Sarah Rees Brennan (sarahtales) wrote,
Sarah Rees Brennan
sarahtales

Most Excellent Tour Questions

I promised to put up the most excellent questions I was asked on tour, and so more than a month later I redeem this promise!

Some of them I answered on tour: some of them I did not, because a) they had spoilers in the answers, b) I am not all that bright and misunderstood the questions and c) I am not all that bright and waffled strangely instead of answering because I could not come up with the Answer People Deserved to Hear.

Q: Will (Names of the People Who Die in The Demon's Lexicon Redacted) be coming back?

A: No. I believe death should be permanent, otherwise it is not scary. I disapprove of resurrecting characters. Not that I haven't seen it done well, because I have. But it's very tricky to do well, and I prefer having death be, well, you know. Final. So there will be no return of the dead, though we are going to learn some new stuff about the dead people, one in particular. But there will be no coming back - when I kill someone, I want them lost, all the things they never said left unspoken forever, no crime they have committed atoned for. Everyone leaves unfinished business.

... Of course having said all this no doubt in the next book I write, I will be absolutely forced by the plot to resurrect somebody. And then you will all throw rotten eggs at me. Which is fair.

Q: Why is Nick such a jerk?

A:

He is a demon.

For the ending to make any sort of sense, Nick's nature had to be disturbing - at times, off-putting and alien, even. Some people were necessarily not going to like him. I hoped others would, because there is obviously a lot going on with Nick!

But I didn't want to wimp out, to soften him until he was more palatable and I could spoonfeed readers with him. I didn't want him even to be the 'different' one of the demons, the special demon, the sweetie pie of the community. For I find that to be lame, and to undercut the idea of the book: if he was already half-way there, all the other demons can be safely shunned as Other, impossible to love, easy to turn away from.

Q: Any chance of Character and Character getting together?

A: Well, yes and no. In that, obviously, I am in this case Empress Goddess Queen of All, and I know who's getting together and who isn't. But, the cast is composed largely of teenagers and demons of sauciness, so if you saw chemistry anywhere, you probably weren't wrong.

Some of them I may not have intended to have chemistry, but then, what the writer intends isn't everything. Which is something to keep in mind when reading all these answers!

Q: So, Nick as a girl, how would that have been?

A: I actually did give thought to Nick as a girl, since I really really wanted Kristin Nelson as my agent, and she represented a lot of girl-focused books. Indeed I gave thought to the genders of all my characters, since it worried me that three of the four main characters were boys, and well, everyone who reads this knows I like to see the ladies represent.

I also like to see roles subverted, though, so I was going with that a lot: a damsel in distress is more interesting if he's a boy. Likewise, the totally inexperienced one who's stumbling brashly around in this new world and taking a lot of reckless risks, but is brave, smart and a natural leader? More interesting if that's a girl. And then turning to the Question of Nicola...

A:
Saying a girl who had problems with emotions but was pretty happy connecting to people on a physical level was literally demonic would be kind of a problematic thing to do. So there was that.

Plus, since demons don't really have a gender - they inhabit any body they can get - I thought it would be an interesting exploration of the traditional masculine role to show Nick as hyper-masculine in a way the two boys who are actually boys aren't: few words, into cars and weapons and 'boy' stuff, stoic about emotions to the point of having none. Fun to show how this traditional gender role - as many roles can - hides and enables something very different and very troubling going on underneath.

Q: How long did it take you to write the book?

A: Tricky to say, since I work on other stuff while I edit, but first-and-second-since-I-let-nobody-see-first draft, The Demon's Lexicon took about nine months to write.

The Demon's Covenant took about eighteen months, but this is because I am insane and I wrote two entirely different books. From the ground up. The Wise and Lovely Ally Carter told me the second book was the hardest one to write, and she was not kidding. You go crazy waiting for your first book to come out, and then crazier when it does. And so you write two different books for your second book. Because that is a crazy person thing to do.

The Crazy Demon's Covenant you guys will not be reading was extremely crazy. It was The Supernatural Romance I decided (crazily) that everyone wanted to read. My friends and I call it Throb to differentiate it from the actual The Demon's Covenant, which has duels and dead people's diaries and a plot.

Q: Does The Demon's Lexicon/do you have a strong religious background?

A: Religion is such a huge thing, it gets into everything. And it certainly influences both the book and me. My parents are an Irish Catholic and an English Protestant, which is not something totally unproblematic, and I gave a lot of thought to the issue of religion in the book. The demons in the book aren't devils. The issue of devils, angels and God remains fairly ineffable in the world of the book, as in this world.

The book certainly uses Christian mythology - there's stuff from fourteenth century Germany in there, and beliefs in Elizabethan-era England, among other things, and Mae reading the Hexenhammer is pretty deliberate - but I tried for a focus on the Sumerian legends, since that seemed different and interesting to me, and they were part of what sparked off the original ideas.

That said - religion does get into everything! And it may be pretty easy to tell I felt very sorry for Lucifer in Paradise Lost.

*ADDED QUESTIONS:

Q: Whose point of view will the next books be from?

The second book, The Demon's Covenant, will be from Mae's point of view, and the third book, The Demon's Talisman (title not yet confirmed!) will be from Sin the dancer's point of view.

Q: How does being Irish affect your work?

A: Well, the books aren't set in Ireland, for several good reasons: one is that a lot of keen Irish readers I know have been Horribly Scarred by books set in Ireland and written by non-Irish people. O the mystical hills of Tara! (Where there is a lot of sheep poop, and friends of mine used to go to drink illicit beers.) Oh the faeries! (I'm also wary of writing about them, for the same reasons.) Oh everyone speaks the Gaelic! (Irish!) Setting a book in Ireland, for me, would necessitate charging a lot of things head-on to talk about what the country's really like, and it wasn't something I wanted to focus on in these books. I probably will write about it one day, though!

That said, I do feel like Ireland is a great place to grow up when you're keen on writing. You grow up surrounded by creativity. As a kid, I went to parties with poets. I went (for a while) to a convent school where Maeve Binchy had been before me. I heard the dark mutterings of my best friend's mother as she tried to translate Roddy Doyle and Trainspotting (which is Scottish, but still a thankless task!) into Italian.

And now, I get to go to festivals like Wexworks. With Eoin Colfer and Darren Shan and Ian McDonald, insane, like a real writer! I will be doing a library reading, and panels about Paranormal Romance (Werewolves always lose to vampires in love triangles), Harry Potter (I like Draco Malfoy - does anyone else? Anyone? Anyone? Okay), Sci-fi and fantasy, Stories To Entertain You, and Career Guidance (Uh - everyone try not to panic?).

Er, which I am going to tomorrow. So I feel very privileged to be an Irish writer! And I'd better go pack.

If I forgot any questions, or if you've just thought of one, please ask away and I will put up both question and answer!
Tags: year of lexicon
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