I recently did an interview for my local newspaper The Lincolnshire Echo regarding the release of my second novel Atlas Infernal. Since the interview appeared in a local publication I thought it might be fun to serialise it here. A big thanks goes to Dan Sharp at the Echo who conducted the interview and who bravely champions science fiction in word and deed.
“1) The book is set in the universe of Warhammer 40,000 but where did the idea for Czevak and the Atlas Infernal itself come from? What inspired their creation?
Warhammer 40,000 is a shared fictional ‘universe’ in the same way as there are many different writers telling their own stories in the Doctor Who universe, those belonging to DC and Marvel, serial crime dramas, The Simpsons or even the recent James Bond novels. It is a communal sandbox where everyone gets to play in their own corner and create their own part of that universe. This can create a very rich experience for readers. They can experience a range of different voices and approaches within a common setting with which they grow increasingly familiar. The Warhammer 40,000 universe provides the setting for a highly enjoyable game based in the far future, but knowledge of the game is not required in order to enjoy the novels. Many people all over the world buy novels and read stories based in its universe without ever playing the game.
One of the most rewarding aspects of a shared universe is collaboration. This doesn’t mean writers working together on projects. It means writers leaving loose ends all over the universe, that can be picked up by other writers who see opportunities. This also appeals to readers who appreciate the interrelated nature of the material to which they have made a commitment. Inquisitor Czevak was a character of significance in the Warhammer 40,000 universe but nothing had been written specifically about him. His presence is alluded to in different situations during the fictional history of the background but next to nothing was known about him personally, what he had done and his ‘present’ whereabouts. I spotted this opportunity and immediately wanted to tell his story.
Czevak is an Imperial Inquisitor – a man charged with rooting out heresy and corruption across humanity’s stellar empire - a galactic witchfinder: purging worlds of alien cults, daemonic intrusions and mutants cursed with unnatural powers. Czevak operates within an area called The Eye of Terror, a region of space where hell and reality overlap. Using an ancient tome called the Atlas Infernal he navigates his way across daemon worlds, where evil gods and their corruptive powers hold sway and the rules of reality, let alone physics, rarely apply. One of the most direct influences on Czevak’s creation, therefore, was the epic poem The Divine Comedy and Dante’s journey through the nine circles of Hell.”