Roger Zelazny was a giant in the world of sci-fi. Known for such works as Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness and one of the foundational works of my love of sci-fi and fantasy, The Chronicles of Amber.
In the late ’80s, the Santa Fe resident struck up a long-distance friendship with Jane Lindskold, then a young writer on the east coast. The friendship blossomed and Lindskold eventually moved to New Mexico to be with Zelazny during the last years of his life, eventually finishing his final novels Donnerjack and Lord Demon after he passed away in 1995.
Lindskold, who’s latest novel Artemis Invaded hit shelves in April, spoke about writing with this legend.
People always assume Roger tutored me in writing or something like that. The biggest gift he gave me was telling me that he felt I already had “it” and doing his best not to turn me into a cheap copy of himself. That doesn’t mean we didn’t talk writing. We did, a lot, and anyone who reads my book Wanderings on Writing will see plenty of his thoughts on specific elements of the craft mentioned.
We didn’t write much together. Both of us were soloists by nature. However, I did work with him with various projects, especially the odd little novel Ever After (sic), which had parts written by me, Mike Stackpole, David Drake, and Bob Asprin.
No pressure, right?
I kept in mind something Roger said about what he did when writing his portions of Deus Irae, which he wrote with Philip K. Dick. Roger said he didn’t try to write like Dick but to blend his own style with Dick’s to create a “meta” style. That’s what I did. I carefully re-read a lot of Roger’s novels and short stories, looking for typical stylistic tricks (like he used “essayed” rather than “attempted” or “tried,” or how he’d write long strings of dialogue without indicating who was saying what) and then I incorporated these.
Oh! And doing Donnerjack forced me to learn how to write from a wide variety of points of view, something I’d done only a little with to that point. I ended up doing this in my own Changer, which I think made it a much stronger book.