Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

Reading the text (author interviews)

“Being such a noob had its advantages in enabling me to see things that other players take for granted, and to have those poignant moments when the unconscious responds powerfully to an experience.” – Bonnie Nardi

I’ve been somewhat surprised to see the number of aspiring writers in our ranks. And when trying to think of a way to offer content that would not only be interesting but also inspiring, I hit upon the idea of showcasing brief author interviews. Initially I was hoping to approach it completely from an MMO standpoint, but as I’ve already found to be true, many of the authors I’ve queried haven’t ventured online. That’s not to say they haven’t gamed though. I hope you will enjoy these interviews and that I can bring you them on a somewhat regular basis.

Bringing books to readers is what I do for a living. I guess you could say reader’s advisory is in my blood. So exposing gamers to books or at least gamers to authors really isn’t much of a stretch for me.

*  *  *

–Interview with A. R. Rotruck, author of How to Trap a Zombie, Track a Vampire and Other Hands-on Activities for Monster Hunters. I got the chance to ask her some questions about her writing and gaming experiences, what’s she’s up to now, and what she enjoys doing these days.  (4/6/11)

–Interview with poet and first-time novelist Patrick Doud, author of The Hunt for the Eye of Ogin. In this interview we discuss some of Patrick’s writing, reading and gaming experiences and find out just how ancient he is (which unfortunately isn’t as ancient as me).   (1/14/11)

–Interview with romance writer Katie MacAlister who discusses her writing, her background in gaming, what it is she likes about WoW and why it is she continues to play to this day.  (12/9/10)

–Interview with Bonnie Nardi, an anthropologist and college professor who discusses her book, My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft.   (9/10/10)

–Interview with game designer Anthony Huso, who talks about his first novel, The Last Page, his career in the video game industry, and reminisces on his life gaming.   (8/26/10)

–Interview with Ryan Van Cleave, an accomplished poet, editor, freelance writer, and creative writing instructor who discusses his  memoir Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction, why he wrote the book, his own experience with game addiction, and what he sees as healthy and unhealthy gaming habits.   (3/24/10)

–Interview with Janice Hardy, a fantasy writer and author of the novels The Shifter and Blue Fire. She also happens to be a rather enthusiastic gamer whose credentials would put most gamers to shame. In this interview she talks about her writing, her gaming, how she balances the two, and recounts a most excellent story from her days in EverQuest.  (3/11/10)

–Interview with Nicola Whitton who discusses her book Learning with Digital Games, talks a little bit about her own experience with video games, and why her current favorite game happens to be peek-a-boo.  (3/10/10)

–Interview with philosophers Jon Cogburn and Mark Silcox who discuss their book Philosophy Through Video Games, their gaming backgrounds, and talk about their latest project involving Dungeons & Dragons, while refuting video game naysayers and tackling a rather serious hypothetical question along the way.  (3/3/10)

–Interview with video game theorist Jesper Juul who talks about his book, A Casual Revolution, why he thinks casual games are saving video games from cultural ghettoization and why he thinks this is happens to be an exciting time to be a video game player.  (2/25/10)

–Interview with David Louis Edelman who talks about the Jump 225 series, what he finds pleasurable and not so pleasurable about writing, and discusses his gaming background where he boasts—rather unrealistically– about his skill at playing Yars’ Revenge.  (2/22/10)

–Interview with Kevin J. Anderson who he talks about his latest writing project, Terra Incognita, a nautical fantasy trilogy involving sailing ships and sea monsters and how one of his early fantasy series was directly influenced by his days of playing Dungeons & Dragons.  (2/16/10)

–Interview with Luke Cuddy, co-editor of the book World of Warcraft and Philosophy, who answers some hard-hitting questions the book, talks about how he plays WoW and what the rest of his gaming background has been like. (2/8/10)

–Interview with N(ora). K. Jemisin who talks about her first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, how she got it published, what she particularly enjoys about writing, and of course her gaming background. (1/02/10)

–Interview with J. Patrick Williams who talks about his experience working on the book, Gaming As Culture, the challenges an ethnographer faces when doing video game research, his personal views on video games as well as his own background in gaming.   (1/15/10)

–Interview with Jeff Howard who discusses his book Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives, his personal gaming background, what he thinks about the current quest system in MMOs and what current game has renewed his faith in online games.   (1/8/10)

–Interview with Greg Keyes who recently published the first of two books set in The Elder Scrolls universe. He talks about The Infernal City, how he came to write it and what the experience was like writing a book set in the world of a video game.  (12/2/09)

–Interview with Rusel DeMaria who talks about his book Reset: Changing the Way We Look at Video Games and delves a bit into his own gaming past and shares some of his optimism for the future of video games.   (11/24/09)

