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So during the Sirens conference I was at, when we were doing the Golden Age of YA panel, Rachel Manija Brown (All The Fishes Come Home To Roost), Janni Lee Simner (Bones of Faerie, Malinda Lo (Ash) and me (well, The Demon's Lexicon, but I hope you guys know that by now) were all talking about how we feel this latest wave of lots of, and lots of really terrific, young adult fiction is inspired by the young adult books we were reading as we developed as writers. Lots of names were mentioned, but the author that all four of us said we were inspired by was Robin McKinley.

I found this unsurprising. Robin McKinley has written a ton of awesome books. Robin McKinley is, indeed, still writing a ton of awesome books. Her latest book Pegasus is out in one week and one day, on November 2nd. It is high fantasy, and stars a very short and very determined princess called Sylvi and a very tall, muscular, talented and dashing flying beast called Ebon. By the terms of their people's treaty, each royal personage is bound to a pegasus of rank. Sometimes the binding means they can understand each other a little, and with the help of magicians they can understand each other a little more. 'Sire, that pegasus kicking holes in the palace walls is definitely feeling a trifle testy today.'

Except that Sylvi and Ebon instantly understand each other completely. Cue magicians yelling about how it is Unholy and Taboo, pegasus and human politics, Forbidden Meetings (Some Involving Balconies, I Find It Romantic Okay), and the looming threat of war.

In short it is an excellent book you guys. Now I secured an advance copy of Pegasus, which is how I know these things, and after I did so nothing made me happy but pestering its author, making vile and unwarranted insinuations about Sylvi and Ebon's relationship as is my way (ROBIN: Theirs is currently a platonic relationship. SARAH: Or is it? ROBIN: What is wrong with you, get away from me. SARAH: He's a fine figure of a pegasus is all I'm saying...).

It seemed like we had one of two choices. Option A: Robin McKinley puts Mace into her rose sprayer, and uses it on me. Option B: I babble about Pegasus in public.

We went with Option B. Also, there are going to be prizes. Fancy interview with Robin McKinley and prizes, y'all! Also, she uses footnotes: the blog is never going to be this fancy again.

FANCY INTERVIEW WITH ROBIN MCKINLEY:

SARAH: So in the book, humans and pegasi share a land: pegasi were the original inhabitants but they were beleaguered by terrible beasties, so when the humans arrived they were welcomed with open hoofish-hands. The two races formed an alliance, and the royals get assigned royal pegasus attendants.

Honestly it reminded me of a bit in Irish history, where the king of one province in Ireland stole another king's province, and the second king was like 'Uh, the English? Door's wide open. PS I got a marriageable daughter. Just sayin'.' Colonisation and alliance, complicated things in the real world, and even more so between humans and nonhumans. Did anything in history inspire Pegasus?


ROBIN: Not specifically*, but very much the sort of thing you’re describing: history sometimes seems to me like one long slithery cascade of misalliance with occasional aberrations of a league or an association or even (gosh) a marriage that worked for all of 2.3 minutes. And for history read ‘life.’**

In terms of watching my fellow human beings make utter horses’ asses of themselves on a global scale I have lived too long already*** but as I get older the thing I get more and more conscious of, or maybe I mean obsessed with, is the way Everything Is Connected. And from that inevitably comes the dire realisation of Personal Responsibility. I’ve taken a certain amount of stick over the decades for writing too many stories about princesses and the grand and titled generally and thus making my characters inaccessible to my readers. Erm. Well, obviously I don’t agree, or I wouldn’t keep writing stories about princesses (we’re all clear that the heroine of PEGASUS—the Standard McKinley Heroine—is a princess?), but one of the uses of royalty I think is to have a kind of heightened ordinariness. This clearly insupportable theory probably comes from having read way too many fairy tales at a young age—remember I was starting to read for myself in the Early Mesozoi—I mean the 1950s, before ‘young adult literature’ was invented, let alone ‘urban fantasy’. I didn’t even meet LOTR till I was eleven. I was already totally ruined by Andrew Lang by then.

