A Conversation with Raymond Feist about his new book, 'Faerie Tale' by Grafton Books
(Now Harper Collins Publishers, Reproduced with their permission)
Q. In Faerie Tale, your fifth novel, you've moved beyond the borders of epic fantasy into the realm of terror and suspense fiction. What led you to this decision
A. I wanted to stretch myself as a writer. The serial fantasy genre didn't allow me to address aspects of contemporary humanity that I explored in FAERIE TALE - sexuality, fear, the day to day considerations of relationships. I wanted to develop the emotional content of the novel. Several scenes were particularly tough to write - like Gabbie's scene in the barn. The sheer sexual energy of her attacker is the essence of his power over Gabbie, the ability he has to reach in and take her soul. He is the adolescent girl's nightmare. But I couldn't reveal the full force of the horror of that scene without founding it on a full picture of Gabbie - her hopes, her aspirations, her fears.
Q. Why do you think readers are so avid to read terror and suspense fiction
A. People enjoy reading that kind of fiction because it makes them feel safe from the world outside. There are a lot of scary things going on in the world, but in fiction, the terrors are far worse than what the reader might expect to experience. And besides, people enjoy being terrified - deliciously terrified. So, as a storyteller, that's one of my goals.
Q. What inspired you to write FAERIE TALE
A. I was intrigued to explore the fact that human beings have been around for anywhere between 400,000 to 1 million years - and yet civilisation has existed for a mere 7 or 8,000 years. Who or what existed before civilisation The notion of older, dominant races, such as the faeries in FAERIE TALE came from this question.
I was also intrigued by civilisations that entered into sharp declines, like ancient Egypt. After a high-tech period when they were practising brain surgery and making glass, the ancient Egyptians lost their arts and became a more superstitious culture. FAERIE TALE explores the idea of cultural forgetfulness and superstition.
Q. The children in FAERIE TALE have an understanding of the faeries that the adults never achieve. Do you believe that children have a special understanding of the --------(words missing)
A. Absolutely. And what helped me to reveal the children's perspective were a series of reunions I attended over the past few years. At those reunions, I was able to meet people from my past and see them not just through my eyes today, but also through the eyes of my childhood - like a double vision, and those memories triggered other memories, and so on. But despite their special view of the world, kids can't articulate their fears very well. So adults often don't realise how truly terrified kids can be. Sean and Patrick discover 'The Bad Thing' early on in FAERIE TALE, but they are unable to express their fears and instead, confront 'The Bad Thing' by themselves.
Q. What is ' The Bad Thing' Where did it come from
A. 'The Bad Thing' is our worst nightmare. It is a strange creature so powerful and evil and offensive that it seems impossible to control. But 'The Bad Thing' is also a challenge - it represents the fears that Sean and Patrick must overcome. In their conquering of 'The Bad Thing', the children emerge as the true heroes of FAERIE TALE.
This reproduction of the Grafton Books interview is copyright 1999 by John Bunting.
The Interview is the copyright of Harper Collins, and is reproduced with their kind permission.