About

Some of the stories I imagine I write down; some of the stories I write down get published.  People are kind enough to say they enjoy them.  I love thoughts, and words, and the way the world looks at night.

47 thoughts on “About”

  1. Dear Mr Farrer, first up let me do the usual gushing…I really love the Calpurnia novels (especially Blind) and I truly hope there will be an omnibus with some new short stories. Any more 40k novels on the horizon for you?

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hello Jay, and thanks very much for stopping by with such kind words on the Calpurnia books. I hope to have some good news for you soon on your questions, so keep an eye out on the main blog. Regards, MF

  2. Hi Matthew, it has just been hinted on the Black Library forums by a member of the publishing team that they have a book on their summer 2010 schedule called “Enforcer”. This has got everyone excited and speculating that it is a new Calpurnia novel. Can you share?

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hello Jay. As I’ve said on the forums, there are currently several things I’ve got in the planning stages with BL, but at present I’d rather not put out too much detail until I’ve got a firmer idea of how things are shaping up. Keep an eye on this blog and on the forums, though, and I’ll pass on more information as soon as I can.

  3. Fair enough totally understand. Nice to see so much enthusiasm and support for Calpurnia though. We really would LOVE to see another one 🙂

  4. Aha! So in July 2010 Black Library will release “Enforcer” by Matthew Farrer! As the UK price is £9.99 I think we can safely say this is an omnibus (and I would hazard a guess that can only mean a Calpurnia omnibus – the hint being the name and those being the only W40k titles you have written, not counting Necromunda). Well all I can say is “yippeee” and ask “what extras are we gonna get Mr Farrer?”

  5. Hi Matt,

    I’ve read a few Black Library novels and think that you’re one of the best authors BL have. Reading the previous posts, I agree with Jay and would like to see more of your work. I would really like to see you writing for the Horus Heresy series. I think your strong use of plot and well developed characters would really help the series. I think it needs to regain the momentum and I think you’d help pick up the pace.

    A lot of people like the Calpurnia novels, but I like Junktion the best. I started the hobby when Necromunda first came out, and it brought back all the memories. You got the atmosphere spot on and the plot was a refreshing change to regular BL novels. I really liked Sinden Cass and got quite sad reading about his past. It would be great to read another Kass or any new Matt Farrer Necromunda novel.

    I stopped the hobby quite a few years ago and only read the odd BL book (Dan Abnett and Horus Heresy). I really hope you write some more novels as you’re a great BL author and help ex-hobbyists like me read some great BL stories and remember the cool days of my childhood.

    Cheers

    Tom

  6. matthewfarrer said:

    Hello Tom, thanks for stopping by and for such kind words.

    There’ll always be a little spot in here for Necromunda. Like you, it came on the scene more or less the same time I did, or at least the time I really got into the GWverses, and arguably my writing career for BL started off with a series of mini-stories for my local shop’s in-house Necromunda campaign.

    Discussions about Heresy writing are carrying on behind the scenes, which is about all I can say at the moment – watch this space for updates when things firm up and I can reveal more. Meanwhile, my next couple of BL offerings will be short-form. Keep an eye out for the upcoming Fear the Alien anthology and, well, there’s another collection I’m doing a short for that’s not being publicised as yet, but should be great fun.

    Cheers,

    Matthew F.

  7. Hey just finished reading ‘Tales of Heresy’ and I was glad to see your story at the end. It was a very inspiring and totally different story from the rest and I really enjoyed it, more so in some ways than Dan’s story.

    I am a budding writer with too many ideas in my head but never sure how to put them onto paper in such a way as to make sense to anyone other than myself. How did you get into writing and what was it that made you want to write for the Warhammer universe? well apart from the amazing background it is built upon of course.

    Anyhoo, just thought I’d pop by and say hi and thank you for giving me an enjoyable story to read.

    Cheers

    Kevin

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hi Kevin, and my humble apologies for taking so long to answer your comment. Thanks for your kind words about the story, too; I have a couple of short pieces coming out from BL this year and I hope those give you as much enjoyment as “After Desh’ea” did.

      As for your questions, a full answer would be long enough that I suspect I’ll make a separate post out of it at some point, but the very quick version is that I always loved reading from the time I was in kindergarten, I knew I had a knack with words and storytelling from about fifth grade, I had a couple of good teachers and influences that made me think that this was what I should be doing. I’d started working towards being an author well before I properly crossed paths with the Warhammer and 40Kverses, but when Games Workshop launched INFERNO! magazine it seemed like an immediate and natural place to try and get published. The rest you more or less know.

