From our very first steps into the magical world of DnD, the name «Salvatore» is the one that accompagnies us through our victorious – or deadliest – adventures. A writer who has won the hearts of many generations of DnD players and fantasy readers, and has created one of the most iconic and controversal elven characters ever: Drizzt – not to mention being among the first fantas writers who created dynamic, independent female charactters, like Catti-brie.
For all our readers who have lost therselves into the worlds of the «Forgotten Realms» or have joined the battles in the «DemonWars», mr Salvatore has a journey through his worlds, and thoughts, to offer.
How does it feel to have raised at least two generations of RPG players?
Well, I’ve played a part in that, no doubt, but I really don’t think about my work in that manner. I’m walking down this road of adventure with these characters, and other people have decided to come along for the adventure. When I view it this way, I’m pretty happy about how things have gone.
You were amongst the first authors to allow other authors to write parallel stories for your main characters and expand your mythology. What was the vision behind this and how did you feel about reading those stories?
Television. I write the Drizzt books, and the spin-offs, as if they’re the next season in a television series. I know the characters and so it’s easy to figure out what might come next as we wander the winding road.
You were one of the first writers to break stereotypes and create Catti-brie, a dynamic female character. How well was she embraced by your readers and what where your thoughts while creating her?
Honestly, at first, I received a lot of misogynistic letters regarding that character, because, yes, women in fantasy at that time weren’t usually spotlighted quite that high (by male authors, at least). I grew up with five older sisters, so I’ve been around powerful women my entire life. Writing Catti-brie, then Jilseponie from DemonWars, and now, more recently, the star of “Child of a Mad God,” a young woman named Aoleyn, is challenging, but quite satisfying.
For my entire life, the two stupidest things I’ve encountered are racism and sexism.
“DemonWars Saga” is my favorite series. It depicts the power of authority, where monks have a tight grip. What messages are lying behind the lines?
DemonWars is the way I see our world, and not even with all that much exaggeration. The struggles of the Abellican Church with the magical gemstones mirrors the schism in the Catholic Church around the time of the first millennium.
I’ve always been fascinated by those who will use power for corrupt ends. It seems rather dumb. The people who shine brightest through history are those who will work for the greater good, like, for instance, Jesus Christ – or at least, the New Testament writings describing the life of Christ.
Those who attain great power and abandon basic justice are, to me, the greatest villains.
Is there a chance we might have a new title in the Demon Stone series?
In Demon Stone? I don’t know. I doubt it, but you never know what might happen.
Any chance to see a Forgotten Realms series on television?
That would be up to Hasbro/Wizards of the Coast, obviously. I think it might happen, but so far, nothing to report.
How do you feel about the prejudice in literature concerning fantasy novels that originate from RPGs?
Meh. A book is a book. It stands or falls on its own, which means that it will stand with some people and fall with others. Drizzt has been going strong for 30 years, through more than two generations. I’ll take it.
You write books for the people who like them, not the ones who don’t.
Being a writer that has associated his name with a rather despicable, merciless race such as the drow, what was your approach so as not to make every single one of them another dull, evil, boring character?
I actually based the drow city on the Five Families on Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather.” While other races might see the drow that way, if they were wholly despicable and evil, there’d only be one left alive! These are not simple killing machines.
Besides Drizzt, you are the creator of a number of memorable and unique characters such as Pikel, the dwarf druid and my personal favorite Jarlaxle, leader of Bragan D’aerthe. Who is your all-time favorite character?
I’ll get boring here and say Drizzt. Because it is Drizzt. I love Jilseponie and Marcalo from DemonWars, the Highwayman from the book of the same title, and my favorite funny character is, hands down, Oliver deBurrows, Highwayhalfling, from the Crimson Shadow books.
I’d also say that Aoleyn, my new love, is right up there with anyone at this point.
If you were to head down to the dark, gloomy, hazardous caverns of the Underdark, who would you take along as companions? May they be your characters or any other, not necessarily from Faerün.
Aoleyn. She’ll find a way!
In your Corona novels, your characters and story are a lot darker and more mature than your Forgotten Realms ones. Was this done on purpose, to make it distinct from your previous works, or was it something that came naturally along the way?
When I write a Drizzt book, I know that 10-year-olds will be reading it. Also, I’ve tried very hard to keep the tone of the Drizzt books consistent for 30 years. When someone cracks open a new Drizzt book, I want him transported back in time to his old D&D games in high school.
With DemonWars, I don’t have to take into account other writers and game designers working in the world. If I want to burn down a city, I burn it down.
Mr. Salvatore, thank youy so much for your time! Wishing you, and your amazing worlds, the best!