Author Interview – Sarah Cawkwell

Morning! As promised, we have an interview with Sarah Cawkwell, triumphant author of The Gildar Rift, which if you haven’t read it already, you should have!

Sarah Cawkwell is actually pretty important to us in the Bolthole – she founded the original forum after the sad demise of the “Official” Black Library forums, and some of us can still remember her early fan fiction efforts – which were very good, as it happens – the fact she has gone from writing fan fiction to becoming a fully fledged Black Library author, with numerous short stories and a novel already in print and one on the way is nothing short of inspirational. So, without further ado…

Hi Sarah, how are you today? What have you been doing?

I got up. I went to work. I worked. Someone in the car park dented my car (the CADS). I came home. I stared at the computer for a while, then slid onto World of Warcraft (one of my guilty pleasures). Then, somehow, HOURS had passed and with no small amount of guilt I got back to editing ‘Valkia the Bloody’. Then someone distracted me with an interview email.

These people can’t be trusted! Lets talk about the Bolthole – it has had a few incarnations since you started it – is this what you envisioned when you set it up?

I didn’t envision the incarnations although it’s great now that the site has its own home.What I envisioned when I set up the Black Library Bolthole was a forum for readers and writers of Black Library fiction to post and critique one another’s work, to read reviews of their favourite books and to have old-fashioned conversations about the minutiae of the novels… in an environment where positivity was the buzz word. There are plenty of other forums out there where bitterness reins supreme – and it has its place, certainly. The Bolthole has always been one of the more polite and friendly forums out there. It’s stayed small and manageable and in that regard… yes. It’s what I envisioned.

How does it feel to have handed over the Bolthole reins? Do you like what we’ve done with the place?

It feels kind of strange, but also a relief. Due to commitments (you know… work, life, writing, not necessarily in that order), my time has been very limited. I’m glad that it’s been taken over by a team of people who enjoy Black Library stuff just as much as I do. It’s also nice to see the development of assorted social networking additions (blog, Twitter etc…) I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Hopefully we are going in the right direction! What got you into Warhammer? Were you a gamer? And if not, do you find yourself trawling through rulebooks to make sure you don’t upset any hardcore fans by blowing up a landraider with a laspistol?

I came into the Warhammer universes through reading Black Library fiction first. The gaming element is coming along incredibly slowly. Fortunately, Not So Small Anymore Son and Dearly Beloved are both gamers. They are also both bottomless pits of 40k and Fantasy lore. Whilst I have a pile of rulebooks, codices and army books forming a small pillar beside me, it’s frequently quicker to turn to one of them and ask them ‘What Would Sanguinius Do’?Well, maybe not that question exactly, but you get the point.I trawl the rulebooks regularly because research Is Your Friend.

We all know about your work for the Black Library – have you got ambitions to write your own, original fiction?

Ambitions, certainly. Time? Not so much. I have something that I refer to as Project: Backburner which is my original urban fantasy story. Every now and again I’ll fire it up and toss a few more words into it. For now, given the fact I have to keep a full time job on the go, it’s something which will have to wait.

Have you got any tips for us budding authors still clamouring at the editors door with the hope of getting picked up?

The usual, really. Read, read, read some more. Write as much as you can. The more you write, the better you get at it. Also, for Warhammer specifically… remember the tone of the two universes. That’s actually harder for WHF than it is for 40k. You have a broader remit in WHF and whilst you’re still bound by the lore of the universe, it doesn’t feel quite as restrictive as 40k. That sentence may not make sense. I’m tired. 🙂

When you’re not writing, how do you keep yourself entertained?

Reading! (Books, not the town to paraphrase Sir Terence of Pratchett). Also, I write non-work related stuff to relax. I know, it’s sad. Also, watching DVDs and playing WoW. I’d dearly love to have some sort of massively creative hobby, like being able to sculpt perfect representations of the Thinker out of chocolate, but I have the world’s shortest attention span.

When can I read Valkia the Bloody?

I believe you will find that this lovely, well-tempered lady will hit the bookshelves in the sunny month of July 2012.

Have you got any more signings coming up?

Indeed I do: at Warhammer World on 19th November during the Warhammer Doubles Tournament.

Either or… candy floss or brighton rock?

Candy floss. It’s like eating clouds. Eating rock is like eating… well, rock.

Brilliant – I cant be dealing with brighton rock either! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some questions.

The Gildar Rift is officially released in December, but you can preorder it NOW from the Black Library website, or you can pop along to Warhammer World on Saturday, buy a copy and get it signed by the author herself. There may even be haribo.

You can follow Sarah’s daily thoughts on twitter @pyroriffic and she has an entertaining blog http://pyroriffic.wordpress.com/

Thanks for stopping by. The next interview in the pipeline is with Laurie Goulding, submissions editor for the Black Library, and a man with knowledge. We also have an interesting article by Jon Schafer where he tries to “justify Warhammer”… you will have to come back and read it!