In fact, maybe I've been too lucky; I'm starting to run out of favorite writers to interview.
I had a phone conversation with Benioff that lasted close to 40 minutes. Sadly, that means some of the interview had to be excised — but,as with the Deleted Scenes feature on a DVD, the blog seems like a perfect spot for the questions that didn't make the cut.
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Bolton: Have you read the reviews for City of Thieves?
Benioff: I've read the ones I was told to read. [Laughter] I did read the one in the Times yesterday. I've read most of them. I guess there were one or two where the editor said, "Don't bother reading that one." And I took her advice.
Bolton: I didn't see the Times piece, but all the ones I've found have just been ecstatic.
Benioff: Well, thank you. The Times one was good. It was a relief. That's a nerve-wracking one because it's the Times and I'm a New Yorker, and I grew up reading the New York Times Book Review at a pretty early age. But I've been pretty lucky so far. I've had more than my share of bad reviews, though. Especially with the movies [I've written].
Benioff: I'd like to think that I'm used to it, but you never are, really. Yeah, I've gotten some terrible ones. You know that site Rotten Tomatoes?
Benioff:One of the movies I wrote is like a 24 or 25 or something on Rotten Tomatoes.
Bolton: Which movie was that?
Benioff: It was called Stay.
Bolton: Right, with Ewan MacGregor.
Benioff: Exactly. Got bashed.
Bolton: I'm sorry.
Benioff: [Laughter] It's okay.
Bolton: Both City of Thieves and Troy are period pieces set in times of war. Are you drawn to historical material in general?
Benioff: No. I mean, Troy was a very specific thing. I always loved the Trojan War myths and grew up reading them. And City of Thieves was very much that I had this specific story in mind. But in general, I like to avoid it whenever possible, because it's just a shitload of research and that's not fun for me. I would much rather not be doing a lot of research, if at all possible. I did get into it with City of Thieves, just because I found the period so fascinating — and with 20th century Russian history in particular, it's hard not to be fascinated by it. But I really hope whatever the next novel is will not be historical, because it's a lot more work and I'm lazy. [Laughter]
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Chris Bolton co-created the all-ages webcomic Smash, which will soon be published by Candlewick Press, and created the comedy series Wage Slaves. His short story "The Red Room" was published in Portland Noir from Akashic Books.
Books mentioned in this post