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Friday, August 16, 2013

Author Interview - Tamora Pierce

The lovely Tamora Pierce kindly agreed to let me interview her. Here are the results of that interview.

Does your computer have a name?

Oh, no.  I used to name them, but then they started to get familiar, taking breaks without asking me, not getting permission to go on vacation, bringing their friends into the office after work for parties.  It was more than I could stand.  Now they're just nameless office devices, silent and helpful (when they aren't being difficult.  Yesterday was a difficult day.  I fear today will be as well).

What type of books do you read?

Middle grade and teen contemporary, historical, fantasy, and science fiction; adult fantasy, science fiction (rarely anymore, this one), and alternate history; mystery; historical fiction; contemporary thrillers; military history; medical history; disaster history; sociology of crime, events, movements in human cultures; poetry

The Tortall world has been going on for a long time, do you find it hard to keep track of everybody?

I keep a list of characters for both of my universe, plus biography forms for all of the main and secondary characters, and files by series of characters' faces.  I started doing this with the Daine books, when I realized I was going to start mixing things up in a hurry if I didn't!

I have heard rumours that the Winding Circle world and Tortall are connected somehow, is this true?

Oh, no!  The magical systems are different; the gods are different; the land masses are different.  I don't ever want to connect the two universes.  When I am worn down from time in Tortall, I go to the Circle universe for a vacation, and vice versa.  I can do things in the Circle `verse I can't do in Tortall, and the opposite is true.  I always want it to stay that way!

Who is your favourite character in Tortall and Winding Circle – why?

It really depends on my mood of the moment.  Obviously I love my main characters, or I wouldn't dedicate whole books and series to them, but I also love characters who get far less "screen time," like the darking Secret in Trickster's Queen, or some of the creations that appear in the forthcoming Battle Magic.  I'm very fond of my big, cheerful men--Raoul, Taybur Sibigat, Farmer--which is why I keep writing them, but I keep wishing I could do more with Zhegorz the over-medicated mage of Will of the Empress and Yazm√≠n in Street Mage.  And some I'm waiting until they grow older, like Irnai the seer, Tris's girl Glaki, and Neal's daughter.

Will there be any more books like Beka Cooper only with the ancestors of say Alanna, Jonathon or Miles?

I have no idea.  :-[

The next Winding Circle book comes out later this year in Australia, what do you have planned next?

Right now I'm working on EXILE, which begins when Ozorne receives word that his older brother has died and he is now heir to the imperial throne.  Arram Draper, his best friend, is 17, and has no idea yet just how strong his magic is, because his teachers have been giving him private classes.  And nobody knows that things are about to blow up in their faces, sending Arram on the run from his best friend, unable to use his magic for fear of being tracked by Ozorne's mage-hunters.

If you could have a cuppa with anyone from history, who would it be?

Unfortunately for my image as a citizen of the world  ;-)  , it would be one of two very American figures: General William Tecumseh Sherman from our American Civil War, the first modern general, a very crisp and clear writer, a thinker well ahead of his time, funny, with no patience for the shibboleths and niceties of the Victorian era, and/or the writer known as Mark Twain, my literary idol (together with Louisa May Alcott--all three are redheads, by the way!).  Everything I said about Sherman I can say about Twain, except he wasn't a general--in fact, he was a deserter from the enemy army.  Twain's writing is so crisp and clear that he is as readable now as he was when he was alive, and unfortunately, his writing on political and religious issues is just as much to the point.  Also, he loved cats.  (So do I!)

What do you love most about writing?

Spinning stories.  Seeing what my characters do.  Having it come out well.  And then receiving mail and hearing from fans how much my books mean to them.  Books saved my sanity in my younger days, so it means a lot to know I am helping people in the same way.

How much research goes into your writing?

A great deal!  Some of it I do well in the future of a book--I developed the idea for the pigeons and the dust spinners in the Beka Cooper books nearly fifteen years before I found a place to use them; the source of my idea for the Queen's Riders came from reading I had done in military history ten years earlier, and the historical figure on whom I'd based Blaise the Nothing Man was someone I first discovered when I was 14.  Other research I'll start a year or two before I begin a book, as I'm finishing the previous one: I stockpiled books on Chinese and Tibetan culture, which apply to BATTLE MAGIC, starting four years or so before I began to write, and began to read and leaf through them a year before I began.  I started to dissect a real-world map to turn it into the map of the countryside covered in BATTLE MAGIC several months before I began to write, and visited a Tibetan museum exhibit in New York City about eight months before I began to work.  And some research I do as I write.  When I was working on THE EMPEROR MAGE, I spent two hours one morning in the rainforest habitat of the Central Park Zoo in New York City, observing all of the birds that flew in the open their, and choosing which ones I would place in Ozorne's aviary.  I attended Renaissance faires and watched the jousting before I tried to write Kel and friends as they jousted, and I made the acquaintance of jousters and their squires.  I've also watched countless movies and tournaments of martial arts and sword fighting to be able to write about it.

If you could choose one of your series to give to someone, what series would it be?

It would depend on that person's interests.  If they like kings and palaces and knights and wizards, I would say the Lioness or the Protector books.  If they like animals, the Immortals quartet.  If they like spies and revolutions, the Trickster books.  If they like magic, I'd say the Immortals or the Circle of Magic books, and if they like crime, the Beka Cooper or the Circle Opens books.  It all depends on taste. 

Visit Tamora here on her website for more information about her books :D

 Battle Magic due in Aust. in September 2013

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