And while one of the tangential attractions of my favourite fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is that Beauty is not a princess, well, the Beast is usually a prince or some major aristo, and he’s certainly wealthy. And the folk and fairy tales that bent my young imagination in irredeemable ways tend to have royalty either as the central characters (the guys) or as the reward (the girls). So as I came out of my story-telling starting gate snarling I WANT GIRLS IN BOOKS WHO DO THINGS royalty seemed like one of the basic playing pieces. Royalty is where a lot of paths cross without your having to make them cross: Default connectedness and built-in responsibility. You can just sit there playing eenie meenie about which way you’re going to go. Except, of course, the story won’t let you. This way, it will say sternly, slipping the chain round your neck.

SARAH: While casually stalking you - uh, I mean, reading the tor.com discussion of Beauty and Rose Daughter because I Love Literature, and thinky thoughts about literature, someone quoted you in the comments as saying:

'The story I tell over and over and over and over is Beauty and the Beast. It all comes from there. There are variations on the theme–and it’s inside out or upside down sometimes–but the communication gap between one living being and another is pretty much the ground line. And usually the gap-bridger is love.'

And that made me go 'OH' both because it's true, it's something that I love in books (eyes meeting across a crowded room kind of love, pfaugh, talk to each other)!


ROBIN: I. COULD. NOT. AGREE. MORE. Biiiiiiiig major fixation here. Second only to the Girls Doing Things fixation. I mean, fine, that your eyes meet across a crowded room. But after you make your way through the crowd, breathing heavily and using your elbows a lot, talk to each other.

SARAH: and because I think you took this common theme of yours a step further with Pegasus. In your previous books, people talk to each other and come to understand each other, but in Pegasus the problem and the miracle of communication is literalised. Sylvi and Ebon are members of two different species who are not supposed to be properly capable of talking to each other, and yet who can. Did you think about it as literalising your favourite theme, of bridging gaps and creating love through communication? To employ a Metaphor, what new alleys inside a favourite city were you able to create?

ROBIN: I hadn’t dragged it blinking out of its comfortable ginnel into strong light like this before, but in hindsight, yes. What I think I’m doing—what the story is doing through me—is ratcheting up both the stakes and the difficulty and then saying . . . yup. Love can still do it. Nanny nanny boo boo.†

SARAH: The types of beast vary in your books: foreigner regarded with suspicion, actual beast, vampire, dragon, dude made of fire. In this case, it's a pegasus: something out of myth, something so beautiful it fills humans with dazzled amazement. (Uh, not like that. Though well, I don't know. Ebon is a fine figure of a pegasus. So strong and manly, and also with excellent sculpting skills.) What made you think of turning Pegasus from one mythological horse to a race of horses - what drew you to them?

ROBIN: Snork. Like I had any input on this one. I wasn’t drawn to them. I woke up one morning and found my bed covered with large, shiny, funny-looking feathers . . . uh. Which reminds me;

VERY IMPORTANT, NO, CRUCIAL POINT. PEGASI ARE NOT WINGED HORSES. NOT. NOT. NOOOOOOOOOT. GOT THAT? GOOD. EXCELLENT.

There’s been way too much ‘Robin McKinley’s race of flying horses’ already and the book isn’t even out yet. PEGASI ARE NOT FLYING HORSES. THEY’RE PEGASI. Are deer horses with split hooves and big ears? No. Are cheetahs really fast tigers with spots? No. Are hippopotamuses wet rhinos without horns? No. Are pegasi horses with wings? NO.

Here is a nice helpful excerpt from p 128:

'Pegasi looked almost more like four-legged birds, standing next to horses. Their necks were longer and their bodies shorter in comparison, their ribs tremendously widesprung for lung space and their shoulders broad for wing muscles, but tapering away behind to almost nothing; their bellies tucked up like sighthounds’, although there were deep lines of muscle on their hindquarters. Their legs seemed as slender as grass stems, and the place where the head met the neck was so delicate a child’s hands could ring it; they moved as if they weighed nothing at all, as if they might float away, even without spreading their wings.'

