Detail from covers for "Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha" and "The Death of Antagonis" by David Annandale (Black Library)
I've been writing stories since I was very young, and so the impulse to inhabit imaginary worlds and share the adventures that occurred therein have always been part of my life.
—David Annandale, writer
David Annandale is a horror and science-fiction novelist. He teaches literature and film at the University of Manitoba and he lives and writes in Winnipeg.
Annandale epitomizes the word prolific. The year 2013 has barely begun and he's already finished writing three books.
SCENE decided to ask Annandale a few questions about his work and (no surprise) he wrote back immediately.
How do you juggle different plotlines and characters as you're working on different stories?
This is a challenge, but in the best possible way. If I could go back to the younger, struggling writer of my past, and tell him that he would one day be asked to write two very different books in close succession, he would have exploded with joy. Which is pretty much what happened when the Black Library asked me to write the novellas Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha and Mephiston: Lord of Death back to back.
Both books are in the first person, and take place in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, but the two characters are very different. One is an ordinary man who forces himself to achieve the extraordinary through iron will, while the other is superhuman who has become so distant from his origins that there is barely anything human left in him at all.
It was very important, then, that the two voices not resemble each other. Writing Mephiston in the present tense helped me create what I hope is a cold, somewhat disconcerting narration. But the most important tool, for me, is a full, detailed outline. That way I always know where I am at, and who is doing what.