Please welcome ML Brennan to the blog today! Her brand new book, Generation V, is out today, and ML was kind enough to answer a few of my questions!
Also, we’ve got a SIGNED copy of GENERATION V up for grabs, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Will you tell us a little about yourself and your background? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Sure! I’ve always been a pretty voracious reader, and fantasy and sci-fi were genres that I’ve enjoyed from a young age. I was always thinking about what I was reading, but I didn’t really start writing in a way that I think was distinct until high school. At that point I decided that I wanted a career that would have a large component of writing, and going into college I actually had it in mind that I would become a political speechwriter (this can be traced pretty directly back to how much I was enjoying The West Wing at the time). College was where I became much more serious about writing, and where I was lucky enough to take excellent classes and learn a lot about the craft. I ended up getting my bachelor’s degree in creative writing, but then I’d planned to go straight into law school and write very much on the side. There was a brief redirecting around that time, and I actually ended up getting a Master’s of Fine Arts in writing instead.
Your brand new novel, Generation V, is out today! Will you tell us a little about it, and about your protagonist, Fortitude Scott?
Yes, this is very exciting! The elevator pitch of my book is that Fortitude Scott has a useless degree, a minimum-wage job, a cheating girlfriend, and a roommate who stiffs him on the rent. And he’s a vampire… mostly. But when a little girl is kidnapped, suddenly he’s the only one who is willing to try and do something about it, so he teams up with a wise-cracking shapeshifter and heads off for a rescue mission that will very likely kill him.
I really enjoyed writing about Fortitude, because I liked the idea of someone who was really torn between two worlds, and was really afraid of becoming someone who they didn’t want to be, on a very moral level. I also liked the idea of a hero who isn’t super powerful and going to automatically come out on top in every fight, because I thought it would be more interesting to see someone who was overmatched, and see how they worked through that through either application of intellect or the gaining of allies.
Also, Fortitude is a vegetarian vampire. That just never stopped being amusing for me.
Vegetarian vampire, huh? You must elaborate on that!
Yeah, when I came up with that one, it made me very happy. Fortitude — who needs a regular supply of blood to continue to survive — does not eat meat. No beef, chicken, you name it. Keep in mind these are foods that he likes. He chooses not to eat them for a series of complex reasons. For me, that’s really Fort in a nutshell.
What inspired you to write Generation V?
There was no one set inspiration point, more like I had a lot of things that I was interested in exploring – the idea of family ties, of morality, of people growing up and taking ownership of their lives, and a vampire system that made biological sense to me. Generation V was just the way I found that eventually tied in all of those elements.
With the popularity of so many different types of otherworldly creatures in fiction today, what made you pick vampires in particular?
There’s always the appeal of working with something that you’ve seen so many representations of, both in the classic form and in various re-imagined ways, and I think the vampire is a very powerful and prominent figure in urban fantasy (and larger fiction) for a number of reasons. A big part of my choice was the desire to re-shape vampires in a direction that I found interesting and exciting.
Did you do any research for the book?
I actually did a fair amount, because I was working with a type of shapeshifter, the kitsune, that wasn’t part of my own cultural heritage, and I wanted to make sure that I had a good sense of the background and history of it. So I ended up doing a lot of reading of Japanese fairy tales – I was limited because I don’t speak the language, so I was having to work with translations, but I enjoyed that very much. I read several books about foxes specifically, but my favorite book that I read as part of my research was this amazing graduate thesis by Michael Bathgate called The Fox’s Craft in Japanese Religion and Culture: Shapeshifters, Transformations, and Duplicities. Really, really wonderful.
If Generation V made it to the big screen, who would you like to see in the role of Fortitude Scott?
Oh, that one is actually pretty hard… I usually don’t think of my characters in terms of actors when I plan or write. I’m just going to say Tahmoh Penikett, because I think he should be in just about everything.
What are some of your favorite authors or novels?
Brandon Sanderson is very reliable. I love Sharon Shinn’s new Elemental Blessings series, and I can’t wait for the sequel. Anne Bishop’s Written In Red completely blew my doors off. I’m also really enjoying Cassie Alexander’s great Edie Spence series, and I’m really looking forward to the third book in that series. Patricia Briggs and Rob Thurman were definitely big influences when I was writing my series. I also have to give a little plug for my friend Django Wexler, whose incredible epic fantasy The Thousand Names is coming out in July – I got a chance to read an advance copy, and it’s absolutely amazing.
If you could experience one book again for the very first time, which one would it be?
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I read and loved it when I was young, and I just think it would be so neat to see what my unbiased reaction would be if I read it as an adult.
When you’re not busy teaching or working on your next project, how do you like to spend your free time?
Free time…? That actually reminds me of when my agent was explaining what kind of things should go in the little bio section at the end of the book, and she asked if there was anything interesting that I did in my free time, and I was so burned out and busy at that point that it was like, “I don’t even remember what free time feels like.”
I love playing tabletop games like Munchkin or Puerto Rico, so whenever I have the time and an appropriate gathering of people, that’s what I like to do.
What’s next for you?
Right now I’m working on the edits for the second Fortitude Scott book, Iron Night, which will be published in January 2014.
About GENERATION V:
Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He’s still mostly human. But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore. His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved. So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter. Fort is determined to find a way to outsmart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how. But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him.…
2. Giveaway is for 1 SIGNED copy of GENERATION V by ML Brennan to 1 winner
3. Giveaway is open to US addresses only
4. You must enter on or before 5/15/13
5. Giveaway book courtesy of the author
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.