Now. Ahem. Back to the question. If you stalk me a lot . . . I mean, if you’ve read much of either my blog or web site, you’ll already know that I like to say that I don’t make my stories up, they happen to me. I had no conscious intention of doing anything with pegasi, which, before I met them, I assumed were flying horses, and while the flying part was kind of exciting and I have been seriously horse mad pretty much all my life, for some reason I always thought pegasi were kind of a snore. Oh, and yes, I know the old dad was Poseidon (Poseidon? And you get a flying horse?), mum was Medusa story (dad was Poseidon and mum was Medusa? And you get a flying horse? Seriously?) and he was born out of his mother’s severed neck ewwwwww (Yo, ancient Greek dude, can we talk about these issues you have around women and childbirth?) . . . but that was clearly bogus (and to do with the ickiness of the ancient Greek psyche).

SARAH: The Greeks, man. Swans. Showers of gold coins. Helen of Troy was born out of an egg. It must have been a real relief when she came out hot - and then later not so much.

ROBIN: I’ve always known there was a race of pegasi. I just didn’t expect to wake up one morning and find feathers on my pillow . . . feathers large enough that my first thought was that if we are talking predator here I’m in large ugly trouble. Fortunately the pegasi are sweeties. And vegetarian. After that it was just the usual system of trying to figure out what the hell was going on and how I was going to write it down.††

And there is absolutely no snaky hair in PEGASUS or PEG II. I promise.


SARAH: I love Sylvi's parents - her tall warrior mother, and her wee fearsome diplomat father. I love them a lot. I think we've all had the experience of getting really invested in a minor character: are there minor characters from your books who you have really cottoned to?

ROBIN: Always. Starting with Ger back in BEAUTY. Mel in SUNSHINE (as I’ve said elsewhere) is the Most Criminally Underused Character in the McKinley Oeuvre and may be the single strongest reason for any remote possibility of another story about Sunshine some day.††† I’ve had a crush on Jack Dedham in SWORD for thirty years. There’s something mysterious about Sibyl in OUTLAWS. I know what happens to most of Robin’s remaining band; all I know about Sibyl is that there’s a mystery. Arrrgh. I would like to know more about Lissar’s friend Lilac in DEERSKIN. The list goes on . . .

I’m not going to talk about PEGASUS, I think, because this writing-a-second-book-out-of-the-same-story thing is strange to me and I’m feeling Very Superstitious. There are a couple of minor characters in PEG I that I’m still hoping are going to rip up some radical scenery in PEG II.

SARAH: So would you say that you think the end of Pegasus is a) cruel, b) diabolical or c) why I don't know what you're talking about Sarah, or why you have torn out all your hair and been found, bald and frantic, hunting for clues in my flowerbeds so often... (I may have an opinion about the end of Pegasus myself but as your interviewer, I shall of course remain entirely and coolly unbiased.)

ROBIN: I think cruel and diabolical is a sound, judicious description of the end of PEGASUS, yes, and I’m very sorry about your hair. If I were either already fabulously wealthy from my previous forty-six New York Times best-sellers or a faster writer, I might have just hung onto it and produced one single epic volume, sold with its own carrying straps.‡ But I am not fabulously wealthy and gods know I am not a fast writer, and the hellhounds and I need to keep eating.‡‡ When the awful idea of whacking PEGASUS in half came to me my hand kept being relentlessly carried to the end of Chapter Nineteen‡‡‡. Stories are terrible bullies.

If it’s any comfort, quite a lot of the writing of PEG II has been like walking on knives. Hot knives. (Little mermaid, pfaugh, as you would say.§) Because of the end of PEG I.

* * *

* Specific? With this memory? I don’t do specific. Some of Peter’s family were here this weekend and they were sitting around discussing the History of Shakespeare’s History Plays. Wasn’t Richard III the one who runs across stage shouting, An Imperial Landing Craft! My kingdom for an Imperial Landing Craft! No, no, on second thought I’d rather have a Death Star! I’ll show that Henry Bolingb—Henry—uh—Tudor! —I covered for my crass ignorance on these exquisite matters by the well-known fact that I don’t frelling much like Shakespeare, and that’s aside from trying to keep his Richards and Henrys straight. PS: I hate Falstaff. HAAAAAAATE.

