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The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy

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In a series of incisive interviews, Leonard S. Marcus engages thirteen master storytellers in spirited conversation about their life and work, providing inspiring reading for fantasy fans and future writers alike. What kind of child were you? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Why do you write fantasy? "Fantasy," writes Leonard S. Marcus, "is storytelling with t In a series of incisive interviews, Leonard S. Marcus engages thirteen master storytellers in spirited conversation about their life and work, providing inspiring reading for fantasy fans and future writers alike. What kind of child were you? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Why do you write fantasy? "Fantasy," writes Leonard S. Marcus, "is storytelling with the beguiling power to transform the impossible into the imaginable and to reveal our own ‘real' world in a fresh and truth-bearing light." Few have harnessed this power with the artistry, verve, and imagination of the authors encountered in this compelling book. How do they work their magic? Finely nuanced and continually revealing, Leonard S. Marcus's interviews range widely over questions of literary craft and moral vision, as he asks thirteen noted fantasy authors about their pivotal life experiences, their literary influences and work routines, and their core beliefs about the place of fantasy in literature and in our lives.


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In a series of incisive interviews, Leonard S. Marcus engages thirteen master storytellers in spirited conversation about their life and work, providing inspiring reading for fantasy fans and future writers alike. What kind of child were you? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Why do you write fantasy? "Fantasy," writes Leonard S. Marcus, "is storytelling with t In a series of incisive interviews, Leonard S. Marcus engages thirteen master storytellers in spirited conversation about their life and work, providing inspiring reading for fantasy fans and future writers alike. What kind of child were you? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Why do you write fantasy? "Fantasy," writes Leonard S. Marcus, "is storytelling with the beguiling power to transform the impossible into the imaginable and to reveal our own ‘real' world in a fresh and truth-bearing light." Few have harnessed this power with the artistry, verve, and imagination of the authors encountered in this compelling book. How do they work their magic? Finely nuanced and continually revealing, Leonard S. Marcus's interviews range widely over questions of literary craft and moral vision, as he asks thirteen noted fantasy authors about their pivotal life experiences, their literary influences and work routines, and their core beliefs about the place of fantasy in literature and in our lives.

30 review for The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne Hamilton

    A series of interviews with thirteen of the 'big names' of fantasy. Mainly children's fantasy. Marcus starts each interview with 'What were you like as a child?' then tailors his next question, depending on the answer. I particularly liked the quote from Ursula Le Guin's The Tombs of Atuan. 'Knowing names,' said Sparrowhawk, 'is my job. My art. To weave the magic of a thing, you see, one must first find its true name out.' And Marcus' question: Are there ways in which writers of fantasy can get at A series of interviews with thirteen of the 'big names' of fantasy. Mainly children's fantasy. Marcus starts each interview with 'What were you like as a child?' then tailors his next question, depending on the answer. I particularly liked the quote from Ursula Le Guin's The Tombs of Atuan. 'Knowing names,' said Sparrowhawk, 'is my job. My art. To weave the magic of a thing, you see, one must first find its true name out.' And Marcus' question: Are there ways in which writers of fantasy can get at the true names more readily than can writer of 'realistic' stories? Answer: Well, it's far more direct for the fantasist. A Chekhov has to go through all the 'thick description' of the real world, which the clarity of the true name can scarcely pierce through, in gleams and glimpses only...and cannot be directly spoken. The fantasist can fly straight to the light... As a sort of do-it-yourself Taoist, I have to add that the name that can be spoken isn't the true name. And Philip Pullman's remark about his teacher reading Milton's poetry: ...the sound of Milton's poetry when read aloud, and then tasted> afterwards in your own mouth, was enormously powerful. From that experience, I learned that things can affect us before we understand them, and at a deeper level than we can actually reach with our understanding. I also learned that you respond physically> to poetry. Your hair stands on end. Your skin bristles. Your heart goes faster.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ambyr

