Zuletzt aktualisiert am 31. August 2021 von DarkISI
Heute: Philip A. Lee beantwortet Fragen zu seinem neuem Roman, Shrapnel und der Free Worlds League.
Philip A. Lee: No worries! I am most certainly sitting down.
HPG: Hunting Season is your first Battletech novel. But you have written a lot of other things for the Battletech universe. Can you give us a short rundown?
PAL: Well, it all started with “A Wolf in the Eyrie,” my first BattleCorps story, published in January of 2011, so I’ve been writing BattleTech stuff for over a decade now. Crazy to think about that… Beyond that, I’ve written fifteen more BattleCorps stories, the exclusive story in Counterattack: BattleCorps Vol. 5 (“High Value Target”), two stories in the Legacy anthology, the novella A Splinter of Hope, and the opening fiction for Handbook: House Kurita, Interstellar Expeditions, and IlClan. And that’s just fiction! I’ve also written a fair amount of sourcebook work, but what I’m most proud of is my work on Shattered Fortress, MechWarrior: Destiny, and IlClan, all of which I was the primary writer/developer for.
HPG: You are also the one responsible for Shrapnel. After almost one and a half years, how does it feel? Was there any fan submission that stood out?
PAL: Feels good to be where we’re at with Shrapnel! We’re about to put out #6 very shortly, which will have some fun surprises in it, and #7 is already in the works. As far as fan submissions, if I publish a story in the magazine, then that story stood out in a good way. When I review a story from one of our veteran writers, odds are it’s going to be good—you don’t get to where they are without knowing what they’re doing—but there’s something really special about opening a submission from an author I’ve not heard of before and just getting sucked into their story to where I’ve decided to accept it before I’m even halfway through it (assuming that they can stick the landing, of course!). Some of the really fun fan submissions have come from folks who often admit to having been long-time fans of BattleTech and maybe have written or even been published before, but they’d just never written for BattleTech before. For example, Tom Leveen, whose story “Breach” appeared in Shrapnel #5, said he’d been a fan of the game since high school, and his story blew me away (and hopefully you all as well, if you’ve read it). The takeaway here is, if anyone has ever wanted to write a story for BattleTech, then what are you waiting for? I can’t accept stories that aren’t in my submissions queue!
HPG: So, back to Hunting Season. Why the Free Worlds League?
PAL: Why not the Free Worlds League? I’ve always been fascinated with the FWL because they’re kinda like a microcosm of BattleTech universe—the Star League / Inner Sphere writ small—which is doubly noticeable during the Dark Age: it’s composed of provinces that are often antagonistic toward each other due to different beliefs and politics, and after their head of state succumbs to betrayal, the nation fractures, and the remaining pieces war with each other, and eventually to reunite (but for how long…?).
I think another thing that draws me to the FWL is that they’ve always struck me as the “everyman faction” more so than any of the others. Fans see the Davions as being the larger-than-life, heroic good guys, or they see the Steiners as being hoity-toity rich and having the biggest ’Mechs money can buy, or the Kuritas have all the samurai and honor, or the Liaos thrive on fanaticism, devotion, and scary shock troops. But the FWL has always felt like the “We just want to do our job and defend our borders…and maaaaybe take back some planets that were taken from us at some point.” Because of this, I find it much easier to identify with Marik folks than people from the other Great Houses.
The reason I wanted to write Hunting Season is three fold. First off, I somehow end up being one of the resident writers of the FWL when I was assigned the Marik theater for Field Manual: SLDF back in 2012. No one else seemed to want it, so I volunteered, and I liked writing in that part of space so much that I started volunteering to write any of the Marik projects that came across my desk, and I started setting BattleCorps stories in the FWL. Second, I always felt like we could use more novels set in the FWL. The other four Great Houses and the major Clans have gotten so much screen time in the novels compared to the FWL that I wanted to correct that imbalance a little. (This lack of screen time is partly why I think a lot of folks either don’t like or don’t understand House Marik. It also doesn’t help that some of the novels folks don’t like that much, such as Star Lord, are set in the FWL…) Third, I fell in love with the characters of Nikol and Jessica Marik while reading Pandora’s Gambit by Randall Bills and To Ride the Chimera by Kevin Killiany, and as I was writing the FWL storyline in the sourcebook that became Shattered Fortress, I figured I could easily turn that into a compelling bit of fiction that would continue the story from those two novels. For those of you who’ve read Shattered Fortress and think you already know what happened in the FWL during that book, well…you’ve only got half of the story…
HPG: Did you have a chance to work other things you wrote into the novel?
PAL: I did make a subtle nod to a previous BattleCorps story of mine, but I’m not saying what that nod is or what story I’m referencing, as that might spoil the surprise. I applaud those who do pick up on it, though!
HPG: Can you tell us, what caused the delays from the originally announced date?
PAL: Well, it was a few things that kept us , really. IlClan was one. Another was IlClan. And I think IlClan also contributed. (Did I mention that I was the primary writer and developer of that book? 😉 )
But in all seriousness, it mostly boiled down to the fact that we all have a lot of writing/editorial irons in the fire, and a lot of time those irons need to be rearranged.
HPG: Are you going to write more Free Worlds League novels?
PAL: I certainly hope so. I’ve got a couple of stories knocking about, but we’ll just have to see what becomes of them.
HPG: Did you have any influence on the cover?
PAL: I wrote art notes for the cover, depicting a scene from the book that I thought would make a striking image. These notes went through Brent Evans, our art director (whose secret shame is that he doesn’t like the FWL as much as Randall Bills and I do!), and he reviewed them and passed them on to the artist. Once we got the preliminary art from the artist, I passed along some minor comments, and then the next revision is basically the cover we ended up with.
HPG: Thank you for your time. I hope people will enjoy your novel.
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