George R.R. Martin in conversation with Jane Johnson

Last night at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, 500 George R.R. Martin fans had the opportunity to listen to the man himself in conversation with his UK editor (and Voyager Publishing Director, and successful author in her own right) Jane Johnson. Tickets were sold through Waterstones Gower Street, who were wonderful hosts for George and Jane, and who delivered a sell-out event.

The scheduled 30-minute conversation overran to just under an hour, but no-one in the audience was complaining – in fact, most tweeters were annoyed that it didn’t go on longer! George opened with two very exciting announcements: that both Game of Thrones the TV series and A Dance with Dragons had been nominated for Hugo Awards (for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form and Best Novel, respectively) and that Game of Thrones has officially been picked up by HBO for a third season.

Then Jane opened with the questioning, beginning with a note on how closely related Fantasy and Historical fiction are – as George said, they are “sisters under the skin” – which gave George the opportunity to expand upon his love of Historical fiction. Any George fan should read his excellent interview with Bernard Cornwell, and he also cites the brilliant French author Maurice Druon (The Accursed Kings) as one of the influences for A Song of Ice and Fire.

Following on were questions concerning how he manages to hold all the character threads and settings and histories of A Song of Ice and Fire in his head while writing (George admits: sometimes at the expense of real-life memories!) and his views on war and why fantasy writers in particular find it such fascinating subject matter. A few questions from Jane’s Twitter feed (Follow her: @JaneJohnsonBakr) caused a few laughs and a bit of consternation from George – like the question about how he manages to write so well from the point of view of a teenage girl! The answer, said the author, comes down to empathy – he’s not a dwarf, a crippled boy or a teenage girl but all of those characters are, at their heart, just people, and that common thread of humanity helps George get into the skin of any person he needs to. Look out for a full transcript of the interview, coming shortly on this blog.

A very successful signing followed, with fans lining up to have their books ‘defaced’ (as George calls it) by one of their idols.

It all went very smoothly and we have it on good authority that George RR Martin loved his time meeting and greeting the UK fans. Voyager would like to extend a special thanks to anyone who came out to the event and contributed to being such a gracious audience – it was a great event and that’s all down to the fans.

 

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