    There's no great secrets here, but it's a charming look at the lives of many of the best children's fantasists of the twentieth century. I particularly appreciated hearing from Lloyd Alexander--whose personal life I've seldom seen discussed--and Brian Jacques, and any moments with LeGuin and Pratchett are worth cherishing. The questions could be repetitive, but whether it's the authors or Marcus's editing to thank, even answers to things as cliche as "What is your daily routine?" yield a variety There's no great secrets here, but it's a charming look at the lives of many of the best children's fantasists of the twentieth century. I particularly appreciated hearing from Lloyd Alexander--whose personal life I've seldom seen discussed--and Brian Jacques, and any moments with LeGuin and Pratchett are worth cherishing. The questions could be repetitive, but whether it's the authors or Marcus's editing to thank, even answers to things as cliche as "What is your daily routine?" yield a variety of interesting tangents. Marcus in general comes across as an excellent interviewer; the one exception is his obsession with Tolkien, which some of his subjects clearly do not share. (Watching them dodge the question has a charm all of its own, though.) And I think there's a lot of value to showing people--particularly children--that authors are ordinary people with ordinary lives, who spend more hours than they'd like answering e-mail and fewer hiking through the Australian bush.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Nelson

    When I came across this at the library, I had to check it out, because all of the interviews are from my favorite fantasy authors. These people have had a huge impact on the genre, and have been inspirations to me both as a reader and a writer. The Wand in the Word provides a brief look into the writers' lives in a quick-to-understand format. I enjoyed the pictures of the authors when they were younger, and I loved learning about their first experiences with reading, storytelling and fantasy. For When I came across this at the library, I had to check it out, because all of the interviews are from my favorite fantasy authors. These people have had a huge impact on the genre, and have been inspirations to me both as a reader and a writer. The Wand in the Word provides a brief look into the writers' lives in a quick-to-understand format. I enjoyed the pictures of the authors when they were younger, and I loved learning about their first experiences with reading, storytelling and fantasy. For some reason, I thought that this would be more writing instruction and less interview, (maybe because of the title?) but I quickly got over my disappointment. Being an aspiring writer and having read a lot of books from these people, it was interesting to compare their different views and ways of approaching stories and writing. And as always for people who live and breathe words, it is evident how they center their lives around books. Though somewhat insightful and interesting, the questions aren't groundbreaking. If you're looking for a tell-all book about your favorite fantasy author, this isn't it. It provides nice overviews for all the authors involved, but nothing too in-depth. The best part for me was that all of these authors have an encouraging outlook for aspiring writers. They are all very different and have very different experiences with school, books, reading, and life in general. Yet, all of them have experienced success. That was a great thing to see -- there isn't a formula for becoming a writer, the only thing that's required is a love for stories. Confession: I started writing right after I finished reading this book. A great read for fans of these authors and for aspiring writers. Also posted on Purple People Readers.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cyndy

    This is a great book to learn from if you are a writer. Yes, it deals with writers of fantasy, particularly children's fantasy, but there are good ideas for character building and other aspects of writing that folks in any genre could put to use. This is a great book to learn from if you are a writer. Yes, it deals with writers of fantasy, particularly children's fantasy, but there are good ideas for character building and other aspects of writing that folks in any genre could put to use.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Nandakishore Mridula

    Enjoyable light-hearted read. Stuff to while away a lazy afternoon. Does not give much insight into the authors' craft, though. Full review coming up soon. Enjoyable light-hearted read. Stuff to while away a lazy afternoon. Does not give much insight into the authors' craft, though. Full review coming up soon.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karima

    This is a wonderful collection of interviews with Fantasy some incredible Fantasy writers. I love the format, the questions, and the copy of an edited manuscript at the end of each chapter. It's also helpful to know that each writer has a process with similarities to mine-some don't write all day long; they may have a general idea of how a book will begin and end, but no clue about the middle; allow themselves to be spontaneous and take time to enjoy the craft... Overall, a good, quick read. This is a wonderful collection of interviews with Fantasy some incredible Fantasy writers. I love the format, the questions, and the copy of an edited manuscript at the end of each chapter. It's also helpful to know that each writer has a process with similarities to mine-some don't write all day long; they may have a general idea of how a book will begin and end, but no clue about the middle; allow themselves to be spontaneous and take time to enjoy the craft... Overall, a good, quick read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Etola

