For more than five years, SKARA creator Pablo Rodriguez has been working on a vision of a fantasy world facing total apocalypse.
His work began in a sketchbook.
“To see what happens in a destroyed world, you need to build it first,” he explains. “So while building the game, we set to work doing that as well.”
All of that work has culminated in a debut novel, which comes out next week.
The novel is called, SKARA, The Time of the Two Suns. It is being published by Planeta, the largest publisher in the Spanish language, with translations into other languages due out soon.
To further describe what readers can expect from the novel and how it connects to the award winning multiplayer game, Pablo agreed to an exclusive interview.
To begin, how did you get the idea for SKARA? Where did it come from?
I guess the script came at first, I had a vision about the story of two characters who reunite again after several years and have to face a cataclysm in the middle of a Fantasy world. As cliché as it could sound, everything changed as soon as I started to develop the world of Skara to give context to that story.
Suddenly everything started to make more and more sense. What started as an adventure of a couple of characters from a specific culture soon changed to a whole cosmogony of several cultures, their background and political interactions. Making a single player was no longer an option: we had to create a multi-player game and give the same importance to all cultures. The rest is history!
As the title clearly says, the novel takes place when there were two suns in Skara, hinting that there may not be at some point. Can you explain what’s going on here?
I hope not to make any spoiler here — as everyone who played Skara knows about the cataclysm that caused the sun of Skara splitting in two — but the novel starts some years before that. It acts as a prequel, in fact, and gives background about all the cultures of Skara as well as places the story of several important people who determine the course of the most important battles before the Cataclysm.
Can you give us a hint about the story? Not a spoiler, but something to think about as the reader begins?
There are two different plots: the one in the North, in which Erika, the daughter of the Kerta captain — one of the most important clans among the Tamvaasa — is willing to go to war to face their perennial enemies the Durno.
At the same time the two young princes of the Durno are preparing to travel to Ku-Na-Zem — the main city of the Shinse — to begin their training to become respected warriors, following the tradition.
How these two plots criss cross is very important as the sky is about to fall over their heads… Anymore would be a spoiler!
What should readers expect about the story? Did you have any influences that they might know, such as other fantasy writers?
I would lie if I don’t mention Tolkien as one of my main references. I lost the count of how many times I’ve read The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion. That was precisely one of the things that motivated me to write the novel in the first place: the possibility to create not only a story, but a rich world that acts as context, coherent and full of details.
However, as I grew up I started to discover more and more authors, and I suspect I’ve been somehow influenced by some of them. From Turgeniev and his ‘Fathers and sons’ to ‘The Name of the wind’ from Patrick Routhfouss — I wish I could write like them so I would do my best to get as close as possible to their styles in upcoming novels.
Fantasy stories are famous for being about more than just stories about goblins and dragons. What themes did you try to handle in your story? Any current events or issues that are particularly important to you?
Yeah, even on fantasy worlds it is good to write about personal stuff and things attached to your own story. In ‘Time of the Two Suns’ readers will find quite a lot of exact phrases from my karate master, something that I tried really hard to bring to the training classes between the Shinse masters and the young princes.
But I think the most important topic in the novel is the relationship bvetween parents and sons/daugthers, and how the young confront their elders but end up being just like them. It is something that I have obsessed about since the very first time my father told me ‘Oh, you will change your mind about that’ and it finally happened. I suspect most of my father’s prophecies are about to become true as the time goes.
Any advice to inspire other writers?
Write! Just that. I don’t think I am the right person to give advice since this is my first novel and I never wrote before. I had to re-write the most part of it at least four times, so I guess preparing a script and be sure it is right before writting a single line of the novel would be a right one. Got it from my publisher on the first day — and that was the reason to start everything from scratch for the fourth and last time — but sometimes making mistakes is the best way to learn. Just don’t be afraid and enjoy the journey.
Presumably you are not finished writing. What’s next for you?
I am actually very busy working on the chronicles of the best players of each event of Skara — you can read them on the Skara wiki — as a way to introduce our best and most loyal players to the official Lore of Skara.
At the same time I am starting to think about the second novel and sequel to ‘Time of the Two Suns’. Funny enough it starts exactly the same way that the story I thought at the very beginning: the two characters who reunite after several years since the last time they saw each other.
I am dying to finish that part of the story and complete the circle. Let’s see if the readers know what characters this is going to be about.
More about SKARA, The Time of the Two Suns
Author Pablo Rodríguez Valero
Editor Martinez Roca
Release Date: 23/01/2018
Available in Spanish starting January 23, the novel SKARA, The Time of the Two Suns can be purchased anywhere books are sold.
Translations will be available beginning in Q3 2018.