** Possibly not about the 2.3 minutes of a happy marriage. After (almost) twenty years Peter still makes sure there is chocolate and champagne in the house at all times, in case of emergencies, and asks me what I want for my birthday. I hear someone from the back row—where it’s dark, and I can’t see your face—asking what I do for him. Hey. I’m fun to watch. That has to be worth remembering to keep the champagne/chocolate stash topped up.

*** Although I’m planning on living disgracefully long in total. You’re invited to my 100th birthday party in 2052. There will be champagne and chocolate cake.

† Or neener neener if you prefer.

†† And still is the usual system. One of the reasons I’m getting this interview in later than I should’ve is because PEG II: THE RATBAG has been torturing me more actively than usual this week.

††† Remote. Remember: remote.

‡ And a short list of possible alternative uses. Footstool. Barbell. Boxcar derby ballast. Coffee table: just add artfully cut glass sheet.

‡‡ Peter makes his own arrangements. Partly because he believes in regular meals. But the hellhounds need their chicken, and I need the occasional cute little cropped cashmere cardigan to keep my spirits festive.

‡‡‡ Not that it was Chapter Nineteen at that point. It was that MEEEP! bit after that other meep! meep! bit.

§ I am going to adopt pfaugh. It is so excellent.


At this point I realise you are all saying, 'God bless the McKinley lass, she has the patience of a saint, what kind of interview questions do you call those?'

You are probably also saying 'You were saying something about prizes, Sarah?'

Why, yes. There is a Robin McKinley prize pack going. It contains Chalice (a beekeeper raised to higher things. A mysterious, hot man. And by hot I mean 'mostly made of fire'), Sunshine (a vampire whose skin is reminiscent of undead mushrooms. A baker heroine. Sarah says 'This vampire book is making me SO HUNGRY' and worries her friends. Neil Gaiman says 'this book is pretty much perfect' so you don't have to take Sarah's word for it), a Pegasus poster - the cover is really pretty, you guys and a copy of Pegasus itself, which I think I've made clear, is a deeply desirable thing to have.

In order to win, tell me about a relationship, platonic, arguably platonic or otherwise, in which the characters communicate and don't just stare at each other, and it is awesome.

And I hope you all enjoyed the Fancy Interview With Robin McKinley!

Comments

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thegreatmissjj
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
Eeeeeeeeeee! Robin McKinley! Love! My copy of BEAUTY is so worn it's held together with packing tape.

Not platonic (although it--sort of--begins that way), but my favourite relationship in which the characters, you know, talk is Anne and Gilbert from the Anne of Green Gables books, although you could argue they don't actually start talking until the end of Book 1. Well, in Anne of Avonlea they talk a lot and are great chums. There!
ktbass
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
There have been a lot of good, solid relationships in YA lately, which makes me a happy girl. I'm cheating and talking about two, though both from the same series. Todd and Mayor Prentiss from Chaos Walking had such a fascinating relationship in the last two books of the series. They were enemies and yet they were CONSTANTLY talking. It was completely fascinating to read a book in which the villain sits and chats things out with you. It was confusing and riveting and terrifying and...gah. It was so awesome.

The best relationship between two leads I've read in a while was Todd and Viola, from the Chaos Walking series (these books own me). These two worked as such an amazing team, and they talked all the time. They kept secrets, sure, but they still were pretty clear when they thought the other one was being weird and...they were perfection. Sure, there was a definite element of destiny about them, but it went deeper than that. THANK GOD.
thegreatmissjj
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:22 pm (UTC)
I just have to drop in and 2nd the CHAOS WALKING love. Todd and Davy Prentiss have a great relationship too. (Oh Davy. I loved you.)

Also, Deryn and Alec from Scott Westerfeld's LEVIATHAN and BEHEMOTH have a pretty great platonic...ish relationship. (I forgot this in my initial comment.)
(no subject) - tiferet - Oct. 25th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
bedlamsbard
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
So much love for Robin McKinley! I love Spindle's End with the unholy power of a thousand dying suns</i>.

