Thursday, July 9, 2009

Laura Resnick: Interview and Giveaway

To celebrate the July 7th release of her latest novel, The Purifying Fire, Laura Resnick answered 5 interview questions and I have 5 copies of the book to give away. Currently, Laura writes fantasy, but she has also written several romances under the name Laura Leone. Her fantasy books include The Chronicles of Sirkara series, beginning with In Legend Born, and the Esther Diamond urban fantasy series, starting with Disappearing Nightly.

The Purifying Fire A Magic: The Gathering Planeswalker Novel by Laura Resnick
This book begins the story of Chandra Nalaar, the impulsive young fire mage whose exploration of the multiverse and the extent of her own volatile power draws the attention of an ancient faith that sees her as a herald of the apocalypse.
Sound interesting? Giveaway rules are below, but first, Laura answers some questions.

When you discuss the writing process, you mention research as one of the steps you take before you even write chapter one. What is the strangest fact you have come across when conducting research for one of your books?

I don't know what the strangest fact has been (as a fantasy writer, I read a lot of strange research material), but I can certainly give an example. In my urban fantasy Disappearing Nightly, there's a scene where the characters are wading through research books about bizarre supernatural disappearances and summarizing the improbable contents for each other. All of those distinctly strange anecdotes were taken from my own research. I'm not sure I'd call those anecdotes "facts," but I did find them in books that purported to be nonfiction.

In another example, some friends considered doing an intervention when they found me with some "how to" books about becoming a sex worker (prostitute, porn actor, etc.). No, I wasn't that broke and desperate; this was research reading for my last romance novel, Fallen From Grace.

Mephistopheles appears in your living room and offers you a deal – he will rewrite history so you were the author of one work of literature of your choice. Which book would you choose? Or if you decide making a deal with him is foolish, which book would tempt you to accept this offer the most?

I'd probably choose Katherine Neville's The Eight, a terrific gazillion-word historical-contemporary mystery-fantasy puzzle-adventure about a priceless chess set and a secret alchemic formula. But I doubt I'd actually accept the deal, since I'd rather write more of my own books than get credit for Neville's.

You’ve lived in the US, England, Israel and Italy. How has the experience of living in several different countries influenced your writing?

I've also crossed Africa overland. And what living in other societies teaches you is that there is no "normal" way of thinking and of doing things. "Normal" is just what's locally accepted; in another place, the exact same thing sounds so strange, people think you're making it up, or warped, or degenerate, or incredibly privileged, or quite silly. So my experiences of living in other societies have influenced my ability to see through the eyes of characters totally unlike myself and create believable fictional societies unlike my own.

Before you became an author, you had sworn to never become a writer. What changed your mind? Do you now wish you could go back in time to tell yourself to stick to your guns and stay out of the writing business?

Nothing changed my mind. After becoming a professional writer, I tried twice to quit. But this is my calling, like it or not. I wish I felt compelled to do legal work for vast, wealthy corporations with insanely generous benefits and bonus plans. (My parents also wish this.) But, alas, this is what I'm compelled to do. Go figure.

What is the one book you have lodged in your brain that you wish you could write but know you never will?

When asked what he'd do if he was told he had only a year left to live, Isaac Asimov said, "Write faster." Indeed! I have absolutely no idea which of my gazillion story ideas will lose out to the Grim Reaper. But since I can't live forever, and since I get new book ideas all the time, something certainly will.

Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to answer some queries!

If you would like to read more about Laura, she also stopped over at SciFiChick on Tuesday to discuss what she enjoyed most about writing for the Planeswalker series, her writing career, what inspires her, how she spends her leisure time, and her next projects on the radar. Yesterday she was over at SciFiGuy talking about her favorite scene from The Purifying Fire, her next fantasy novels, her experiences writing romance novels, and some of her all-time favorite novels.

Giveaway Rules
If you would like to win a copy of The Purifying Fire, I have 5 copies to give away courtesy of Wizards of the Coast. The giveaway is open to anyone, no matter what country you live in. To enter, send an email to fantasycafe AT novomancy DOT org with the subject line "Planeswalker" containing your mailing address. Mailing addresses will only be used for sending the books to the winners and emails will be deleted once the contest is closed. The giveaway will end on Sunday July 12 at noon (Eastern Standard Time).

