INTERVIEW: David Tallerman on Writing, the Fantasy Genre, and Stealing Giants

David Tallerman is the author of Giant Thief and its sequel, Crown Thief, from Angry Robot Books, as well as numerous short stories, comics and film scripts, covering a wide variety of subjects and themes. David was kind enough to answer a few questions about his writing and work.


Paul Weimer: You’ve been writing professionally for a few years, and Giant Thief is your first novel. What drew you to writing fantasy?

David Tallerman: The obvious reason is that I love Fantasy as a genre, both to read and to write; but since I feel the same way about Science-Fiction and Horror, and since I’ve written short fiction in all three genres, I guess that’s not really an answer.

Partly it was just that my protagonist Easie Damasco’s story was the first I came up with that I really felt could work at novel length. There was something in the idea of a thief stealing a giant that, right from the beginning, felt as though it could grow and perhaps be the seed of an entire book.
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MIND MELD: Holding out for a Hero

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

On SF Signal Mind Melds, we’ve discussed Anti-Heroes, Villains, and
Sidekicks. It’s been a while since we tackled straight up heroes.So, this week we asked about heroes:

What makes a hero (or heroine) a hero instead of merely a protagonist? Is the idea of a straight up hero old fashioned or out of date in this day and age?

This is what they had to say…

Emma Newman
Emma lives in Somerset, England and drinks far too much tea. She writes dark short stories, post-apocalyptic and urban fantasy novels and records audiobooks in all genres. Her debut short-story collection From Dark Places was published in 2011 and 20 Years Later, her debut post-apocalyptic novel for young adults, was released early 2012. The first book of Emma’s new Split Worlds urban fantasy series called Between Two Thorns will be published by Angry Robot Books in 2013. She is represented by Jennifer Udden at DMLA. Her hobbies include dressmaking and playing RPGs. She blogs at www.enewman.co.uk, rarely gets enough sleep and refuses to eat mushrooms.

For me, a hero is someone who actively works to achieve a goal for the good of others when there is a risk of losing something, ranging from a peaceful existence to their own life. Perseverance is critical; a hero persists in their heroic endeavour far beyond the point where most people would give up. Most wouldn’t even try in the first place.

As for whether a hero is old-fashioned; no. The portrayal of heroes (i.e massively flawed as opposed to nothing more than bravery in a bap) changes to fit the needs and sophistication of the audience. However, the basic need to see someone being more than we are – but everything we could be – is eternal.

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David Tallerman is the author of numerous short stories, as well as comic scripts, poems, reviews and articles. David’s work ranges from gruesome horror to comic fantasy, from political science-fiction to tales about mechanically assisted grizzly bears battling Nazi dolphins on the moon. His first novel, Giant Thief, was recently published by Angry Robot.

The Not-So-Secret Ingredient is Crime

It’s not always easy to know what genre you want to write in.

Or not for me anyway. I’ll read just about anything, with maybe the exception of Cowboy Romance, and if I like it, it tends to spark ideas, which don’t always arrive in any neat order. I’m more than happy to think of myself as a genre writer. But which genre — and where it ends and all those others begin — are questions to which I’m less and less sure of the answers.

So it went with what would wind up being my debut novel, Giant Thief. I set out with the clear intention of writing Fantasy, but I’d hardly started before another genre started trying to elbow its way in. In fact, there were days when I wasn’t sure if I didn’t have it all backwards. Was it possible I was really writing a Crime novel with Fantasy thrown in and not the other way round?
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