–Interview with James Barclay who talks about his gaming background, what his long road to publication was like, offers some helpful advice to the would-be-writer, and recounts his adventures playing Boot Hill with a gang of incompetent outlaws.   (11/19/09)

–Interview with David Farland who discusses the premise of his epic fantasy series The Runelords, his own gaming background as well as his experience working in the game industry including his involvement with the StarCraft expansion Brood War.   (11/16/09)

–Interview with Alan DeNiro who talks about his first novel, Total Oblivon, More or Less, writing interactive fiction, and gets into his own gaming background as well as offering some tips for the would-be-writers out there.  (11/13/09)

–Interview with Robin Hobb who discusses her new two-part book, The Rain Wilds Chronicles, recounts, rather fondly, her memories of second-hand gaming, what being a writing mother has been like, and how she unwinds these days by battling a few acres of farm land while dual-wielding a machete and weed burner.   (11/03/09)

–Interview with Katharine Kerr who disusses what it felt like finishing the final volume in her Deverry series, what current writing projects she’s working on, and about a particularly fatal gift a friend gave to her back in 1979.  (10/30/09)

–Interview with Rob Rogers, author of the superhero novel Devil’s Cape. He talks about this first novel and how he managed to get it published, what he is currently working on, as well as his impressive RPG background.  (10/26/09)

–Interview with T. L. Taylor, associate professor in the Center for Computer Games Research at the IT University of Copenhagen, who discusses her book Play Between Worlds, the current research she is conducting for a forthcoming book about professional computer gaming, and gets into her own gaming background and why she is particularly drawn to MMOs.  (10/22/09)

–Interview with science fiction/fantasy author Kate Elliott who talks about her Crossroads series and her gaming background. Other highlights include her closet X-Men comic book reading habits, her experience being a model for pen-and-paper RPG cover art, and how a sword fight led to marriage.  (10/16/09)

–Interview with Frank Beddor, a world champion freestyle skier, film producer, actor, stuntman and author. He talks about his Looking Glass Wars trilogy which tells the real story of Alice in Wonderland and sheds some light on the new free to play MMO card game, Card Soldier Wars, based on his books.  (10/12/09)

–Interview with Adam Biessener, Associate Editor at Game Informer, who talks about what working for the magazine is like and what advice he has for would-be video game journalists.  (10/8/09)

–Interview with retrogamer and game systems collector Bill Luguidice who talks about the two books he’s co-written, Vintage Games and Wii Fitness for Dummies, his own gaming background, and a little bit about videogame history.   (10/7/09)

–Interview with Brad King, co-author of Dungeons and Dreamers: the Rise of Computer Game Culture: From Geek to Chic, who talks about the book, plans for a 2nd edition, and what advice he has for our future storytellers.  (10/6/09)

–Interview with fantasy author James Enge who talks about his first Morlock Ambrosius novel, Blood of Ambrose, what it’s like being a classical language instructor moonlighting as a fantasy writer, and how he manages to escape these days. (10/2/09)

–Interview with Matt Barton, author of Dungeons & Desktops and Vintage Games who talks about his various projects including running a retrogaming website, his Matt Chat YouTube videos and working on a documentary based on one of his books.  (10/1/09)

–Interview with science fiction author Brenda Cooper who discusses her Silver Ship series, what grinds are involved in writing, what her escapes are, and her new website, The Academy of New World Historians.   (9/25/09)

–Interview with Grant Tavinor, a Lecturer in Philosophy at Lincoln University, New Zealand and the author of The Art of Videogames.  Grant discusses his video game background, why he decided to write this book and the research that was involved.  (9/24/09)

–Interview with Stephen Dedman, author of The Art of Arrow Cutting, who talks about getting published, writing novels and RPGs, and what advice he has for aspring writers out there.  (9/18/09)

–Interview with game designer and author Greg Costikyan who discusses his background in the game industry, his current projects and why he thinks independent game development is where all the innovation is taking place. (9/17/09)

–Interview with author Kristine Kathryn Rusch who talks about her strange road to getting published, her Retrieval Artist series and her fond memories of playing D&D, where being a good DM, she was able to make Kevin J. Anderson’s life as challenging as possible.  (9/16/09)

–Interview with Joel Shepherd who discusses his Cassandra Kresnov science fiction series, the wonderful and frustrating road to becoming a published author, and his unabashed admiration for BattleTech.   (9/14/09)

–Interview with Neils Clark who discusses his book with the noncontroversial title Game Addiction(9/10/09)

–Interview with Taylor Anderson who discusses his alternate history series Destroyermen, what kinds of research goes into writing these books, his advice to aspiring writers, and what he remembers fondly about his historical reenactment days.  (9/8/09)

–Interview with Daryl Gregory who talks about his novel Pandemonium, what it was like getting published, and how proud he is to have children following in their father’s gaming footsteps.  (9/03/09)