    An excellent series of interviews with famous writers of fantasy. Most of the people interviewed are authors I'm familiar with, which is a nice change from a lot of interview books where half the authors are folks I've never heard of or haven't read. There are a lot of great anecdotes and insights in this little volume. I'm glad I stumbled across it! An excellent series of interviews with famous writers of fantasy. Most of the people interviewed are authors I'm familiar with, which is a nice change from a lot of interview books where half the authors are folks I've never heard of or haven't read. There are a lot of great anecdotes and insights in this little volume. I'm glad I stumbled across it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sophie DiNola

    A great introduction to fantasy fiction, via interviews and photos, to major authors you may not know (and insights into ones you already love). It’s great for anyone wanting to write fantasy fiction. It’s full of anecdotes and fascinating details about these authors, their lives, and their approaches to and experiences with writing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    The people and answers are great but the questions are obvious and lack depth. I've read better interviews in weekly magazines than in this supposedly specialized collection. Also the selection of authors is perhaps not diverse enough? (2020 lens) The people and answers are great but the questions are obvious and lack depth. I've read better interviews in weekly magazines than in this supposedly specialized collection. Also the selection of authors is perhaps not diverse enough? (2020 lens)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emery

    I love this book. It’s the best of it’s kind and irreplaceable.

  11. 5 out of 5

    e.d.

    3.5 Stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    James Cannon

    Pretty good collection of interviews. Some are better than others (Le Guin's is one of the worse), but they're all readable and interesting. Pretty good collection of interviews. Some are better than others (Le Guin's is one of the worse), but they're all readable and interesting.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Robert Lloyd

    I loved how we were treated to a wide variety of writers with different life experiences and approaches to the writing of fantasy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Yani G

    Read it for the Pratchett. Enjoyed it pretty thoroughly.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mariella Taylor

    This was a fun chance to learn more about the writing and personal lives of so many fantasy authors that I adored growing up <3

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anika Claire

    Review was originally posted on The Oaken Bookcase on June 18, 2012. The Wand in the Word consists of thirteen interviews with writers of Fantasy, including Lloyd Alexander, Franny Billingsley, Susan Cooper, Nancy Farmer, Brian Jacques, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K. Le Guin, Madeleine L’Engle, Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and Jane Yolen. The questions asked during each interview vary, but range from descriptions of childhood to what their typical writing schedule is lik Review was originally posted on The Oaken Bookcase on June 18, 2012. The Wand in the Word consists of thirteen interviews with writers of Fantasy, including Lloyd Alexander, Franny Billingsley, Susan Cooper, Nancy Farmer, Brian Jacques, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K. Le Guin, Madeleine L’Engle, Garth Nix, Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and Jane Yolen. The questions asked during each interview vary, but range from descriptions of childhood to what their typical writing schedule is like, and revealing questions about characters from each writer’s works. I picked this book up at the library purely by chance as I was passing the non-fiction shelves and I’m so glad I did! Not only does it include some of my favourite authors, it has given me a few more books to add to my reading list. The interview answers are a lot more candid than the usual dry author bio descriptions and we’re given fascinating insights into the lives of these people. For example, Lloyd Alexander tells of serving during World War II, while several of the other authors were children during this time. Quite of few of them speak of their influence from JRR Tolkien, and one or two of them even studied under him at Oxford University, but then almost all of them go on to say that they have written stories very different to Tolkien’s. Each author offers their advice on writing and how the people in their lives encouraged them to persevere. Did you know that L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time was turned down by publishers twenty-six times?! The style differs from interview to interview, which gave me the feeling that the interviews were written rather than conducted face-to-face. They read easily and are engaging and I do recommend reading all the way through to Jane Yolen’s – it’s really quite funny! The Wand in the Word is a very enjoyable read for fans of the Fantasy genre and contains valuable advice for those who wish to write Fantasy stories.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Miceli

