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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Interview with Count Saint Germain author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.

Today VampirePhile has the pleasure of an interview with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro author of Count St. Germain Chronicles. 

VampirePhile: Thank you Chelsea and welcome. Now regarding your essay: On the Electronic Backlist, Do you think that there will ever come a time when books will only be offered electronically? Thereby potentially eliminating the need for “print” publishing?
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro:  Of course not.  There will always be a place for books, although I think such things as purely recreational reading, and text books may well become largely electronic over the next decade.
VP: It seems that you were ahead of the time/s when you published e-books with Hidden Knowledge back in the 1990’s. Would you, personally, ever consider only e-publishing your books in the future?
CQY:  I certainly wouldn't rule it out, considering how the publishing industry has been acting the last few years, but I'm old enough to prefer having my work available in paper-and-print as well as electronic forms. I'm not being entirely facetious --- I suspect that layered publishing is going to emerge in the next five years, and small press editions accompanying e-editions will become more common than what is presently the norm.
VP: Do you see the continued advancement of electronic publishing having an impact on bookstores and their need to be?
CQY: I think bookstores will change how they present their products; I doubt they will vanish, although I wouldn't be surprised if the supermarket approach to bookstores will lessen.  I suspect specialty bookstores will re-surge in importance, and will offer more than books to their customers.  It wouldn't surprise me to see bookstores offering, along with signing parties, mini-seminars and discussion groups.  And since not everything will be available in e-form immediately, I think it likely that used and rare books will be part of the attractions that bookstores will offer.  At least that's how it looks now.  Ask me again in a year or two; my opinion may change in the interim.
VP: In your opinion, do you foresee any major steps, other than those already in place that may need to be taken to protect electronic copyrights, especially given the nature of the Internet and this being the age of easy access to information?
CQY:  I certainly hope so.  The whole issue of copyright and how to protect it is undergoing change.  The print life of copyright is longer than it's ever been, and I wholeheartedly support that.  There have been some recent decisions about e-copyright that, while a good start, have many bugs to work out of the system before the copyright can function in e-form as it does in print. 
VP: Taking a look at some of your honours, what was it like for you (your feeling in the moment) to be named a Living Legend by the International Horror Guild and being only two women ever to be named Grand Master of the World Horror Convention?
CQY:  Of course, the recognition feels wonderful and gratifying, but as you point out, most of the recognition has gone to men.  As satisfying as it is to get these awards, I would feel much better if more of the fine women writers in the field had received these awards as well.  There are many excellent women writers who have not been given the same attention as their male colleagues; I'd like to think that this will change in the not-too-distant future.
VP: Your vampire Count Saint-Germain novels are described as being “accurately detailed historical fiction”, what inspired you to plot your stories in a historical setting? And do you think authors who also write historical fiction (regardless of genre) owe it to their readers to be as authentically accurate as possible?
CQY:  When you have a 4,000 year old character, as the historical Comte de Saint-Germain claimed to be, it's hard to avoid history.  The evolution of human cultures, thought, and experience, fascinates me. I also think that the study of the past sheds a great deal of light on the present, and helps to develop a sense of the future --- you can't know where you're going until you know where you've been.  I try for as much historical accuracy as the story-line will allow, because I think there isn't much point in setting a story in an historical period, and then to represent the time inaccurately, but I'm not dogmatic about it.  Every writer is entitled to do his or her work their own way.  But if history is represented with anachronistic ideas and social conduct, I, as a reader, may throw the book across the room, but that's just me --- others may find no problem in historical inaccuracies.  I also like alternate history.  I have a proposal for an alternate history trilogy that has yet to find a home, which is too bad, because I'd have a grand time writing it.
VP: From perusing your website, I read the news that “Tor has contracted for A Embarrassment of Riches which will be novel #22 in the Saint-Germain Chronicles.” Can you tell fans a bit and/or reveal anything of what it’ll be about?
CQY: The story takes place in the Kingdom of Bohemia toward the end of the 13th century,  at a time when Bohemia was the richest Kingdom in Europe.  Almost all the action takes place in Praha (Prague) around the Court of Queen Kunigunde, who was the granddaughter of King Bela of Hungary.  The story has to do with all the various skullduggeries that happens under the surface of the Court.
VP: Would you ever one day like to see your count Saint-Germain novels adapted for the screen (big? or small?)?  And have you ever imagined the actor who you’d like to see portray him?
CQY:  You bet.  And for the last thirty-plus years I've thought about casting.  My preferences have changed over time, largely because even the most charismatic actors are not immortal, and someone who might have been my choice twenty years ago is now no longer of an age to take on the characters.
VP: With the current “undead” trend in film and tv being ever so popular seems, especially today, like the fans want more fangs! Other than your own, what are some other vampiric or vampire related works you’d like to see adapted for the big and/or small screen?
CQY:  When I read, I rarely think of film, except occasionally when reading those annoying books that are clearly written with screen adaptation in mind.  That said, I think that some of Tanith Lee's work would do well on the screen, and although I think it would be difficult to do justice to the books, Christopher Moore's comic vampire novels could be great fun on the screen.  The trouble is, screen adaptation is such a complex matter, that the simple idea of a film or tv presentation would depend on who did the screenplay, who directed it, who designed it, how it was filmed, etc. etc. etc, that even imagining a cinematic form tends to be nearly impossible to envision, no matter how appropriate the story may seem to be to film or tv.
VP: Giving Saint-Germain’s nature as “more honorable, humane, and heroic than most of the humans around him.”  In a general sense, what do you think might be his take on the world we live in today?
CQY:  The world today is perhaps a bit too all-encompassing for an answer.  What aspect of the world today?  The international political situation?  Conditions in Africa and Asia and Latin America?  Issues of climate change --- which he has dealt with in a couple books --- and natural disasters?  The population crunch?  Technological and scientific advances?  Human trafficking?  The increasingly complex international Internet and its ramifications?  All of these aspects of the current world have potential as story material, as do many others.  The three novels and the eight Saint-Germain short stories set in the 20th century address some of these issues, as does the one short story in the 21st century, but there is no simple response to your question. 
VP: And finally, how far have you imagined taking Count Saint-Germain? That is to say, apart from those stories already planned (numbers #24 & #25, according to the website), how many more may be there after? 
CQY: That depends on the publishers much more than me.  I still have a lot of history I can draw upon, and a character who can go many places, geographically and historically, assuming that Tor wants more of him, or of Olivia; I'm willing to write more, if the publisher wants to publish more, but that part of the equation is out of my hands. 


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