Manny and Joce had the pleasure of speaking with Madeleine Roux about her new World of Warcraft book, Shadows Rising!
Spoiler Free Questions
- Your novel mirrors Before The Storm, beginning with a feast in Grommash Hold. How much do previous titles written by other authors in the same universe influence you? Is it difficult to find or add your own voice?
- There is no denying that we live in a very difficult word right now, where many people feel rightfully hurt and angry, and it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. “There is no more wisdom in cynicism than optimism” is a line from Anduin on literally the second page that really resonated with me. Do you purposely write for the current times/context of the real world, or is it more of a passive unavoidable influence?
- Sylvanas has so few loyal to her remaining. Is this a nod to the in game loyalist story? How much of a role should player story play in Warcraft lore novels?
- At one point in the novel, Zekhan earns his internet given moniker, “Zappy Boy”. It’s an obvious nod to the fans. How much were you inspired by the fans, and do you think that there’s a line that defines too much fan service or Easter Eggs, or should Warcraft and all ongoing and evolving game stories take fan sentiment into account?
- Many of the settings described in your book are ones we are very familiar with, but I found a new appreciation for them as I was reading, like I was seeing them with fresh eyes. How do you paint that picture, making it familiar yet new? Can you speak to your process? Did you spend much time visiting the sites in game?
- How much direction did Blizzard provide for the novel? Phrased another way: did Blizzard provide the main story beats and were you responsible for fleshing out the details, or were you solely responsible for everything?
- Has Blizzard given you any word on whether the events of the novel will be mentioned within the next expansion or have any impact on its events?
Spoiler Questions (Approximately 30 minutes in)
- Talanji giving gold to a failing noble house so that the daughter could marry her love, the daughter of another Zandalari house, was a touching moment, and I loved how it was written as something natural and common. To me, it read like any other star crossed lover story, without any particular fan fair. Of course, that reference was nothing compared to Flynn and Shaw. Can you speak to the increased emphasis on representation in Warcraft, from women, to people of colour, to the LGBTQ community, and how much of that is Blizzard driven vs your own narrative style? Is it difficult to update a fictional world that is based on traditional western European medieval history/fantasy/lore?
- I’m sure you’ve gotten this question a lot in the last week and a half, but when facing Tyrande, Sira says that she made no choice to be brought back, though we as players have been told that the fallen Night Elves did choose to rise again. What are your thoughts on retcon vs history being written by the victors? How long should something be canon before it’s appropriate to change?
- Will the original character Tayo be introduced/mentioned in the game, similar to how Grizzek Fizzwrench and Sapphronetta Flivvers, two original characters from Christie Golden’s Before the Storm, eventually were?