posted by Nancy
A lot has happened with author Laura Anne Gilman since her last visit to the Lair. The first volume in her Vineart War series, Flesh and Fire, was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel for 2010. Pack of Lies, the second volume of the Paranormal Scene Investigations (PSI for short) is out, with a starred review in Publishers Weekly and an RT Top Pick to its credit, and she has several short pieces out or coming out soon. We're going to chat about all of that today, starting with the Paranormal Scene series.
Welcome back, Laura Anne! For those new to the series, can you give us some background on Bonnie and PUPI (short for Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations)? What inspired you to create PUPI? Was it an "aha! I can do this" moment, or was it something that came to you gradually?
Bonnie was introduced during the Retrievers series, when Wren (my main character) needed a professional investigator-type to check something out for her. The idea of someone who was the opposite of Wren (a criminal vs a law-minded sort) both using magic to opposite ends, seemed logical to me – if there is a thief, there should also be a thief-taker, yes?
But then I started to think about what that would mean, in the culture of the Cosa Nostradamus, and how Talent would react to being monitored/investigated in that way…. And the idea of PUPI came out of those thinks – about the need for an investigative branch that did not owe its loyalties to the Council, but wasn’t quite so ‘anything goes’ as the lonejack community.
So the idea was in my head, taking form – and when I came to the end of Wren and Sergei’s arc, in BLOOD FROM STONE, it seemed natural to me to explore PUPI, and Bonnie’s involvement with it. And the natural place to start was at the beginning, with the founding of the group in HARD MAGIC.
What's the problem Bonnie and her comrades face in Pack of Lies?
After HARD MAGIC, they’ve established themselves, slightly – gotten a chance to prove themselves to the rest of the Cosa. But that just means larger challenges and, as will become the norm, dealing with the situations nobody else wants to touch. In this case, a respected and ancient breed, a ki-rin, is accused of justifiable homicide in defense of its companion, a young woman. But there’s more to the story, of course - on both sides.
Complicating matters, Bonnie is discovering that the attraction she has to her boss, Benjamin Venec, may have its roots in a less physical, more magical cause. This…annoys them both. Career-minded workaholics have very little tolerance for the meddling Finger of Fate. I am having a lot of fun playing with this theme – the trope of “fated True Love” and the genetic and personal implications of such a thing, as seen through the POV of two people who have no interest in long-term settling down… (or being told what to do).
For a peek inside the book, click here.
This isn't the only series you have going. Last year, you visited us when you launched The Vineart Wars with Flesh and Fire. Now there's a second volume, Weight of Stone. Can you tell us a bit about where that series is going?
The Vineart War is a classic trilogy – act one, act two, and act three. In act one, we were introduced to the world of the Vinearts, where wine-makers are the keepers of magic, while land-lords rule the people, and the Washers keep the balance between the points of power – and something, or someone – is trying to shift that balance. We are introduced to Master Vineart Malech, and the slave-turned-student Jerzy (pronounced yehr-zee), who first recognize that something Bad is happening, under the seemingly calm surface of their society.
WEIGHT OF STONE is act two, where our hero, Jerzy and his companions are on the track of who that someone might be – but get caught up in the turmoil of the world around them, and are accused of being the troublemakers themselves.
Act three, THE SHATTERED VINE, brings all the players into direct conflict, reveals secrets, and forces Jerzy to make a final decision that could change his entire world… that manuscript has been handed into my editor, and will be published in October 2011.
I was incredibly honored that the first book, FLESH AND FIRE, was nominated for a Nebula Award for Nest Novel, in 2010.
You also have some short stories on the market, don't you? Can you tell us a bit about that?
I started out writing short fiction, and it’s still important to me – it allows me to work with themes and stories that might not carry the length of a book, but are interesting and important all the same. I can’t imagine not writing short fiction, even though it’s taken a back seat to the novels in the past few years.
Up next, I have two stories that will be out in February or March, both in anthologies -
First, courtesy of THOSE WHO FIGHT MONSTERS, you get "Dusted" - a short story featuring former cop/current PI Danny Hendrickson, who also happens to be half-fatae. Danny is on the hunt for a missing girl – but he discovers, instead, something about himself. This is the 'kickoff" story for the Sylvan Investigations books coming in 2013. Danny also get a lot of play in the 4th PSI novel, SIGHT UNSEEN.
And then there's AFTER HOURS: Tales from the Ur-Bar, which has my story "Paris 21." Here, the dream of glory, circa Paris 1921, meets an ancient demi-god who likes to meddle.... A study on what we wish for, versus what we dream of.
And then in May there’s a project that I’m incredibly excited about – a small press collection of DRAGON VIRUS, which is a series of interconnected stories charting the way humanity –and human society - changes under the influence of a mutation, over an extended period of time. It’s SFnal horror, in some ways, but also, I think, quite hopeful in its own way. If you’ll forgive me the plug, you will be able to pre-order it soon directly from the publisher – Fairwood Press (http://www.fairwoodpress.com/index.html)
Plus, of course, there’s BookView Café, which houses some of my short fiction – some of it for free!
What's next for you?
In my immediate future? Revisions on some pending books, and then finishing up SIGHT UNSEEN, (PSI#4) before my editor comes beating me over the head because it’s late. A few short stories that are in the works,, a novella idea that needs finishing. After that (end of 2011/early 2012), I have Danny’s books (Sylvan Investigations) to write, and a few new projects that are simmering…. Always busy. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
For more about Laura Anne and her work, visit her website.
To get the conversation going, tell us, what's your favorite detective story? If you like wine, what's your favorite kind? What was the last short fiction you read?
Laura Anne is giving away a book to one commenter today--winner's choice of any one of her published novels (Vineart Wars, Retrievers, or PSI). We also have an AHA Go Red pin for one commenter today.
The comment link is below the healthy heart tip for today and the AHA BetterU information.
The healthy heart tip for February 4 is: Cooking at home is an excellent way to control what you eat. Make a date to a local cooking class to practice your skills or learn a new technique.
Go Red for Women on February 4
Romance Writers of America and the American Heart Association have partnered to raise awareness of heart disease in women and encourage you to join us in wearing red on February 4, National Wear Red Day®. Visit http://www.goredforwomen.org/ to learn how to fight heart disease.
And just in case you missed it....
Sign Up for the Go Red BetterU Program and Receive Two Free Romance Novel E-Books
From Feb. 1 through May 31, 2011, receive one free romance novel e-book when you sign up for the American Heart Association's BetterU Program and one after you complete week six of the program. And look for the Eat Smart for Your Heart limited-edition magazine (that features this offer) on newsstands and in a grocery store near you.
To sign up for the BetterU program, visit http://www.goredforwomen.org/betteru/index.aspx.
(Go Red For Women is trademarked by the American Heart Association, Inc. Romance novel downloads provided by Belle Books.)