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Eric Nylund’s Wish List – Mortal Coils Movie, Ender’s Game Video Game

Mortal Coils Movie, Ender’s Game Video Game” width=”560″/>

Author Eric Nylund discusses his recently released novel, Mortal Coils — about the twin children of an angel and the Devil — and writing stories for the Halo and Battlestar Galactica universes.

Q: What inspired you to write Mortal Coils?

A: I started thinking about this when I wrote Halo: The Fall of Reach. In that book there are these kids who are transformed into super-soldiers, basically. And I really enjoyed writing about that because, when you’re a kid, that’s the fantasy you have — that you’ll become powerful or strong or rich or whatever. I knew I wanted to write a fantasy next, and I started looking for how to exploit that theme.

Q: The book draws on a lot of mythology, from Greek to Norse to Christianity. How do you keep it all straight?

A: I like a lot of the books that bring mythology into the modern day, but they bring in Zeus or they bring in Odin, and the gods are like they are in the classical myths, and that’s just so wrong. So when I started building the characters, I flipped it around. I made it like my Immortals have been going through time and humans have mistaken them for gods. So Ares, for example, he’s the god of war, but he’s also been called Genghis Khan. Once I did that, I started looking at all of history, all of mythology, all of folklore. I see how a character could go through history and get pegged with all these different names. The Infernals are a blast to write: They’re always trying to backstab one another, and they’ve developed all these terrible problems. Poor Lucifer — he’s an alcoholic.

Q: This is the first of a planned five-part series. Do you know what will happen next?

A: Yeah, I’ve got the whole thing plotted out. It’s as big as you can get. I’m not kidding — I’m going to bring in all of mythology, all of religion, and it’s all going to collide at the end. I hope I live to pull this one off, man, because this will be my magnum opus, for sure.

Q: You put together a trailer for the book, which is a relatively new concept. How did that come about?

A: I wanted to do a book trailer — I wanted to introduce the main characters and the basic situation — but I’ve seen a lot of book trailers out there, and they’re pretty lame. So I put together this scene, and I wrote a trailer for it. The director of the trailer told me no other author had ever written the script for a trailer before. I don’t know why more authors don’t do something like that.

Q: How much different is it writing within your own universe than writing for a preexisting property like Halo?

A: I’m always careful to pick a property where I have a lot of room to either screw up big or come up with my own things. The first Halo book was really attractive to me because I had to come up with the origin of the Master Chief and the Spartan program, and make sure it hooks up with the beginning of Halo. Other than that, I didn’t have a lot of constraints. I know they own the intellectual property and it’s all theirs, but on a gut emotional level, I made all that stuff up. It was mine.

Q: Was it the same for your Battlestar Galactica comic book?

A: Yeah, same thing. It blew me away. When I got that assignment, the comic licenser said they wanted me to do a BSG comic. And I said, “Well there’s only one story I want to do — it’s the Cylon War.” How did the machines turn on humanity, how did they become weaponized? So I wrote it up and sent it in, thinking there’s no way Ron Moore was going to let me do this. But then I got this really short e-mail back from them saying “Go for it.” It’s one of those things where I get to play around in somebody else’s sandbox, but I try to make sure the sandbox is as big as possible with many toys in it that I can play with.

Q: What property would you want to tackle next?

A: I’d love to turn Mortal Coils into a sprawling movie and video game. I’d love to make Ender’s Game into a video game that could do it justice. But that property is so hot it may never get made. I would love to do a novel set in the Fallout universe: If I could capture that 1950s pulp feel, that would be a lot of fun to do.

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