In anticipation of the release of his new novel, Neverwinter, on this Tuesday, October 4, R.A. Salvatore sits down with Unwinnable’s own George Collazo and talks about his new book, his craft and future projects.
For your enjoyment, Part 1 of 3:
For your enjoyment, Part 1 of 3:
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Unwinnable: So tell me a little bit about your new book, Neverwinter.
R.A. Salvatore: Well, it is picking up after Gauntlgrym, which came out last year. You know that all of the Drizzt books go in a straight line. We are at the point where after the previous series and the last book, we have made a big change philosophically with the people that surround the dark elf.
For most of his life, he has had people around him of like moral character, people who would take an arrow for him like he would take one for them. Now all of the sudden, due to circumstance and a bit of recklessness and anger and the dangerous world around him, Drizzt is finding himself surrounded by people who are not of like moral character and so the question becomes philosophically, “Will they pull him down to their level or will he lift them up to his?” I don’t know the answer to that yet, which makes it more fun for me as I go.
Unwinnable: I generally think that great fantasy writers really examine the world around them and explain what they see as metaphor in their books. Do you think the current state of the world has led to the darker tone in Neverwinter?
R.A.: That could be true. I remember when I was writing The Cleric Quintet, the first book way back in 1991, I had the TV and CNN on and we were in the first Gulf War. I remember when I went back through the book I had to take the phrase “hunkered down” out of the book like fifty times. Obviously, what is going on in the world around me is always in my writing. I see my writing – it is not really what I do, it’s more of who I am. So yeah, you are always gonna have that; the real world creeps in and you can’t help it.
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Unwinnable: There is a great scene in the beginning of the book that takes place on a farm. Even though Drizzt has this amazing skill set, he can’t really solve every problem in the world, because the world is so much more complex now where politics and finance really do play a bigger role.
R.A.: Yeah, that was a really important set of scenes for me, because at what point are the highwaymen out on the road justified in their actions? I mean, in Drizzt’s black and white view of things, if he reverts to that, they are thieves and they should be stopped. But if they are thieves and their choices are to steal and survive or to die, it’s Les Misérables.
[pullquote]You do a lot of things by accident and people accuse you of brilliance[/pullquote]
It is that age-old question with shades of gray: At what point is it not looting or stealing but merely justified survival? That is an important question now when you have millions of people walking away from their homes or just not paying their mortgage anymore. So these are questions that we are dealing with in the world today with this global economic trial we’re going through.
Unwinnable: It is interesting; it’s life and death over a watermelon.
R.A.: Yeah, it was life and death over this little garden at the farm.