Over the course of this blog’s (recently spotty) Book of the Month Club, I’ve had the pleasure to discover many wonderfully talented writers – and make a few friends along the way. One such talented friend is author Marjorie M. Liu who dropped by the blog to discuss her book, The Iron Hunt, back in May of last year (May 14, 2011: Author Marjorie M. Liu Answers Your Questions! Stargate: SG-1 Memories! I Field Your Stargate: Universe Queries and More!) and dropped by the Stargate production studios to visit the set of one of her favorite shows (October 2, 2010: Your Affable Host! Tia Carrere! Marjorie M. Liu!).
Well, it turns out 2012 is going to be a busy year for Marjorie. The next book in her Hunter Kiss series hits store shelves tomorrow (December 27, 2011) and starting in March, she’ll be assuming the writing duties on Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men.
I asked her to stop by for a little chat…
What can fans of the Hunter Kiss series look forward to in The Mortal Bone?
MML: For those unfamiliar with the Hunter Kiss series, the premise is fairly simple — somewhere in the world there is a woman covered in living demonic tattoos that peel off her body at night, and become her own personal army.
It gets a bit more complicated after that. And by complicated, I mean that the “demons” are really creatures from another planet. Also, characters sometimes time travel, manipulate souls, and find themselves the subjects of genetic experimentation from an alien race capable of manipulating DNA with their minds.
The Mortal Bone is the fourth novel, and cuts right to the heart of the series: Maxine and her bond with Zee and “the boys”, who are her demonic warriors. Their bond was meant to be unbreakable, eternal — as essential to their lives as breathing — but when it’s suddenly broken and those demons are ripped from Maxine’s body, all of them are left adrift. Maxine is totally vulnerable to her enemies, and as the boys taste freedom for the first time in ten thousand years, they start to change for the worse.
If Maxine can’t find a way to reunite with them, they might just return to their old ways as Reaper Kings: the devourers of worlds.
Without giving too much away, how far has Maxine Kiss come since the events of The Iron Hunt?
MML: She’s a million miles away from where she started.
At the beginning of the series, Maxine’s purpose was very clear. Her mission was to kill all demons, without hesitation, because every single one — except those protecting her — were evil and a threat against humanity.
Those beliefs, however, were completely rattled by her relationship with the only man she’s ever loved, Grant Cooperon, who has his own powers — and by the discovery of a threat even greater than the demons: the Aetar, a race of energy-based beings responsible for bringing humanity to this planet thousands of years ago as genetically engineered playthings.
Everything Maxine thought she knew — even her own identity — has proven untrue, or just a small piece of a larger puzzle. The Mortal Bone pushes that one step further by questioning her most important relationship: the one she has with those demons who live on her body as tattoos.
What is it about Maxine that speaks to you as a writer? Is there a lot of Marjorie in our fearless demon hunter?
MML: I was speaking with a dear friend about this just the other day, and he said that of all my characters Maxine is the most like me. I was surprised. I’m not exactly ‘demon hunter’ material. I mulled for awhile, though, and realized that while I might not be much of a fighter — neither is Maxine. Her strength rests in her determination, and stubborn refusal to give up on the people she cares about. Also, despite herself, she’s a bit of an optimist. As much as anyone can be, I suppose, when you know the world is going to be devoured by a demonic army. I like to imagine I share some of those qualities!
In the same vein, you obviously have an affinity for Zee and the boys, as do many readers. What is it about them, do you think, that so appeals?
MML: Their loyalty, I suppose, and all that goofy gentleness and humor — mixed with devastating lethalness. These little demons are on a journey of redemption, which becomes very clear in The Mortal Bone.
What else do you have in the works and what can we look forward to in 2012?
MML: I was just named the ongoing writer for Astonishing X-Men, which will be penciled by Mike Perkins. Our first arc begins with Issue #48 in March. Also, I have a new novel called WhipStitch coming out this summer. It’s about a young woman who discovers that her Great Aunt was a famous dominatrix during World War Two — and that she and her nursing home friends, also retired dommes, get together once a week for their ‘old ladies dominatrix club’. Oh, and someone is trying to murder them.
Late 2012 will see the release of my new paranormal romance series. The first book, A Furious Darkness, takes place on a dystopian world where werewolf gypsy gladiators are forced to fight for their lives, while other monsters — vampires, shape-shifters — are persecuted and murdered by humans who control a vast zombie army.
Speaking of our humble Book of the Month Club – a gentle reminder to join us as, sticking with the comic book theme, we set our sights on BATGIRL: Batgirl Rising. Discussion begins the week of January 16th, 2012 with writer Bryan Q. Miller!
