ML Brennan is the author of Generation V and Iron Night, featuring reluctant vampire Fortitude Scott, and it happens to be one of my fave UF series ever. She was kind enought to stop by to talk about Iron Night (and more), and she’s even got a copy of Iron Night for one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the details at the end of the post!
So, two books in a year! Has it been a complete whirlwind?
Definitely! After so many years of writing whenever I got the chance, but never knowing if a particular project would ever really see the light of day, there’s something really amazing about writing a book and knowing that in a few months it’s actually going to be on bookshelves. Plus, it hasn’t even been a year yet since Generation V was first released, so I find it really amazing and wonderful that people are getting to read the second – and telling me that they can’t wait for the third! It’s a total dream come true.
Generation V was awesome, then you just brought more kick-ass in Iron Night! One of my favorite things about the series is your vamp mythos, which is scary, unique, disturbing and just…disturbing. Will you tell us a bit about how that came about?
It came from me feeling frustrated with the vampire mythos. Don’t get me wrong – I have a lot of favorite media that involves vampires, and I think they’re a fun creature, but there’s a part of me (a fun-killing part, I think) that has always been a bit bothered by the mechanics of vampires. After all, here is a creature that does not age, will never die of natural causes, and can reproduce itself (that is, make more vampires) with extreme speed and ease, with the offspring (new vampires) able to reproduce themselves almost immediately. Now, I’ve seen tables showing the growth chart of bunny rabbits, and I have to say – bunny rabbits have NOTHING on vampires. So when you actually think through it, there’s no way that vampires wouldn’t be just covering the planet in next to no time. (don’t tell me that vampires are picky about who they turn, either. Even if that was the case for 99% of the vampires, all it takes is one Vampire Duggar and the whole thing goes beserk)
So I started thinking about how vampires could function as a natural-world species. I thought about how predator-prey relationships work, and I also thought about how parasites function. And once I started going down that road, a lot of things fell into place pretty quickly. Disturbingly quickly, one might even say. *G*
The protagonist is always in the spotlight, but as the author, do you have a favorite character in the series, or one you just really enjoy writing the most?
Oh, definitely Suzume Hollis. She’s so much fun to write as a character because she’s just so incredibly self-confident and able, plus as a character she allows me almost free rein for silly humor, snide humor, and off-color jokes. Plus, I get to watch videos of foxes on the internet in the name of research. I feel almost cliché saying that she’s my favorite, since a lot of readers tell me that she’s *their* favorite as well, but it’s just the truth. Any scene where I get to add Suzume is just going to be more fun to write.
When you started the series, did you have an idea of how many you’d like to write, or did you just decide to see where the series took you?
When I first wrote Generation V, I actually wasn’t thinking about a larger series at all. Since I wasn’t in a contract when I wrote it, I had no idea whether it would actually ever be sold at all. At the time I had just finished a very disheartening period where my agent and I had been trying to sell my first book for about nine months, and it had become very obvious that it just wasn’t going to be sold, so I don’t think optimism was really in my vocabulary at the time. (fortunately, persistence is a basic character trait!) It was so hard for me to even allow myself to imagine selling one book – let alone a series! So I wrote Generation V to function as a stand-alone novel, just leaving myself enough openings that I could build it into a series if the opportunity ever presented itself. Well, very fortunately Roc purchased the book – and wanted two more! So I found myself constructing a series pretty quickly!
Read any good books lately?
So many! Reading is definitely one of my favorite hobbies, especially in the winter, which is when I get to indulge my more sedentary nature. I’m on the third book of Catherine Asaro’s Saga of the Skolian Empire, which I’m really enjoying, and my mind was recently completely blown by Nancy Kress’s Beggars In Spain. I also was lucky enough to have an inside track and get a look at Django Wexler’s upcoming middle-grade book The Forbidden Library, which I absolutely loved – for everyone who as an adult reader loved Harry Potter, this is one to make note of.
What was one of your favorite books of 2013?
I thought Will McIntosh’s Love Minus Eighty was just stunning. Lyrical and thoughtful, with a fascinating extrapolation of where our use of personal electronic devices can go. I gave it to a few people for Christmas this year.
Drawing on what you’ve learned since being published, what piece of advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
You have to be both persistent and adaptable. You have to believe in a project and see it through, but at the same time you also have to accept that sometimes a book isn’t working or just won’t sell. It’s hard to know when to keep pushing on a project and when to accept defeat and start on a new one, but you need to be able to do both. One of the most important things to realize is that as a writer you have a lot of potential books in you – not just one.
What’s next for you in 2014?
The third Fortitude Scott book, Tainted Blood, will be published in November! Right now I’m in edits on that, and after that I’ll figuring out what project to start next.
2.) Giveaway is for 1 copy of IRON NIGHT by ML Brennan to 1 winner
3.) Giveaway is open to US residents or those with a US address for mailing (no PO Boxes)
4.) You must enter on or before 1/29/14
5.) Giveaway book courtesy of ML Brennan
6.) Please see my Giveaway Policy.
About IRON NIGHT:
Underemployed by day. Undead by night.
Underachieving film theory graduate and vampire Fortitude Scott may be waiting tables at a snooty restaurant run by a tyrannical chef who hates him, but the other parts of his life finally seem to be stabilizing. He’s learning how to rule the Scott family territory, hanging out more with his shapeshifting friend Suzume Hollis, and has actually found a decent roommate for once.
Until he finds his roommate’s dead body.
The Scott family cover-up machine swings into gear, but Fort is the only person trying to figure out who (or what) actually killed his friend. His hunt for a murderer leads to a creature that scares even his sociopathic family, and puts them all in deadly peril.
Keeping secrets, killing monsters, and still having to make it to work on time? Sometimes being a vampire really sucks.