Risingshadow has had the honour of interviewing G.S. Denning.
About G.S. Denning:
G.S. Denning is the author of the acclaimed Sherlock-fantasy mashup series Warlock Holmes, including Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone and Warlock Holmes: The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles. He has a background in improv and has performed with Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady. He lives in Las Vegas with his wife and two children.
Click here to visit his official website.
About the Warlock Holmes novels:
Warlock Holmes - A Study in Brimstone:
Sherlock Holmes is an unparalleled genius who uses the gift of deduction and reason to solve the most vexing of crimes.
Warlock Holmes, however, is an idiot. A good man, perhaps; a font of arcane power, certainly. But he’s brilliantly dim. Frankly, he couldn’t deduce his way out of a paper bag. The only thing he has really got going for him are the might of a thousand demons and his stalwart flatmate. Thankfully, Dr. Watson is always there to aid him through the treacherous shoals of Victorian propriety... and save him from a gruesome death every now and again.
An imaginative, irreverent and addictive reimagining of the world’s favourite detective, Warlock Holmes retains the charm, tone and feel of the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle while finally giving the flat at 221b Baker Street what it’s been missing for all these years: an alchemy table.
Reimagining six stories, this riotous mash-up is a glorious new take on the ever-popular Sherlock Holmes myth, featuring the vampire Inspector Vladislav Lestrade, the ogre Inspector Torg Grogsson, and Dr. Watson, the true detective at 221b. And Sherlock. A warlock.
Warlock Holmes - The Hell-hound of the Baskervilles:
The game’s afoot once more as Holmes and Watson face off against Moriarty’s gang, the Pinkertons, flesh-eating horses, a parliament of imps, boredom, Surrey, a disappointing butler demon, a succubus, a wicked lord, an overly-Canadian lord, a tricycle-fight to the death and the dreaded Pumpcrow. Oh, and a hell hound, one assumes.
Warlock Holmes - My Grave Ritual:
As they blunder towards doom, Warlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson find themselves inconvenienced by a variety of eldritch beings. Christmas brings a goose that doesn’t let being cooked slow it down; they meet an electricity demon, discover why being a redhead is even tricker than one might imagine, and Holmes attempts an Irish accent. And, naturally, Moriarty is hanging around... in some form or other.
Q&A WITH G.S. DENNING
- Could you tell us something about yourself in your own words?
Well, let’s see… I’m male. (That should disappoint the half of my fans who was hoping I was a cool Sherlockian chick.)
Oh, and I’m American. (That should disappoint the other half.)
- You're the author of the Warlock Holmes series of humorous fantasy/mystery books about the adventures of Warlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. How did you come up with the idea of writing this hilarious series? Are you a fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories?
You know, I wasn’t a huge fan when I started writing the series—in fact I’d just read two of the original stories. But I had just watched the 1st episode of the BBC’s Sherlock and went to writing class the next day with a girl who had a protagonist who had about every super-power there was and no weaknesses. I encouraged her to make her character more like Sherlock—with a few abilities nobody else had, but also some serious flaws. She told me I was an idiot, because Holmes would never work in fantasy. So I started thinking about how I’d do that. It was easy. Everybody thought he was magic, you just had to let him be magic. Then I thought of the pun Warlock Holmes, laughed all the way home, ran upstairs to google it and found that nobody had done one yet. So, I started writing.
- Because there are probably readers out there who are not familiar with the previous Warlock Holmes books, could you tell us something about the protagonists and the recurring characters?
Well, there’s Watson—he’s our hero. A bit stodgy and stuck-up but a good man at heart. And a smart one. He’s the guy who can actually reason things out. He comes home from Afghanistan, badly wounded, and moves in with Warlock Holmes whom he quickly realizes is just riddled with demons. Warlock is ridiculously powerful—and something close to unkillable—but he’s not particularly bright. Rather than let Holmes solve mysteries by consorting with demons, Watson always tries to deduce the outcomes first. Sometimes, he even does. Sometimes logic fails and the answer is: demons did it. Again. Their two closest companions are a couple of Scotland Yard Detective Inspectors. Vladislav Lestrade is… well… clearly a vampire. And a bit of a mopey downer. Torg Grogsson is more upbeat, but also an ogre. As soon as Scotland Yard can prove they’re monsters, they’re probably for the noose. So Warlock and the two detectives have a habit of solving every supernatural crime they find. They know it’s either that or get blamed for them.
- How would you describe this series to new readers in a few words?
Geek Candy. There’s so many nods to geek culture, that if you like to laugh and you like comics or games or Star Wars or Doctor Who, or… oh, here’s a low hanging fruit… Sherlock Holmes in any of his incarnations, you and I would probably be friends and the odds are you’ll enjoy this series.
- Has it been challenging to reimagine Sherlock Holmes stories and spice them up with speculative fiction elements?
I spent 15 years on the improv comedy scene. (If you’ve seen Who’s Line is it, Anyway you’ll know the sort of thing I mean.) So parody is something that’s been near and dear to my heart for a very long time. Therefore, adapting Sherlock Holmes hasn’t been particularly hard. In fact, if it feels too hard, that’s when I know I’m doing a bad job and need to go back and start over. When I’m smiling and ploughing through stories, that’s the stuff worth keeping.
- The latest book in the Warlock Holmes series is "Warlock Holmes: My Grave Ritual". What can readers expect from it? Is it different from the previous books?
Yes, there are two main differences. First, there’s no novella-sized story, like the first two books had; just short stories. The pace is a little faster, because of it. Secondly, now that we’ve established Watson and Holmes and the world, it’s time for the bad guys to come start messing things up. Book 3 belongs to Moriarty and Irene Adler. I’m afraid the boys get kicked around something awful, in this one. Oh, but here’s a little treat: it’s got the first story that’s narrated by Holmes instead of Watson; you get a little peek inside his haunted little mind.
- What are you currently working on? Will there be more books about Warlock Holmes?
Yep, and that’s what I’m working on. And I mean, working. Kind of oh-my-God-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into working. Titan books has bought #4 and #5 and as long as you fun-loving geeks keep buying ‘em I’ll keep writing until I’ve parodied all 60 Holmes stories. That would likely take 8 books, so… well… buckle up, Buttercup, it’s gonna be a hell of a ride.
- Is there anything you'd like to add?
Yes: my thanks. To the readers, the fans, the geeks, the Sherlockians and the folks who just love a chuckle: thank you for making Warlock Holmes into a real thing. Without you, these characters would exist only in my imagination and I’d be just a horribly, horribly lonely person. It takes more than just 10 bucks or a trip to the library to join this adventure; it takes your time. I am—and shall remain—deeply grateful to the thousands of people who have elected to share their time with Warlock and me. I will do my best to make you glad you did.