With her latest novel, Blood of Dragons (Canada, USA, Europe), hitting the shelves in a few short weeks, Robin Hobb has been interviewed by the British Fantasy Society.
Here's a teaser:
Are there any of your characters you feel particularly connected to or any whose story was particularly challenging to tell?
I love all my characters, villains included. I think a writer has to love his characters in order to spend so much time in their company. And when it comes to villains, when a writer puts on the villain’s skin and point of view, the writer has to make a commitment to really see things from that perspective. So I enjoyed writing Kennit, and I think I understood Regal as much as I did Fitz or Burrich. All writers, I believe, put a great deal of themselves into their characters. We can’t help it. Half the time, we don’t even know we are doing it. So the connection is bound to be there, with every single character.
Readers have accused me of being horribly cruel to my characters and asked if I enjoyed tormenting them. I don’t really enjoy writing about someone suffering, or the death of a beloved character or terrible losses. But they are an important part of the story. As Tolkien said, “Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”
It does challenge me to write that gruesome and palpitating bits. But without them, well, the story becomes a pony ride in the May sunshine, and is soon told.