    Perhaps alphabetical order was not the best way to organize this anthology, simply because I found that the opening interviews of the collection were the least compelling. I would say "The Wand in the Word" is more of an interest read than a book through which to garner advice from fantasy authors. Though they certainly do advise in little tidbits, many of the questions asked were geared towards giving the reader a fuller picture of the authors as characters themselves; backstory, influences, wo Perhaps alphabetical order was not the best way to organize this anthology, simply because I found that the opening interviews of the collection were the least compelling. I would say "The Wand in the Word" is more of an interest read than a book through which to garner advice from fantasy authors. Though they certainly do advise in little tidbits, many of the questions asked were geared towards giving the reader a fuller picture of the authors as characters themselves; backstory, influences, work routines, and yes, occasionally tips. I enjoyed getting to know the authors on this level, and that sort of insight can be useful in its own right to aspiring writers. My biggest complaint was that many of the copied manuscript pages included in the book were completely unreadable. It was extremely frustrating to have this rare glimpse into an author's process tantalizingly in front of you, but unable to experience it because the picture was too fuzzy to make out the small handwriting or fonts. If you're looking for some insight into the lives and processes of a handful of well-known fantasy authors, this is worth a quick read. While I found it to be a very feel-good and motivational collection, I just felt like I consistently wanted a little more from it. But, it *does* use "Conversations" in the title to describe the nature of the book, and I suppose that is what it delivers; pleasant, informative, light conversations with some interesting authors.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Evan Hays

    What an excellent book. I am not quite sure how I hadn't found it sooner, or then gotten around to reading it sooner. Nearly every author in it is a favorite of mine. There were only 3 authors in the book that I haven't read anything by, and most I have read at least 2 or 3 by. It is my own fault for not having read any Diana Wynne Jones yet. This is a book I will likely return to again and again. For now, I don't have any ambitions to write my own fantasy novel, but being my wife's editor for he What an excellent book. I am not quite sure how I hadn't found it sooner, or then gotten around to reading it sooner. Nearly every author in it is a favorite of mine. There were only 3 authors in the book that I haven't read anything by, and most I have read at least 2 or 3 by. It is my own fault for not having read any Diana Wynne Jones yet. This is a book I will likely return to again and again. For now, I don't have any ambitions to write my own fantasy novel, but being my wife's editor for her novel is pretty close (she read it recently too). This book is very inspirational to continue with this project and to plot more for the future. Fantasy is so essential to speak to our problems, all the more so during a crisis like this Pandemic. When things happen that are out of our control and understanding, we need fantasy to speak to us in deeper truths. These are the truths that transcend specific circumstances. Tolkien and Lewis, even though not every single author loves them, still loom large throughout this novel. Even those that don't love them as mature authors still loved them initially and are later working as a counter to their redemptive version of fantasy. Each of these interviews are excellent. I have a good bit of experience with interviews myself, and I can say that they are very well done. The only thing, really, is that Neil Gaiman belonged in this book. I am sure Marcus wishes he could have gotten him in here.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thea Diepen

    I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to (or does!) write, especially if you're familiar with the authors. My favourite part was being able to compare the way they talk with the way they write, and being able to see how much of their writing voice comes up in their talking. Nancy Farmer, for example, just seems to breathe stories. Right from the first sentence, she's in storyteller mode, and it's really cool. Also, I love how Brian Jaques would sometimes say "meself". Words like that make m I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to (or does!) write, especially if you're familiar with the authors. My favourite part was being able to compare the way they talk with the way they write, and being able to see how much of their writing voice comes up in their talking. Nancy Farmer, for example, just seems to breathe stories. Right from the first sentence, she's in storyteller mode, and it's really cool. Also, I love how Brian Jaques would sometimes say "meself". Words like that make me happy. :) You can buy the book here on Amazon Note: I'm an Amazon affiliate so, if you buy the book through that link, I'll get a commission. What the legalese below doesn't say is that I only recommend books I think are awesome and worth reading multiple times. Just so that's clear. Note in legalese: "Thea van Diepen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.”