I've been reading a lot of Lindsey Davis lately, and Marcus Didius Falco and Helena Justina are kind of an amazing pair. They have their problems, but they talk! (Er, sometimes, but that's what's so great about it; sometimes they take the other entirely the wrong way and stalk off to Germania sulking, and then run into each other on the way.) And they get each other, and they are adorable, and well -- they're very earthy, I suppose, for lack of a better word?
supertailz
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
In Emma Bull's _War For The Oaks_ one of my favourite scenes is a late night chat between the two main characters. They also spend a lot of time being briefly cryptic and then saying "stop being cryptic and tell me what you mean!" To which the other one replied "oh! ...Ok! I mean if we don't work together everything might die BUT I have a plan and I'm going to tell you about it!"

In the obverse, much as I love the Anne Bishop books, they drive me up the wall because I spend the entire series screaming "JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER". The romantic relationships never talk but neither does anyone else! The one that particularly drives me up the wall is that the two brothers and father never do.

GAH. How does anything ever work out in that world? EVER?
vega_ofthe_lyre
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
This is such a common thread in my own experience with fellow readers and writers from my generation - we have all grown up reading McKinley and I, for one, treasure her books as one of the best parts of my childhood and continue to reread them all the freaking time (damn you, enormous university reading list).

/weepy fangirling

Here's one relationship (ultimately not platonic, but you know) that pretty much centres entirely on communication: Roland and Maud from AS Byatt's Possession. The evolution in their relationship as they learn to move past talking at each other to talking with each other just leaves me on the floor with happiness every time - their dynamic is based on literary geekery in its purist form, and the rapport and romance they build with one another when they learn at last to ~combine their strengths!~ and work together is simply amazing.

(And what, are you kidding, this interview is THE BEST.)
jrho
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:30 pm (UTC)
Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. When I go back to reread Jane Eyre, I pretty much just read the scenes with Jane and Mr. Rochester and skim the rest of the book. I love how their conversations are often constrained by propriety and class differences, but they get each other and get through to each other enough to find love, lose love (hello crazy first wife!), and find love again.
oligomer
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:31 pm (UTC)
The very first relationship I thought of was Polgara and Belgarath of David Edding's Belgariad. I mean, that's a very deep father/daughter/peer relationship, and they do communicate very neatly. 'Course, they've supposedly know each other for 700+ years, so a lot is shown by their responses to body language, but still. Communication! (Don't ask me about the Durnik/Polgara relationship or almost any other relationship Eddings wrote; it's definitely a lot of "supposed to be together" and not so much with the believability, in my opinion.)
oligomer
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
Also, Deerskin remains my fav. McKinley book! <3 the interview!
stephanieburgis
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
I am a huge Robin McKinley fan-girl, so I already own every prize on offer except the poster (or at least, I have Pegasus on pre-order, so I will own it soon)...but I would looooove to be entered in the drawing for that Pegasus poster!

As my couple-with-conversation, I'd like to nominate Alastair Carsington and Mirabel Oldridge in Loretta Chase's Miss Wonderful, which might just be my favorite romance ever (at least, by a living author). They talk to each other, they LISTEN to each other, and they're really, really good for each other. Plus, she's sensible & practical and he's romantic & sensitive, and they're just incredibly cute together.

And I am REALLY excited about Pegasus!
mathnerd
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
My favourite platonic dysfunctional relationship with no communication whatsoever is Aahz and Skeeve from Robert Asprin's MythAdventures! They start out antagonistic and then grow into a partnership that never is quite truly balanced, or fair, or communicative, or a partnership, but they care about each other and cover for each other and later for all of M.Y.T.H. Inc. And the puns. Oh, God, the puns! Now I have to go re-read them all again... ;)
faege
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:33 pm (UTC)
Katniss and Peeta/Katniss and Gale from Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games trilogy! There is muchos talking, between the girl with Potential Lover #1 and with Potential Lover #2, and between PL#1 and PL#2 about the girl. And it's not even all "Oh, Potential Lover, I love you so, but what my decision really comes down to is whether I want blond- or brown-haired children"--sometimes there's talk about bombs and battle strategies! Which appeals to me as I feel that the discussion of napalm is a good balance for chocolate and roses.
tiferet
Oct. 25th, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
I really kind of wanted an OT3 out of that, though I knew it wouldn't happen.
biancathecookie
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
Oh man, you have mad interviewing skills. Jealous!

