I spent a long time. This book was probably at least a year of my life. Months, early on, were spent just reading everything; all of the books, the Blizzard internal docs, the information they gave me about D3, the wikis, talking to fans. What ever I could to get familiar with it. I had played the games myself when i was younger. I had some familiarity but nothing at the level I wanted to get to. So, that was a really long and fun process for me.
I didn't want to start writing until I felt it was kind of my own universe in a way. You get so familiar with it that you feel comfortable writing in it. DiabloFans : I will say as a Diablo fan, I thought you did a great job. Reading it, I felt like I was reading an actual Diablo book as oppose to some other fantasy book. Nate: That's great. That's good to hear. That's what I wanted. DiabloFan : Along with that, Diablo is known for having a dark tone to it.
Your previous works have these same tone. With your experience, was there any time where you wrote something and thought maybe it was too dark or did you let yourself run wild?
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Nate: One of the reasons Blizzard and I thought I was a good fit for this book was because Blizzard really wanted to take it in a new direction. They wanted it darker, grittier, more horrific than previous things that had been done. They see the franchise as a horror franchise, there are many elements to it. They really wanted to play that up. I remember many times talking to them and they were like 'let loose.
As dark as you want. I wrote it in some ways like I would write some of my original novels. I didn't try to change my style a lot and I think they wanted that too. They wanted a little more contemporary, grittier fresh tone to it.
It all worked really well. The process worked really well. The story was definitely right down the right alley for me. And some of the things that I contributed to the story were some of the darker elements. Particularly, a creepy new monster, for example, in this book that has never been seen before.
There is stuff like that that is definitely part of my background.
DiabloFans : Deckard Cain and Leah are two of the main characters in the book. Along with them, you added a Monk. How or why did you chose this class over the other new classes? Nate: We talked about that a little earlier.
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Basically, it was a fairly late edition. I felt that I was beginning to write the book that we needed someone else as a main heroic character that could travel with them. I wanted to bring a new character class in. This book is really an attempt to bridge the three games. To bring everything into one place. To give fans background and information that will inform D3.
So, it seemed like a perfect fit for me. I wanted someone to contrast Deckard Cain. Let's face it, Cain as a epic hero is a pretty unusual choice.
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That has its own complications in writing it. To have a young, muscle-bound, physically gifted Monk along side him and a little girl on the road was really interesting.
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That was one reason, of mainy, that I decided to include the Monk. Thankfully, Blizzard said 'go for it. Was this something you came up with or something that Blizzard wanted added in? Nate: The Dark One was part of the original story arc.
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So, it was a matter of fleshing him out. Coming up with his back story, why he is who he is. I think it is just as important for villains to be complex, well-rounded, to have histories, to have reasons for why they are who they are. I want readers to read my villains and be 'Oh, o.
I get why they got to this point. Maybe it would not have been me but I understand it. I won't spoil it by telling about the demonic influence in this book. That is certainly there.
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That was a central thrust to the story from the beginning for various reasons. But it was fun to develop that and the odd relationship between the two of them. One of the things I really loved setting this up was the parallel. The Dark One, to me, is almost Deckard Cain's alter ego, a parallel universe in a way.
I wanted to do that intentionally. Cain is not perfect by any means. He has dark parts to his past that readers will see when they read the book. I wanted the Dark One to be someone Cain could almost see himself as 'that could have been me', or at least an echo of him. The Dark One is also an inspiring scholar. He wants to be a great person, a leader but doesn't have the character for it for various reasons and chooses a different path. Hopefully that works. There's a parallel there, a setting of the book to make that work throughout.
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DiabloFans : Is there any part of your story, characters or lore wise, that made it into the game? A specific example I thought of while reading the book is that through some events, Leah obtains a bow and in the early part of Diablo 3, we see her using a bow.
Nate: That's a great question, very perceptive of you to pick up on the bow thing. It actually went the other direction on that one. In the course of me writing this, I was trying to flesh out Leah's character and come up with details of her life. I think it was somebody on the creative team who said 'hey, you know what would be cool? Show the origins of her interest and skill with a bow and arrow. The game was pretty largely developed when I came on board to write this thing. But Blizzard, as a company, they all work close together, share ideas, and cross-reference things.
They are kind of working back and forth and I had a meeting or two with their game development people too to talk about some of this stuff. I don't know if there was anything that worked itself in the game from the book or anything I directly did. Most of the stuff worked in the other direction, came from the game to influence my novel.
What I did do was to develop some of the back story to things you'll see in the game and experience in the game. Things that were not explained in the game but gave me the opportunity to explain them in the novel. Those are things that I am really excited and thrilled to have contributed. Something that they may have not just fleshed out to that extent, that I was able to flesh out. DiabloFans : As you mentioned, you created a specific demon, I won't spoil anything for the readers. I thought they were very interesting and would make great fodder for Diablo 3.
I was hoping to bash some of them in the game. Nate: Hahaha I don't know I probably shouldn't talk about anything about the game.