Thursday, 14 May 2009

Interview with Lisa Shearin

I was lucky enough to get to interview amazing fantasy author of Magic Lost, Trouble Found, Armed & Magical, and The Trouble with Demons, Lisa Shearin. She was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule (she's currently finishing off writing Bewitched & Betrayed, the fourth in the Raine Benares series) to answer some questions for us. So without any further ado, here is the interview!


How did you come up with the idea for Magic Lost, Trouble Found?

Raine’s adventures came out of my love of genre fiction—fantasy, detective fiction, mysteries, action adventure, romantic comedy, thrillers, and crime capers. I wanted to combine fantasy with the intrigue of the classic detective novel, the suspense of a mystery, the daring of action adventure, and the fun of romantic comedy and crime capers. I wanted to write a roller coaster that you could read. I think it all goes back to my college days and not being able to find a book that combined all of my genre fiction loves. So I wrote the type of books I wanted to read, but couldn’t quite find. Well, that and Raine didn’t give me a choice.

The names of your characters are very unique. How do you come up with them?

When I'm writing and including a new character, I'll very often leave a blank, or put the person's title in parentheses as a placeholder. I work on the names later. Yes, they're that important. I like to sit down and take my time to come up with just the right name. Two of my favorite name sourcebooks are: The Writer's Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon, and The New Age Baby Name Book by Sue Browder.

I name some of my characters for the meaning of the name (but the sound of the name also has to fit the character's personality). For others I ignore the meaning completely because I love the sound of the name so much. For my goblins, I lean toward Egyptian, Indian, and Native American names. For my mages, I tend to go with Greek or Latin names. The sound of those names work wonderfully for mages. For my elves, I went with Hebrew, Celtic, or Gaelic -- for the most part. And if the spelling of any name just didn’t seem quite right for a particular character, I changed it.

Raine is a very modern woman with a sarcastic sense of humour, seemingly at odds with the world she lives in. How did you come up with Raine’s distinct personality?

Mixing contemporary sensibilities with traditional fantasy was a hard line to walk. I resisted doing it for as long as I could, but I finally gave in. But I figured elves and goblins don’t really exist, so who’s to say how they speak or don’t speak? Raine’s voice just wouldn’t be forced into traditional “fantasy speak,” and third-person was out of the question—Raine let me know that in no uncertain terms from day one. Once I started writing in first-person, I immediately found her voice, and I really knew I was on to something when my other characters started coming out of the woodwork as if they heard their cue to come on stage.

Tam or Mychael? Mychael or Tam? Will Raine ever make a choice? Who do you prefer?

I’m both a Mychael and a Tam kind of gal. There’s the steadfast, noble (but really sexy) hero who is good for Raine; and then there’s the mysterious bad boy with the shadowy past—what girl can resist that? It’s difficult to choose, which is why Raine is having such a tough time of it—and it’s not going to get any easier for her. But rest assured, she will choose.

As well as Tam and Mychael, you have a fair few other male characters it’s easy to literary-crush on; Phaelan, Piaras, Talon to name just a few. How do you come up with such unique swoon-worthy characters?

The guys just popped into my head. It’s not called “fantasy” for nothing. ; )

How long do we get to spend with Raine? Is there a maximum of books set in Raine’s world? Do you know how the series will end?

I know how the Saghred storyline will end. As to the series itself, as you can see from the map in the front of The Trouble with Demons, Raine’s world is huge, and there’s plenty of material for more stories, possibly even prequels and spin-offs. I’d love to play for a long time in Raine’s world.

When you get the time to, what do you do to relax?

Spend time with my husband and hounds. And for the first few days after finishing a book, all I want to do is sleep. I try to take at least two weeks after finishing one book and starting another and don’t write one word.

You’ve said you like character driven books, like those by David Eddings. I, too, am a huge David Eddings fan. Who are your favourite Eddings characters? Your favourite book/series?

I adore David Eddings’s Belgarian, Malloreon, and Elenium series. And I adore Raymond Feist’s Riftwar Saga. I absolutely devoured those books. Silk, Velvet, Polgara, and Belgarath were my favourite Eddings characters.

Any book recommendations for other fantasy fans?

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series. The man is a genius. Period. I also love Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series and Rob Thurman’s Cal Leandros series. Great work.


Thank you, Lisa, for such a great interview! Be sure to check out Lisa's novels for an awesome read!

Lisa Shearin's Website / Lisa Shearin on Twitter

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