Lawrence Watt-Evans has been a full-time writer for almost forty years, with fifty novels and
Deborah J. Ross: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you come to be a writer?
Lawrence Watt-Evans: I always wanted to be one. I started to think seriously about it in second grade, when my teacher’s response to my very first creative writing assignment was, “Maybe you’ll be a writer someday!”
My parents convinced me that it wasn’t a likely way to make a living, though, so even though I kept writing I figured it would just be a hobby -- until my stories started selling, and I couldn’t find a decent day job. I wound up making my living as a writer for thirty-some years.
DJR: What inspired your story in Lace and Blade 4?
LWE: I wanted to play with stereotypes and expectations a little -- and I wanted to be in this anthology, having failed to deliver for previous volumes in the series!
DJR: What authors have most influenced your writing? What about them do you find inspiring?
LWE: L. Sprague de Camp and Terry Pratchett have been big influences; both have a knack for looking at the trappings of fantasy and considering how they would work for actual human beings, rather than mythic archetypes. Others have been, in no particular order, Dorothy Sayers, C.S. Forester (from whom I got my love of interior monologues), Robert Heinlein, Fritz Leiber Jr., Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.L. Hales, Robert W. Chambers, Anne McCaffrey, Leigh Brackett...
DJR: Why do you write what you do, and how does your work differ from others in your genre?
LWE: I write what I like, what interests me. It differs from other fantasy because I’m not particularly interested in nobility, honor, derring-do, the nature of evil, and so on, but in how people muddle through.
DJR: How does your writing process work?
LWE: Damned if I know. I sit at the computer and type.
DJR: What have you written recently? What lies ahead?
LWE: I’ve mostly been working on two series: The Adventures of Tom Derringer, about a teenaged professional adventurer in a somewhat different version of the late 19th century, and the Legends of Ethshar, a fantasy series I started in the early 1980s about a world where magic and common sense abound, but you won’t find any elves or dark lords.
As for what lies ahead, I have literally hundreds of projects I’ve started but not finished, and I’m hoping to get back to, well... all of them. Many of them are set in the Bound Lands, the same setting I used for “Sorcery of the Heart,” my story in Lace and Blade.
DJR: What advice would you give an aspiring writer?
LWE: Do something else, either instead or in addition. It’s a terrible time to be trying to survive as a writer. It’s become much too easy to get published, and much too hard to make money at it.
And remember, despite any other advice you may read, the only real rule is “Don’t bore the reader.”