Shortly after the Black Library Weekender, I contacted David Guymer to see if he would like to contribute to this blog in the form of an interview. He gracefully accepted.
I hope you enjoy :-)
Could you tell us how and when you got into the hobby?
Like a lot of gamers my age, I started out playing Space Crusade, and through that discovered the wider world of Games Workshop. I picked up a box of Clanrats aged 12 and never looked back
You have a PhD in molecular microbiology. How did you go from that, to being an author?
Science is a great career full of great people, as satisfying and inspiring as anything a creative person could want. And it doesn’t actually pay too badly, despite what scientists like to complain about when they compare themselves to vets, doctors, or City financiers (compare themselves to authors and they’d feel much happier). Unfortunately the career path of a scientist probably hasn’t changed much since Isaac Newton’s day and is essential a pyramid with a whole lot PhD students at the bottom, a few post-doctoral scientists in the middle, and the big guy on top.
It doesn’t take a PhD in anything to figure out that not all of those students at the bottom can end up being the guy on the top.
Despite how much I loved the work I knew I was never going to be that guy, so started looking for other things. The desire to write was starting to come along at about the same time. I was lucky that the first story I wrote, The Tilean’s Talisman, was picked up by Black Library through their open submissions window.
What influenced your writing growing up?
Since I never had any great inclination to write when I was younger, it’s difficult to say in hindsight. But I read Fantasy and SF almost exclusively. Terry Pratchett, Anne McCaffrey, Brian Jaques, Robin Jarvis, the Darksword Books by Magaret Weiss.
Who is your favourite author, and why?
There’s any number I could name, generally depending on what I’m ready at the time. Any of those names I mentioned above would be high on my list, as would Joe Abercrombie, Conn Iggulden, Dan Abnett or Bernard Cornwell.
But I’d probably name Lois McMaster Bujold as my favourite author. She writes Fantasy and SF that is filled with great ideas, but that always manage to move me with great characters.
You were one of the guests at the Black Library weekender. What are your thoughts on how the event went?
I love these events because they’re a chance to get out of the house and meet people. There’s a few Black Library guys I know well (Josh, and Guy, and Gav for instance) and a few I don’t, and it was nice to have a good talk with Jim Swallow and David Annandale, meet Robbie McNiven for the first time, as well put faces to the legion of new names behind the scenes at Black Library. Unfortunately we’re always kept so busy that the event itself becomes something of a blur and I never leave feeling that I’ve done everything or seen everyone that I wanted to. It wasn’t helped that I went to bed before midnight on the Saturday. As a parent of a toddler I was torn between the competing desires for a chance to drink until late and the chance for a night’s uninterrupted sleep.
I’m not sure either won.
Out of all of your novels with Black Library, which one are you most proud of?
The Gotrek and Felix novels Kinslayer and Slayer, probably. Writing the concluding parts to such a long-running and well-loved series, there was a lot riding on it, and I knew that if I didn’t knock it out of the park then the fandom would remember it forever. I think Slayer is still my highest rated book, which is satisfying.
If you could choose what race or event you would like to write a novel on, what would it be?
I’m a lifelong skaven player, so anything involving skaven. They’ve poked their heads above ground a few times now in Age of Sigmar but they’ve not had a novel that really looks at them in detail yet.
Do you play the hobby? If so, what armies do you collect?
I come and go. I’ve currently got an Adeptus Mechanicus army for 40K, doubling as a Shadow War warband, and a Malignants/Sylvaneth (I think they look good together) army for Age of Sigmar. I was recently at the Warhammer World open day however and I’m totally sold on the new Necromunda. I was Orlocks and Goliaths back in the day, but I think I’m going to wait and see what the new Van Saar or Delaque miniatures look like.
Can you tell us what you are working on now, and when you aim to complete it?
I’m working on a few things right now.
Probably the most exciting thing is the return of Gotrek Gurnisson to the Age of Sigmar, a 4-part audio series that was announced at the Black Library Weekender and which will be out late next year. That’s actually finished, but I’m working through some re-writes so the actors involved (some big names apparently) can read the scripts before Christmas.
I’m also working on another Age of Sigmar with the working title of ‘Knight Questor’ which follows the Hamilcar Bear-Eater character from my earlier short stories and audios. He’s something of a larger than life, Ciaphas Cain type character, and if he’s as popular with the fans as with the editorial staff then I’ll be well satisfied.