The folks at sffworld.com have recently interviewed Guy Gavriel Kay. Here's a teaser:
The artist always plays an integral role within your novels. What is it about an artist that moves you to write about them?
Artists of one sort or another are the great interrogators of a culture. They, almost by definition, are examining and observing their own time. They can (and should?) position themselves at an angle to power, to great events. In other, more specific ways, they ‘fit’ some settings I’ve explored. In Tigana, for example (and Arbonne, actually) I have a society where mobility was relatively limited, and it was musicians who had the license to travel, and that plays a role in both plots. Lions of Al-Rassan is, in good part, about the demise of an extraordinary culture, and the art of that culture is a key, so it made sense to have a poet there, just as it did in Under Heaven – in the Tang Dynasty skill in poetry was just about required if you wanted to rise in court ranks!
Follow this link to read the full Q&A.