Questions, part the tree:
You're one of the bloodthirstier women writers I know. Can you talk some about the role of violence in your work, and also about whatever reactions you might've gotten to your being a *woman* writer who writes such violent material? (Yes, I'm assuming there've been some, but if not, then not.)
That's such an interesting question. I don't think of what I write as particularly bloodthirsty--I'm not writing splatterporn, after all, or anything that really revels in violence. When I use violence in my work, it generally is there because violence sometimes happens in the real world, and while I try not to flinch from it, I also generally don't make it the focal point of what I write. I'm not, you know, writing in the tradition of Chuck Palahniuk.
I do generally write what people would refer to as "noir" or "high-mud," fiction, I guess, which in this context I would mean that I try very hard not to glorify the violence or make it seem clean or pretty. (Which would be why I picked this particular icon for this post, actually, because you have a love a TV show that'll demonstrate a protagonist chocking on his own vomit and then crying while snot runs down his face. Well, I have to love it.)
As for being a woman writer who treats violence that way--well, I've heard my work called "castrated" (books have testicles?) and "squeamish," actually--both of which make me laugh. And I've been praised for the poetry of my violence, which--well, yeah, there ought to be a kind of poetry in it, in the sense that poetry is truth.
But I'm not sure anybody commenting on it has noticed that I'm a girl.
After ACtW, I now have a jones to see you (with or without truepenny) write a female ensemble cast. (Yeah, yeah, I know there's sorta one in parts of Carnival. Not the same.) What are my chances of seeing something of the sort?
Depends on if I have a book that warrants it. There's an awful lot of Blood & Iron that's woman-centric; the men, in general, are more in support roles (even the ones who have POV.) (Some readers have also commented on this, both in praise or dismay.)
I'd say, off the bat, that your chances are better with me than with truepenny.
Is there a book (or two or five?) by someone else that you wished YOU had written first?
I wish I'd written the ones I did write a little better. *g*
I generally like other people's books better than my own, actually. So if I had written any of my favorite books, well. Then they wouldn't be my favorite books.
How does the process of writing with a partner compare to writing alone?
Writing with a partner is just as much work, but more fun, because when you get stuck you get to send it to the other guy, and she writes the bit you were stuck on. And then elves come in the night and take out all your bad sentences. What's not to love?
Does the partnership generate the story, or does an existing story wave and say "write me with so-and-so?"
I'm not sure how the second of these would work. There is no existing story until it's written. Are you asking if one writer dictates the plot while the other does the work of actually putting the words on paper? Perhaps in some collaborations, but not the ones I've been involved in. The story--plot, characterization, worldbuilding, theme--arise from the creators jamming with each other, talking things over, and riffing on each other's ideas.
How do you pronounce "Mebd"?
"Maeve." Yes, it is the source from which both "Maeve" and "Mab" are derived, as far as I know. She was the major instigator of the plot of the Táin Bó Cuailnge, and I always rather loved her and Emer and Scathac. I need to use Scathac in something one of these days.
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