With books like Widdershins, Someplace To Be Flying and The Painted Boy, Charles de Lint has not only captured the imaginations of a generation of readers, but forever changed the face of Fantasy.
Charles took time out of his rather full schedule to answer some questions from this appreciative fan.
Although you first established yourself as an adept author of Speculative Fiction back in the early 80s, there might be a reader or two who aren't familiar with your work. Would you mind telling them exactly who Charles de Lint is & the kind of stories he writes?
I like how one reviewer put it, that I write fantasy for people who don't normally read fantasy. Which isn't to say I ignore the genre—I love a lot of what's produced within it and I'm happy to be considered a fantasy writer—but because much of my work focuses on the contemporary world and its problems, leavened with a dash of the impossible, I like the idea that the stories can appeal to a wider range of readers.
Why is it, that in most Fantasy, magic tends to be hidden, existing just beyond most people's understanding? How would having a world where all things supernatural are out in the open effect the reader's ability to suspend their disbelief?
I think people like secrets and hidden things—I know I do. Whenever I read books where magic and all things supernatural are the norm, I get a little bored. What I look for in a fantasy story is a sense of wonder and that comes more readily when the fantasy element is something special and experienced by only a few.
With the prevalence of vampire fiction, why not take time to build a novel or two around Apples & Cassie, the vampire sisters from your short story "There's No Such Thing" & the "Sisters" novelette?
That story simply hasn't come to me yet. There's also the pure mechanics of a vampire story. Because there's so much vampire fiction out there and I've only read a fraction, I wouldn't know if I was bringing something new to the table or not. And just a "funny hat" characterization (like say, the vampire's fat) isn't enough to interest me as a writer.
How well do you think your works would translate into the big or small screen? And if one of your novels was picked up for a series or as a movie, how much creative control would you ideally maintain?
With the special effects that are now available, I don't see a problem at all, though the style of story would range between action/adventure and quieter character studies, depending on which story was chosen. I'm not sure how much involvement I'd want. Movies are made by committee and I like working on my own with the occasional collaborator, preferably an artist as has been the case of what I've been doing with Charles Vess over the years. But I'd love to see some of those stories on screen. I've always thought the Newford collections would make a fun jumping off point for a TV series—and there's been occasional interest—but for now the stories require the imaginations of my readers to come to life in their heads. And that's not a bad thing.
After a rather strong dose of vamps and zombies in the last couple of years, what direction would you like to see Speculative Fiction take?
I don't like trying to think of where the field is going, or even saying how I'd like it to go. I prefer to be surprised. That said, I'd hope that writers maintain a high quality in their prose, don't forget to add at least one sympathetic character to their story, and especially don't forget to have a plot. The latter might seem obvious, but these days the best place to get a story is in Young Adult fiction because they haven't forgotten the importance of plot.
If you haven't already done so, head out to your local bookshop or library and lose yourself in Mr. de Lint's countless Mythic Fiction stories.
For More: Visit Interview with Charles de Lint at nerdhelm.blogspot.com