Good luck!


Unknown said...

An excellent interview, Laura and Kristen! Also, thank you for responding to my question yesterday.

I have another one for you today!

Yesterday, you answered that experience had helped you to approach the daunting task of writing for an established character under some serious time constraints (I'm sure WOTC can give hell in terms of deadlines).

As a struggling writer trying to garner more professional experience myself, I've received many rejected letters in the meantime. During the earlier part of your career, did you receive much in the way of rejection? And, if so, how did you cope with it?

On a similar note, my parents also like to remind me that I am more suited for legal work than professional writing, so your anecdote felt humourously familiar.

Thank you again for the interview!

Anastasia said...

Thank you for the interview! The Eight also sounds interesting.

I plucked In Legend Born off a library bookshelf, knowing nothing about it, and it's become one of my favorite fantasy books. I liked it so much, I even wrote wrote a fan email to Ms. Resnick. Imagine my squeals when she wrote back! That was very gracious of her. My sister and I waited forever for the sequels (6 years). I still check her website compulsively every month for news of more Sirkara novels.

Laura Resnick said...

M, you might want to pick up a copy of my nonfiction book REJECTION, ROMANCE, AND ROYALTIES, which is about writing professionally and the writing life. The first or second chapter is "The Lucky Myth," which is essentially all about how much rejection any writer wades through to become a professional, as well as AFTER becoming a professional. Rejection is simply the lifestyle. (There are also several other chapters in there about this, including a whole chapter about sold/contracted books that are then rejected after delivery.)

I read great quote the other day (I think it may have been from Saul Bellow) saying that rejection is good, because it what teaches the writer to say, "The hell with you, =I= still think it's a good book, and I'm sending it out again." Frankly, without my having that attitude, I think there are only 2 or 3 books in my whole career (so far, about 25 books sales) that I'd ever have sold.


Laura Resnick said...


The next two Sirkara novels are under contract and still coming. A lot of things got in the way of this series, but it will indeed continue. And I really, really appreciate the patience of readers like you!


John Ballard said...

Hello Laura, will you write another story of Magic: The Gathering? Will it be a second part of the purifying fire?
Thanks for all, and good luck

p.d.: I really excited about this book, and I'm from Argentina, do you know if there are going to be some copies in Spanish? That would be awesome

Laura Resnick said...

Hola, John!

The characters, setting, and premises of a MAGIC novel are all the intellectual property of Wizards of the Coast, not the author. So whether or not I'll write another MAGIC book will depend entirely on whether or not they ask me to--as well as whether or not I'm available at that time (sometimes a writer's deadlines are chock-a-block, allowing no flexibility for additional projects).

I don't know if they're publishing copies of the book in Spanish. But if you've seen other MAGIC books in Spanish, then my guess would be that this book will appear in Spanish edition, too.


John Ballard said...

Thanks a lot Laura, I really enjoyed reading your answer :)
I got another question.: Will you be answering questions all the time in this page? or there is another page? I would love to keep in touch with you to ask you about some things about your books :D
Thanks a lot for your time answering me

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orannia said...

Thank you very much Laura and Kristen!

I just adored Katherine Neville's The Eight! The mixture of history, fantasy and puzzles :)

Laura - you're a new to me author, so I was wondering - what is the best book in your back catalogue to start with please?

Laura Resnick said...

John, nope, I blog about twice per month at the Novelists, Inc. (Ninc) blog, and I have a Facebook page. More info about both of these are on my website at

Orannia, I never have an answer to that, since everyone's tastes are different. I was at a dinner just last night where each of my pals named an entirely different book of mine that's the one they recommend to other friends. So I'd say, poke around my website and see which book looks interesting to you! I think I've posted excerpts on the site for every title. See: www.Laura

Meanwhile, many thanks to Fantasy Cafe for inviting me here today. Goodnight, all!


Kristen said...

Thank you, Laura, for the interview and for stopping by over here and answering some further questions! I'm sorry I missed it yesterday; it was almost midnight when I got back from Vegas last night.

orannia said...

Thank you Laura. And yeah, everyone's tastes differ :) I will have fun visiting your website :)