Tor.com interview with Isaac Stewart

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Name Tor.com interview with Isaac Stewart
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Date May 7, 2020
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Drew McCaffrey

Going hand-in-hand with the maps is the character Nazh, who annotates many of the in-universe maps. How much of Nazh was your idea? What about him appeals to you?

Isaac Stewart

The story behind Nazh is, I was in Brandon’s writing group when we were workshopping The Rithmatist. And there’s a character named Nalizar in that book. I could never remember his name, so I kept calling him Nazrilof. So it became this running gag with Brandon, like… “Nalizar and Nazh are different people. Nazh is your alter ego, Isaac, and Nalizar is a character in The Rithmatist.”

When we got to The Alloy of Law, Brandon and I were firmly in the camp of including maps that are artifacts from the world. And we thought, where are they getting these? And who’s labeling them? Diana Wynne Jones wrote a book called The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and there’s a map in the front that basically says that if a location is labeled on the map, then by golly you’re gonna go to the place during the course of the story. Fantasy maps have gotten this reputation of being kind of spoilery.

So when we got to the map of Elendel, we were looking at it, thinking if we only labeled the places that were necessary for the story, then we’re falling into this trope of fantasy. So how can we subvert this a bit? So, if the novel is compiled by Khriss, presumably, then maybe she has somebody who goes and gets the maps and labels them for her with pertinent information. It might still feel a little like “these labeled things are the important parts” but at least there’s an in-world reason why that is. That allowed us to develop a character around that. Brandon said, “Why don’t we have Nazh do this?” to which I agreed, and Brandon said, “Isaac, welcome to the Cosmere.”

Since then, Nazh’s role has grown into basically a sidekick for Khriss. Now, when working with Nazh, we think of him as a grumpy James Bond.

#2 Copy

Drew McCaffrey

Your input on the Cosmere goes beyond just the art—you wrote some of the Mistborn Era 2 broadsheet articles. Is there any plan for you to write more small-format things like that, continuing Nazh’s errands for Khriss?

Isaac Stewart

I wrote the Allomancer Jak story from Shadows of Self and the Nikki Savage story for The Bands of Mourning. Currently, we have an origin story for Nazh planned, which takes place on Threnody, as well as a few stories with Nikki Savage plotted out. It’s likely Nazh will probably show up again to torment her with his enigmatic grumpiness.

Nikki’s broadsheet story reads like an old serialized novel. In-world, she’s writing these things to be very sensationalized and bends the truth of true events to fit the needs of her story and to entertain her audience. Nikki’s novella is mostly plotted out. I just need to write it. It won’t be a first-person sensationalized newspaper serial, but the epigraphs will have pieces of the sensationalized stories. So you’ll read a chapter, and then the epigraph of the next chapter will be her sensationalized version of what happened in the previous chapter.

Drew McCaffrey

A new Mistborn Era 2 novella—that’s awesome! Do you have any of your own writing projects going, which you can talk about?

Isaac Stewart

Most of my own writing right now is in the Cosmere. I’ve been hard at work on some fun things for Taldain that we can’t quite announce yet, but I’m bursting at the seams wanting to share the cool things that are going on there. Rest assured that as soon as we’re able, we’ll make some announcements.

Event details
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Name Tor.com interview with Isaac Stewart
Date
Date May 7, 2020
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Entries 2
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