  20. 5 out of 5

    Caelan

    "The Wand in the Word" is an informative book that talks about some great writers of fantasy. Some of these authors include Jane Yolen, Brian Jacques, and Garth Nix. Readers feel as if the know the author better after reading this story. "The Wand in the Word" is written in a standard Q&A style asking questions such as "Did you enjoy writing as a child?". However, the reader also learns some facts about the authors unrelated to writing. For instance, Lloyd Alexander was revealed to have actually "The Wand in the Word" is an informative book that talks about some great writers of fantasy. Some of these authors include Jane Yolen, Brian Jacques, and Garth Nix. Readers feel as if the know the author better after reading this story. "The Wand in the Word" is written in a standard Q&A style asking questions such as "Did you enjoy writing as a child?". However, the reader also learns some facts about the authors unrelated to writing. For instance, Lloyd Alexander was revealed to have actually served in the army and fought in WW2. He also stated that he wrote about some of his experience through some of his stories. "The Wand in the Word" was a good book. Honestly, I only read this book was because my favorite childhood writer,Jane Yolen, was featured in the book. It still felt good to read about other authors' lives even though I was unfamiliar with some of their work. I enjoyed reading "The Wand in the Word" and felt that it was a "wanderful" book. I would recommend this to book to those who want to learn more about some great writers of fiction. While reading about the authors lives, you feel as if they are your own. "The Wand in the Word" introduces the background of the people who creates the magic of reading.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I was at the library today on other business and spotted this book on a re-shelving table. I recognized several names of the interviewed authors and casually picked it up. Between a chair in the library and a sunny spot of lawn I breezed through it. There were some interesting insights into the writers' past and present lives-- kinda hard to see a sailor and truck driver as the man who ended up writing about heroic rodents (Brian Jacques). I haven't read many interview-type books for comparison, I was at the library today on other business and spotted this book on a re-shelving table. I recognized several names of the interviewed authors and casually picked it up. Between a chair in the library and a sunny spot of lawn I breezed through it. There were some interesting insights into the writers' past and present lives-- kinda hard to see a sailor and truck driver as the man who ended up writing about heroic rodents (Brian Jacques). I haven't read many interview-type books for comparison, but I suspect that the questions could have been more varied and delved deeper into the authors' worlds. As it was, many of the responses were vague and seemed similar. Essentially: "I was a fanatic reader when I was young. Growing up during World War II instilled a drive to escape into fantasy. Lord of the Rings changed my life. My advice to aspiring writers is read, write, repeat." I still chuckled aloud during Pratchett's chapter, and it was worth learning that Pullman thinks his daemon might be "one of those dull, drab-looking birds, like a jackdaw, which makes a habit of stealing bright things."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I was at the library today on other business and spotted this book on a re-shelving table. I recognized several names of the interviewed authors and casually picked it up. Between a chair in the library and a sunny spot of lawn I breezed through it. There were some interesting insights into the writers' past and present lives-- kinda hard to see a sailor and truck driver as the man who ended up writing about heroic rodents (Brian Jacques). I haven't read many interview-type books for comparison, I was at the library today on other business and spotted this book on a re-shelving table. I recognized several names of the interviewed authors and casually picked it up. Between a chair in the library and a sunny spot of lawn I breezed through it. There were some interesting insights into the writers' past and present lives-- kinda hard to see a sailor and truck driver as the man who ended up writing about heroic rodents (Brian Jacques). I haven't read many interview-type books for comparison, but I suspect that the questions could have been more varied and delved deeper into the authors' worlds. As it was, many of the responses were vague and seemed similar. Essentially: "I was a fanatic reader when I was young. Growing up during World War II instilled a drive to escape into fantasy. Lord of the Rings changed my life. My advice to aspiring writers is read, write, repeat." I still chuckled aloud during Pratchett's chapter, and it was worth learning that Pullman thinks his daemon might be "one of those dull, drab-looking birds, like a jackdaw, which makes a habit of stealing bright things."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wardrip

