Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Guest Bloggers: Kelley Armstrong (author of Waking the Witch) and Marjorie M. Liu (author of A Wild Light) interview each other about dead mothers in their fiction

Today I have the honor of welcoming authors Kelley Armstrong and Marjorie M. Liu to the pages of Somebody Dies. Authors of over a dozen novels each, Armstrong's most recent is Waking the Witch, the latest in her "Women of the Otherworld" series, and Liu's newest is A Wild Light, the third of her "Hunter Kiss" books.

In this exclusive exchange, Kelley Armstrong and Marjorie M. Liu discuss maternal murder, appropriate since both of their main characters have mothers who were murdered. In Armstrong’s series, Savannah Levine has dealt with that over the course of the series, but it, of course, still looms large in her character. The same holds true for Maxine Hunter, the main character in Liu’s novels.

Here the authors discuss more about how having murdered mothers have affected the main characters of their novels. Both Waking the Witch and A Wild Light are on shelves (virtual and otherwise) today.

Kelley Armstrong: When we met Savannah in the second Otherworld book (Stolen) she was twelve and her mother, Eve, had just died. Eve had been targeted by a group kidnapping powerful supernaturals. When they came for her, Savannah was at home playing sick. She's always felt, then, that if she hadn't been skipping school, her mother wouldn't have needed to protect her and could have fought off her kidnappers or escaped.

When Eve is killed trying to escape the compound, Savannah knows she was her main reason for escaping (otherwise, Eve would have waited it out). That's a lot of guilt to put on a twelve-year-old.

I always knew that when I gave Savannah her own story, she'd need to deal with that guilt. In Waking the Witch, then, I mirrored her tragedy with a similar one. She goes to a small town to investigate three murders and immediately bumps into the preadolescent daughter of a victim, who is investigating her mother's death. That takes what would have been "just a case" for Savannah and turns it into something very personal.

Marjorie M. Liu: Oh, man. I could probably write a whole book about the archetype of orphans in fiction. In Maxine's case, her mother was her entire world, the only human person she could count on as both friend, protector, and confidant. So when she was murdered — in front of Maxine, no less — it totally ripped her heart out.

It set her adrift, made her a child of the world (for lack of a better term), belonging to no one and no place except herself. Without another person to ground her, she was outside the world, observing it from a distance that was influenced by both her upbringing and broken heart.

So that's her mental state when the series begins. Which isn't to say that Maxine is moping around being depressed. She's out fighting the bad guys, doing what needs to be done. Telling herself to be strong because others need her.

But she needs people, too, and I always knew that her story would be more about her emotional and spiritual journey than the physical war between herself and the demons. That wasn't a random decision on my part. As readers will discover in A Wild Light, Maxine is power. And it's the strength of her heart — the goodness of her heart — that will determine whether the people of Earth live or die or become enslaved.

Many thanks to both authors for agreeing to interview each other for Somebody Dies. Don't forget to pick up copies of Waking the Witch and A Wild Light from your favorite bookstore.

1 comment:

Craig Clarke said...

The book-giveaway contest has ended, and the winners have been notified.

Thanks to all who entered.

(Subsequently, all references to the contest have been removed from the post above.)

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