–Interview with Stephan Grundy who discusses his first novel Rhinegold, his indebtedness as a writer to gaming, his ongoing 12 year involvement with a mutant version of MERP, and what a painfully slow reader he happens to be.  (9/02/09)

–Interview with Ethan Gilsdorf, author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks, who discusses what kinds of research went into writing his book and how he managed to reconnecting with his inner geek and reintegrate gaming back into his life after a 20 year hiatus.  (8/24/09)

–Interview with Alex Bledsoe, author of The Sword-Edged Blonde–inspired in part by a crush he had on his high school teacher–who talks about his gaming experience and what life was like growing up a science fiction and fantasy buff in a small town in Tennessee.  (8/17/09)

–Interview with Richard Lee Byers who talks about his latest Forgotten Realms series The Haunted Land, how he tends to escape these days, and what he finds appealing about writing shared world fiction.  (8/14/09)

–Interview with S. A. Swann who discusses his new historical dark fantasy novel Wolfbreed, his RPG background and what life is like being a writer with a day job.  (8/13/09)

–Interview with accomplished graphic artist and author Wayne Barlowe who talks about his first novel God’s Demon, the difficulties of writing this novel, his impressive gaming background, and some advice he would like to share with the aspiring writer.  (8/11/09)

–Interview with Mark Chadbourn, author of the Age of Misrule trilogy, who talks about this fantasy series as well as his interests in magic, British folklore and the dangers of doing research for his writing–including being shot at and locked away by gangsters.  (8/07/09)

–Interview with David Anthony Durham who talks about his Acacia trilogy, his embarrassment at being a writer of fantasy with meager gaming credentials, what he really enjoys about being an author and the inevitable grind involved.  (8/05/09)

–Interview with ex-LARPer Cherie Priest who talks about her novel Fathom, her gaming preferences, and her practical approach to dealing with the grind involved in writing.   (8/3/09)

–Interview with Jane Lindskold who talks about her novel Thirteen Orphans, her background in role playing games and how they’ve become an important part of her life as well as giving some useful tips to gamers who would like to become writers.  (7/31/09)

–Interview with author Caitlín R. Kiernan who talks about her new book, The Red Tree, her online gaming experiences with Second Life and World of Warcraft, and offers up some no-nonsense advice to would-be writers.   (7/29/09)

–Interview with Maria V. Snyder who talks about her latest release, Storm Glass, what it’s like to be a mother in a World of Warcraft family, and the pleasures and pains of being a writer.  (7/27/09)

–Interview with comic book writer and novelist Matthew Sturges who talks about his first novel Midwinter, his love of writing and the comic book genre, and why he decided to quit playing World of Warcraft for good.  (7/24/09)

–Interview with S. G. Browne who talks about his first novel Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament, what research went into writing the book, and attempts to answer the age old question, “If two undead become intimate does this constitute necrophilia?”   (7/22/09)

–Interview with prolific author Victor Milánwho discusses his involvement with the Wild Cards series, how he got his start in the publishing business by writing naughty books, and his extensive background in pen-and-paper RPGs.  (7/20/09)

–Interview with fantasy author Thomas M. Reid who talks about his latest book The Crystal Mountain and discusses his extensive gaming background that has turned into a profession as well as the pros and cons of writing shared world fiction.   (7/17/09)

–Interview with Melinda Snodgrass who talks about her most recent novel The Edge of Reason, her enjoyment of tabletop roleplaying with fellow writers George R.R. Martin, Walter Jon Williams, Victor Milán and Daniel Abraham and how she’s somehow managed to resist the allure of online gaming up to this point.   (7/15/09)

–Interview with science fiction author Sandra McDonald who discusses her latest book The Stars Blue Yonder, her gaming background, and what she finds particularly enjoyable about writing.  (7/13/09)

–Interview with author Daniel Abraham who discusses his latest book The Price of Spring, the final volume in his Long Price Quartet, and talks all about his extensive gaming background. A former member of the Knights of the Cafeteria Table, Daniel still finds time to game and expresses his indebtedness to tabletop RPGs for helping hone his writing skills.  (7/8/09)

–Interview with author and game designer Thomas Harlan who discusses his latest book in his Sixth Sun series, House of the Dead, his extensive gaming background, and his novel tie-in to Vanguard that was never to see the light of print.  (7/2/09)

–Interview with author Dena K. Salmon who discusses Discordia: The Eleventh Dimension, a young adult novel about online gaming. The author also talks about the research that went into writing the book and her own ineptitude at gaming. Lucky for her she happens to be surrounded by highly skilled gamers at home.  (6/29/09)

–Interview with fantasy author Sharon Shinn who talks about her latest book Fortune and Fate, the difficulty she experienced in getting published, as well as what things she particularly enjoys about being an author.  (6/26/09)