      The solution to not being sure how to put your ideas down on paper is: do it anyway. Once it’s out of your head and on a page or a screen then even in the worst case, which is that that particular piece of writing doesn’t work, then you’re still better off than you were: you’ve identified one way of approaching that idea that doesn’t work, and so you’re closer to identifying the way that does; you’ve exercised your mental writing muscles a bit, which will make the next piece easier, and you’ve started to accustom yourself to expressing your ideas and perhaps even having someone else look at them. All of that means the next piece will come easier.

      And that’s worst case. Best case, it does work, and you and the people who read it go “wow, hey I like this!” And that’s a very nice feeling.

      (The other solution is: go for a walk. If you’re anything like me your mind runs better when your muscles are moving. I speak from experience here, as in this-very-afternoon experience.)

  8. Hi Matthew

    I love the Calpurnia novels and your writing for BL. I came across little snippets in various of your novels that inspired me, and so I’m currently in the process of building this…

    http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/257179.page

    It’s probably a million years from what you had in mind, but the books sparked off something in my head and I ran with it…

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hi Ian. That is extremely cool. I do remember coming across that thread when it was only about a page or so old, but it’s been a while and I hadn’t seen the paintwork or that amazing psyker conversion. I’ve bookmarked it now so I can keep an eye on it.

      Edit: I’ve just added a separate page that I’ll use to collect links and pictures on fan works like yours. I’ve kicked it off with a writeup for your project, so hopefully I can send some more followers your way!

  9. Hey Matthew – cool to see you are one of the authors in the new Sabbatt Worlds anthology alongside Dan Abnett, Graham McNeil, Sandy Mitchell and Aaron Dembski-Bowden! Should be stonking. Can you reveal anything about your story?

    • matthewfarrer said:

      I can reveal that it’s turning out to be a right bastard to get right. I’ve had one false start after another – unfortunately the main concept is one that I’m sufficiently struck with that I can’t just let it drop and decide to write about something else, even when I’m sure that would be easier. I can go so far as to say that the working title is “Headstone, Hotstone, Hammerstone Kings” but that’ll have to do you for the moment.

  10. Hello again. I’ve always wanted to know what it is like writing for Black Library? There is so much rich back story to take inspiration from I imagine you must feel spoilt for choice? When it comes to creating a new story is it quite ok to adopt your own take on things or do you rely on a thumbs up from the guys in charge of the 40k background? If for example, you are creating a story set on an Imperial world is there a template as to how the world must work and how it is made up regarding Imperial hierarchy oor are you pretty much free to make one up to suit the story in mind?

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hi again Kevin. You’re certainly right about being spoilt for choice in the 40Kverse – it’s hard to read any piece of background, even one I’ve gone over before, without starting to think about the story seeds inside it. Or of course considering an event from real history or a non-40K fictional trope and wondering exactly how it would look once it passed into the grotesquely bent mirror-world of 40K. Which means that the setting is doing its job, of course, because the whole universe is designed as a springboard for the imaginations of players, modellers and creators.

      The answer to your second question is a “both, really”. Getting authors’ own take on things is important – it’s why you hire them, because they can do that well. I’ve had a reasonable amount of freedom in designing my settings: a lot of the details of Hydraphur and its system, for example, have coem from me and weren’t present in the canon beforehand. The Studio will always double-check, however, and stipulate changes where they feel it’s necessary. That hasn’t happened to me terribly often, and not usually in major ways. I think part of the reason for that is that I take care to be respectful of the body of lore that’s already out there – I was a gamer for years before I was a writer, after all, and I’m aware that I’m handling something a lot of people value. So to use Hydraphur again, I was careful to seek out all the places where the world had been referred to already, to tailor my own additions to build on what was cool about them, and to be ready to show why I’d developed the background in a particular way.

      In cases where I know I’m breaking new ground on the lore I’m similarly careful. Examples are the details I went into about the operations of Astropaths in Blind, or a particular way of interpreting a certain Xenos faction in “Faces”, my Fear the Alien story. In these cases I work out what I call an “Assumption sheet”. These show my working in advance: how my take on a bit of background works, how it connects to the existing lore, which bits I’ve made up myself and why I made them up that way, and so on. That gives the people at the Nottingham end a chance to go over things in advance so that I don’t, for example get fifty thousand words down before someone says “hey, wait, Astropathy doesn’t work like that”. That would be inconvenient for all concerned.

      The template for these stories, such as it is, is less a quasi-factual document like a ruleset about how a world has to work and more of a mood, a tone. 40K isn’t hard science fiction and never really has been; in fact part of what attracts me to it is its glorious batshit craziness. The benchmark question is “does this feel like a 40K story? Is the mental picture it conjures full of Blanche-style sepia haze and impossible extravagances? Does it inspire the right combination of flinching and WTF?”

