Lev Grossman and George R.R. Martin discuss their books Monday, Oct. 13 at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, 418 Montezuma, Santa Fe. For information on time and ticket prices visit www.jeancocteaucinema.com or call the Jean Cocteau at 505-466-5528.(cq)



By David Steinberg
 Lev Grossman is known as a fantasy writer. Well, maybe a better way to put it is this - he's known as a writer of New York Times best-selling fantasy novels.
"The Magician's Land," the newly published final installment of Grossman's trilogy, is likely to maintain that status.
His latest fantasy thriller concludes the story of the now-adult Quentin Coldwater (cq)who has lost everything after being tossed from the land of Fillory,(cq) where he had ruled.
The earlier volumes in the trilogy are "The Magician" (2009) and "The Magician King." (2011)
Grossman began writing fantasy 10 years ago when he was 35.
By then he had already written two other books, which he described in a phone interview as "much more conventional."
Grossman's debut novel, which was somewhat autobiographical, was titled "Warp" and came out in 1997. It had a very small printing. Seven years later, his international bestseller "Codex" was published. On his website, Grossman called it a "literary thriller in the tradition of 'The Name of the Rose.'"
"It took me a long while to understand I was a fantasy author,"  he said. "I was raised in a literate household. Both of my parents were English professors."
Grossman strove for a high literary craft. So he assumed that if he wrote fiction it was going to be literary fiction. "It took me time to understand that was not where my voice lay," he said.
There were several people that influenced his shift toward writing fantasy. One was his brother, Austin Grossman, who was working on a novel about superheroes.
"I looked at what he was doing with this popular cultural source material," Lev Grossman said.
And at about the same time - this was in 2004 - he was reading an advance copy of "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell"(cq) by the innovative British fantasy writer Susanna Clarke.
Clarke's novel, about the rivalry between two early 19th century English wizards, drew on many of the books that Grossman had loved. "It is so interesting, diverse and subversive and funny. I thought 'This is what I need to be writing,'" he said.
Shortly thereafter he sat down to write "The Magicians."
Grossman acknowledged there's some of Harry Potter in Quentin Coldwater.
But Quentin, he said, is "a different proposition. … He's someone everyone has met. He's a bit overly developed intellectually but underdeveloped emotionally."
Gregory Maguire, the author of "Wicked" said in a blurb that "Quentin Coldwater … enchants as few other magicians can, or dare."
Grossman has also been the book critic of Time magazine since 2002.
He lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his wife and three children.
Grossman credited fatherhood as a factor in motivating him to write fiction.
"I don't feel that I had found my voice until after I had kids," he said. "Having a child really freed up a lot of emotion that had been buried for me. … Maybe I felt more confident being a father. It's a very empowering thing. … I'm very committed to storytelling and plot as an expressive thing. I'm interested in narrative, the way stories express emotions."
Grossman hopes the Oct. 13 event with George R.R. Martin at Santa Fe's Jean Cocteau Cinema will allow for opportunities to interact with the audience.
In the context of his national tour promoting "The Magician's Land," the Santa Fe event "is sort of the dessert at the end of the meal," Grossman said.
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