Let’s start with an introduction: Who is Joshua Reynolds?
I’m a freelance writer and semi-professional monster movie enthusiast. I’ve had around twenty odd novels published, and around two hundred or so short stories, over the past decade, since I began my career. Which is a lot, now that I think about it.
You’ve got a few novels coming out this year, so I thought I’d split this interview into sci-fi and fantasy.
Black Library recently published Fulgrim, your latest contribution to the Horus Heresy series. In December, your second Fabius Bile novel, Clonelord is also due out. Both focus on the Emperor’s Children traitor legion. How did you approach the two novels, and were there any challenges to addressing the same Legion during different eras?
Not really. It was mostly a matter of building on the work of authors like Graham McNeill, Aaron Dembski-Bowden, James Swallow and Nick Kyme regarding the characters. I tend to approach all work in a shared universe – whatever universe it happens to be – the same way: I like to make sure that what I’m working on slots neatly into the meta-story set out by others, while still going in the direction I want it to go. Why write tie-in fiction, if you’re not going to tie-in to anything, after all?
How do the two novels fit in with the overall narrative of the Horus Heresy, and the evolving WH40k meta-story?
Well, Fulgrim: The Palatine Phoenix takes place at the beginning of the Great Crusade – the period of expansion that precedes that events of the Heresy – and follows the primarch Fulgrim, as he sets out on the journey which will culminate in his treachery on the blood-stained sands of Istvaan III. The Fabius Bile series takes place long after the events of the Heresy have faded into legend, and the Traitor Legions have fled to the Eye of Terror, where Fabius builds his reputation as the supreme geneticist of the 41st Millennium.
You’ve also been writing a lot of great fiction for the Age of Sigmar setting. The first novel in your Eight Lamentations series, Spear of Shadows was recently published. How would you introduce this novel and series to a potential reader?
Eight Lamentations: Spear of Shadows is basically my homage to every big dumb McGuffin quest novel of the Eighties and Nineties – your Brookses, your Eddingses and the like. It’s a group of unique characters, going on a quest for magic weapons that might turn the tide of the war between Order and Chaos.
The Age of Sigmar setting is still pretty new, and mostly unexplored. How has it been, playing in this sandbox? What have been the greatest rewards and challenges?
It’s been fun, really. There’s something nice about not having to dig through half a dozen books just to assemble a lore-appropriate story – to just sit down and write, really. But, fun as it is, it’s also a challenge, trying to build a story out of ephemera. In a sense, you’re trying to anticipate what form the lore will take, as it’s developed, and not wander off too far into the weeds.
Where do you draw your inspiration from in general?
Everywhere and nowhere. I read widely, and take note of anything that catches my eye, be it a reference to preserved shipwrecks in the Black Sea, or the theories of Charles Fort.
How were you introduced to genre fiction?
My father is a big fan of science-fiction and fantasy, and when I learned how to read, I gravitated to the books on his shelves – if only because they had the best covers!
How do you like being a writer and working within the publishing industry?
I like it better than working in a warehouse for minimum wage, though it does come with its share of uncertainties and headaches. I’ve done worse jobs, is what I’m saying.
Do you have any specific working, writing, researching practices?
Nah. I tend to reinvent my process with every project. I’m always looking for better, more efficient ways to do my job – mostly so I can add more projects to my schedule.
When did you realize you wanted to be an author, and what was your first foray into writing? Do you still look back on it fondly?
When I was in college, and needed extra money. I noticed that a number of fly-by-night online publications paid upon acceptance, and that the quality was – shall we say – not high? So, I started cranking out bad Lovecraft pastiches and the like, under a variety of names. And honestly, a bit… there was something fun about writing quickly (if not well), and pumping out several stories a week under various pseudonyms.
What’s your opinion of the genre today, and where do you see your work fitting into it?
I honestly don’t have much of an opinion on it. There’s always good stuff and bad stuff, and it’s up to the reader to determine which is which. And that goes for where my work fits in, as well, really. I like to include a bit of everything, when I can.
What other projects do you have in the pipeline, and what are you working on at the moment?
Unfortunately, I can’t talk much about what I’m working on at the moment. As far as what’s coming out, well… there’s Fabius Bile: Clonelord, and Lukas the Trickster in the next few months. There’s also a collection of my Royal Occultist stories – the first of several – coming out sometime next year.
What are you reading at the moment (fiction, non-fiction)?
I’m actually rereading an old favourite – Busman’s Honeymoon, by Dorothy L. Sayers.
If you could recommend only one novel to someone, what would it be?
Only one? Man… it’s got to be The Hound of the Baskervilles. It’s in my top five.
What’s something readers might be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a fan of the novels of Georgette Heyer.
What are you most looking forward to in the next twelve months?
I’ve got a few books coming out, but mostly I’m excited about the ones I’ll be writing in the coming year.
Josh Reynolds is the author of a great number of Black Library and other novels and short stories. In sci-fi, his first Fabius Bile novel, Primogenitor, is out now. On the fantasy side, as well as the novels mentioned in the interview, he wrote two of the five Warhammer: End Times novels: Return of Nagash and The Lord of the End Times.