Every time we release a book, we’ll post an interview with its author during the month before the book is published. Our next novel, The Taskmaster, comes out on June 20th. The Taskmaster is the hilarious final volume of the Plot Bandits "trilogy," hailed as "fun read[s] for all . . . totally immersive and engaging from the first page" (author Darcia Helle). Today we are sequel-interviewing Katherine Vick, the mastermind behind the exuberantly funny, anarchic adventures of Fodder and friends.
Thinklings: As this is your fourth published book, you’ve got a growing, loyal fan base. What has been your favorite interaction with a fan so far?
Katherine: I’m just happy to have any fans at all! It’s lovely to know people are reading and also enjoying what I’ve written; that’s what I’ve always wanted, really. I did rather like the kind soul who wrote a riff on my characters using the lyrics of a famous pop song, though – does that count as my first piece of fanfiction? ;)
T: We know the late, great Terry Pratchett is one of your favorite authors. If you could ask Sir Terry one question, or talk about any one topic with him, what would it be?
K: I’m not sure I’d actually have the nerve to talk to him for fear of the inevitability of my making a fool of myself – I’d probably just sit and stare in awe until he lost patience and chased me away with his star metal sword! I suppose, if I was to gather my nerve, I’d like to know how his stories evolved – what ideas he may have had that may not have made it to the page, whether his characters took over the stories in the same way mine did, and the slightly melancholy question – what ideas he may have had for the future that we never got to see. I would have loved to know what was on those hard drives he had steamrollered after his death – but so would millions of others, so I imagine that’s why he did it!
T: Did you know how you’d end the series from the time you started writing book 1 (The Disposable) or did you figure it out later?
K: I’ve actually recently rediscovered the old notebook I carried around with me when the original idea of Fodder and his friends was born, full of biro scribbles as various ideas came to me for it! In the very, very first note I wrote for myself when the idea was born, the ending was in the same vein but slightly different – but by the time I typed up my original story plan for a single (!) novel, I knew exactly what the last few lines were going to be. I just got there by a somewhat more circuitous route than intended. . . . ;)
T: If you could meet your characters, what would you say to them?
K: Why? WHY? ;p But seriously, I guess I would say thanks. Because they’ve been absolutely brilliant, took me off to places I never thought I’d go, and made my story infinite times better just by being so very much themselves. It’s been a fantastic ride trying to keep up with them. ;)
T: If you were to write a spin-off about a side character, which one would you pick?
K: The Adventures of the AFCs would probably be quite fun. ;p But oddly enough, there is one totally unexpected character about whom I had the daft idea in the back of my head might get his moment in the sun. I had another novel vaguely planned around the same time I started The Disposable but it never really got out the starting blocks as its rival consumed me. Sadly, thanks to life, the universe, and everything, the odds of it ever being more than some notes and a speculative short story aren’t brilliant – but I got the silly thought in my head that if I ever did write it, I should pick a lesser character from Fodder’s universe to “play” the lead male character. And so I did! There is one minor character in Fodder’s Realm whom I picture as the hero of a yet-to-be-written story. I shan’t say who, but I did drop a small clue into The Taskmaster purely for my own amusement! See if you can spot it. . . .
T: Did you have to do any research when writing the Plot Bandits “trilogy”?
K: Mostly just checking to make sure I had the standard fantasy clichés covered! ;) I also spent ages in front of a mirror trying to work out what the most accurate lip-reading misread of the word “moat” was. ;p I do remember attending a medieval re-enactment event at a local open-air museum in 2010 and standing there making copious notes (that I still have!) about armour and combat weapons during a talk on dressing the knight, to make sure I was being accurate in my descriptions, and ended up getting a business card off the re-enactment group in question – which I then joined later in the year! So that worked out pretty well!
It certainly has been a fun ride, Katherine! Thank you for all the laughs and the deeper, thought-provoking elements your books convey. We’re going to miss reading and editing them, but we look forward to sharing them with more and more new readers!
The Plot Bandits books do need to be read in order, and are perfect for fans of Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore.
A character interview, our official book review, and our top ten favorite quotes from The Taskmaster are coming soon!
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