My favorite starts-out-platonic relationship is between Alanna and George in Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness quartet. They start out as friends, and she falls in love with someone else and leaves for Grand Adventures and through it all George is one of her best friends. He's the first of her friends to find out she's actually a girl- if that's not true love, I don't know what is.
bookblather
Oct. 25th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
Through the mildly hilarious "OH GOD I AM BLEEDING HALP" way, even. I love that George's first response to "You're a girl?" is not "wtf are you doing being a knight" but "oh god you've seen me naked." Because who cares if she's lied her way into the knight training, because clearly she can do it, but OH GOD SHE'S SEEN HIM NAKED.
(no subject) - biancathecookie - Oct. 25th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bookblather - Oct. 26th, 2010 07:05 am (UTC) - Expand
mariamist
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
Great interview!

One of my favorites is Rachel and Gabriel in Shinn's Archangel. They are in love with each other but in a very real way trying to fight their destiny (as we find out in later books, a completely planned genetic destiny) and can't admit it -- and they fight, constantly, incessantly, cruelly, and when they get along and have a good time, they end up fighting again.

I don't know if I'd call it communication - they're both obstinate and proud and do spend some time talking around their problems, rather than ABOUT their problems, but given the characterization it makes sense and rather than being completely annoying, is completely heartbreaking.
kilerkki
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
I already have a copy of Sunshine and my copy of Pegasus will arrive on my doorstep on November 2, so I am not sure I should be entered into the drawing. HOWEVER. You and Robin McKinley are two of my favorite writers (although I've got to admit, I prefer your blogs--they are more straightforward and easy to read and I don't get headaches from footnotes) and it was sheer delight to read your interview! Also may I suggest to your readers that the first three chapters of Pegasus are available here (along with sample chapters of Chalice and Sunshine, I believe) and if that does not convince you to buy the book I do not know what will!

One of my favorite fictional relationships right now is the one between Peter and Elizabeth Burke in the TV show White Collar. Peter is an FBI agent and Elizabeth is an event planner and after they'd met and Peter was stalking performing a background check on Elizabeth but was too shy to ask her out, she pops up in one of his sneaky photos holding a sign that says "I LIKE ITALIAN RESTAURANTS." Ten years later they are so happily married that they can actually communicate, even when they're stressed or frustrated. Trust is a very important element for me in relationships, so one of my absolute favorite scenes is when Peter is forced to flirt with a suspect for an assignment, and Elizabeth finds the other woman's business card in Peter's suit jacket afterward. Instead of going overboard with suspicions and fears, she asks him what's up. And Peter tells her. And Elizabeth bursts out laughing because Peter couldn't even flirt with her back in the day, and he's been out of practice for years, and she wishes she could have been there to watch! She is so awesome and confident and secure and smart, and she often helps Peter solve his cases, and she has her own friends and job and life, really. She does not always appear in every episode (partly because the actress was on maternity leave for part of one season) but she is absolutely one of the most important characters, and one of my favorites. I would recommend watching White Collar just for Peter and Elizabeth! (Fortunately it also has Matt Bomer as the best and hottest scam artist ever, so even the scenes without Elizabeth are fun to watch.)
bookblather
Oct. 25th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
YES YES YES THIS. That bit where she's laughing her ass off at him because he can't flirt is seriously one of the best moments ever. And the bit in Company Man where he's showing off his penthouse suite and goes, "Let me show you the best part of the room: you!" and then when he's talking to her picture later? It's one of the most awesome and functional relationships ever. So well-done on the part of the show.
(no subject) - thebluerose - Oct. 26th, 2010 09:16 am (UTC) - Expand
tylik
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC)
I've been sitting on a "But maybe there could be a story about Mel - and hey, recipes!"* comment for ages, but not posting because it seemed obnoxious.

So, ah, itty bitty tiny chance squee!

Okay. Done now.

* I think my vote would be one post Sunshine that had a lot of flashbacks to his early life before Charlie's, but that's only because I'm greedy.
tylik
Oct. 25th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Okay, I just had to go read through this whole thread before putting in my vote. Votes.

Second runner-up: Ibrahim and Widow Kang in KSR's The Years of Rice and Salt. Working partnership, and changing and teaching eachother. And life isn't simple, and it's not like you make all your choices in your twenties, either.

