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Interviewing @Mark__Lawrence , author of The Girl and the Stars

By 06/05/2020May 8th, 2020blogging, Featured, guest post
Mark Lawrence fantasy

Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my pleasure today to welcome award-winning fantasy author Mark Lawrence, author of the acclaimed trilogies, The Broken Empire, The Liar’s Keyand and The Wheel of Osheim, among others. He’s here to talk about the writing life and his latest, The Girl and the Stars, recently published by Harper Collins.

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1. For those who would like to write fantasy, what would be your advice as a veteran writer on engaging readers in the world of the story?

I’d forget about the readers and write something that entertains you.

2. What makes a character real and interesting?

I write characters that interest me. The questions that surround them might relate directly to their internal struggles or those of the world around them or both. I don’t think there’s any formula to follow. The ‘reality’ of a character is a very big question without easy answers. It’s not even the same as whether they’re relatable or not. It’s more to do with achieving a level of internal consistency without making them too predictable.

3. What writing advice would you give to someone outlining their novel?
Only do it if you want to. I don’t outline my books.

4. When writing a series, in what ways do you ensure that the reader is satisfied at the end of end of one book and looks forward to the next?

I ensure that I’m satisfied and that I look forward to the next. That entails a mix of closure and of open questions.

5. What is the world and setting of your new series Book of the Ice like?

What is says on the tin: it’s all ice, miles thick. It’s a world with a dying sun. The ice has covered over various layers of older civilisations and humanity have been reduced to a very basic existence on the edge of extinction.

6. What is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Girl and the Stars and the Book of the Ice series?

The story is set on Abeth, the same world that The Book of the Ancestor trilogy, starting with Red Sister, is set on. You don’t need to read that trilogy before The Girl and the Stars but if you like TGATS then you might well want to give Red Sister a try while waiting for the next book.

Also, as has been the case with my four other trilogies, all the books have been written before the first one comes out, so you’ll get them a year apart, no delays.

7. Tell us about your current project.

I don’t really have a current project. I have two or three days left going through the publisher’s edit on book 2 of my current trilogy. Then I’ll wait for their edit on book 3 and look at that. While I’m waiting I’ll decide what to do next and that will be my current project. But I have zero clue what it will be. I’ll just stare at a wall and hope a good idea pops up. There may be a few false starts before I settle on something – or I may even go back to an earlier “false start” and poke it a bit.

8. Where did the idea come from for the Book of the Ice series?

Well, the idea for the setting was already given in the previous trilogy The Book of the Ancestor. Abeth is a world almost entirely covered in ice. And the ice has covered over at least two main periods of civilisation. So setting a story out on the ice wasn’t a great leap of imagination.

The real idea, the question addressed rather than the setting or plot, is about how society treats those it considers its weakest members, its burdens. And what makes that a difficult question rather than a no-brainer that should be answered ‘be kind’ and often isn’t because … well … people, is that the ice provides such extreme hardship that there’s almost no room for compassion.


Mark Lawrence was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. His first trilogy, The Broken Empire, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy, and both The Liar’s Keyand The Wheel of Osheim have won the Gemmell Legend award for best fantasy novel. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol

Have your read fantasy author Mark Lawrence? Do you have questions about his latest series? What are your favourite fantasy reads?

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Book Promotion D B CarterThis post was written for IWSG: Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for organizing and hosting the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) every month!

Go to the site to see the other participants. In this group we writers share tips, self-doubt, insecurities, and of course, discuss the act of writing. If you’re a writer and a blogger, go join rightaway! The awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

 IWSG question: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

Personally, I have no rituals. I write when I have to, and I write better when I have deadlines. The only real trick for me if I can’t get into a world is to write a page or two by hand, and then type it up. Something about the organic nature of writing by hand seems to loosen things up.

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Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is making its way into the world.

It is available in India here.

Worldwide, here.

Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.


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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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9 Comments

  • jlennidorner says:

    I’m terrible with deadlines when it comes to creative projects. The moment I *have* to instead of *get* to, the flow dies for me.

    Don’t outline if you don’t want to — that’s a good tip from your guest. (Paraphrasing.)

  • I enjoy Mark’s books immensely and this interview was telling about his approach to stories. The common wisdom is to write for an audience, but I think sometimes that might sacrifice writing the story that’s inside us and needs to be told. Gut instinct is important. I appreciate that he completes his series in a timely manner. There is nothing worse than waiting years and years for a next book. It’s disrespectful of the readers (in my opinion). Great interview, Damyanti.

  • Kalpana says:

    Thank you for drawing my attention to the works of this talented writer. I like what he has to say about the process of writing and will definitely check out his books and try and download one on the kindle.

  • Interesting interview! I especially like Mark’s responses about creating stories that interest HIM and characters that HE finds interesting. Too many writers try to appeal to a target audience by writing to please THEM. I’ve always thought it best for a writer to write the kind of writing (s)he’d want to read, so kinda the same concept. (“You can’t please everyone, so you’ve gotta please yourself…”)

  • Rebecca Douglass says:

    Deadlines. Yes, those are helpful! I do try to create them since I don’t really have many, and sometimes it works! That’s why I post regular updates on my blog–it at least creates the illusion that someone is watching and holding me accountable 🙂

  • Living on an ice planet with a dying sun would indeed be a rough existence.

  • JT Twissel says:

    I can’t imagine outlining a story! My characters would revolt.

  • Jemi Fraser says:

    Good interview and good advice. If we’re bored, so are our readers – I’ve used that phrase as a teacher many times!

  • soniadogra says:

    Thank you for featuring Mark Lawrence Damyanti. Only do it if you want to do. Great advice.

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