Sebastien de Castell had just finished a degree in Archaeology when he started work on his first dig. Four hours later he realized how much he actually hated archaeology and left to pursue a very focused career as a musician, ombudsman, interaction designer, fight choreographer, teacher, project manager, actor, and product strategist. His only defence against the charge of unbridled dilettantism is that he genuinely likes doing these things and that, in one way or another, each of these fields plays a role in his writing. He sternly resists the accusation of being a Renaissance Man in the hopes that more people will label him that way.
SF Signal: Hello, and thank-you very much for taking the time to answer some questions for us about your debut novel, Traitor’s Blade.
Sebastien de Castell: My pleasure – thanks for having me!
SF Signal: In previous interviews, you’ve described Traitor’s Blade as “The Three Musketeers meets A Game of Thrones,” so clearly, you have great taste in reading material. What other books and authors inspired Traitor’s Blade? Did I detect a bit of David Eddings’ influence in your characters’ banter?
SdC: You know, I never thought about David Eddings before you mentioned him but actually I really enjoyed reading the Belgariad series when I was younger. He really mastered that sense of a character’s internal conflict and desire to push back against the expectations others have of them. You’re right as well that his characters often banter with each other. In the case of Traitor’s Blade, though, the banter is more informed by my own family’s tendency to want to one-up each other in conversation. Aaron Sorkin (of West Wing fame) is also a big influence for me when it comes to rapid-fire dialogue.
In terms of other books, though I write fantasy, I find the stylings of noir writers like Raymond Chandler and, more recently, Dennis LeHaine have an amazing ability to create a sense of place with minimal info-dumping or description.