The entire R.I.P. Stargate fantasy football league season came down to last night’s football game. With my Snow Monkeys up big, my opponent needed 50 points from his players to overtake me. How’s he do? Would you believe 51 points?! Fortunately, I had a player in yesterday’s game as well – the Green Bay kicker – who put up a modest 5 points for me. Modest but much appreciated because it put me ahead 3.5 points with only one player active for tonight’s final game. Fortunately, that player is mine and barring a complete catastrophe that sees him fumbling the ball twice AND not gaining a single yard, that championship is mine. But I’ll hold off on the celebration another day (you guys are all invited. BYOB!). Don’t want to jinx it.
Deni writes: “…then to the Guatemalan restaurant for tamales…”
Answer: I’m curious. What sorts of tamales do they serve at Guatemalan restaurants?
Lisa R. writes: “I didn’t choose what happened to us this year, but I can see the growth we have all experienced through it.”
Answer: Well, here’s hoping 2012 is a much better year. For all of us!
woody woodward writes: “Me. Someone who knows nothing about shooting weddings or people for that matter.”
Answer: Oh, I’m sure it’s like riding a bike or playing the banjo. It’ll just come naturally.
libkat writes: “That pasta dish in the photo looks fantastic. Baked ziti?”
Answer: More or less. By mother calls is Pasta al forno. The secret is the little meatballs!
Elminster writes: “Just left with one daughter at home, and she feels the same as me ’bout Christmas. So, had a very nice, low-key, one with just the 2 of us this year. I liked it.”
Answer: To be honest, I tend to prefer the nice and quiet get-togethers as well. Yesterday, Akemi kept asking why everyone was shouting at each other. I informed her that no one was angry. Just Italian.
Dallas Marshall writes: “What is the white bulldog’s name?”
Answer: Lola. The baby was cute but, given the choice, I’d take the dog.
Cherluvya writes: “We will be having a catfish fry at one of the ranches…that one is my favorite.”
Answer: Mine too! Cornmeal-crusted? A barbecue joint near my place serves up a mean catfish po’boy.
Mike A. writes: “…heard how the set was dog-friendly to the point where people would bring their dogs to work all the time to Bridge Studios.”
Answer: Yes, that was one of the many great things about working on Stargate. Dogs were always welcome. In fact, I recall one German fan magazine doing a feature on “The Dogs of Stargate”. I believe it included a pic of me and the pugs in the gate room.
Mike A. also writes: ” That leaves me with just 6 points to make up with my Drew Brees versus his Lance Moore tomorrow night. I know typically, this is no contest, but hey, anything is possible in fantasy football and I know full well not to start counting chickens!”
Answer: I feel the same way – cautiously optimistic – but I have a feeling we’ll both be celebrating tonight. Here’s hoping for the Brees to Colston connection!
Mike A. also writes: “Is Max continuing to eat better?”
Answer: Yes, the prednisone appears to have worked! He’s actually eating…and hungry!
JeffW writes: “In my family we would open family presents on Christmas eve and presents from outside the family on Christmas day. My wife’s family considered it sacrilege to even have presents under the tree until Christmas morning, let alone opening them (the parents would go down first on Christmas morning to “verify that Santa had come”). We compromised by opening one family present Christmas eve and then the rest on Christmas Day.”
Answer: Growing up, we always opened our presents Christmas Eve. In later years, because Christmas Eve’s were so exhausting, we tended to open our gifts Christmas morning. This year, we were exhausted both Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day so we opened our gifts today! My sister wasn’t pleased with the wait and suggested we might as well wait until next week.
JeffW also writes: “My impression of Japanese Christmas traditions (imported as they are) are a bit scattered, so it made me a little curious.”
Answer: The Japanese don’t really celebrate Christmas in the same way we do in the West. It’s not really about family but more of a romantic holiday for couples. New Years, on the other hand, is the big family event in Nihon.
PG15 writes: “Hey everybody! Miss me?”
Answer: Heeeeeey, Peter! Believe it or not, I was just thinking about you yesterday. I was going to ask the gang to put out an APB on you. Great to hear you’re well. How are the Beavers doing? And don’t be a stranger!
Thonryrose writes: “Actually went to the movies (War Horse: bit sappy but still a good movie.)”
Answer: And loooong I hear. I saw one critic refer to it as Bore Horse. Unwarranted?
Thornyrose also writes: “The holiday is unfortunately marred by the Christmas Eve death of a friend”
Answer: I’m sorry to hear about your friend – and for it to happen on Christmas Eve… Condolences.
Maggiemayday writes: “Baked cranberry sauce (secret ingredient: Chambord)…”
Answer: Hey, that’s the secret ingredient in my Fruit Punch (which also includes every other fruit-based liqueur in my liquor cabinet).
dasNdanger writes: “Mr. Das was at the rowdy table playin Yahtzee with the guys.”
Answer: Rowdy table? Yahtzee?
Debra writes: “Hey you going to ask your ex-coworkers to invite her over while she is in France?”
Answer: It looks like my ex co-workers may actually be Berlin-bound!