Douglas Seacat Interview Part 1

Long known for his incredible knowledge of the Iron Kingdoms setting—and quite a few lands beyond western Immoren—Doug Seacat has an incredible number of short stories to his credit, some of which haven’t seen the light of day in years…if ever. Skull Island eXpeditions is compiling a wealth of these stories for release this spring, and Doug took some time out of his schedule (hint: he’s been working on a special project due in June!) to answer some questions about the upcoming collection!

Skull Island: How long have you been writing fiction in the Iron Kingdoms?

art credit Wilson, Snoddy

 DS:  The exact dates feel hazy now, but I think the first story I wrote for the setting was maybe 2001. It was “Stone and Blood,” a short story involving a dwarven clan feud over the rights to a construction project in Rhul. So it has been about sixteen years, give or take, which is astonishing to consider. In those early days, we were working on defining the setting in general. I often found it helped for me to write a story on the topics we were discussing to help it become real. This also became a means for those of us involved in those early days to kick ideas around and collaborate on what worked and what didn’t. 

 (Illustration from "Stone and Blood" by Matthew D. Wilson and Brian Snoddy)

Skull Island: Do you have a favorite character to write about?

DS:  Since we have so many characters, this is always a tough question. It varies quite a bit from year to year. But Madrak has been one I’ve returned to frequently and with fondness, having been involved in his character development since the start. Sometimes things got a little bleak with him, but I still always enjoyed the chance to tell his story. Sometimes it was fun to find new perspective on Madrak through other significant characters around him, like Doomshaper, Borka, or his mate Kargess. One of my favorite early stories I wrote in preparation for the initial launch of HORDES was “Bond of Brothers,” the back-story featuring the unlikely friendship between Leto Raelthorne and Madrak, and how that fell apart. I felt connected to both these characters and had considerable empathy for both of them. I wanted it work out but knew it wouldn’t, since each was stubborn and blind in his own way. This story came together very quickly and naturally.

Skull Island: So, how do you remember all these stories and all the continuity around them? 

DS:  Living in this fiction day to day helps with keeping it alive in my head, though I’d be lying if I claimed I could remember everything. I do have a strong “mental simulation” of the setting in my brain. But I still forget things periodically and have to go back and reread or double check facts to be sure my memory isn’t playing tricks on me. Periodically someone at a convention will ask a question that throws me or reminds me of some detail forgotten years ago. I’ve found that even better than remembering everything is being skilled at knowing where all the information happens to be so I can look it up when required, which is often!

Part 2 of Doug’s interview coming next Tuesday, January 24, when Doug will talk about select stories in the collection and stories he envisions on the horizon!

Next blog update: Thursday, January 19