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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Interesting themes, interesting people

“I want readers turning pages until three o'clock in the morning. I want the themes of books to stick around for a reader. I'm always trying to find a way to balance characters and theme.” – Guy Gavriel Kay

Born in Canada on this date in 1954, Kay has had a knack for creating “page turner” books over several decades. He cut his teeth on fantasy writing by traveling to Oxford to assist Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R. Tolkien, with editing J.R.R.’s unpublished work The Silmarillion.  With that experience as inspiration he began his own career with The Summer Tree. 

Many of Kay’s novels are set in fictional realms that resemble real places during real historical periods, such as Constantinople during the reign of Justinian I, or Spain during the time of El Cid.  His current bestseller, Children of Earth and Sky, is in the Balkans, Italy and Turkey in the 15th Century.      Kay’s 13 best-selling novels have been translated into some 30 languages, with settings and lead characters from almost every era.

He’s won multiple awards, including The World Fantasy Award for Ysabel, set in modern day France while also putting his teenage lead into direct contact with characters from both the distant past and a “parallel” world to ours.   “I have always argued,” he said, “(that) in a good novel, interesting things happen to interesting people, no matter who they are or where they are from.”

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