My first Patricia Briggs novel was Moon Called (2006), the first book in her urban fantasy series featuring VW mechanic and shape shifter, Mercy Thompson. I went on to read and enjoy her Hurog duology – Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood. What I love about Ms. Briggs’s work is that she is a solid writer who works very hard in making her world of monsters “feel as real as possible.”
Ms. Briggs graciously took the time to answer a few questions from a reader about her new Alpha and Omega series. The first book in her new fantasy series, Cry Wolf, is due out in bookstores July 29. Oh, there’s nothing spoilerish here. Enjoy.
How many books are scheduled in the new Alpha and Omega Series?
PB: I am under contract for two more, and after that we’ll see. It’ll depend upon sales . . .and if I feel like I can still come up with interesting things for them to do.
How does Cry Wolf fit into the Mercy Thompson universe? I realize that it is a spin-off of that series.
PB: Right. One of the protagonists of Cry Wolf, Charles is the brother of Mercy’s roommate Samuel. He belongs to the pack that Mercy grew up in. Cry Wolf takes place between the end of Moon Called and the beginning of Blood Bound.
Why was it necessary to create a heroine with so much emotional baggage? I mean Anna has been through a lot.
PB: She was supposed to be a short story character, so I thought it would be safe [grin]. I needed a heroine who would make Charles show his softer side. If he’d hooked up with some like, say Mercy, she’d never have gotten to know the real Charles because he’d never have had to make himself that vulnerable. I also like tough characters . . . and it’s sort of like patience, you don’t develop it until you need it. Anna needed to be tough to survive.
PB: It’s in third person, so that allows me to show the story from both Anna and Charles (and sometimes someone else’s) viewpoint. Also, using a dual, male-female viewpoint makes it feel a little more like a romance than the Mercy books do. The A&O books have a little too much world building and plots that aren’t romance-centric to qualify as romances, but they are a little more in the middle ground between paranormal romance and urban fantasy than the Mercy books are.
What is an Omega? What role does an Omega have in the pack and is it a trait found in females only or can males have this trait as well?
PB: An Omega is a wolf with all the protective instincts of a dominant wolf . . . without the need to be in charge. They also have a calming effect on other wolves. Omegas can be either male or female. I imagine I’ll be exploring the abilities of an Omega wolf a lot more in future books.
Most authors like pairing up popular characters together that are from a different series, so will Mercy and Anna meet up?
PB: Probably not. I think that I already have too many major characters and juggling a few more seems uncomfortable. Charles, Samuel and Bran will flow from one series to the other fairly easily, but I don’t see Mercy and Anna in the same book anytime soon.
In your own words, what makes a good urban fantasy?
PB: First, a world that feels real. The streets, the buildings, the people need to feel like the streets, buildings and people outside the readers door. That makes the monsters feel more real. The rest of it is just the same as for any good book. Good writing, characterization, motivation and believable, logical situations.
You always seem to incorporate culturally diverse characters – how much research goes into creating your characters?
PB: Ten years of living in the Tri Cities [grin] It’s a very diverse community with an economy based on Agriculture/High-Tech/Nuclear energy and people come from as many places as you can think of: Russian, Laotian, Tai, Indian, Native American, African American, Latino (not only from Mexico either), Chinese, Japanese . . . you name it, the Tri Cities has it.
Ok, off the wall question: What was the strangest thing a reader has ever said to you?
PB: There are a lot of people who take this a lot more seriously than maybe they ought. I’ve had people complain about the accuracy of my magic versus real magic. Someone asked if werewolves get fleas (In the Tri Cities? You better believe it.)
Last but not least, as an avid reader, who are some of your favorite urban fantasy or fantasy authors? Is there anyone that you’re really excited about reading?
PB: Oh goodness. I read a lot — and I’m easily pleased. Old favorites — Barbara Hambly, Andre Norton, Anne McCaffery, Lois McMaster Bujold, Robin McKinley, David Weber. How about a few people with books out in the past few months: Lynn Flewelling, Sarah Monette, Ilona Andrews, Jack Campbell. Urban Fantasy: Laurell K. Hamilton, Tanya Huff, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, Lynn Viehl, Jim Butcher, Rob Thurman Paranormal romance: J. R. Ward, Linda Howard (Son of the Morning, Touch of Fire, Now You See Her — and a couple of other books), Nora Roberts (especially this new series beginning with The Hollow, what fun), Christina Dodd. And of course C.L. Wilson whose Fading Lands series feel more like romantic fantasy than the paranormal romance they are being sold as.
Thanks Ms. Briggs for visiting with avidbookreader.com!