t always succeed in that endeavor because I consider Dune to be a secular-sacred body of literature.

    Seriously, the record speaks for itself. Read the threads at Amazon, and at Jacurutu, and at the blog threads we “hijack”.

    Oh, and Conway, I’ll give you 3 guesses as to my real name. It’s displayed in a prominent place.

  26. Spam filter seems to be sending everyone’s posts to the spam folder. Even sent some that I thought I approved. Not sure what’s going on. I may just close comments for now.

  27. KJASF says "LEAVE KEITH ALONE !!!"

    hey, Chicky, can I post yet ?

    no ?

    okay ….

    {slinks back to cave …}; KJASF says "LEAVE KEITH ALONE !!!"

    hey, Chicky, can I post yet ?

    no ?

    okay ….

    {slinks back to cave …};;

  28. Three_Kings:

    Actually, what I’ve observed is exactly what we’ve seen in this thread: posters expressing their opinions – good and bad – about the interview, *until* some extreme KJA fan posts a screed about how SandChigger is a hater, or about how Jacurutu members are hijacking threads and harrassing KJA fans.

    Things escalate from there, not surprisingly.

    Posting comments – even negative comments – about KJA, his books and his interviews is not harrassment, and not hijacking. The world is not a KJA fan site.

    HBJ

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