First runner up. Ari and Justin in Cherryh's Cyteen. So many kinds of broken, so many kinds of works. But most important, again, working partnership. I'm not interested in a story and then happily ever after. I want it to be about the after, too. Happily ever after is boring.

And our winner... Aerin and Tor from The Hero and the Crown. When I was a teenager I had a desperate crush on Luthe. And I like Luthe, but Aerin and Tor have this quiet, working together, doing things together over years sort of relationship. And they have this amazing courtesy with eachother, which is another thing I didn't appreciate enough twenty years ago. It's kind of darkly ironic that the relationship that really seems to be about staying power is the mortal one.
raphsody606
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
My favourite relationship in YA urban fantasy is Kate and Curran in Ilona Andrews marvelous series. They growl at each other, beat the crap out of each other and otherwise harass the others being, but they do not just stare. That would require cooperating for more then three seconds.
sarahtales
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
*eyebrows* I don't think of that series as YA, as Kate and Curran are in their late twenties and early thirties, aren't they? But I adore them, too.
(no subject) - raphsody606 - Oct. 25th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Kate and Curran in YA - Andrew Gordon - Oct. 26th, 2010 02:05 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Kate and Curran in YA - raphsody606 - Oct. 26th, 2010 10:40 am (UTC) - Expand
sartorias
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Heh--it's great to have authorial backup to one's convictions (that she's been writing "Beauty and the Beast" over and over.)

Favorite relationships? Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey.
rachelmanija
Oct. 25th, 2010 08:13 pm (UTC)
The punting scene in Gaudy Night is one of my favorites ever. It's so sexy (and also funny, with the terrible music blaring from other boats) and Harriet knows that Peter genuinely respects her as an artist when they discuss her novel-in-progress. I also love the scene earlier on, when they go to the restaurant and he martyrs himself with dropped napkins.
(no subject) - sarahtales - Oct. 25th, 2010 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sartorias - Oct. 26th, 2010 12:14 am (UTC) - Expand
hmz1505
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC)
LOVE!!!
Robin McKinley and Sarah Rees Brennan in one post = WONDERFULNESS ;)

Love all the relationships already mentioned... especially Anne & Gil and Alanna & George.

Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride & Prejudice remain one of my favorite literary couples to read. I like that they're snarky with each other. It makes it interesting. Also, I can relate to the way that they assign thoughts and motives to each other that are really not there. Their communication is buried under so much... well, pride and prejudice ;) I just love them.
redqueen1
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
I am completely ashamed to say that I have never read a Robin McKinley novel. I now see the error of my ways!
shevralay
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was lovely! And I did not know she owned whippets. It makes me like her even more.

And, just because I'm reading it right now for class, I must say I love the Susan/Spencer relationship in Parker's Spencer books. It's feminist crime fiction, and they both live independent lives and she has a Ph.D and he cooks and shoots bad guys and then they chat about the arts and their dog. And it fills me with so much glee compared to standard crime fiction.
nev_longbottom
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
You know, there a lot of communication between friends in "Raised By Wolves.' Course, Jennifer Lynn Barnes wrote in a packmindset, but STILL, they all communicate. That's how that West Was Won, so to say without giving away spoilers.

Robin McKinley sounds amazing. Congratulations on meeting your hero. :)
veriloquently
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
I just finished reading Jellicoe Road, by Melina Marchetta, and it has sort of taken over my brain. Not only did I have no clue what it was about, or where it was going, for the first *third* of the book--in a wonderful, unexpected and mysterious way, but it had a really unusual and delicately crafted main relationship. Taylor is a leader in a three way small town war, and Jonah is the enemy leader--but when they were 14 they ran away together, and there's something unresolved between them. The relationship between those two (and the other primary characters) develops as they work through their various traumas and enmities--which, yes, requires talking, but also secret raids into each others' camps, and negotiating territory rights, and solving the mystery of who the five teens in a manuscript Taylor finds really are.
themadpoker
Oct. 25th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
Oh that book is so very lovely. I read it this year and I've put Melina Marchetta on my Authors To Buy On Sight list. She's got a new book out called The Piper's Son, I'm currently weighing the cost of getting it shipped to me from Australia versus how long I'd have to wait for it to be released in Canada. DILEMMA.

