In this week’s Author Spotlight, we ask author Naomi Novik to tell us a bit about her story for Fantasy, “Vici.”
Dragons show up throughout known history in just about every known culture. Where do you personally think the legend of dragons originated and why? In an increasingly technical and scientific world, what explains our continuing fascination with dragons and other creatures of myth and legend?
The legends clearly originated independently; I’d say that dragons are a representation of the human desire for power and freedom, and that remains compelling despite the steady march of industrialization.
“Vici” is set in the same universe as your popular Temeraire series of novels. Would you like to explain how this story is related to the larger world represented by your novels for your fans?
“Vici” is my idea of the backstory of how dragons were first domesticated by humans in Europe, and shows the seeds of various aspects of the relationship between dragons and humans that we see initially in Britain and other European nations in His Majesty’s Dragon.
I understand that acclaimed director Peter Jackson has been developing the Temeraire series for a future production. Have there been any recent updates on the progress of this adaptation?
All I can tell you is I am indeed very hopeful we will one day see Temeraire in action! You can read more about Peter’s thoughts about how he might do Temeraire in this interview by Quint of Ain’t It Cool News.
“Vici” was first published in The Dragon Book, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois. How did this initial publication come about?
A good friend of mine (who maintains the Temeraire Wiki) was a huge fan of Mark Antony in the HBO series Rome, and the idea for the story came about one day while we were randomly talking about how Rome might have been different in the past of the Temeraire universe. It stayed on the docket for a while until Gardner asked me for a dragon story, and I took the opportunity to write it for the book.
Many of your stories and novels are set in various historical periods and settings. How do you typically perform research? What tips do you have for other writers who may be considering writing historical stories?
Wikipedia is the most glorious resource any writer could ever dream of. My best tip aside from that is to try and read fictional works that were popular in the time and place you’re researching, and when looking for references go read Amazon reviews for books with low ratings and see what the reviewers and/or the “bought instead” links recommend in their places.
So, what’s next for Naomi Novik?
Crucible of Gold, the seventh Temeraire novel (only two more to go!), is coming out in March 2012. I’m currently working on book eight, tentatively titled Luck and Palaces, and on a limited edition collection of Temeraire universe short stories for Subterranean Press, as well as a trilogy inspired by The Secret Garden.