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Patricia Briggs to visit Australia

30 March 2017

Patricia Briggs is visiting Australia in April to attend Supanova events. We thought we’d catch up with her ahead of the visit …

What kind of books did you love when you were a child?

Horse books were first: Walter Farley, CW Anderson, anything with a horse on the cover. Then SF/fantasy—The Hobbit, anything by Andre Norton or Anne McCaffrey. I branched out into romance, westerns, mysteries from there. By the time I was 12, I read most anything I could get my hands on.

Do you remember the first romance novel you read?

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart. But I could make the case that Year of the Unicorn by Andre Norton (the first fantasy novel I read) was a romance novel. And I read Year of the Unicorn a couple of years before I read The Ivy Tree.

How old were you when you knew that you wanted to be a writer?

After Ace bought my first book. I didn’t really believe, before that, that normal people became writers.

When did you first sit down and start to write? How long after that before you were published?

I drew things and told myself stories about the drawings first. I still draw girls and dragons and horses pretty well. Mostly throughout high school I’d write two- or three-page scenes and toss them—the only stories I finished were for school assignments. It wasn’t until I was in college and a good friend of mine showed me stacks of notebooks filled with her stories that I decided to try it for myself.

How hard was it to first get published?

I wrote my first book (first anything, really—no years of writing short stories for me) beginning my last year of college. We moved to Chicago (from Montana) and writing became my refuge from the sheer number of people around us.

We moved back to Montana; at my husband’s insistence I shipped the first three chapters out with an inquiry letter to any publisher of fantasy I could find. I got back a lot of ‘no, thank you’ and one ‘submit the whole story or don’t, but don’t waste our time with samples’.

I was polishing the story up one last time to send to that publisher when an editor at Ace asked to see the whole thing. I shipped it to her. She asked for some changes. I fixed it—and she bought it.

What authors do you read and/or admire now that you’re an author too?

I am now and have always been a huge reader. I tend to read character-driven books over plot driven and I tend to like a hint of the uncanny—outside of that I am not too attached to any specific genre. I have a large list of authors I read when I need to get lost in the story: Nalini Singh, Thea Harrison, Ilona Andrews, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, Kim Harrison, Laurell K Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Elliott James, Jayne Anne Krentz, Nora Roberts, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Lois McMaster Bujold. That’s just off the top of my head, in no particular order.

If you weren’t a writer, what career do you think you would have now?

Teaching, maybe. I’m a horrible teacher—too disorganised and I tend to worry more about students’ grades than the students do. I made a pretty decent bookkeeper.

Other than books, what is one item you can’t resist buying?

The funny answer would be horses, but I’m resisting the urge to ever buy another horse. First, I’m breeding the ones I have and I’m ecstatic with the resulting babies. Second, my husband bought our most recent horse. She is spectacular and incredibly well bred. I resisted because I could hear my husband’s oft-repeated phrase ‘we have enough horses’ in my head—and I knew he was right. No matter how good a deal it was. No matter how spectacularly bred she was. And even though we’d driven all the way down from Washington state to (nearly) the Mexican border to pick up three horses from North Arabians in a four-horse trailer, leaving us with one empty stall. Even if she was the full sister to one of the most beautiful mares I’ve ever seen, I resisted temptation. Mike didn’t. That means if I ever buy a horse again—I can no longer blame Mike for buying the last horse …

After the first couple of books in the Mercy Thompson series you introduced a new h/h with Anna and Charles. Did this make writing in this world more complicated, or give you more scope? (or both?)

Initially it was to change things up so I didn’t feel as though I was writing the same book for five years. But as it turned out, it was much more important to the series as a whole than that. The two sets of characters have very different perspectives on the changes going on in the world and what they mean. It has allowed me to tell stories I could never have told from Mercy’s viewpoint—and given me the scope to make the world feel real.

Will there be more short stories in the Mercy world?

Shifting Shadows has all of the short stories except for one. That one is a Christmas story in Kevin Anderson’s A Fantastic Holiday Season II. I shall be writing more short stories as time (and ideas) permit, certainly.

Do you have an end in sight for either of these series, or can we expect many many more? Any plans to try something different?

I don’t have an ending planned. Possibly I’ll go off on tangents and do a few more traditional fantasy stories like Dragon Bones or Raven’s Shadow. But as long as the characters still speak to me, I’ll keep going with Mercy’s world.

I have a new series (still in Mercy’s world) scheduled for the end of 2018 based on the blind witch Moira and her werewolf boyfriend, who first appeared in the short story ‘Seeing Eye’ and then in the Alpha and Omega novel, Hunting Ground.

Has there been any interest in any of your books for movies or television? (We would love to see Mercy, Adam and their friends on the screen!)

Here and there. I’ve had a serious deal that didn’t pan out, and a few nibbles here and there. We’ll wait until the right project comes along—or not. I’m okay either way. I write books and the switch to screen—big or small—is a bit daunting.

A lot of traditionally published authors have been experimenting with self-publishing? Are you interested in trying it?

Probably at some point. Especially for the short stories and novellas, it presents a lot of interesting opportunities. I have friends who do both traditional and self—and they seem pretty happy with the balance.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you are in Australia? Will you have the chance to explore?

I expect that about halfway there—I’ll be most excited to get off the plane! I’m looking forward to meeting my imaginary friend’s friend from Down Under, of course. But we hope to do a lot of sight-seeing, too. We should have about a week to wander around and see things, I’m very much looking forward to that.

EVENTS

While she is in Australia, Patricia will be signing at Supanova at the Gold Coast on 21–23 April and in Melbourne on 28–30 April. (Keri Arthur will also be signing at both of these events, and one of the special guests is David Boreanaz.) You can find more information on Supanova here.

Updated 14/4 to add other events for Patricia (all at Supanova):

Friday, 21 April, 7.00 to 8.00 pm, Gold Coast
Supanova Book Club

Saturday, 22 April, 3.30 to 4.30 pm, Gold Coast
Moon Called: Spotlight on Author Patricia Briggs

Sunday, 23 April, 11.00 am to 12.00 pm, Gold Coast
Welcome to the Wolfpack

Friday, 28 April, 7.00 to 8.00 pm, Melbourne
Supanova Book Club

Saturday, 29 April, 1.30 to 2.30 pm, Melbourne
Moon Called: Spotlight on Author Patricia Briggs

Sunday, 30 April, 11.00 am to 12.00 pm, Melbourne
Welcome to the Wolfpack

[This article first appeared in the ARRA newsletter for March 2017.]

 

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