October Questions

You write with insight about your characters’ vocations. How do you research a vocation?

Whenever possible, frankly, I write about vocations where I have some first-hand knowledge of the vocation. That’s why Lerris in The Magic of Recluce was a woodworker, although he’s far better than I ever was, and why so many of my military protagonists are pilots. It’s also why I write about characters involved in business, economics, politics, and the environment. When I do have to write about a character involved in a field I don’t know well, it takes a great deal longer, because that requires reading and researching in depth the vocation, talking to and watching people involved in it, and, if possible, persuading them to let me try, as an amateur, some tasks. For that reason, for example, it took me far longer to write The Magic Engineer than any other book I’ve written since I became a full-time writer.