Canadian Sci-Fi Author partners with Barbadian Publisher

I N T E R V I E W E R’ S N O T E:
Just a few Xmases ago, I had gotten a fantasy book which has a rather bold title of “Maps: Dead Magicians Club, Pt. 1” and is really quite unusual.

It has a Brit-like Minotaur called Bob who’s rather snobby, plus Garadun; a young-ish Sorceror who seems to weave between his Tolkien-esque world and ours.

The author is G. D. Morrow from Montreal, you can find his book on “The Independent Press” (a Barbadian owned operation from Robert Sandiford) and you can order it from “Amazon” as well…

I mean the guy quotes Sting and Calvin & Hobbes, so to me he is the ultimate in cool! His characters are rather free-spirited, for those terrified of sex – this ain’t 4 U – but 4 those who are unabashed then there is an Elven Lady who starts a supposedly uncommitted
relationship with a Human Courtesan-turned-Adventuress!

Every fanboy’s dream, eh? But the details are not that graphic, the sex is offside to add dimension to the story. For me, anyhow… A bit like how the late great Jack L. Chalker handled it in his epics too.

It seems G. D. (Gordon) has been to Barbados, but his book was partially inspired by Dungeons & Dragons. The author G. D. Morrow is a cat lover – in fact when he tries to write… one of them always pop up on his lap, his bio (and book) can also be found at the Independent Press.

A C T U A L C H A T:

Ian:

Ok, how long have you been writing?

Gordon:

I’d have to say I’ve been writing for about nine years now

Ian:

That’s a lot shorter than I thought, what led you to make the plunge all the way into a book?

Gordon:

Well, about eight years back, I was out of work and had some time on my hands. I’d been thinking about writing a book for a few years at that point, so I simply said, “Right, time to do it.” And that was when I wrote the first draft of Dead Magicians Club: Maps.

Ian:

In that eight years you seem to have made up for lost time… Rimchaser Chronicles (Science Fiction), Dead Guys (Vampires/Dark Fantasy) and Dead Magicians Club (Fantasy) – based on what I saw on your home page … are there other genres or series looming?

Gordon:

Well, I’ve often thought about an Alternate World WWII series, mainly because I’m such a fan of WWII aircraft. There have also been ideas concerning different science fiction series, as well as different series that would fall into the “dark fantasy” category.

Ian:

That sounds a bit like Harry Turtledove, and I see Garadun and Cera are kind of “Eternal Champions” ? does Michael Moorcock play a part in your influences? Whether so or not, who else?

Gordon:

Funny you should mention Harry Turtledove. I was on a panel with him this past summer at the 2004 Con*Cept science fiction convention here in Montreal. Good man, great sense of humour.

As for Michael Moorcock, his “Eternal Champion” idea was what, in part, inspired my own “Eternal Buddies” theme with Garadun and Cera. But whereas his characters come back in different worlds as different people, Garadun and Cera remain much the same in each different world I create.

They always have the same names, he’s always a man, she a woman, and their friendship is always of the highest order, whether they happen to be wizards, vampires or aliens.

Ian:

Your other influences include…?

Gordon:

Man, where do I start? Like any writer of fantasy, I have to start with Tolkien, the father of modern fantasy literature. Other authors who’ve influenced me are Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, J.K. Rowling, Laurell K. Hamilton, Robert Asprin, John Varley…. and many others.

Another powerful influence in my writing are role-playing games, with the leading one being Dungeons & Dragons, along with Villains & Vigilantes, BattleTech, Palladium, and many other games. I’ve been gaming since I was thirteen, and telling stories through RPGs is, I suppose, my first ventures into writing.

Ian:

Is it easy or tough getting published?

Gordon:

I’d have to say very tough. I lucked out with my publisher, The Independent Press. Its editor/publisher is Robert Sandiford, an old and good friend of mine. After he read the manuscript for Maps, he immediately offered to publish it because he felt it could reach a wider audience than just they fantasy crowd. But otherwise it’s very difficult finding a publisher and proper distribution.

I’m looking into getting a literary agent to help get my work across the desk of big publishers such as Ace and Tor Books.

Ian:

I understand DMC – the whole series is complete, what about the others?

Gordon:

Well, to be accurate, the DMC series is not complete. To date I’ve written the first six volumes (the first of which is published) but there will be others. As with Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, I plan to write as many books as I can for DMC.

My other two current series, Dead Guys and Rimchaser Chronicles, are along the same vein. I’ve written the first four volumes of Dead Guys so far, and the first volume of Rimchaser Chronicles.

Ian:

Is it an ensemble series like Star Trek, or main characters?

Gordon:

All my series have a group of lead characters with many supporting characters, with Gar and Cera being at the centre of things. So you could say it’s always an ensemble cast. Usually about a half-dozen main leads, and then a variable number of supporting characters.

Ian:

There is a striking sonic similarity to Garadun and Gordon, any particular reason?

Gordon:

All authors project some part of their personalities into the characters they write, some more than others. For example, Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake character is obviously a counterpart to her real self. I’ve taken the process a step further.

Garadun is the old Gaelic form of Gordon, and Gar is essentially me, placed in whatever world I create, and then made to deal with whatever circumstances come up. The idea came from the Villains & Vigilantes role-playing game, where your character is a superhero, with the twist being that you create yourself with super powers.

Ian:

Does that mean there is a doppelganger to Cera?

