Wednesday, September 14, 2011

An Interview With Scott Westerfeld, The End Of The Leviathan Trilogy and a Giveaway

Leviathan was the first steampunk book so it will always have a special place in my heart.  I'm not a huge fantasy reader but did enjoy reading this series. I loved the alternate universe, and with the added pictures, I was in awe at how cool the machines were...they blew my mind. The fact that Deryn was a kick butt character,  may have also have won me over ;) I had a chance to ask Scott a few question, enjoy!

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.

M: When creating your own world, you also have the pleasure of making up new words & using different slang. I loved Deryn's use of barking, what was your favorite and how did they come about?

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.

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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:



40 comments:

  1. Oh wonderful interview! I've not started this series yet, but have it on the list. I do have a friends son who is LOVING these books and can't wait for Goliath to come out. :) He has been devouring them, and did let me know I could borrow his books anytime. ;D Nice kid. Thank you! And best of luck to Scott.

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  2. Awesome interview. I neeeeed to read this series. I loved his Uglies series.

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  3. Mel ~ YAY and I do love that it appeals to boys, hoping mine will read them in a few years! And yes, what a sweetie to share them :D

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  4. Juju ~ Thanks and I really neeeed to read his Uglies series LOL

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  5. I think the illustrations in the book are a nice touch. I love to see what everything should look like.

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  6. Wow great interview! The series looks awesome! Can't wait to read it

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  7. I absolutely adore these books! And Deryn is such a fabulous character, I always really enjoyed reading her perspective.

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  8. I've heard so much about these books, but have yet to read any. Thanks for the great interview!

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  9. Can't wait to read this. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  10. That was a wonderful interview, Mel. I'm a big fan of Scott's world building.

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  11. Jessy ~ Yes, not that the book descriptions aren't good enough, but acutally SEEING it, wow!

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  12. Wendy ~ Aww thanks! and yes, his world building is fabulous - and I normally get annoyed by books full of it!

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  13. Great interview, I have been looking forward to reading this series for a while.

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  14. I listened to the first two books on CD and I really, really want to get my hands on a copy of the last one in the series! Thanks for giving me a chance to win a copy :)

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  15. SO AWESOME! I have Leviathan and Behemoth, been waiting for Goliath!!! :)

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  16. Thanks so much for this giveaway!

    -Michelle A

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  17. Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read these books. They sound very good. Tore923@aol.com

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  18. This sounds like a great book! I'd love to check it out. Thanks for the giveaway! I'm a new gfc follower.
    misusedinnocence@aol.com

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  19. I definitely need to catch up on this series. Fantastic interview!

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  20. I'm so sad its Canada only entries! But hey - I'm always excited when a series comes to an end! That means closure - endings are a good thing people!

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  21. I really need to give this series a shot if you loved it so much!! =D

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  22. I haven't yet jumped into the steampunk genre, but I keep hearing how great this trilogy is! It's definitely on my TBR list!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  23. I'm just started Goliath this morning and I'll get to meet Scott Westerfeld next month when he's here for a signing so I'm way excited.

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  24. I would love to read this and I follow on gfc.

    misusedinnocence@aol.com

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  25. Great interview! It hurts me that this is ending, but it has been an epic ride with this series. Can't wait to see what he's got on his plate next.

    Nikki @ Books Most Wanted

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  26. I LOVE this series so much, and thought Goliath was great. Nice interview, by the way! Thank you for asking about how Scott Westerfeld worked with Deryn's personality in this book. It's a new, original question. :)

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  27. Great interview! I especially like Scott's answer for Deryn's change after she is outed.

    I CAN'T WAIT!!!! I also love the artwork on the endpapers of the first two and I can't wait to see the artwork for "GOLIATH"!

    cories119 [at] gmail [dot] com

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  28. I'd love to win! I got LEVIATHAN from the library once, but never finished it for some reason. I think it was just the timing that I got it. Had to return it before I finished and never bothered to get it again because it was almost impossible to get at the library with all the holds and what not. Can't wait to delve deeper into the series.

    - Megan
    meganconwy@gmail.com

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  29. Great interview!
    This book looks so good! You had me at steampunk.

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  30. What a great interview! I'm a little jealous you got to do that.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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  31. I love this series and am so jealous that you got to interview him. Also, thanks for the giveaway!

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  32. I'm loving Westerfield and his wife's work more and more. Zombies vs. Unicorns and Steampunk? I'm in heaven. I'm a high school librarian, and my students are salivating for this book.

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  33. I loved the interview and I really think I would also love the book! Thanks!

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