We have talked to Marianne de Pierres about her new book in the Peacemaker series, Mythmaker.
Your first book in the Peacemaker series was released last year and now the second book is soon to be released. Can you tell us a bit about the series and your new book, Mythmaker?
It’s a Western, crime, urban fantasy: a real genre mashup about an Australian park ranger protecting the last tract of natural bushland left in Australia. She’s forced to work with a US Marshal who has extraordinary sensory talents and can see creatures called Mythos, who are breaking through from another world/dimension. Before long, she realises she has the same ability. It’s fast and fun but has some serious social commentary running through it.
Can you give us some insight into your main character, Virgin Jackson?
Virgin’s name comes from old school Westerns and is most probably, usually, a male name. It’s a clue to the type of story I’m telling. She’s a lot anti-social, a little ornery, and loyal to a fault. Her friendship with Nate Sixkiller is good for her. She’s become too insular and self-centred, and Nate and all the problems he brings with him, force her to reach deep into herself.
With future Australian mega-cities and a Wild West style landscape you have a somewhat refreshing setting compared to the normal “American setting”. How do you feel this has been important for the story?
It’s been an interesting experiment, actually. I believe it lends a freshness to the concept and yet there in awful lot of familiar as well. Australia has been heavily influenced by American and British culture, and I deliberately set out to show that with some of the places in the story like The Western Quarter. I tap into the dime Western traditions and unashamedly twist them to suit my needs.
As with any series, it depends on how it sells! I ideally I‘d like to write another 1 – 2 books, but in case that doesn’t happen, I’ve finished it in a place where well… you’ll just have to see. J
Your writing spans many genres, which do you enjoy the most to write? With this diversity is it safe to assume that it comes out of wish to write what you enjoy and not be solely driven by what the latest market hype is?
Well, personally I think you’d be foolish to be driven by market hype. You become just like the mouse inside the running wheel, never catching up. By the time you’re in a trend, it’s almost over. I write on whim – whatever attracts me at the time. That is frequently NOT a sound commercial decision, but it’s the way I’m wired. I like to try new things.
I’d imagine a children’s book is quite different to write from a Space Opera. Do you have a different approach when you “attack” different genres?
I make sure I read in the genre I’m writing. I mean, it’s important to respect your audience. You need to understand the tropes before you blunder in on a new genre. Reading gets you in the right mindset, and in tune with the rhythm of the language. I see my mind as a creative diaspora.
You also write the Tara Sharp crime series under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt. What do you feel are the main benefits for an author to sometimes use pseudonyms?
I chose the pseudonym to signal to my SF readership that the Delacourt series were very different kinds of books i.e. contemporary and humorous. I didn’t want my readers picking up the Tara Sharp stories, being confused and thinking I’d flipped my wig. J
The benefit of a pseudonym is the fact that it allows you to reinvent yourself. The disadvantage is that you start at the beginning again, building a readership, and finding your audience. It can take a lot of time and effort to maintain different writing personas. One of them inevitably overtakes the others.
Thinking back, how did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurred you on?
It was a conscious desire since age ten, but it was a long time coming as a focused and regular thing. Learning the self-discipline required to write regularly was the key. It took me until I was about thirty to truly get that.
When you work on a new idea, do you tend to work from one key idea that you then refine, or do you spend a long time maturing ideas and mixing them together until you find something that works?
I usually start with one idea, and work from there. Occasionally two ideas clash and spark a world e.g. the Peacemaker series, which came from me want ting to write a Western and an urban fantasy. The Sentients of Orion series started with an idea I had about organic ships (biozoons). My Night Creatures YA series came from my interest in nocturnal creatures. I never know where an idea will lead, but I always give my imagination full permission to run amok after it.
What has been most surprising to you in your writing and publishing career?
I suppose it’s longevity. I never expected to keep get publishing contracts. It’s a constant surprise and thrill. I never take it for granted, no matter how small the publisher or the story.
Would you care to pass on any advice to writers starting out? What was the best advice you were ever given when starting out?
I keep a succinct list of writing tips on my website.
But the singularly most important piece of advice that I ever received, and still adhere to, is to finish what you start. Half-written anything proffers no personal nor professional satisfaction.
Most writers have some other thing they’re passionate about, what’s yours?
Hmmmm, I love the rewriting process. It’s like digging your fingers in clay. You primp and pinch and re-shape and dream about creating something meaningful and beautiful.
What’s next? Do you have more exciting new projects you’re working on at the moment?
I’m pretty excited about my next SF novel, entitled PHARMAKON. It’s a feminist SF story wrapped in a near future thriller. It will be, possibly, hopefully, the best thing I have written to date. Aside from that, more fun Tara Sharp novels, more children’s literature, and a TV series!
Thanks for having me, SFF World. I’m a long-time fan of your site.
The pleasure have been all our
Marianne de Pierres is the author of the acclaimed Parrish Plessis and award-winning Sentients of Orion science fiction series. The Parrish Plessis series has been translated into eight languages and adapted into a roleplaying game. She’s also the author of a bestselling teen dark fantasy series entitled Night Creatures and writes award-winning crime under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt.
She lives in Brisbane, Australia.
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Interview by Dag Rambraut – SFFWorld.com © 2015