Wednesday, September 8, 2021

#Interview with Author R.A. Salvatore of Starlight Enclave

Lexi: There’s nothing better than getting together with a group of friends, sharing a drink, and catching up. Well…nothing better unless you’re Drizzt and you and your friends are epic warriors and all that stand between the dark forces because in that case you get together with your friends, drink, and then wage war!! And who better to get inside Drizzt’s head than the author—welcome to the blog, R.A. Salvatore!!

Bob: It's great to be here, and let me second the notion of “buddy fantasy,” with a group of trusted friends walking the road of adventure.

Lexi: Fantasy is my catnip and books about groups of friends are a double dose! For readers, a new Drizzt book is a celebration because we get to revisit old friends. Do you feel this way, or are you always working on the next book and thus you never leave the Forgotten Realms? 

Bob: I’m always working on the next book, but only every other one takes place in the Forgotten Realms. I visit my DemonWars world of Corona regularly, and dive into new lands (or old lands, as the case may be) fairly regularly as well – as with “The Color of Dragons,” a YA fantasy novel I co-wrote with Erika Lewis that’s coming out in October.

Lexi: I’m not sure I’d leave if I had a group like Drizzt has. But in your newest release, Starlight Enclave, you give us two roads. Drizzt as he embarks on his spiritual journey, and Jarlaxle and Zaknafein as they look for artifacts. Two different arcs, but they impact one another. Which storyline was easiest for you to write? 

Bob: I’m not sure I’d use the word “easy,” but the latter journey, that of Jarlaxle and his troupe, took me to a new place. I love creating new cultures, cities, landscapes. It’s probably my favorite part of writing. This time was no different. I’ve been working on the background for this new place for several years now and I finally got to go explore the place.

Lexi: When you read/write a series for as long as you have—about 30 years right?—new characters can be tricky. But you give us Brie, Drizzt’s daughter. So it’s really a father-daughter journey in Starlight Enclave! What was your favorite interaction between the two?

Bob: My favorite part of that whole journey was having Drizzt trying to balance giving Brie an adventure and introducing her to a place that he thought would be of great future benefit to her against his very real fears that he was taking her down a long and dangerous road to get there.

The particular scene that stayed in my mind, though, is at the monastery, when Drizzt is watching Savahn, the third-ranking monk of the order, playing with Brie in the field behind the monastery. He’s pleased to see his daughter having fun, more pleased at seeing her being accepted by the monks, and more pleased still when it occurs to him that the particular game Savahn is playing seems more than a game, and almost an audition.

Lexi: There’s so much to love about the adventures of Drizzt. The places, the magic, but most of all his friends. Thank you so much for bringing them to life and putting them through the ringer time after time. Cheers to the release of Starlight Enclave and here’s to more Drizzt!!

Bob: I often sign books with “What a wonderful journey it’s been.” And I mean that. Because that’s what these decades have been for me: a journey. Writing is how I make sense of the world. Hearing from readers who have had their lives enhanced by being on this road beside me in reading the books almost makes the whole thing feel like a buddy fantasy in the meta and not just in the books.

About the Book

Starlight Enclave
(The Way of the Drow #1)
by R.A. Salvatore

Hardcover, 464 pages
Published August 3rd 2021 by Harper Voyager
From New York Times bestselling author R. A. Salvatore comes a new trilogy and adventure of Drizzt and fantasy’s beloved characters from Dungeons & Dragons’ Forgotten Realms.

After the settling dust of the demon uprising and two years of peace, rumblings from the Menzoberranzan drow have Jarlaxle nervous. Worried his allies may be pulled into a Civil War between the great Houses, he is eager to ensure Zaknafein is armed with weapons befitting his skill, including one in particular: Khazid’hea. A powerful artifact, the sword known as “Cutter” has started wars, corrupted its users, and spilled the blood of many, many people. Nonetheless—or maybe because of that—the rogue Jarlaxle and a small group of friends will go on an expedition looking for the weapon’s last wielder, Doum’wielle, in the freezing north, for she may be the key to unlocking the sword’s potential…and perhaps the key to preventing the bloodshed looming over the Underdark.

And as they explore the top of the world, Drizzt is on a journey of his own—both spiritual and physical. He wants to introduce his daughter Brie to Grandmaster Kane and the practices that have been so central to his beliefs. But, having only recently come back from true transcendence, the drow ranger is no longer sure what his beliefs mean anymore. He is on a path to determining the future, not just for his family, but perhaps the entire northlands of the Realms themselves.

Two different roads. On one, Jarlaxle and Zaknefein are on a quest to find pieces that could offer salvation to Menzoberranzan. On the other, Drizzt seeks answers that could offer salvation to not just his soul, but all souls.

And no matter the outcome of either journey, the Realms will never be the same again.

About the Author

As one of the fantasy genre's most successful authors, R.A. Salvatore enjoys an ever-expanding and tremendously loyal following.

His books regularly appear on The New York Times best-seller lists and have sold more than 30,000,000 copies. Salvatore’s most recent original hardcover, The Two Swords, Book III of The Hunter’s Blade Trilogy (October 2004) debuted at # 1 on The Wall Street Journal best-seller list and at # 4 on The New York Times best-seller list. His books have been translated into numerous foreign languages including German, Italian, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Turkish, Croatian, Bulgarian, Yiddish, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Czech, and French.

Salvatore's first published novel, The Crystal Shard from TSR in 1988, became the first volume of the acclaimed Icewind Dale Trilogy and introduced an enormously popular character, the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden. Since that time, Salvatore has published numerous novels for each of his signature multi-volume series including The Dark Elf Trilogy, Paths of Darkness, The Hunter's Blades Trilogy, and The Cleric Quintet.

His love affair with fantasy, and with literature in general, began during his sophomore year of college when he was given a copy of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings as a Christmas gift. He promptly changed his major from computer science to journalism. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications from Fitchburg State College in 1981, then returned for the degree he always cherished, the Bachelor of Arts in English. He began writing seriously in 1982, penning the manuscript that would become Echoes of the Fourth Magic. Salvatore held many jobs during those first years as a writer, finally settling in (much to our delight) to write full time in 1990.

The R.A. Salvatore Collection has been established at his alma mater, Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, containing the writer's letters, manuscripts, and other professional papers. He is in good company, as The Salvatore Collection is situated alongside The Robert Cormier Library, which celebrates the writing career of the co-alum and esteemed author of young adult books.

Salvatore is an active member of his community and is on the board of trustees at the local library in Leominster, Massachusetts. He has participated in several American Library Association regional conferences, giving talks on themes including "Adventure fantasy" and "Why young adults read fantasy." Salvatore himself enjoys a broad range of literary writers including James Joyce, Mark Twain, Geoffrey Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dante, and Sartre. He counts among his favorite genre literary influences Ian Fleming, Arthur Conan Doyle, Fritz Leiber, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien.

Born in 1959, Salvatore is a native of Massachusetts and resides there with his wife Diane, and their three children, Bryan, Geno, and Caitlin. The family pets include three Japanese Chins, Oliver, Artemis and Ivan, and four cats including Guenhwyvar.

When he isn't writing, Salvatore chases after his three Japanese Chins, takes long walks, hits the gym, and coaches/plays on a fun-league softball team that includes most of his family. His gaming group still meets on Sundays to play.

1 comment:

  1. I'm all about this 'buddy fantasy'!!! I loved Salvatore's responses, so good!!


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