Please welcome M. L. Brennan to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Generation V was published on May 7, 2013 by Roc. You may read M. L.'s Guest Blog - The Weaker Protagonist - here.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery.
MLB: Thanks so much for the opportunity!
TQ: When and why did you start writing?
MLB: I wrote stories as a hobby starting when I was pretty young and through about high school, but I’d say that I got serious about it during my first year of college. After that, it became a focus and a priority.
TQ: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
MLB: Probably that I always write chronologically in the first draft. Even if I have a scene in mind that I’m dying to write, I make myself wait until I actually get to that part of the book. A big part of that is because there are always a few scenes in the book that I knew even when I was still in the most basic planning stages that I want to do, and by making myself work up to them, it forces me to write the rest of the book, not just the cool scenes.
TQ: Are you a plotter or a pantser?
MLB: I’m such a plotter! I spend anywhere from one to three months planning out the entire book, start to finish, scene to scene. Before I even write the first line of the manuscript, I create basically a sixteen-page bullet-pointed treatment that’s basically the full outline of the book.
What I like about doing that is that I have a solid plan when I start of where I’m going, what’s important, and what is happening. I don’t risk getting fifty pages in and then realizing that I have a huge timeline conflict, or that a character knew something that they couldn’t know yet, or any of those headaches. I’ve already spent three months having and fighting through those headaches! So I can just address and work through each scene in order, knowing that I’m working in the right direction.
I also write daily to-do lists, so I think there’s some temperament and personality quirk elements at play as well.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
MLB: Probably the discipline of it. I’m not someone who naturally gets up, writes for an hour, and then can go to work. Given the option, I like to sleep in. And when I get home from a long day of work, the last thing I want to do is write. I want to put on my pajamas and read a book. Weekends are tough too – I want to go do fun stuff that I couldn’t do over the week, not crouch at my computer for six hours!
But when it comes down to it, the pages have to be written. If they don’t get written, the book doesn’t exist anywhere but in your head. It’s tough, though, because even though I like writing, getting a book out means that I can’t just wait until I’m in the mood to write – I have to make it a task and a priority.
TQ: Describe Generation V in 140 characters or less.
MLB: Fortitude Scott has a useless degree, a minimum-wage job, a cheating girlfriend, and a horrible roommate. And he’s a vampire… mostly.
TQ: What inspired you to write Generation V?
MLB: Because I teach college, I’ve sat through about half a dozen lectures and seminars about the trend toward a delayed adulthood. So that idea of a person not really taking ownership of their life until their mid-twenties was rattling around in the back of my head at the same time that I decided to play with the traditional rules of vampires. And I realized that these two elements could really go together – a vampire who was in that area of delayed adulthood – and that’s how I started building my main character, Fortitude Scott, and realizing what kind of challenges he was going to face.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Generation V?
MLB: A surprising amount, actually! One of my main characters is a kitsune, which is a Japanese shape-shifting fox. Well, I got the idea because I’d read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: The Dream Hunters, which involves a fox who can become a woman, though she’s never identified as a kitsune. But other than that and one short story that I’d read a few years later (which is how I knew the term), I didn’t know much.
I knew I would probably be adjusting the kitsune to fit my world (much like I made some major adjustments to how vampires were going to work), but I felt that I needed to know the actual mythos before I started changing things. This led to about a six-month period where I read everything I could lay my hands on, starting with collections of Japanese mythology and fairy tales and ending with an amazing graduate thesis entitled The Fox’s Craft in Japanese Religion and Culture. It was pretty intense.
I think I used about 5% of that research. But it was really fascinating stuff.
Other than the kitsune, I did the usual little bits – everything from what kind of gun a character would use to what kind of designer dress a wealthy character would wear.
TQ: Who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
MLB: Suzume Hollis, my kitsune, was my easiest character. She had an extremely clear motivating at all times, and it’s really fun writing a character with a huge amount of ego, competence, and sass. Every time she was in a scene, I knew that I’d be having a lot of fun.
Fortitude’s older sister, Prudence, has an extremely adversarial relationship with him. It was always really challenging to figure out how far it could go without being outright warfare, but it also had to be really clear that this was a serious issue. So that was a tough balancing act.
TQ: Without giving anything away, what is/are your favorite scene(s) in Generation V?
MLB: Once Fortitude and Suzume really start to trust each other and work together, every scene with the two of them interacting was great. I loved developing a relationship from two people who didn’t have much in common into something that became really important to both of them, but still maintaining that these were people who had really different moral compasses and agendas.
TQ: What's next?
MLB: Next is Book Two! Right now it’s scheduled for release in January 2014, so I’m pretty hard at work. It’s extremely exciting – I’m getting to really build on all of the relationships and ideas that I began in Generation V, plus a few whole new characters.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
MLB: Thank you so much for having me!
About Generation V
Roc, May 7, 2013
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 320 pages
Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He’s still mostly human.
But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore. His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved. So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter. Fort is determined to find a way to outsmart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how.
But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him.…
About M. L. Brennan
M. L. Brennan lives in Connecticut with her husband and three cats. Holding a master’s degree in fiction, she teaches basic composition to college students. After spending years writing and publishing short work in other genres, Brennan decided to branch out and write the kind of book that she loved to read, resulting in Generation V, her first full-length work of urban fantasy.
Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter @BrennanML
What: One commenter will win a signed Mass Market Paperback copy of Generation V provided by M. L. Brennan.
How: Log into and follow the directions in the Rafflecopter below.
Who and When: The contest is open to all humans on the planet earth with a mailing address. Contest ends at 11:59PM US Eastern Time on May 17, 2013. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years old or older to enter.
*Giveaway rules and duration are subject to change.*
a Rafflecopter giveaway