      A caveat to this is that I’m drawn to bits of the 40Kverse that often aren’t heavily documented, which means more freedom to create like this. If I wrote more straight military stuff then yes, there would be more factual lore to get into: dimensions of a Demolisher’s crew compartment, shot capacity of a meltagun or what have you.

      It’s late and I’ve been writing all evening; hope this is coherent enough to be interesting.

  11. No don’t worry about it. It’s exactly what I wanted to hear. 40k isn’t a hard and fast sci fi universe and I’m glad that this has come from one of their writers. It has inspired me more to continue writing my own stories knowing now that so long as it ‘feels’ like 40k then it probably is. Thanks again, I’ll let you sleep now and stop bothering you.

  12. Matthew – do you have a short story in the forthcoming Sabbat Worlds anthology? Your name appeared on the original cover mock up but not on the current one?

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hi Jay. Yes, I’m in that anthology, and I hope you like the story. If you don’t, don’t worry, I’ve had a read of some of the other contributions and there’s some amazing stuff in there.

  13. Cool can’t wait! btw I have recently posted a review of Enforcer on the black library website. I know it is not out yet but I focused on the component novels.

  14. Err…Just trying to subscribe to your blog, which is proving to be very difficult and un-userfriendly?? Anyway, wishing you all the best in the future and hoping BL give you the World Eater’s HH novel go ahead!!

    Ave Imperator!

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hi Danny, apologies for the delay in answering. Are you trying to subscribe using the WordPress subscription function, or the RSS feed? I’m not too familiar with the subscription tech but maybe we can dig around and find a fix for that.

      Thank you for the kind wishes. I don’t have a novel on the slate just yet but there’ll be a couple of shorter pieces along in time that I hope you’ll enjoy.

    • Hi Danny,

      Sometimes the feed URL needs refreshing. I’m a Safari/Mac user – Safari comes with an inbuilt RSS feed reader. If you link to the following URLs it should work for you:

      Blog feed: feed://matthewfarrer.wordpress.com/feed/
      Comments feed: feed://matthewfarrer.wordpress.com/comments/feed/

      Failing that – copying the URLs into another RSS reader should work.

      • matthewfarrer said:

        One friend also set up a livejournal-based feed that you can try – it should be in the sidebar under “My RSS feed”.

  15. Happy New Year Matthew. A quick question – a while back you hinted at some future Black Library projects. Any further light to be shed yet?

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Thanks Jay, and happy new year to you too. Still only hints for the next couple of weeks I’m afraid, but I should have more news after that.

  16. Hey there. The link in your side bar to the Black Library seems to be borked.

    Cheers, Lily

  17. Shameless plug:

    I’ve written some nice things about you on my burgeoning blog, here:

    http://pws9.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/world-building-holidays-and-matthew-farrer/

    Thanks for the very, very good Calpurnia books, which I devoured.

    • matthewfarrer said:

      And thank you in turn, those were some very nice compliments to get.

      You mentioned looking for things I’d done apart from the Calpurnia books, which reminded me that I’d been meaning to put a bibliography up here. I’ve added that now, and the link is up the top under “Pages”.

      To summarise, there’s one other novel entitled “Junktion”, in the GW Necromunda setting. That’s out of print at the moment unless/until BL do an omnibus or PoD deal, so Ebay and so on are probably your best bet there. Apart from that and the Calpurnia books it’s all short stories, mostly for BL – you’ll see a chronological list there.

  18. Hi Matt – great to see that Junktion and your Necromunda shorts will be available as a print on demand omnibus (have read Junktion but not seen the shorts).

    Also just wanted to say that when I saw that there was no short Calpurnia short story in Enforcer I was pretty disappointed (I read all three novels and loved them). However, recently I decided to have a read of the dossiers…and I have to say for a fluff junky like me they were really enjoyable.

    What’s next up for you in the W40k world?

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hi Jay, thanks as always for stopping by. I’m glad you liked the Omnibus dossiers, even if you were a little uncertain about them at first – we knew they were a bit of an experiment going in but I think they paid off. Thanks too for the tip-off to that thread at the Bolthole, it’s always a boost to see that people have enjoyed one’s work.

      I knocked a few things around with BL late last year when I visited Nottingham but the only concrete things in the pipeline at the moment are a short piece aimed at one of the anthologies and a novella that I’ve been discussing with Christian and Dan. Hopefully I’ll be able to put up some more info in a couple of weeks. On the writers’ retreat in January I read the opening of the short piece to the other authors and it went down really well, and these are people with little to no 40K background, so I take that as a good sign.

      • matthewfarrer said:

        “Concrete things in the pipeline”? Isn’t that what killed Elvis? Metaphor fail. But you know what I meant.

