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Interview with Geno and Bob Salvatore

Posted on November 10, 2009 by Flames is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Bob Salvatore and his son, Geno. R.A. Salvatore has written dozens of best-selling books such as The Ghost King, Road of the Patriarch and Highwayman. The Stowaway, the first in the Stone of Tymora series, is Geno Salvatore’s debut novel.

In this interview, we discuss the young adult series entitled Stone of Tymora which is co-written by Geno and R.A. Salvatore.

1 ) Can you share with us your thoughts on how the Stone of Tymora series came about?

Bob: Wizards of the Coast and I are very aware of the great range in the age of my readers. My signings look like Fleetwood Mac concerts, with a father in his forties or fifties with his twenty-something son whom he introduced to the works. And the son has his six-year-old daughter with him. He’s now reading the books to her.
So Wizards really wanted a book from me that we could put in the young adult section, something to give to those Drizzt-reading parents to bring their kids into the world. I’ve been flat-out busy, and Wizards knew it, so they asked me if either of my sons would be interested in writing the books with me. They had worked with both Bryan and Geno for a long time, mostly on the editing process of my books, and had a good idea of what they could do.
I asked both. Bryan’s up to his ears designing the character classes for 38 Studios upcoming MMO, but Geno had a story he wanted to tell, and as we went through it and saw how it would fit in with the Drizzt saga, it seemed perfect.

2 ) How does the Stone of Tymora story fit into the Forgotten Realms setting?

Bob: The series starts in the time of The Halfling’s Gem (I got to rewrite some of my favorite scenes from that book from a different perspective) and continues from there, somewhat filling in the time between that book and “The Legacy.”

3 ) Why did you decide to write the Stone of Tymora story for young adults?

Bob: From a practical standpoint, see question 1. From a storytelling standpoint, I’ll let Geno explain.
Geno: I felt like the content for this story – which I’ll get into more later – the young adult format fits. We explore questions that I think are universal to teens – specifically, the search for an identity independent from that of one’s parents, teachers, mentors. Maimun’s search for himself is something all youths go through (if a bit more fantastical in content).

4 ) What role does Drizzt play in the series?

Bob: I think of Drizzt, not as the anchor of the books, but more like a rudder. If I were to write a book about a knight of Arthur’s roundtable, I’d use the characters of Arthur, Lancelot, Gwenivere and Merlin in the same way. I’m telling the story of my minor knight and weaving it around the macro tale of the movers and shakers.

5 ) Geno, can you tell us when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Geno: I spent a long time denying any aspiration to write. In high school, I was always the math-science type, and I figured I would enter a field in that vein. I started college as a physics major, and after several changes graduated with a degree in Economics, not anything related to writing.
But throughout that time, I always wrote. I kept notebooks of musings, outlines, (bad) poetry, and short stories throughout high school; in college I had a notepad file on my computer, to save paper. I never intended (and still never intend) to publish any of those. The writing was simply an outlet for my creative energy, and I didn’t plan for it to be anything more.
Then, a few months after I finished school, my father approached me with the offer from Wizards. He didn’t come to me and say, “I think you should do this,” rather he asked, “what story would you tell for this?” And I realized I did indeed have a story, stashed away in one of those notebooks, that fit, that worked.
So, I suppose, I knew I wanted to be a writer professionally when I started writing professionally. But I have always been a writer.

6 ) How was your writing process for THE SHADOWMASK different from THE STOWAWAY?

Geno: The Stowaway was a collaborative experience. I did most of the writing in my father’s house (I was still living there when I started the project); I spoke to my father often, looking for advice on the specifics of the story. He wrote several of the passages.
For Shadowmask, I wrote mostly at my own apartment, and I wrote the whole book. He helped early, with the outlining process; he was available throughout for advice, just as he had been for Stowaway. But mostly he let me go, let me tell the story.

7 ) In your mind, what helps Maimun grow as a character in THE SHADOWMASK?

(Per Geno: For anyone who has not read Stowaway, ***this will contain spoilers.***)

Geno: In both books (and in the third), Maimun is searching for his identity, as represented through a series of objects (notably the Stone and the various objects given him by his mentor, Perrault). In the first book, Maimun has the stone given to him, and quickly comes to view it as a curse rather than a gift. He spends much of the book fleeing from it, and from what it represents; he muses often about being rid of it. In my mind, this is Maimun rejecting the mantle thrust upon him, and attempting to be rid of it. And at the end of the book, he succeeds. But not on his own terms – the stone is taken from him, not given away by him.
So during the second book, Maimun continues his search for his identity – but realizes he must first reclaim that which was taken from him. Whereas in the first book, he is fleeing this mantle, in the second, he seeks to regain it.
I also suggest the items Perrault gave to him – the sword, the cloak – represent another piece of Maimun’s character: that which he got from his mentor. So if you want to see his development, pay attention to these objects – how he got them, what the do for him, how he uses them and how he loses them.

8 ) What was your favorite scene to write in THE SHADOWMASK?

Geno: In the Stowaway, we briefly meet Joen, an orphan girl about Maimun’s age. Well, she’s back in the Shadowmask. And the scenes she’s in are my favorites in the book. I particularly enjoyed Maimun and Joen crossing blades . . . but I shouldn’t spoil too much.

9 ) Do you have a secret about what’s next for Maimun that you’d like to share?

Geno: I have secrets about what’s next for Maimun. But I don’t plan to share them just yet.

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One Response to “Interview with Geno and Bob Salvatore”

  1. Robert says:

    I have yet to read shadow mask but I loved stowaway. From what I see Geno has a great future ahead of him as a writer.

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