    Reviewed by Aubrey Hepburn for TeensReadToo.com Ever wondered what it takes to be a writer or where writers get their ideas? THE WAND IN THE WORD answers these questions and more. The book is in question/answer format. Each author is introduced with a brief biography, and each section is closed with a reader - a list of books written by that author. I enjoyed reading each author's responses: war stories from Brian Jacques and Garth Nix, rejection tales by Tamora Pierce, Granny Aching character ins Reviewed by Aubrey Hepburn for TeensReadToo.com Ever wondered what it takes to be a writer or where writers get their ideas? THE WAND IN THE WORD answers these questions and more. The book is in question/answer format. Each author is introduced with a brief biography, and each section is closed with a reader - a list of books written by that author. I enjoyed reading each author's responses: war stories from Brian Jacques and Garth Nix, rejection tales by Tamora Pierce, Granny Aching character inspiration from Terry Pratchett, and good, solid writing advice from all around. This is one book that will spread through your home or workplace. I showed the book to my mother to describe something about one of the featured authors, leaving her engrossed in a story by Lloyd Alexander. When I came back in, she was reading a quote to my teenage brother. Three with one blow, I guess, but we all enjoyed catching a glimpse of what makes a fantasy writer. I'd recommend THE WAND IN THE WORD for anyone who writes or reads fantasy - or who plans on becoming a writer in the future.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This is a collection of 13 interviews of fantasy authors, and I've read at least one book by 9 of them. The questions asked are about their influence by J.R.R. Tolkien, WWII, and their various upbringings. Many of them have met Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and/or seen them give lectures, of which I am very jealous. Each author submitted a picture of a page from an early draft of one of their works, edited and scribbled-on sheets of paper that show that these famous authors are as human as the rest of u This is a collection of 13 interviews of fantasy authors, and I've read at least one book by 9 of them. The questions asked are about their influence by J.R.R. Tolkien, WWII, and their various upbringings. Many of them have met Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and/or seen them give lectures, of which I am very jealous. Each author submitted a picture of a page from an early draft of one of their works, edited and scribbled-on sheets of paper that show that these famous authors are as human as the rest of us. I found it very inspiring. Some authors did well in school, some did not. Some have a work schedule every day, some do not. Some know the end before they start to write, some do not. It shows how everyone has their own style, and no one person does it the "right" way. Mostly their advice to writers is to read and write as much as possible, and learn to not dwell on the criticism. A must-read for anyone who likes writing in any form, or anyone interested in the life of an author.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    I loved this book; I picked it up at a convention in July and set it aside to read when I had a chance. Power outage in August provided me the opportunity - and at just the right time! As an aspiring author who beginning the process of querying agents for my own fantasy work, the advice of the masters heartened me greatly. The reminders to perservere, to ignore the naysayers, and to stay true to your art and what your heart tells you about your own work was just what I needed. I also LOVED seein I loved this book; I picked it up at a convention in July and set it aside to read when I had a chance. Power outage in August provided me the opportunity - and at just the right time! As an aspiring author who beginning the process of querying agents for my own fantasy work, the advice of the masters heartened me greatly. The reminders to perservere, to ignore the naysayers, and to stay true to your art and what your heart tells you about your own work was just what I needed. I also LOVED seeing pages from their drafts - cross outs, edits, bad grammar mistakes, overwriting. It's nice to know that even the masterpieces were created through hard work, rather than springing completed from the author's brain. A fascinating and engrossing look inside the minds of some of the greatest writers--of any genre--of our time. My favorite quote: from Madeline L'engle "One eleven-year-old boy said to me once, 'I read A Wrinkle in Time. I didn't understand it, but I kenw what it was about."

  26. 4 out of 5

    David

    I picked this up before realizing it was directed at children. Most of the writers primarily write YA fantasy, and many of the questions focus on their childhoods. That's not necessarily a problem, but after you read "I was a quiet kid who read a lot and then started writing" seven times, you're kind of ready for a new line of questioning. Many of the questions were the same for every writer, which was a bit dull. There were interesting bits, and it was a nice introduction to a handful of writer I picked this up before realizing it was directed at children. Most of the writers primarily write YA fantasy, and many of the questions focus on their childhoods. That's not necessarily a problem, but after you read "I was a quiet kid who read a lot and then started writing" seven times, you're kind of ready for a new line of questioning. Many of the questions were the same for every writer, which was a bit dull. There were interesting bits, and it was a nice introduction to a handful of writers I've read and a few that I haven't. But on the whole, I would have rather read one of their books than how they felt about living through World War II. But maybe that's just me. One cool thing: For each writer, there was a picture of a revised page from their work. It was an interesting view into the process of the writers. For example, Lloyd Alexander scrapped nearly the entire page and rewrote 80% of it, while Ursula K. Le Guin only changed a few words.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie

