New Tad Williams Interview: details about The Witchwood Crown

Tad Williams, author of the classic Memory, Sorrow and Thorn fantasy series as well as the upcoming Heart of Regret and The Witchwood Crown sequels, all set in the world of Osten Ard, was interviewed by British publisher Hodder Books this week. The full podcast interview runs just under 12 minutes, below. The Osten Ard part of the interview begins at 2:58. (The interview contains some minor spoilers for The Witchwood Crown, including some basic plot details, as well as major spoilers for Memory, Sorrow and Thorn).

The character of Simon Snowlock is based at least partially on Tad Williams' younger brothers, according to Williams' latest interview.

The character of Simon Snowlock is based at least partially on Tad Williams’ younger brothers, according to Williams’ latest interview.

Williams reveals several tidbits during this interview. The first is that his character Simon Snowlock, the main protagonist of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, was modeled on his younger brothers. He also states that some fact-checking has been done on The Witchwood Crown, to make sure there are no conflicts with the original text.

The tentative dates for publication of the upcoming Osten Ard books are late 2016 for Heart of Regret and early 2017 for The Witchwood Crown. Subsequent volumes set in the same universe, titled Empire of Grass, The Navigator’s Children, and a fifth, as yet unnamed volume, will be published  sometime thereafter.

Williams also reveals some details about his Bobby Dollar books (at 0:20 in the interview), and also discusses Tailchaser’s Song, his first novel (at 9:40).

Tad Williams upcoming tour dates – London, SF Bay Area

Cover of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, third volume in Tad Williams' "Bobby Dollar" books.

Cover of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, third volume in Tad Williams’ “Bobby Dollar” books.

Speculative fiction author Tad Williams will be in London at the Forbidden Planet London Megastore (179 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8JR) on Tuesday, July 21st, from 6-7 PM. He will be signing Sleeping Late on Judgement Day, his third Bobby Dollar novel. Further details are here.

Williams will also appear at Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park, California, (1010 El Camino Real) on Monday, August 24th at 7:30 PM. The event is called “John Scalzi in conversation with Tad Williams”, and Williams will be chatting with Hugo-award winning author John Scalzi. This is a ticketed event. More information is available here.

More tour dates will be posted here as we hear of them.

An Interview with Tad Williams, part 3

Below is Part Three of OstenArd.com’s interview with speculative fiction writer Tad Williams, author of the “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”, “Otherland”, “Shadowmarch” and “Bobby Dollar” books, and who recently announced the completion of the first draft of The Witchwood Crown, the first volume of a series of sequel novels to his classic “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” trilogy, called “The Last King of Osten Ard“. The Witchwood Crown is tentatively slated for a Spring 2016 release. Part One of the interview is here. Part Two is here.

The below questions were asked by readers on the Tad Williams Message Board and OstenArd.com contributors. In this part of the interview, we asked Williams how his main characters from Osten Ard compare to Bobby Dollar, if he has any plans to ever return to other worlds he built, and if he ever regrets his decision to wander back into the thick of things in Osten Ard.

Cover of Russian edition of "The Dirty Streets of Heaven"

Cover of the Russian edition of The Dirty Streets of Heaven, the first “Bobby Dollar” book.

OstenArd.com: Tad, your most recent main character, Bobby Dollar, seems pretty cynical sometimes, but his actions are unfailingly that of an optimist. “Of course I’m going to go to Hell to save my new girlfriend (who’s not really my girlfriend)!” Simon’s journey was from a youthful idealism (or even, some might say, cluelessness) to adulthood with a good measure of earned wisdom. How has Simon’s worldview changed with the passage of time? Would you describe him as an idealist or optimist? Does he have anything in common with Bobby Dollar’s cynicism, now that he’s been around the block a few times?

Tad Williams: Simon is still much more of an optimist than Bobby, but part of that comes from him resolutely refusing to dwell on the worst things in life. That doesn’t mean he ignores them, but he is more determined not to let them dictate his everyday life than, say, Miriamele is. I think I myself am a wounded romantic by nature, an optimist with a cynical sense of humor, rather than a cynic per se. Simon is, I hope, an older version of his younger self, thus more pragmatic, less surprised when things don’t go well, and more aware of how hard it is to change the world. In some ways, he’s probably less of a romantic than Bobby.

Tad Williams states that Simon Snowlock is less of a cynic than his wife, Miriamele. Possible plot point?

Tad Williams states that Simon Snowlock is less of a cynic than his wife, Miriamele. Possible plot point?

OA.com: When you reread “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” in preparation, was there anything, about the plot or the worldbuilding or the characters, that made you think, “I wish I could rewrite this”? Or on the other hand, something that you’d maybe forgotten about and that surprised you in a positive way?

