Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan - Author Interview

Marie Brennan is here today with an author interview, courtesy of the Tor blog tour for her new release, A Natural History of Dragons. Thank you for being here today, Marie! 
If you needed to choose one of your characters to stand by your side in a fight, who would you choose, and why? 

Mirage, from the doppelganger books. No contest. She’s a mildly superpowered ninja; why wouldn’t I choose her? 

Actually, now that I think about it, very few of my novel protagonists are physical badasses. Deven was briefly a soldier and Dead Rick’s probably good in a street fight, but Mirage is the only one who’s highly trained. If I’m allowed to have magic, though, I’d probably go for Julian, from Lies and Prophecy; a combat-trained psychic could take down a great many threats.

What is your favourite part to write. Do you prefer plotting, characters, world-building? 

My imagination tends to start with the world, followed shortly by a character in that world; for example, A Natural History of Dragons started out as “a Victorian kind of setting, with dragons” plus “a woman studying dragons and writing her memoir.” But for favorite bits -- the parts I think up and then can’t wait to write -- those are all over the place. They could be neat bits of setting, intense emotional moments, unexpected plot twists, whatever. 

 If you could define yourself in one song, what would that song be? If you could define how you view the world in a song, what would it be?

With the size of my music collection? No way on earth I could boil myself or the world down to a single song. I will say, though, that I make “soundtracks” for my novels, and love it when I find the perfect piece for a certain character or plot event. That’s actually part of why I make the soundtracks; once I build up that association, the CD becomes a memento of the story, and a way to relive those moments. (There’s a hazard to this, too. I stop whatever I’m doing when “Death Is the Road to Awe” from The Fountain comes up on iTunes’ shuffle, because it throws me right back into the climax of With Fate Conspire.)

If you could visit any time in history, which would you choose, and why?

 Again with making me choose just one! Republican or imperial Rome, Heian Japan, New Kingdom Egypt, one of the Classic Maya states . . . but I’ll stay a bit closer to home and say Elizabethan England, if it means I get to meet some of the major players from that time. I got a very strong sense of their personalities while researching Midnight Never Come, and deeply admire a lot of those people, warts and all.

Where do you write? Do you have any rituals while writing?

I write in my home office, and don’t have a lot of rituals, beyond the fact that I almost always write late at night. (I am a solar-powered night owl; it’s an odd combination.) The major one is that I usually have music playing; I always make several playlists for a given book, to fit different kinds of scenes, and use those to get myself in the right mood for whatever I’ll be writing that night.

Thank you so much for being here today, Marie, and answering my questions! 

Marie Brennan can be found at her website, on twitter, and on goodreads.

A Natural History of Dragons can be found at Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BooksAMillion, Powells, Walmart, and Overstock.

About the book.

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . . 

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day. 

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever. 

Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons

Author Bio:

Marie Brennan is a former academic with a background in archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, which she now puts to rather cockeyed use in writing fantasy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to many short stories and novellas, she is also the author of A Star Shall Fall and With Fate Conspire (both from Tor Books), as well as Warrior, Witch, Midnight Never Come, In Ashes Lie, and Lies and Prophecy. You can find her online at

All art credited to Todd Lockwood.

1 comment:

Dorothy said...

This is an awesome book. I would like to read it. I just love books about dragons and fictional characters!