Thursday, December 13, 2012

Talking With Tom: A Conversation Between Tom Doherty and - L.E. Modesitt

"MODESITT: The next person I sent that manuscript to was David Hartwell, who was then running the Timescape line at Simon & Schuster, and he bought it. That was The Fires of Paratime, which got good reviews. Of course, the only problem was that, three months after it was published, Simon & Schuster folded the Timescape line. So I didn’t have a publisher again and a lot of people kept rejecting things. Then John Douglas, who had been David’s assistant at Timescape, ended up at Avon, and he wanted to buy it. They offered less, but nobody else was buying so I sold it to Avon and they published The Hammer of Darkness, with possibly one of the worst covers it could ever have had. I mean, it was good artistically, but it was a Conan the Barbarian cover. It basically had this picture of a goat cart being thrown across the sky and this little man in black at the bottom corner. Now, that scene actually takes place in the book, but it’s not really representative of what I do, so anybody who liked the cover wasn’t going to like the book, and anybody who liked the book wasn’t going to The Hammer of Darkness by L.E. Modesitt Jr.pick it up because of the cover. You guys reprinted The Hammer of Darkness later with what I would call—and I’ll be fair about this—a science fiction cover, nice but nondescript, and it sold four times as many copies as a reprint as it did in the original, just because the cover was better. But again, the problem was that John Douglas wanted to buy another one of my books, but then Hearst acquired Avon and froze submissions for three years, so again I had to look for another publisher." 4.5 out of 5