Aron Oroszvari is a Brisbane based editor, author, producer, and podcaster. His dynamic talent was brought onto the Maynard Trigg series in the early days when McNeill and Oroszvari were at university together.
McNeill pitched the manuscript to Oroszvari, and after a complex process, the two struck up an agreement that Oroszvari would edit the series, and McNeill would do his best to drag Oroszvari into as many unrelated video projects and podasts as possible.
Three years later, with Maynard Trigg and The Creature Beneath The Veil released to acclaim, and book two, Maynard Trigg and The City of Whispers on the horizon, we reached out to Oroszvari via email to take his temperature on the journey so far.
Q: As the senior editor at Dcm.Works and someone in the Brisbane writing industry, you must see a lot of works come and go - what attracted you to Maynard Trigg to start with?
All these skyports floating around in the stratosphere were constructed pre-Dust.
That's before the surface world succumbed to the surge of arcane matter that floats just beneath Carthage, and cities like it. Something awful happened to this planet, but most people can't even give a plausible lie as to what did.
Q: From that, what's your favourite thing about book one?
A grotesque twist of metal, wire, wood, and cloth that nobody knows how to kill.
It's Parker's agent of destruction that he sends after Maynard and co.
They successfully dealt with it in the first book by crashing their ferry, the Harmony, into Dusthaven.
Dave and I spent a substantial chunk of copyediting time fleshing out the Seeker lore.
Most of the exposition about it comes in the form of legends and fairy stories. There's very little actually known about the Seeker, and that - aside from its compulsion to eat the insides out of skyships - is what makes it terrifying.
Q: And what was the biggest challenge in book one for you as an editor?
The biggest challenge for book one was getting Dave to flesh out concepts that were explicit in his brain, but vague on the page.
Every writer has a different writing process and Dave writes like a hummingbird. Face to face meetings were fundamental to the copyediting process, so I could bug him about details in the manuscript.
I'd throw ideas at him and see what would stick, what got him thinking about narrative flavour text.
These brainstorming sessions often yielded new questions and narrative tangents for Dave to explore so it was a win-win scenario.
Q: What was your biggest win?
Convincing Dave the central events of the narrative should take place on The Harmony. As a writer myself, it's so easy to get lost in composition. You have an infinite amount of space to explore.
But people (real life people and not editors) have finite attention spans. The ferry acts as a boundary that separates Maynard's story from the rest of the world, keeping the audience and writer focussed.
Q: Okay, then what was your favourite scene/part of book one?
When Maynard and Moony are hiding from the Seeker in Maynard's house on Carthage.
The house is smouldering, the Seeker is blundering its way through the house looking for Maynard. He's only just met Moony, this lunatic "ex"-pirate, and Maynard's not sure if he can trust him.
The piercing red eyes of the Seeker.
I still have a lot of fun reading through that.
Q: Could you tell us about your editing process with David - how has it evolved from when you began to now, finalising book two?
I think we've refined our process considerably. I've developed my eye as an editor and approach problems in stages, rather than all at once.
Dave has learned how to sit with his work and add detail where he and I think is necessary. We've also embraced editing as a collaborative process and that's the hardest thing to overcome in any author/editor relationship.
Q: I think a lot of people are never quite sure what an editor does, do you find that's the case with Maynard Trigg?
Of course. I think that's pervasive across all books.
90% of an editor's job is to remain unseen. The other 10% is lending an ear to the author's concerns and being a writerly therapist. Mechanically, my job involves directing certain sections of the author's manuscript, clarifying any confusing language or language that isn't audience appropriate, and correcting grammatical and stylistic errors.
Conceptually, my job involves hearing Dave out if there are any roadblocks: physical, psychological, or preternatural to his process. I'm in an exceptionally fortunate position to be able to have face to face meetings with the author I'm editing for. This doesn't occur conventionally.
Q: Without any spoilers, what are you most excited about for the future of the Maynard Trigg series?
I'm excited for the moment Maynard determines the secret of the Carthage vault.
As a reader, that's what I'm thinking the series is leading up to. As an editor, I'm excited to see how many more interesting ideas we can flesh out before the series is through.
I want to see where the Seeker was made.
I want to see the capital city.
I want to know how much alchemical knowledge Maynard attains before the end.
I also want to see what other stories come out of Dave's universe. There's already one character that I would love to see a novella written about. But now we're getting into spoiler territory for book two, so I can't reveal too much...
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