Hello Readers! I am so excited to be able to share with you this wonderful interview that I had the privilege of conducting with Laurell K. Hamilton about her Merry Gentry series. Do not forget her book, A Lick of Frost, is released on October 23, 2007. All of you Merry fans are in for a great treat! This book was worth the wait.
Also, grab a kleenex box because you are going to need it for this spectacular adventure with Merry and her men! I could not put it down from start to finish.
Thank you Laurell for taking some time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today and hopefully answer some questions that all of us have been wanting to ask!
On average, how long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
It depends on the book. I've finished a book in four months, and another took over two years. I guess average is between six months and a year.
Laurell, how many more books do you see in the Merry Gentry series? Do you think there will be a spin-off or another series with the Fey?
This is book six, so at least two more, and I think it's going to be more like four to five more. I've always said the series would run between seven and fifteen books. Well, I know it's not going to finish in seven.
I don't anticipate a Fey spin-off series.
I admit it, I love Merry. You have done such a wonderful job on her character and I feel as if I know her. Can you tell me in your own words, who is Merry Gentry? How did you blend her strong side with a sensitive but practical side as she grew and changed in this series?
I find questions like this very difficult. It's like being asked to describe your best friend. It's someone you know so intimately that you'd need to write a novel to do them justice, but you know too many secrets about them to write the book without them never forgiving you.
I don't understand how the strong, sensitive, or practical are separate issues. Strength comes out of what we are most sensitive and practical about.
Good point. I never thought of it that way. I do not think I could describe my best friend either.
Laurell, in the past, you have said that writing is fun and is your form of playing. That must be great to be so good at something you love (grin). You have also stated that you have written Merry and Anita so that they are physically close to you in size. Does that help you with working out your plot, scenes, or weapons usage? Do you have any ‘hands on’ preparation for your writing and for clarity?
Because Merry and Anita are my size, when I need to know if they can use a weapon I can take my own hand to the gun store and see if I can hold the gun. The same for choreographing hand to hand fighting. If I'd made them larger than me by a lot, then I'd have to borrow a taller friend to help me see if things would work. I did Judo for about two years. I try to go the shooting range about once a month. My husband and I keep trying to find room in the schedule to start a new martial art class. Maybe when we get back off tour.
That will be fun for you two! If you could stop the clock for a day and had nothing on your schedule you had to do, what would you do?
I'd do what I do anyway. I'd write, I'd spend time with my husband, and my friends.
In the series so far, how difficult has it been to balance Merry's love interests with keeping the jealousy and resentment of the men (and herself) to a minimum? Was this a difficult thing to write about without spending too much time on these issues instead of focusing on the story line?
It wasn't difficult to balance because, Sidhe culture doesn't do jealousy the way that our human culture does. I think we state on stage that jealousy is considered bad form, or impolite among them. They share better than we do. I don't really see why there would be a reason for Merry, herself, to be jealous or resentful. I never saw the whole sharing thing as a problem, so it's really a non-issue for me.
Good point and makes me wonder Laurell, has the world around you including current events affected the way you developed the ever-changing story line for Merry?
Not really. Merry is more rooted in history than present day. Though, the tabloids and how they chase celebrities did impact some. The political intrigue in the series came out of reading about the French court in the time of the Louies.
You have said in the past that some of your characters have changed or shocked you with the way they have developed. While writing the Merry Gentry series, which character shocked you the most and why? What has been the most shocking development in your story writing?
Shocked in what way? If you mean surprised me with his character growth, that would be Doyle. I never planned on him being a leading contender for Merry's heart, but from the first moment he stepped on stage, he was determined to be a strong lead, and a surprisingly romantic one. If you mean in concept, then probably King Kurag and his parasitic twin. Such a disturbing idea.
Laurell which one of the Merry Gentry characters is the hardest to write and why?
They were all harder to write than the Anita Blake characters, until this last book. I find that with a series it's work at first to get the voice of the world and the characters, but then somewhere around book four it becomes easier. It happened with the Anita series, and it has happened again with the Merry Gentry series. Book five was easier, and book six was the easiest so far of getting into the characters' heads. Until the last three books I guess Frost was the hardest to write, but now he's one of the smoothest on paper for me. I find that is often the case. The difficult characters eventually tell you what they want, and suddenly they aren't difficult any longer.
Well it shows, and I am very happy with this book and with Frost. Thank you, Laurell for sharing him with us. Is there anything that you feel comfortable to tell us about Merry Gentry in the future?
Not really, I am really, really bad at hinting. I always give too much away.
(laughing) Nuts! Okay, well we will all just have to wait for the next one.
Laurell, I read your book Nightseer long ago, and I enjoyed it very much. The ending, at least to me, felt like there might be more in the series. Will there be any more in that series? Do you see yourself going back and writing or adding to any of the books you have written in the past?
NIGHTSEER was supposed to be the first of a four book series, but the first book didn't sell well enough, so the publisher turned down the second book. I would like to go back and finish the series someday, maybe after Merry is done. But, honestly, I'm a very different writer than I was when I wrote NIGHTSEER, and I'm not certain I can recapture the feel and voice of the world, or character.
If you were not a writer, what do you see yourself doing on a day-to-day basis?
Wild life biologist, or teacher of English literature at a college.
Well readers, that is it for this great interview. I would like to sincerely thank Laurell K. Hamilton for answering my questions and giving me this wonderful opportunity. It is very humbling and a great honor to be able to chat with an author who I have enjoy reading for over 13 years.
Thank you Laurell for sharing your wonderful and creative talent with all of out her in the world and sharing your special characters with us. I can't wait to see what you come up with next!
Until next time...