Interview with Russell Kirkpatrick
Interviewer: Simon Litten
This interview was conducted in conjunction with the launch of the third and last
volume in the Husk trilogy Beyond the Wall of Time, and it took place over
Queens Birthday weekend at Conscription, the 30th National Science
Fiction and Fantasy Convention for New Zealand.
Simon: Russell, first off thank you this interview.
Russell: My pleasure.
S: Is this the last word for this world?
R: Never say never. There is a possible story around Arathé, but creatively I
dont want to revisit the world of the three continents.
S: Does this world have a name?
R: No. I call it the world of the three continents, but the inhabitants
dont have a name for it; they just live there. If they do have a name for where they
live its their village or country.
S: Was it hard to say goodbye to this world?
R: Easy to say goodbye to the world but the characters were hard to let go.
S: Why was that?
R: Stella started out as the love interest of Leith, but became the central
character of the six books. I didnt know what was going to happen to her and the
ending until I wrote the last chapter.
S: And the ending to Beyond the Wall of Time?
R: I had an ending in mind, but knew it wouldnt survive me getting it
there. I was desperately trying to develop my characters as I wrote, so when they got to
the ending I had in mind they were no longer suitable for that ending.
The first series was so meticulously plotted, which made the story very linear. With
the second series I tried a different approach and learnt to trust myself as a writer.
I see as one of my own personal strengths the ability to see the big picture. I drew on
that strength in writing the second series. I learnt to write unusual things into the
story without any idea where they were going, then remembered to hook back to them at a
S: Why did you write the second trilogy?
R: Hummed and ha-ed about that. The first trilogy was very black and white, and
written in terms of good versus evil. I felt the story was unfinished and very one sided.
I wanted to write something that showed that the evil of the first trilogy wasnt, it
was simply a utilitarian perspective of someone who had lived 2,000 years.
S: What was the basic idea for this trilogy?
R: How do you kill an immortal? So everything in the story, and especially in
the third book, was centred round that question which led to me subverting some of
the standard concepts for fantasy.
S: Do you have any future projects?
R: Am currently working on two. My first love is SF, always has been, which is
very distinct from fantasy. Would love to write an enormous space opera, but am currently
writing a near future techno-thriller (for want of a better description).
And because the world is short of epic fantasy: and because there are too many trees
and not enough maps
I wanted a different world to play in. I am now writing to surprise myself and keep me
interested. So this is a standard epic fantasy, but dont know how its going to
play out as I keep slipping in surprises as I go. I want the reader to go "what the
S: Given your profession and love of cartography, does the latest fantasy have a
R: No, and I am deliberately writing without one which is one of the
tricks I am employing to help me develop my craft as a writer; and also to keep me
S: So will this be another battle of good versus evil?
R: Its a myth that modern epic fantasy is about good versus evil. I
suggest you read Joe Abercrombie, Steven Erikson, and George RR Martin for the current
fashions in fantasy writing. The good versus evil gambit is now being played out in
S: How do you find world building?
R: Its enormous fun though have to avoid smart-alecky things. That said
need to make the culture come alive be that with cock fighting, bear baiting or other
means. I find it distracting that some SF writers reference pop culture items of the
twentieth century in their far futures; I believe this says more about the writers than
S: Finally, as a writer what do you care about?
R: I used to care about having a book with my name on the cover. Now its
about entertaining the readers while I enjoy writing the story.
S: Russell thank you very much for your time.