Answer Me This...
Spending a little more time on answering 'Ask the Author' questions. Today's question is an interesting one from Maestitia.
"Hi there Rob,
I wanted to ask you a question or two about your novel "Legion of the Damned."
I do critiques of novels "W40k" on the French site "The Reclusiam" (I've talked a bit on your blog).
I've already written my review as I finished your novel some time ago and I want to tell you that I found it excellent.
This is the most original of all the series "Space Marine Battle". You write more with the SF feeling than other writers of Black Library and this is what I loved : grim and hard.
Nevertheless, there is something that shocked me deeply.
Why spoil the end of the novel with the cover and the title?
Let me explain: I know that the authors do not write the synopsis but do you decide the title at least?
I mean, the "punch" ending is totally ruined by sublime Art of Jon Sullivan and the title.
I'd like to really know your point of view about it.
Thank you for your future answers.
Sorry, I’ve been a little behind with the answers to some of my Ask the Author questions. It’s great that you liked the Legion of the Damned. I look forward to your review on ‘The Reclusium’. On to the answer to your question. Let me break it down into several parts.
“I know that authors do not write the synopsis”. This is a common assumption about authors working for publishing companies that showcase shared universes. It is true that there are people at Games Workshop who have been responsible for colossal amounts of fantastic background and IP: they can justifiably be regarded as ‘loremasters’. The great editors at Black Library are also walking encyclopaedias of Warhammer, Warhammer 40k and Horus Heresy knowledge. These experts obviously have significant influence over specific details with individual projects and the direction of the different Warhammer series. Black Library author, however, are responsible for writing the synopses of their respective novels and short fiction. It is true, however, that authors do not necessarily write the blurbs on the back of their books.
“do you decide the title”. Quite often, authors submit a numbers of titles. ‘Legion of the Damned’ was one of the titles of submitted. It’s a cool title and the aforementioned ‘Legion’ is identified in the blurb. This does raise an interesting point in respect to the title of the novel. Anyone reading the blurb of the novel knows that the story concentrates on the Excoriator Space Marine Chapter. The Legion of the Damned is a mysterious phenomenon and the title of the novel might suggest that that the novel focuses exclusively on the Legion. Fair point. The problem with doing that is that you will ruin the background for many readers and gamers. A good author will take their readers part of the way and then allow them their own interpretations. Does the Legion of the Damned feature prominently in the novel? Yes. Are the Legion of the Damned present all the way through the novel? Yes. Does the representation of the Legion of the Damned conform to the background – Space Marines against impossible odds benefitting from the supernatural intervention of the Legion of the Damned? Yes – it even states so in the blurb. It’s funny – no-one thinks it is strange that the titular ‘Lord of the Rings’ doesn’t feature in every sentence on every page of every book in the series.
“punch ending” Thanks, Maestitia - it is a punch ending and intended as so. It is more than the involvement of the Legion of the Damned that make it a “punch ending”. After all, the Legion’s intervention is identified in the blurb. At the end of the day, readers do like to know the direction the writer is going. We can’t call all of our novels ‘Unspecified Space Marine Project’!
Great questions, Maestitia. Hope the answers helped you out!