Tad: I thought, “I wish I hadn’t made this so damn long.”

No, I always have ambivalent responses when look at my own work. Most of my flinch moments come from what I see as prose issues — too many commas, too flowery when not necessary, etc. — rather than story choices. I think I’ve always had a pretty good grasp of story and character, so the main things I see that I wish I could change are almost always technical things about the writing itself.

On the other hand, I’m always pleasantly surprised when my older work isn’t as lame as I sometimes fear it might be.

Cover of River of Blue Fire, second volume of "Otherland".

Cover of River of Blue Fire, second volume of “Otherland”.

OA.com: You’ve said that you are interested in writing some more Orlando (from “Otherland”) stories. Do you think this desire might turn into a book or even a new series? Is there any particular Otherland sim you would like to revisit and flesh out more?

Tad: It’s not so much any one simulation as that I’d like to 1) make more simulations, 2) explore how the Otherland network is changing as it becomes more “alive” and self-aware, or at least self-regulating, and 3) I think Orlando’s situation is interesting in and of itself, as detailed in “Happiest Dead Boy”. Plus, I’m interested in the idea that some of the artificial life-forms (or semi-life-forms) in the network might want to bring Dread back, for weird pseudo-religious ideas of their own.

OA.com: You resisted returning to Osten Ard for a long time; now that you’re back, do you ever find yourself thinking, “What the heck am I doing here?”

Tad: Every goddamn day. Especially when I’m trying to remember history and stuff from the first volumes, which is all the time, instead of just being able to make things up from scratch. But as mentioned, it’s also a really fun challenge. Not to sound like a complete sap, but that’s a big part of what I love about writing, too. I know I won’t please everyone, but it will be fun to see if I can at least please a few people.

OA.com: Readers are re-reading “Memory, Sorrow and Thorn” far and wide in anticipation of the new books. And their responses seem uniformly positive. Do you think “veteran” readers of MS&T will enjoy the new books just as much? Why or why not?

Tad: If anything, I have to work hard to make sure these books are as much fun for new readers as for the old readers, because there is so much old history, and so many old characters and plotlines to plug into. I think the veteran readers will have no problem with these because there is a LOT of continuity despite the decades passed.

Editor’s note: the interview with Tad Williams will conclude with Part Four.

SF Signal reviews “Sleeping Late on Judgement Day”

Cover of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day by Tad Williams (DAW Books).

Cover of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day by Tad Williams (DAW Books).

Author Larry Ketchersid (Dusk Before the Dawn) has published a review on SF Signal of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day by Tad Williams, giving the book four stars out of five.

Sleeping Late on Judgement Day is the third installment of Williams’ “Bobby Dollar” urban fantasy series, which began with The Dirty Streets of Heaven (2012) and continued in Happy Hour in Hell (2013). Williams anticipates writing additional “Bobby Dollar” books between “Last King of Osten Ard” novels.

Ketchersid’s verdict is that “with the world he’s built here, Williams could go on forever […] I’ll be interested to see where he takes it…but please, Tad, finish The Last King of Osten Ard series first!”

You can read SF Signal’s full review of Sleeping Late on Judgement Day here.

The Real Dirty Streets of Heaven

Tad Williams’ latest novel, The Dirty Streets of Heaven, is set in a fictionalized version of the Bay Area, specifically the area between San Francisco and San Jose.

A few Tad Williams fans (Cyan, Ylvs, Jeremy, and Firs) gathered in early April 2013 to visit the sites Tad wrote about in his new book.

5 page mill road

5 Page Mill Square is a fictionalized version of 5 Palo Alto Square (at Page Mill Road). While the 44+ story building doesn’t actually exist, a 10-story building is there.

5 page mill square lobby

The lobby at 5 Palo Alto Square/Page Mill Square

alhambra compass

The Compasses at the Alhambra, where Bobby and his co-workers hang out.

 compassThe bar.

back gatecompass from rear
The Compasses from the rear. Note the gated parking lot, similar to the description in the text.

OasisGoing into Oasis

The Oasis, blueprint for The Waterhole, another of Bobby’s hangouts.

do not carve0 Bit late for that sign…

hall of justice

The Hall of Justice, where Bobby defends clients.

shoreline amusement park 2

It’s easy to imagine Shoreline Amphitheater as it’s depicted in the book: an abandoned Shoreline Amusement Park.

shoreline amusement park

Closed at this time.

swimming hole

Could this lake be the inspiration for the swimming hole?

university drive

University Avenue, near Stanford.

More soon…

ylvs cyan and ghallu in san judas 1

Cyan and Ylvs being attacked by the ghallu. They barely escaped with their lives!