By the way, there's an lj comm for discussion of the book if you're interested! jellicoe_road It's been inactive for awhile but if you feel like maybe turning your brain over a bit there I for one would totally be interested. =D

And umm now that I'm done being overenthusiastic and jumping on you for reading one of my favourite books I shall go. ^^
(no subject) - timeripple - Oct. 25th, 2010 05:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aimeesworld - Oct. 25th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - themadpoker - Oct. 25th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - boojumlol - Oct. 25th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
kukla_tko42
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
OOoOooo Interview!
I was just catching up on Jim Butcher's "Furies of Calderon" series.

Tavi and Kitai!
Not unlike what you're describing from Robin's Pegasus story, their connection is somewhat mystical and causes some scandal in both societies. He's a human, she's a Marat.
And Kitai is very, very direct. She calls "Bullsh*t" when she sees it and knows when to kick people in the butt. Mainly because she kicks a LOT of butt.
Tavi has many issues weighing him down, and plenty of angst, and he needed someone who knows how to simplify things rapidly and accurately.

But the way they communicate does not stop with their conversations. There is a rich tapestry of body language, physical contact, and picking up each others' emotions.

Also, even when he does get that little twinge of, "I can't let my darling love go into battle with me! She might be harmed!" he knows better than to pursue it. He doesn't so much "let" her ride off into battle, he recognizes that he can't do anything to stop it and is starting to figure out that he shouldn't even try.

And in return, she wears clothes in public, despite the fact that she does not need them.

LOOOOOVE!!!

(Nicely played interview, btw. You and Robin should talk more often and put the transcripts up for us to read...)
bookblather
Oct. 25th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
Re: OOoOooo Interview!
I adore Tavi and Kitai. Just. All of it. Especially all the times when Kitai is all, "ALERAN. CUT OUT THE ANGSTING. I HAVE NO TIME FOR IT." And her appearance in the second book. All of it.
Re: OOoOooo Interview! - dorien_b - Oct. 29th, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
speak_candidly
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
One of my favorite relationships ever is Ekaterine and Miles in A Civil Campaign by Bujold (one of the Miles Vorkosigan books). Normally, during romantic books or movies or plays or what have you I have to hide my head and skim over at least some of it, because I can not stand people getting upset and refusing to talk to each other, or getting upset because they didn't talk to each other, or generally doing the ridiculous awkward won't talk thing, period. But if there is anything you can count on with Miles, he does not shut up, even when he should, and so he talks to Ekaterine! And she talks back! And it doesn't always work out, because the thoughts and assumptions Miles expresses are occasionally flawed and mis-spoken and whatnot, but they never refuse to talk about it and so I LOVE THEM SO MUCH.

Plus, Miles is a hyperactive, manipulative, devious little genius with eternally good intentions who sticks his foot in his mouth a lot, when he's not lying through his teeth to get out of trouble. What's not to love?
bookblather
Oct. 25th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Well, once they're post-the dinner party in Civil Campaign anyway and his mother has given him a lecture on Why What You Did Was Wrong. But Miles and Ekaterin in Diplomatic Immunity are AWESOME and communicative and working as a team and fighting crime and I love it. Lots.
timeripple
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:57 pm (UTC)
Oh Pegasus. I was the last of four people in my bookstore to get my hands on our lone ARC, and had to endure three other people scurrying around wringing their hands about the ending and desperately trying not to spoil me.

Then I devoured the thing and joined in the hand-wringing and general consternation, of which there was much, let me tell you. MEEP! indeed!

And you are not alone; Ebon is a fine figure of a pegasus, it is true.
seescootread.blogspot.com
Oct. 25th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
PEGASI ARE NOT WINGED HORSES. Got it!
This is a fabulous interview! Love love loved it. I too am a fan of relationships that involve WORDS. I am almost done reading the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher and I love the relationship between Tavi & Kitai... they start out bickering and slowly build up to romance. Love it. Another great relationship is between Po & Katsa in Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I am excited to read Pegasus! Thanks for sharing! seescootread[at]gmail[dot]com
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