Q: When I met you at the National SF Convention in Tasmania, it was the first time you had been outside of the States. Have you done much travelling since then?
Going to Tasmania is still my big adventure, but I have done a couple of vacation cruises since then–one to Alaska and one to the Caribbean. I’ve also attended a couple of the World Fantasy conventions that were held in the U.S. For me, this is a significant amount of traveling.
Q: I read your first book, Daughter of the Blood (part of the Black Jewels series) long before I met you and was swept away by your vivid imagery. I see there are nine books in this series now. Do you have more planned?
Nothing more planned at this time. Will there be more? I’m sure there will be. With Black Jewels stories, I seem to need a resting cycle where I write other things before I can go back to them–or before the Blood come back to me.
Q: I love the new covers, particularly Daughter of the Blood. How much say do you get in your covers?
For the U.S. covers, I send in descriptions of the main characters so the artist doesn’t have to hunt for the information. For the Australian covers, I’m sometimes asked to send a few ideas of images that could be used as a starting point. After that, the artist’s vision comes into play, and the end result is fabulous.
Q: What was it about the fae that convinced you to write The Tir Alainn Trilogy? Have you always been fascinated by the Fair Folk?
I’ve read stories about the realms of Faery since I was young, but the Fae weren’t the start of Tir Alainn. I was thinking about what I wanted to write after the Black Jewels Trilogy (I already had a draft of The Invisible Ring), and I had decided that I wanted to play with a world that had a more traditional earth-based magic than the Craft in the Black Jewels world. Then one afternoon I was coming home from a convention and saw a cloud formation that looked like the dark cliff of another world sitting on the horizon–a place you could see but could never reach. I said to the friend who was driving, “That’s the otherland where the Fae live.” After that I began to put the pieces together–the nature of the Fae and how they traveled from Tir Alainn to the human world, the nature of the witches, who else inhabited this world, and what was going to enter their lives and threaten their world. So it was actually the witches who provided the first seeds for that world, and then it was characters like the Hunter and the Gatherer of Souls who changed the texture of the story and Tir Alainn itself into something far richer than I had first envisioned.
The stories in Ephemera are about heart, about making a life journey, and about making choices, so I guess it’s the world itself that demands the stories spotlight the connection between two people. On the other hand, I would have said Cassidy and Gray’s relationship in THE SHADOW QUEEN and SHALADOR’S LADY was just as much a love story as Sebastian and Lynnea’s relationship.
Almost all of my stories fall into the fantasy/science fiction/horror genres. The one exception is a story chapter I did for SUMMER IN MOSSY CREEK, the third book in the Mossy Creek series. Not only was that mainstream, it was the first time I had written a story in a world that was created by someone else. That was a lot of fun, but the imagery of fantasy feels like home so that’s what I tend to write.
Q: I see you are working on an urban fantasy series. This is a change for you. Can you enlighten us?
I wanted to write a story in a world where the characters could have telephones and television and cars–that is, a contemporary setting even if it wasn’t Earth. And I wanted to try my hand at playing with vampires and werewolves (or shifters in this case since they aren’t really werewolves). And you want some humans in the mix because squeaky toys are fun. I had the framework of the world before the characters grabbed the story and ran off with it, so now the rest of the world building is taking its shape from the story.
It’s dark and it’s fun, and I’m never quite sure what the Others are going to do until I type the words.
Q: I was prompted to start this series of interviews because there seems to be a perception in the US and the UK that fantasy is a bit of a boy’s club. Do you think there’s a difference in the way males and females write fantasy?
I hope there is a difference. Where would the fun be if we all saw things the same way and wrote the same kinds of stories?
Q: Following on from that, does the gender of the writer change your expectations when you pick up their book?
Judging by my bookshelves, if I’m looking for a story that is primarily adventure and action and explosions and battles, I lean toward male writers. If I’m looking for a people story that includes adventure and action and explosions and battles, I lean toward female writers. And then there are all the writers on my shelves who don’t fit those choices because the gender of the writer wasn’t part of the decision to pick up the book.
Q: And here’s the fun question. If you could book a trip on a time machine, where and when would you go, and why?
Since I’ve been pondering lately if the TARDIS has a shower and other kinds of plumbing, I’m not sure I’m mentally equipped for time travel.