Jim C. Hines is the comic mastermind responsible for the Snort-Fest Trilogy--my name for it--consisting of Goblin Quest, Goblin Hero, and, now, Goblin War (DAW). In these hilarious novels, Hines pokes fun at anything and everything while still maintaining a tight plot arc and creating believable characters. The result, to an old fantasy buff like me, is both entertaining and oddly nostalgic. I interviewed Mr. Hines via email recently to see what makes him tick, and to ask that all important question, "Ogres or goblins."
Amazon.com: How hard is it to do humorous heroic fantasy that also spoofs or satirizes serious heroic fantasy? There’s Shrek, there’s bad serious heroic fantasy, there’s all kind of competition.
Jim C. Hines: Actually, this is the kind of writing that's always come naturally to me. My first big sale was a story called "Blade of the Bunny." I whipped that story out in a week, and it won first place at Writers of the Future. Then my insecurities took over, and I spent years trying to write deep, serious, award-winning literature. One of my proudest moments was the first time I made someone in my writer's group cry with one of my stories. (On purpose, I mean.) I still do serious stories sometimes, but I've finally gotten comfortable with the lighter side of the genre. Heck, if a Campbell award winner like John Scalzi can write chapter-long fart jokes, I can certainly get away with a nose-picking injury...As for the competition, I've found that there's a pretty wide range of silly. I don't want to do outright parody, because I like keeping my own characters and stories at the core of the books. And to be honest, I'm not smart enough to do the kind of wickedly sharp satire you get from someone like Pratchett. Mostly, I just try to have fun with the story. If I'm making myself laugh, I figure most of my readers will be amused as well.