  19. P.S. you need to see this…

    http://www.thebolthole.org/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=65

    much love going out to Enforcer

  20. P.P.S. sorry meant to say that I am Duke_Leto on that board

  21. Hi Matt – a question for you…when are the Calpurnia novels set. I assume M41 but what years?

    Thanks

    • matthewfarrer said:

      Hello Jay. There’s no definitive date for the Calpurnia books apart from “late in the forty-first millennium”.

      There’s sort of a hint in Legacy about it: early in the book Varro mentions quarantine lockdowns along trade routes he’s interested in which have interfered with getting botanical specimens. That was pared down from the earlier draft in which the conversation turned to all manner of weird incidents and rumours flying around from ships coming in from the Segmentum Obscuras, which was an indirect reference to the turbulence and portents foretelling the Thirteenth Black Crusade. So there you go.

  22. HI Matt

    You probably know that Black Library has an open submission window from 1 May to 31 July 2011. This is exciting for the likes of me (obviously you are not subject to this as a published author). Any tips or advice you would like to share with this budding hopeful writer? Not sure if you can access my email address from the system but obviously cautious about publishing it.

    Anyhow, your words of advice would be very very welcome.

    Jay

    • Matthew Farrer said:

      Hello Jay, and thanks for reminding me about this – I promised my writing group I’d remind them when it started.

      I’ve got a few thoughts that might be useful (although of course they are in no way official editorial advice, and should not be treated as such). What I might actually do is put them into a new post of their own, so keep an eye on here over the next few days.

  23. As always Ser Farrer “thank you”

    Hey that;s actually a cool name for a W40k character “Ser Ferrer”

  24. Matthew said:

    Having recently read (devoured, in fact) the Enforcer trilogy I had to offer my compliments.

    I hugely enjoyed all three books, however, I especially enjoyed your treatment of the Sororitas. As a Sisters of Battle player it sometimes seems that the Black Library has real contempt for my army (They’ve no contempt for the Orders non-militant because you alone seem to know that they exist). I was thrilled to see a possetive portrayal of the Sororitas.

    Please consider writing a novel (I’d ask for a series if I thought I could get away with it!) about the Sororitas. You are the only one who can.

    (James Swallow’s Faith and fire was, well.. Not well received by Sisters fans, though we love him for trying.)

    • Matthew Farrer said:

      Thanks very much for the compliments, it’s great to hear you enjoyed the book so much.

      I do like the Sororitas – they distil a lot of the baroque, high-church-in-space craziness of the Imperial imagery, not to mention that I find Imperial theology interesting as a theoretical exercise. There’s also an interesting contrast between the purity of action that they try to embody and the fact that the whole existence of the Sororitas has been defined by some very grubby secular compromises.

      It was also cool to be able to have some effect back on the game – I’m told Andy Chambers added the Sarissa to the Sisters’ armoury after reading Crossfire.

      Thank you also for the vote of confidence on more Sisters stories. Somewhere in the metaphorical trunk I have an outline for another story about Sister Romille, but I’m afraid I can’t make any predictions about whether anything will become of it.

  25. Hey man,

    let me know when you get those pics of my costume up from games day 2012, was the guy dressed as a blood pact trooper with heavy bolter.
    forgot my camera and so have no pics of it at all! 😦
    you can find me via games workshop southland facebook, look through for the pics of the heavy bolter or the alpha legion head tat.

    much appreciated man, and love the work.

    • Matthew Farrer said:

      Will do! The pictures are still trapped on my phone at the moment but I’m hoping to upload them and do a post during the week. Stay tuned!

  26. I am a tremendous fan of your Shira Calpurnia stories. First off, there simply aren’t many other interesting stories of the arbites, which is a pity because what greater story than the detective story, in any time period or place. Secondly, I’ve read all of the major WH40K stories I can, and I consider Calpurnia to be one of my favorite characters. (Second only to Ciaphas Cain and his companions.) In a way they serve similar roles. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Prosecutor and I could identify with overseeing the police and my minions, and making decisions on the fly appeals to me? But regardless, thank you for such a compelling character, and I sincerely hope that Calpurnia’s not allowed to go to waste after what happened to her. Having come to the attention of the Inquisition, I can’t imagine they would waste a phenominal arbiter who legitimately made the best decisons available when possible. For her to go down to bad luck? Oh how that gnaws at me. (Though for every Amberly Vail , Mordecai Toth, or Ligea, we also get a Kryptman, or other lunatic)

    Regardless, I hope to see more of Calpurnia, and thank you for sharing your imagination either way.

  27. Your book Strange Flesh was a hit with the Android:Netrunner community. I would like to do a short interview about it with you for my podcast. Please contact me through G+ for more info.
    My Podcast:
    http://www.broadbandpodcast.net/

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