    This book has interviews with numerous fantasy authors. All of them are well known, and I have read works from several of them. The interviewer was quite good at getting at the author's personality through the questions. Aspiring writers will find it especially interesting, because several of the questions asked had to do with their writing methods, for example: do you know how a book will end when you start writing it? I found these very interesting, but someone who doesn't aspire to be a write This book has interviews with numerous fantasy authors. All of them are well known, and I have read works from several of them. The interviewer was quite good at getting at the author's personality through the questions. Aspiring writers will find it especially interesting, because several of the questions asked had to do with their writing methods, for example: do you know how a book will end when you start writing it? I found these very interesting, but someone who doesn't aspire to be a writer probably would not find them quite as interesting. I found it to be a great glimpse into who these authors really are, and an interesting view into what in their life influenced their writing. It will definitely leave you with a better understanding of them, and also with several new fantasy books you want to read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Brouse

    On Friday there was a package on my “desk” at work waiting for me. I love this part of the job. Inside was a book sent specifically for me with a note saying, “Hi Mandy, The first of many. Cheers”. And the book inside is what I have spent an entire delightfully thunderstormy day reading: The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy. I vaguely remember requesting a copy of this book a while back and love that it came unexpected and with the deliciously hopeful promise of many more t On Friday there was a package on my “desk” at work waiting for me. I love this part of the job. Inside was a book sent specifically for me with a note saying, “Hi Mandy, The first of many. Cheers”. And the book inside is what I have spent an entire delightfully thunderstormy day reading: The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy. I vaguely remember requesting a copy of this book a while back and love that it came unexpected and with the deliciously hopeful promise of many more to come. I think I know who sent it to me and I’ll e-mail them thanks, but for now I just want to review this beauty. read the rest at: http://eoseventeen.blogspot.com/2009/...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    This book is a series of interviews with a variety of established/ recognized fantasy authors. Brian Jacques (a mischievous old rascal, from the sound of it), Phillip Pullman (dour miserable fellow, also from the sound of it), Ursula LeGuine, Madeliene L'Engle, and a bunch of other authors answer questions about the influence of the World Wars, Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and many other topics on their development as people and as writers. The overwhelming consensus amongst them seems t This book is a series of interviews with a variety of established/ recognized fantasy authors. Brian Jacques (a mischievous old rascal, from the sound of it), Phillip Pullman (dour miserable fellow, also from the sound of it), Ursula LeGuine, Madeliene L'Engle, and a bunch of other authors answer questions about the influence of the World Wars, Tolkein's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and many other topics on their development as people and as writers. The overwhelming consensus amongst them seems to be that there is no consensus, no right or wrong way to write, or to write fantasy. The authors come from a wide range of background, culturally, socio-economically, etc. It really was a fascinating read, and now I've got a lot more books/ authors to add to my to-read list.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    In his interviews with these writers certain ideas are repeated: all of them have read Lord of the rings and cite it as an important influence, many grew up during World War ll and say it had a profound effect on their worlds, both real and fantasy and many of the writers had families that either did not support them as writers either through indifference or outright negative feedback. Another repeated theme is advice to young writers: don't rewrite what you've read. Use what you've read as a sp In his interviews with these writers certain ideas are repeated: all of them have read Lord of the rings and cite it as an important influence, many grew up during World War ll and say it had a profound effect on their worlds, both real and fantasy and many of the writers had families that either did not support them as writers either through indifference or outright negative feedback. Another repeated theme is advice to young writers: don't rewrite what you've read. Use what you've read as a springboard for your own ideas and keep writing. Editing is also a common theme and there are pages that show the editing process of the writers. Written in interview form the writers are given space to talk about themselves, their childhoods nd their writing processes. A very informative book.

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