In the following email interview, fantasy writer R.S. Ford — also known as fantasy writer Richard Ford [Herald Of The Storm, The Shattered Crown, Lord Of Ashes] — discusses A Demon In Silver (paperback, Kindle), the first book in his War Of The Archons series.
To start, what is A Demon In Silverabout?
Oh, you know, the usual: Girl meets boy. Girl stupefies boy with her burgeoning magical abilities. Girl is pursued across an entire continent by a bunch of nefarious ne’er-do-wells. I think that just about covers it.
Where did you get the original idea for A Demon In Silver and how different is the book from that initial concept?
It was an amalgamation of a few ideas actually. I was formulating a novel in a modern-day setting featuring warring gods, but I canned that idea pretty early on. Then I began to think about a world that had relied heavily on magic, only to have it taken away, and how society would react if that magic suddenly made a reappearance. These two ideas began to meld and A Demon In Silver was born.
A Demon In Silver has been called a fantasy novel. But is there a subgenre of fantasy, or maybe a combination of them, that you think describes this story better?
Someone recently described it as highdark — high fantasy crossed with grimdark — which I quite liked. To be honest, I don’t really ascribe to subgenres. I think a lot of novels that are labelled as one thing patently aren’t that thing at all, and much of how a book is viewed is down to the individual reader. I understand people like to put things in boxes to understand and categorize them better, but every novel is its own unique thing in the end.
A Demon In Silver is obviously not your first novel. Are there any writers or specific stories that had a big influence on A Demon In Silver but not on your earlier work?
Not really. In a way it was more inspired by my own previous stories, and a desire to improve and correct some of the mistakes I made when writing my first trilogy. I’ve recently thought the concept of the Archons, and their influence on the mortal realm, may or may not have been inspired by Gaiman’s American Gods, but if it was it certainly wasn’t done consciously.
How about non-literary influences, such as movies, TV shows, or video games; did any of them have a big impact on A Demon In Silver?
I binge-watch a lot of episodic TV, so as far as the structure of my novels goes, I’m possibly influenced by that more than a traditional novel structure. My chapters tend to be short and snappy, and I switch my character POVs around a lot. It’s also been said that my prose lends itself to cinematic visuals, which is nice to hear. As far as the plot goes, I’m not really sure where the ideas come from, but every writer is influenced by new things every day, whether we realize it or not.
Saying all that, there is one scene in the novel that was inspired by the criminally short TV series, Carnivale, which I thought was visually stunning at the time and couldn’t resist emulating.
You’ve already said that A Demon In Silver is the first book in a new series. What can you tell us about it?
I’m contracted for three books in the series, so it’ll definitely be that long initially. The original idea was to write a traditional trilogy, following the same characters through each book, but after the first draft of book one I had a change of heart. Each book will feature a new protagonist at its center, but there will be recurring characters through each. Minor non-POV characters from book one will feature more predominantly in later volumes, while major characters will take a back seat later on. And, of course, it will all — as the title says — be centered on the War Of The Archons.
As you know, some people wait until every novel in a series is out, and then read them all in a row. But is there any story-based reason why they shouldn’t read it now? Or that they should?
Despite it being part one of a trilogy, I did make sure that A Demon In Silver stands on its own and has a beginning, middle, and an end…all be it, quite a cliffhangery one. In fact, the reason the book wasn’t released last year was because I felt the first draft didn’t have a satisfying conclusion, and was just part one of a larger story. Consequently, I rewrote the last third and it made me rethink the whole concept for the trilogy. Each book will now be a stand-alone novel that tells a complete story when read as a trilogy.
We talked earlier about the movies, TV shows, and video games that influenced A Demon In Silver. But has there been any interest in adapting this novel into a movie, show, or game?
Sadly not, but when you consider that only around 5% of books get optioned, and from that 5% only another 5% actually get made, then the chances are fairly slim anyway.
If it does manage to become one of the 5% of the 5%, which would you prefer it be: movie, show, or game?
I doubt it would translate into a computer game particularly, as it has multiple POVs and the plot is sometimes very non-linear. If I had a choice between movie and TV, I’d definitely choose the latter. A TV show has the scope to be much more faithful to the source material than cinema, and since A Demon In Silver takes place over a few years and three different countries it would need that kind of breadth to do it justice.
And if A Demon In Silver was adapted into a TV show, who would you like to see them cast in the main roles?
Rachel Shenton [White Gold] would make the perfect Livia Harrow, although at thirty she’s probably a bit old for the role. Katee Sackhoff [Battlestar Galactica] would be great as Silver, and I like the thought of Richard Armitage [The Hobbit] as Josten Cade. Not sure who’d be right for the role of Kaleb, but whoever it was they’d have to be a dab hand with a sword.
Interestingly enough, my day job is at a computer game company. Unfortunately, no one has, as yet, asked if they can adapt A Demon In Silver into a rollicking, narrative-led, third-person adventure.
Finally, if someone enjoys A Demon In Silver, what fantasy novel would you suggest they read while waiting for A Demon In Gold or An Orc In Polyester or whatever the second book is called?
If they haven’t done so already, I would strongly suggest they check out Herald Of The Storm and its sequels by some chap called Richard Ford. Other than that, they could do worse than read anything by Andy Remic, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Luke Scull, or, if they can wait until January 2019, they should check out The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan.