Thursday, March 27, 2008

Interview - Laura Anne Gilman

Darque Reviews welcomes Laura Anne Gilman!

Hi Laura Anne, thanks so much for sharing your time with Darque Reviews! We’re looking forward to getting to know you and your work better.

Free Fall is scheduled for release on May 1, 2008 with Luna Books. Can you tell us about Wren Valere’s newest adventure?

LAG: In Free Fall, Wren does something she’s sworn never to do – she takes herself as a client, making a Retrieval that only she can pull off. Except it’s not just her, of course – Sergei and P.B. aren’t going to let her go it alone, no matter what she thinks. A lot of what’s been building in the past few books really comes to a head, here, and the piper is definitely paid. It was a lot of fun – in the cruel author sense of the word – putting them through the grinder. But don’t worry – they have their lighter moments, too. And yes, we do learn a lot more about the fatae, the non-human members of the Cosa Nostradamus.

This is the 5th book in The Retrievers series; can you give readers a little background on the previous books?

LAG: The books follow Wren Valere and her partner Sergei Didier. Wren is a Retriever, which means that she uses magic (‘current,’ in the parlance of the Cosa Nostradamus) to steal items for her clients. Sometimes the jobs are on the up-and-up…and sometimes they’re not. Over the course of the series, Wren and Sergei both develop their rather rocky personal relationship, and become more and more involved in the larger world of the Cosa, especially when Sergei’s former employers get involved….

You’re also beginning a new series this year (2008), the first of which is titled, Illumination. Can you tell us about The P.U.P.I. series and how it relates to The Retrievers series?

LAG: Actually ‘Illumination’ is the title of the short story that will kick things off, in the forthcoming anthology Powers of Detection II. The first book is still searching for a title, as it’s only now being written. PUPI, or “the Pups,” were introduced in the Retrievers books – Private, Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigation. In the convoluted, often volatile Cosa, where human Talent are split into freewheeling ‘lonejacks’ or the more formal Council, and the non-human fatae have grudges that go back generations, two men have decided there is a need for an impartial, fact-driven investigative team that took no sides except that of the (magical) evidence, to deal with the inevitable situations where normal police and courts can’t be brought in.

The first book in that series won’t be out for a while (we still have the sixth Retrievers novel, BLOOD FROM STONE), but I’m already really excited about it!

Have any of your characters become a favorite for you?

LAG: Hrm. P.B., certainly – the demon was only supposed to be a walk-on character in STAYING DEAD, and he sort of moved in and took over, to become Sidekick #1. And Bonnie endeared herself to me enough to demand her own series! But actually, my surprise favorite character is Duncan. Such a cold, ruthless, and yet [in his own bigoted way] honest character, I was fond of him even as I despised him. He was certainly a challenge to write!

If you could be one of your characters for a day, who would you choose and why?

LAG: Rorani, the dryad. The thought of being part of such an old tree, with such a sense of history…being that grounded and a part of your surroundings is very appealing, especially considering the pretty constant chaos of my life.

What is the most difficult part of the writing process for you?

LAG: Starting the revision process. Telling the story the first time is fun. Layering it, so that all the details in my head make it onto the page, is the crafty, brain-tickling part I enjoy maybe the most. Fixing problems that crept in during the telling and layering… I stall out like a cranky car going uphill. I rely on my editor not only to be fresh eyes and brain to find the problems I’ve overlooked or pretended weren’t there, but to tell me about them in a way that jumpstarts the car and gets me moving again. Thankfully, she’s very good at that – I read her notes and start thinking “oh, yeah, okay, I can approach it that way….”

What are you working on now? What can readers look forward to next?

LAG: In addition to working on Bonnie #1, I’ve sent off the revised manuscript for BLOOD FROM STONE, the sixth Retrievers novel that will be out in May 2009. But before then there will be an unrelated e-novella (“Dreamcatcher” out in August 2008), and two paranormal romances under the name Anne Leonard – THE NIGHT SERPENT and DAUGHTER OF THE SEA. They’re more in the traditional romance-with-paranormal vein, rather than being fantasy, so we’re putting them out under a different name.

For short fiction, my stories “Illumination” (Powers of Detection II), “Wolfling” (from Abyss & Apex), and “apple, not a fairy tale” (Aeon Speculative Fiction) should be available before the end of the year (publication updates are posted on my website and in my Livejournal).

Plus, there’s an entirely unrelated project that my agent has out with potential publishers now. It’s huge fun, a second-world fantasy rather than the mostly-familiar setting of the Cosa Nostradamus.

I like to keep busy, yeah.

What inspired you to become an author?

LAG: I’m not sure I was inspired so much as hard-wired. There was never much doubt in my mind that, whatever else I did with my life, writing would be part of it. The ‘author’ thing still catches me by surprise – when people ask me what I do I saw “writer” because hey, I write. Active tense.

I suppose the inspiration I got was being raised in a household that was not only filled with books, but where “I’m gonna write books” was greeted not with “suuuure you are” or “good lord, why?” but “all right, that’s a tough career, but if that’s your dream, go for it!” My mother is a short story writer, and my uncle was in publishing, so I learned early on what I was in for. That didn’t stop me either from writing, or having a 15 year career as a book editor myself. Like I said – hard-wired for this career. It was either that or go for my PhD in history, and I just couldn’t bear the thought of any more 8am classes…

Is there a hobby you enjoy when you have some free-time?

LAG: Cooking. I love good food well-prepared, and the alchemy of taking seemingly unrelated ingredients and transforming them into satisfaction. My friends say I should have my own cooking show – “The Improvisational Chef.”

I’d never do it professionally, though – a good hobby should be something you pick up only when you’re in the mood, not because you have to. Otherwise, it becomes a source of stress, not pleasure. We have enough stress in our lives, there’s no need to add any more!

I think that’s a large part of why I write, actually. To help take some of the stress out of other peoples’ lives…

Thanks so much for joining us and sharing your time and answers. The best of luck with Free Fall!

Kimberly Swan,
Darque Reviews

You can visit Ms. Gilman’s website, here:

You can visit her blog, here:

You can preorder Free Fall, here:
Amazon – Free Fall


Wendy said...

Hi Laura and Kimberly!

Lovely review, I haven't read your books but I'm definitely adding them to my TBB list. :)

Kimberly Swan said...

Hey Wendy! Start at the beginning so you don't miss anything. :)

Laura Anne said...

Wendy -- glad to make it into the TBB pile! I second Kimberley's suggestion that you start with STAYING DEAD -- they can be read individually, but there is a definite story arch through the five books, so I think you get a more complete experience reading them in order.

Stop by, if you get a chance: I'll be running contests on my web blog and Livejournal in April, and you might be able to win one of those books, taking the weight off your wallet.... *grin*

RachaelfromNJ said...

Hi Laura Anne! I can't wait to read your series! It sounds awesome! Great interview!