Wednesday, September 14, 2011
An Interview With Scott Westerfeld, The End Of The Leviathan Trilogy and a Giveaway
Mel: Hey Scott! Thanks for taking the time to chat about Goliath, the last book in your Leviathan trilogy!
The series is steampunk mixed with an alternate WWI setting. While researching for the book, what was the most interesting fact you found and wanted to include?
Scott: I knew from the beginning that one of my characters would be the son of the Archduke Ferdinand, a teenager who would feel somewhat responsible for this huge war that his own family tragedy started. But I didn't realize when I began the book that Alek's parents had a morganatic marriage. (In other words, his mother wasn't royal enough for any offspring to inherit his father's titles.) When I discovered that, it was clearly a great YA hook: a teenager calling into question his identity and place in the world, and perhaps realizing that the whole notion of royalty that he's grown up with is at its core a bit arbitrary.
M: One of the things I loved about this series is the illustrations, something not often found in YA books. Was this something you envisioned being part of your book while writing it OR added after?
S: Keith and I worked together from the beginning. I would send him a few chapters at a time, and he would respond with sketches, and often I would rewrite based on the way he drew the events. Also, beasties or machines would often wind up with more screentime than I had planned for them, just because I'd fallen in love with how they looked. So it really was a collaboration, with Keith's visualizations influencing the flow and content of every scene.
S: Most of the slang in the series is historical. My favorite is certainly "clart" for poo. It has a wonderfully Scottish lilt to it. Of my made-up terms, I think I like "monkey Luddites" the best, referring to the people who are against Darwini's fabricated creatures on principle, because it combines the historical anti-technology movement with the word "monkey," a term that makes everything more amusing. (Of course, being from the US, I'm used to having to defend Darwin from neo-Luddites as well.)
M: With Alek finding out about Deryn's true identity, how did that change your writing of her character? What things could you do/show now that you had to hold back on before?
S: Hiding the fact that she was a girl meant that Deryn could hide a lot of her own feelings as well. But once she doesn't have being a boy to hide behind, she has to face the way she feels about Alek. So in a funny way, Deryn was more comfortable pretending to be someone else than facing what she really wants. Any time you get to take character out of her comfort zone, it's a wonderful challenge.
M: Now that the series has come to an end, what character will you miss the most being inside your head?
S: Probably Deryn. She has such a joyful and practical approach to everything. She's very no-nonsense, and doesn't spend a lot of time in her own head. After writing Alek's rather brooding point of view, I was always glad to get back to her. Plus, I love writing in Scottish.
Thanks Scott, I really enjoyed this series and am sad to see it end.
Thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada, one lucky reader can win a copy of Goliath! To enter, be a blog follower, leave a comment , then enter the form below. For your viewing pleasure, I'll leave you with the awesomeness of Leviathan: