World Building and High Fantasy, a Dark Forest Creative Nook interview with Gregory J. Glanz
If you are a fan of High Fantasy (and we at THE DARK SIRE are), you are probably enjoying Gregory J. Glanz’s stories Shroud of Darkness (Issue 3) and Descent into Darkness (Issue 4), the first two stories in a planned three story series. High Fantasy is an incredibly complex genre in which the author must create a functioning world outside of our “real” one. His world must follow the physical laws of that unique universe, no matter how convoluted they seem. But that’s part of the mind-teasing fun of reading High Fantasy. For those of you enjoying Mr. Glanz's work, here are a few questions that some of his fans have asked him. We hope you enjoy his answers.
TDS: In your trilogy, you write about a half-orc named Wank. Why did you choose a half-breed for your story? Is there any social commentary involved?
Gregory J. Glanz: As a half-breed among cavern-dwelling orcs, he is living in the brutal margins of existence. And while there is a certain amount of social commentary inherent in that situation, I really try to focus more on the individual efforts to overcome one’s reality, emphasizing that, day-to-day, one’s greatest antagonist is one’s self.
TDS: If we could see a much bigger picture of Wank's world, what would it look like?
Gregory J. Glanz: The continent where Wank lives runs from sea to sea and exemplifies what we see in our world today. In his world, racial homelands are places where old mores and tribal peculiarities are adhered to, while new ideas and other races are shunned. For instance, the elven tribes to south are very insulated, a self-isolating race whose forested domain is held to be sacrosanct. However, in more cosmopolitan areas, humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes and even half-orcs, mix easily, each bringing with them their own distinctive ideas and cultures for others to see and sample.
TDS: Most writers have a favorite section or part of their story. Do you have a favorite section of Wank's adventure - and what about that section is dear to you?
Gregory J. Glanz: In these first three stories, I think it is very telling of his character and experiences when he first sees humans, and especially when he is, by circumstances, more or less forced to walk through a human town, something heretofore unimaginable to him. His first reactions to humans as if they were monsters, and then later as if the whole town was a carnival speaks to his naiveté and what he must overcome to survive on human ground.
TDS: Now that Wank's story is coming to an end, how do you feel? What are you hoping for readers to take away from it?
Gregory J. Glanz: The resilience of Wank’s character is that special something about him that drew me to create him; the fact that he is the downtrodden among the lowly and survives regardless of odds, though at times at great cost to himself. For my part, the stories will continue, though in longer format going forward.
TDS: When TDS thinks fantasy, we look toward Tolkien. Was he an influence on your trilogy? Who else has influenced you as a writer?
Gregory J. Glanz: I don’t think you can include a race that exists in Tolkien’s books without having been influenced by him. One of the goals for me was to create something that, while familiar in some aspects, also branched out along unexpected avenues. Thus, this sort of sordid anti-hero that breaks the old mold was born in my mind. Among other authors of personal influence, of which there are numerous, Fritz Lieber and his adventures of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser were of particular interest as I began this series. Kurt Vonnegut may be the first author whose writing I fell in love with, spurring me on to begin telling my own stories. And Stephen R. Donaldson’s work has always drawn me because it had a little darker bent underneath it all.
TDS: I'd like to know more about your process, especially for your planning on this trilogy. How did you plan Wank's adventure? What did you do to research and create such a wonderful story?
Gregory J. Glanz: When I first started working with the half-orc, his story began after these three stories. Only after I had placed him in a larger, human-dominated culture did I start to back track and figure out how he had gotten there. The fully-fleshed out future Wank was then the catalyst for building the half-orc and the world around him as his younger version and the circumstances that formed him.
TDS: Would you ever consider expanding Wank's story into a full fantasy novel? What would you change to do so?
Gregory J. Glanz: As previously mentioned, this character was created somewhat backwards. To do that I had a fairly well developed scenario and city from his future. Currently I have stories in various states of development along a linear timeline. In the end, this will comprise a novel-length manuscript of short stories and novellas. I have some thoughts on an actual novel for the character, and hopefully have the opportunity someday not too far down the road to continue his story.
TDS: What's next for you as a writer? What are you working on now?
Gregory J. Glanz: I recently finished a pandemic story which needs a home, and am closing in on the end of a science fiction story. I will soon begin looking for publication homes for those stories. Typically I’ll get bored doing that not long after I get started and jump into another writing project, coming back to those pieces, and others, to find a spot for them between moments of creation.
TDS: What other writing projects are you involved in?
Gregory J. Glanz: I’m writing and co-directing a series of documentaries on rural, generational, Irish pubs. The series, A Proper Pint (http://www.aproperpintfilm.com/) currently consists of three shows and can be streamed on Amazon Prime, checked out at many local libraries, or purchased as a DVD from Amazon and other retailers. We were supposed to shoot the fourth edition this year, but alas, pandemics being what they are, it will have to wait. Hopefully the world normalizes and travel once again becomes feasible in 2021. Sláinte!
Look for the third story in Mr. Glanz’s trilogy in Issue 5 of THE DARK SIRE literary magazine.
* * *
If you have any questions for Gregory J. Glanz, please leave them in the comments. We'll get you the answer!
Don't Miss out! Subscribe to TDS or pre-order Issue 5,