Interview with Bryan Polivka PART ONE

Welcome to my interview with George Bryan Polivka, author of Blaggard's Moon, and the Trophy Chase trilogy.

If you're interested in my review of Blaggard's Moon CLICK HERE. If you're here for the interview, then read on!

--> 1) Bryan, I found Blaggard's Moon completely enthralling, how did you convince Harvest House that the Trophy Chase trilogy needed a prequel?

GBP - Actually, I didn't try to sell them on a concept at all. I didn’t tell them what I was doing. I just wrote the first several chapters. When I was sure it would be pretty good, I sent my editor an email that essentially became the book's marketing blurb, and I attached the first two chapters. All I got back was something like, “Go, Bryan!”

2) As I read Blaggard's Moon, I kept asking myself, how much did Bryan plot this thing out? Did he have a solid picture of the story's end before he started--of who would live and who would die--or did he only realize these things as he drew deeper into the story? Could you enlighten me and any other curious readers about this!?

GBP - I didn't really plan too much. I did want it to be a much simpler story than it turned out to be, but it grew in the telling. I knew from the beginning how Delaney's tale would end (not all the details, but the bigger plot items), and I knew what I wanted to do with the pirate hunter Damrick, and his love interest Jenta. The rest just sort of played out as it seemed most interesting to me at the time. Or more accurately, as it seemed it must be when I got there. In just about every book I’m surprised by someone who dies when I didn’t expect it. I will put the scene together in my head before I write it (I always do this), so that when I write I’m pretty much recording what I’ve already envisioned. That gives me the ability to add in details during the first draft that might otherwise have to wait for a second or third. But it doesn’t always work as planned. In the Trophy Chase Trilogy I lost several people I had hoped to keep alive. In Blaggard’s Moon, I kept alive a couple of characters I had expected to lose--one good, one not so good. So I guess it evened out!

3) Which characters did you find yourself truly toiling over to get just right?

GBP - The main characters were not difficult. They were each so unique. And of course, I knew Delaney inside and out from the Trilogy. I struggled a bit with the military man who made Hell’s Gatemen a real force to be reckoned with, Hale Starpus. He started out a bit bland, but by the final draft he was so vivid to me that I actually worried he might overshadow Damrick’s right-hand man, Lye Mogene. I also had to work on Jenta’s mother, Shayla. She was so distant and cold and pristine, and yet inside there was great passion for her child, and deep within a great sorrow for her lost love. I’m still not sure I conveyed all that. For her sake, I hope so.

4) The majority of the book follows three main storylines (and one of those main storylines is actually split in two). The first is Delaney on the post, the second is Ham and and the pirates he is telling his tale to, and the third is the actual tale itself, which goes into all sorts of stories and characters. And here's my question, how did you come up with this idea to write from so many POV's? And, did you find it difficult managing them all?

GBP: Writing from different points of view is what I do. There was a lot of discussion about this when The Legend of the Firefish first released, and some reviewers said they had to get used to it. Interestingly, no regular readers ever complained about it. I think the more literary-minded have personal views and even beliefs about POV, and many simply don’t like the omniscient viewpoint for their own educated reasons (I tend to put it in less intellectual terms: it’s just a bit old-fashioned). But I find this the most interesting and compelling part of writing, to see and feel and understand deeply from points of view that are very much in contrast, and are often in conflict with one another. Where else can that be done, if not in fiction? Movies maybe. But not to the same depth. And no, I don’t really find it difficult and I’m not sure why. I enjoy it immensely. I even embedded a little back-handed self-commentary about it in one of Delaney’s musings about the storyteller within the story, who also managed to keep up with multiple story lines as he spoke to the listening pirates.

It was an odd thing, Delaney thought, how a deckhand like Ham with

no particular skills otherwise, who could hardly keep up with his own

pistol and powder, could somehow keep track of a thing as slippery as a

told tale.

So, it may be a particular gift I’ve been blessed with, but it doesn’t mean I can remember where I parked my car!

5) Behind the life and blood characters you create, behind the magical, tangible world of great heartbreak, hope and redemption, their is an important message. And that is the decision to do what is right, no matter the cost. In Blaggard's Moon, the cost is very, very high for many good and honest characters. What influences can you cite, biblical or otherwise, that drove you to make this a theme in your fiction.

GBP: This is a message that I think we Christians forget, myself included. And yet it is there in scripture, and in the examples of the saints, where good men and women everywhere do right and pay for it. Jonathan, son of Saul and David’s friend, comes to mind. Joseph with Potiphar’s wife. Uriah the Hitite, husband to Bathsheba. Rahab, who people forget loses everything she knows except her life and her immediate family. Those and many others paid heavy prices for simple choices to do the right thing--when it would have been so easy to justify a different path. I believe we must school ourselves to always take the good path in small things, no matter what the price, or we will never be given the opportunity to take the noble path in great things. And taking the noble path in great things is to me the stuff of life itself, what Jesus called taking up one’s cross, the reason losing one’s life for His sake means finding it. And the cross, defined that way, is the only thing that makes for a compelling and inspiring story.

BB: Okay, that's it for now, come back tomorrow forPART TWO.


gzusfreek said...

Great interview, Brandon. I really endeared to Bryan, both as a writer and as a person. . .Lots of good things here! Thank you!

Brandon said...

Hey gzusfreek,
Glad you liked part one of the interview!

Fred Warren said...

Excellent interview, Brandon. It really digs into the author's creative process, which I always find fascinating. Can't wait for part two!

Brandon said...

Thanks so much. Since I'm a writer, I asked questions that interested me!

Keanan Brand said...

I liked that line about the slipperiness of a told tale when I first read it, and know how hard it is to keep track of my own stories; such a skillfully interwoven one as Blaggard's Moon definitely has my respect.

Alexander Field said...

Fantastic interview, and great questions Brandon - well done! : )

Jason said...

That was a great interview Brandon. I enjoyed the insight, and it definitely shone light on the book.

I mentioned the POV today. After reading what he said back then, I understand why he does it. I enjoy multiple character POV if it is clear whose head we're in at the time. I did get a little confused at times, but like he said, it probably only trips me up because as a writer, I'm looking at those things.

Looking forward to part 2.

Brandon said...

Hi Keanan,
Yes, he definitely tells multiple stories in Blaggard's Moon. I enjoyed seeing them all slowly tie together by the end.

Thanks! It was a fun interview.

Yeah, Brian did a great job with the POV's. I enjoy multiple POV stories...that's what I write. I think Michael Crichton first got me hooked on them...ah, good old Jurassic Park.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Excellent interview, Brandon. You asked wonderful questions that gave Bryan a chance to show us more of who he is. I'm looking forward to the next part.


Brandon said...

Hi Rebecca,
I'm glad you enjoyed the review! :)