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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Interview With An Author - Marjorie M. Liu

1)Describe your creative process. Any rituals or specifications when you sit down to write? When do you prefer to write, and for how many hours daily? I think avid readers and aspiring writers are always curious about this aspect.

It varies from book to book, but I usually like to start early in the morning, before dawn, with me heading straight from the bed to the office. I sit down, work for a couple hours -- or until I get really hungry -- eat breakfast, check some email -- and then get back to work. I stop for lunch, then work for another couple hours, stop for dinner or a snack, work a little more, and then just sort of quit at the end of the day when I feel like it. It's a natural rhythm, but not set in stone. If I'm really on fire, I won't quit for anything, not even to eat. I just push through. But typically, I work anywhere from seven to fourteen hours a day, every day.No rituals. Just comfy clothes. Lots of water or tea. Anything to make me comfortable.

2)Maxine Kiss, the heroine of the Hunter Kiss series, is one of the most complex, dynamic, and interesting characters I have ever come across in Urban Fantasy. She has these incredible supernatural powers, yet is so relatable and realistic. Are there any autobiographical features in the character of Maxine?

That's very kind of you. Maxine is always fun to write, because she's so straightforward -- too much so, at times. Her social skills leave something to be desired, partially because she's been raised in a peculiar kind of isolation, always as an outsider. And because she hasn't dealt with that many people -- on a normal, human basis -- she's both shy and bold, confident in some ways -- and insecure in others.But as for autobiographical features...that's a tough question, in a way. I just write the characters as they come to me, without much conscious thought. I'm not as tough as Maxine, not by any stretch of the imagination, but we do have a shared fondness for cowboy boots, 80's music and pop culture, hot chocolate, and books.

3)How much of your life experience is woven into the Hunter Kiss series? How are your interests reflected in your writing?

I think that every aspect of our lives -- our experiences, no matter how small -- are woven into the fabric of our unconscious minds, and that's the place we draw from as writers. So if you want specifics -- I could say, for example, that I lived in Seattle for many years -- but the series as a whole has been developed organically, very much from the seat of my pants. I never intended Maxine to have a grandfather, for example, but Jack sort of...marched onto the page, for better or worse, and established himself in the thick of things.I will say this, though -- I've always been interested in science, and I minored in Bioethics in undergrad, with a similar focus in law school. Those kinds of issues are part of a long-running theme that can be found in many of my books, including DARKNESS CALLS.

4) In the novella, HUNTER KISS (available as an ebook), Maxine meets Grant and they begin to forge a relationship that is carried through into THE IRON HUNT. Can you explain the evolution of their romance and how it changes in DARKNESS CALLS?

As a romance author, I've always found it difficult to chart the evolution of a relationship in one book. Some writers manage it beautifully in a single go, while others set up characters over the run of a series until they receive their own chance to fall in love. The thing I find liberating about the Hunter Kiss series is that I can take my time with Maxine and Grant. Which might seem like an odd thing to say, as they meet in the novella, and are pretty much joined at the hip in THE IRON HUNT. But, as we all know, even if you fall madly and deeply in love with a person, that doesn't mean you both stop growing. It doesn't mean that what you have between you won't change -- for better or worse.For Maxine and Grant, I wanted to write something that was very quiet, a deep partnership between two people who share an intense friendship and trust. They love each other, passionately, but there's more to each of them than the other realizes -- and in DARKNESS CALLS I explore that further, especially in Grant's case. He's always known he was different from other people, but he's about to find out that those differences are far more profound than he realized. It's going to shake him up -- and Maxine, as well.

5) Anything else you would like to say about DARKNESS CALLS?

It was a blast to write. I go deeper into the mythology of the world, hopefully taking it in unexpected directions, and there's a little something for everyone -- time travel, genetic engineering, demons, psychic barmaids -- as well as that evolving relationship between Maxine and Grant, which is potentially...well...apocalyptic.

I also urge folks to check out the web-exclusive promo letter that I wrote to celebrate the release of Darkness Calls. It's a letter from Grant to the unborn daughter that he hopes one day to have with Maxine. Part three just went up, and can be found here: http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/exclusive-darkness-calls-teaser-part-iii-of-a-letter-from-grant-cooperon-by/


Thia said...

TRRC is excited to have Marjorie M. Liu as our guest at the blog! This is a great Q&A session. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I have.

I am really looking forward to hearing/reading more from this multi-talented author!

Lori said...

Sounds really interesting! I can't wait to check this one out!

Glo said...

Great Interview! What was your first romance book you ever read? Who is your favorite character?

I'm looking forward to reading your books.

Thank You!

Marjorie Liu said...

Hi Glo - I read a lot of books with romantic elements while I was growing up (those were my favorites, always), but my first real honest to goodness romance novel was Christine Feehan's Dark Prince. :-)

As for favorite characters, that's too hard to answer!