In celebration of the Yula reprint an the latest Matriarchy release, I’m republishing FFG’s interview with Robert Jeschonek.
Soon, you’ll be able to follow all of the action in Robert Jeschonek’s novel. In the meanwhile, we were lucky enough to get the writer to answer a few questions.
Mr. Jeschonek is an accomplished writer, and some of his novels include My Favorite Band Does Not Exist, Earthshaker, and Day 9. He has kindly answered a few of our questions, and here is the first half of his responses.
Gaining some insight
Rising Sun, Falling Shadows is the first novel based on the Tannhäuser universe. Can you give us some insights into the process of translating the setting into this format? What challenges did you encounter?
I studied the background material from the Tannhäuser game extensively, learning the characters and everything I could about their world. I also studied the materials developed for the new Shogunate module, which was still in the formative stages. This did create a challenge in the outline phase, as the module bible changed often, and I had to change the outline to match it. But once the module materials were locked, and I got the go ahead to write, the book fell together beautifully. If ever there were an ideal game to base a novel on, Tannhäuser is it. The history is so rich, and the characters are so vibrant, that it just inspires a million ideas and directions to take--which, of course, is one of the reasons it makes such an awesome game.
What aspect of the Tannhäuser universe most excites you?
I love the mix of genres inherent in the universe, which lets me blend together all sorts of styles, characters, and elements. Tannhäuser is many things all at once: a military story, an occult horror tale, an alternate history saga, and a science fiction story. I can write a hardcore battlefield scene in one chapter, then switch to a dark supernatural scene in the next. It's the perfect universe for me to work in, since my writing in general features lots of crossed genres, mixed influences, and surprising combinations.
Developing a story
What character from the Tannhäuser setting did you most enjoy developing?
In terms of pre-existing characters, I really enjoyed writing Tala Aponi. She has such a bold, in-your-face personality, and she just jumped off the page and came to life for me. I also liked writing MacNeal, a true hero in the classic sense; he's the heart of Tannhäuser and the core of Rising Sun, Falling Shadows. But I have to say I had the most fun with the characters from the Shogunate, because they were brand new, and the game developers had done such a great job laying the groundwork. The Daimyo is totally cool, a master warrior with a complex personality. As for Itami, who wouldn't love writing a blue-skinned demonic monstrosity whose savage impulses exist side-by-side with an excellent vocabulary and misleadingly good manners? My absolute favorite, though, is a character I created for the book, a soldier named Hiruko. He's a decent man forced to take extreme action under extreme circumstances, and he has the soul of a poet. I hope I get the chance to develop him further in future novels set in this world.
Without spoiling anything, can you give Tannhäuser fans some idea of what to expect from Rising Sun, Falling Shadows?
Expect tons of action and lots of surprises. It's a fast-moving book with strong currents of horror and suspense. Readers will get to meet the Shogunate for the first time, which I think is exciting in its own right. But there's plenty of conflict between the Union forces and the Reich, in the person of Von Heïzinger and Zermann. Since the story's set in Kamchatka, under the dominion of the Matriarchy, you'll see plenty of Russians, too, as Holy Commissar Irina and her all new Bogatyr unit join the struggle. The Bogatyrs have their hands full with Oksana Gusarenko and the New Guard, who oppose the Black Angel Rasputin. So we bring in a lot of factions and favorite characters, showing off the awesome scope of the Tannhäuser universe. And they're all out to control a mystical artifact that could change the course of the war. Did I mention they're racing against time, because a massive volcano's about to erupt? Plus, there's lots of exciting Wolf action, as he's a major player in the quest and battle for the artifact.
Thank you, Mr. Jeschonek! Check back for the second part of this interview in the next few weeks. In the meantime, pre-order your copy of Rising Sun, Falling Shadows from the iBookstore.