–Interview with fantasy author Laura Resnick who happens to be a non-gamer but found herself with the contract for Wizards of the Coast’s latest Magic: the Gathering novel, The Purifying Fire. She talks about the daunting task of learning about the huge, complex game as she wrote the book.  (6/24/09)

–Interview with science fiction writer Sean McMullen who discusses his post-apocalyptic Greatwinter series, his varied interests including medieval chivalry and leading edge hard science, and how playing a certain video game helped in doing research for one of his stories.  (6/17/09)

–Interview with science fiction author Tobias Buckell who discusses his latest book Sly Mongoose, his literary influences, and how playing Halo had a big impact on his writing career. Did you hear that mom?  (6/12/09)

–Interview with Marc Laidlaw, author turned game writer who discusses his involvement with the Half-Life series, his transition into game writing, his gaming background and his particular fondness for H. P. Lovecraft.  (6/10/09)

–Interview with astronomer/author Mike Brotherton who talks about his latest book Spider Starand gets into his gaming background, including his stint in Asheron’s Call, along with plenty of RPGs and console gaming to round things out.  (6/8/09)

–Interview with science fiction writer Karl Schroederwho discusses his latest Virga novel The Sunless Countries, his background in RPGs, and why online worlds hold little attraction to him.  (6/4/09)

– Interview with Australian writer Kim Wilkinswho disccusses her fantasy novel The Veil of Goldas well as her fondness for World of Warcraft.  In fact she’s writing an acedemic paper on the reimagined agency and power of the medieval woman in WoW.  (6/3/09)

–Interview with science fiction author David Marusek who discusses his latest book, Mind Over Ship, his brief exposure to electronic gaming, and the grind involved in being a published author.  (6/1/09)

–Interview with Camille Alexa who discusses Push of the Sky her first book of short stories and her impressive gaming background, including living with a game enthusiast boyfriend.   (5/25/09)

–Interview with Mark L. Van Name as he discusses his third Jon Moore novel, Overthrowing Heaven, and talks a bit about his gaming background. He also mentions how much he would enjoy seeing a game developed from one of his novels. (5/20/09)

–Interview with Sarah Monette who discusses her latest book, Corambis, shares a little bit about her gaming background, and injures her brain while answering a question about making her books into an MMO.  (5/18/09)

– Interview with Alan Campbell, a former game developer turned author, who discusses God of Clocksthe latest book in his Deepgate Codex series and reminisces rather un-nostalgically about his gaming days. (5/12/09)

–Interview with Tim Lebbonwhere he talks about his latest Noreela novel, Fallen, and what horror and fantasy writers have influenced his work. (5/9/09)

– Interview with British author Brian Ruckley whose latest book, Fall of Thanes, is the concluding volume in The Godless World trilogy. Also discussed are his gaming background, the grind involved in writing, and his conscious decision not to play MMOs due to their time sink potential.  (5/7/09)

– Interview with Peter V. Brett where he talks about his first published novel, The Warded Man, and how his days of DMing and being steeped in “nerdom” proved to be a most fertile source for his future writing career.  (5/5/09)

– Interview withKen Scholes where he discusses his first novel Lamentation, a science fiction-fantasy hybrid set in a distant post-apocalyptic future, and also talks about his gaming background.  (4/28/09)

– Interview with British author Tom Lloyd whose books in the Twilight Reign quintet so far include The Stormcaller, The Twilight Herald and The Grave Thief. He gives credit to Games Workshop for having a big influence on his writing.  (4/24/09)

twilight-herald-coverLamentation coverwarded-man-coverwinterbirth-coverfallen coverscar night covermelusineoverthrowing heaven coverpush of the sky coverMind over ship coverVeil of gold coverSunless countriesspider starHalf-life 2 coversly mongoose coversouls in the great machinepurifying firefortune and fatediscordialand of the deadshadow in summeroutback starsedge of reasoncrystal mountainrending of falconsbreathersmidwinterstorm glassred treethirteen orphansfathomwar with the meinworld's endgod's demonwolfbreeduncleansword-edged blondefantasy freaks and gaming geeksrhinegoldpandemoniuminto the stormgame addictioncrossoverduplicate effortfirst contractart of arrow cuttingart of videogamessilver ship and the seadungeons & desktopsblood of ambrosedungeons and dreamersvintage gamesgame informerarch enemyspirit gate3play between worldsbread and buttersilver magedragon keeper2total oblivion, more or lessrunelords

2 Responses to “Reading the text (author interviews)”

  1. [...] hosts a series of interviews on his Gaming site, Grinding to Valhalla.   He calls this series Reading the Text, and has interviewed writers like Sarah Monette, Ken Scholes, and Alan Campbell.  I’m very [...]

  2. [...] Gaming oriented website, Grinding to Valhalla, interviewing science fiction and fantasy authors. I’m in the queue for sometime in the near future.  Some good writers there on the list. [...]

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