Gordon:

No, not really. There are aspects to her personality that could be compared to that of female friends of mine, but she’s otherwise a made-up character. Although the tight friendship she and Gar share is inspired, in part, by the real friendship I have with a good buddy of mine, Paula (and before anyone asks, no, there’s no romance, just simple friendship).

Ian:

Ok, so there are plans for other DMC episodes where, say, either Chip, Treva, Bob or Red being the protagonist(s)?

Gordon:

Well, sort of. Gar & Cera are generally at the centre of things, but in the further volumes other characters have important roles. For example, in volume three, Pipes, my character Harebell, accompanied by Cera and Muridae (the latter being introduced in Volume Two), goes chasing all over the countryside after a thief.

The books tend to have one or two major plots, accompanied by additional subplots. All the characters have roles.

Ian:

No “fifth business” like what fellow Canadian, Robertson Davies, he suggested this based on the teachings of Jung and Strindburg? (Davies was the author of The Deptford Trilogy, one of the books suggested there was a hero and villain; plus heroine and villainess to carry the book but a fifth business to stabilise the plot…)

Gordon:

No, I honestly can’t say I think that deeply when writing my stories. I just come up with an overall plot, such as questing for something or a story of revenge or something, and then simply tell it. Once I have the major plot worked out, I tend to make it up as I write. I often don’t know where things are going to wind up myself until I get there.

Ian:

We know you’re a Capricorn (January 12th) and live in Montreal, were you always there? What were your early years like? Anything in particular inspired you into role-playing games (RPGs)?

Gordon:

I was born and raised in Montreal, and have lived here my whole life, apart from an eight-month stint I did in Chicago several years back. I’d have to say my early years were pretty much happy ones, growing up in the burbs of Montreal (which are different from the burbs of other cities, especially in the USA).

I got into RPGs in high school, way back in the 1980s, with the first being the original Dungeons & Dragons. Those were they days that lunatics in the USA were saying playing D&D led to Satanism and a lot of other crapola.

What drew me to RPGs was the fact that you and the other players used your imagination so much. And the worlds were simply very cool.

Ian:

I see from ?your? character in Dead Magicians Club, in addition to yourself in your deviantArt page where you state you?re a practicing Non-Christian? Where was your Non-Christianity was formed? It seems not from role-playing games (RPGs), but people’s attitude to religion that they hold forth despite all of the “Jim’s” recently — Bakker, Jones and Swaggart? Do people hold up garlic and silver at you?

Gordon:

[Laughs]

Ian:

I only ask this as there some who show fear at what seems unknown like Harry Potter still creates a stir…

Gordon:

[Laughs again], No, I haven’t had anyone hold up a cross or garlic or anything at me. Not yet, anyways.

I grew up in a non-religious household, something for which I’m grateful. I never cared for religion for as long as I can remember, particularly Christianity because it’s caused so much death and grief over the centuries.

As I grew older, my contempt for organised religion as a whole grew, until nowadays – when it really bugs me.

Religion, in my opinion, is a breeding ground for intolerance, hatred, persecution, and bigotry. All the major religions are guilty of this, although not Buddhism, which is more a philosophy than a religion. The Pagans and Wiccans are also non-violent and open to accepting others.

Ian:

Does Druidism/Wicca play a part in your life? Many people these days turn to it… Stonehenge gets more each year at summer or winter solstices and equinoxes…

Gordon:

I have no faith, no religion I follow, but if I have to say if I have any spiritualism at all, it leans towards Paganism and Wicca. The Pagan beliefs are definitely a big influence in my DMC universe. I’m of Gaelic descent, and it’s part of my heritage, so I put it in my writing

Ian:

As a matter of intellectual curiosity, when confronted with life’s slings and arrows of outrageous fortune – what do you do, or where do you “go,” so to speak?

A bad day at work, cat scratches you for no reason and you’re splashed by slush at the traffic lights – a real “beauty” then what?

Gordon:

If life is kicking me, I tend to retreat into escapism. I read a book, watch a movie or TV, or work on my writing. Just hang out at home with my 2 cats (Kindred & Chibi) and relax and unwind. Spending times with friends also helps.

One of my favourite entertainments is Japanese anime, which has also influenced my writing in many ways.

Ian:

How does this animation genre assist you?

Gordon:

I enjoy the humour, characters, and sometimes epic stories that are so present in anime. Another influence is an anime staple, which I’ll explain.

In anime, very often the stories (especially the more humorous ones) involve one or two lead male characters, who are surrounded by a slew of female characters. I’ve incorporated that element into DMC to a fair degree (by the later novels anyways) and definitely in Dead Guys.

In Dead Guys, Gar is the lead male vampire character who lives with three lead females and a host of female supporting characters. There are other male characters, notably Amicus (a former Musketeer) but Gar is centre stage amid a cornucopia of women. Anyone familiar with anime will spot this tribute.

Ian:

The idea of the characters going to bed, going to the bathroom or shopping and Non-Christian references … If you had a chance with Del Rey, Tor, Bantam or Ace and they said you gotta can the sex and atheism if you wish to see print, would you?

Gordon:

No. I won’t give up my artistic vision or principles to get printed. Any publisher has to take me as is, or forget it.

Ian:

So, any other books up your sleeves or cloak? Or indeed any other projects, do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Gordon:
Right now, my focus is on my 3 current universes, although the potential for others is always there. As for other aspiring writers, all I can say is keep writing. Don’t give up, and try to write every day, even if it’s editing previously written stuff. And of course the cardinal rule: write what you know, what you feel comfortable with.

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