Today we are so luck to have with us the one and only Ms. Marjorie Liu. Marjorie is a writer for Marvel Comics, the author of the Hunter Kiss series, as well as the long running Dirk & Steele series. The 11th book in her Dirk & Steele series – Within the Flames – came out on November 29th.
Marjorie, welcome to The Book Pushers!
The Book Pushers: Tell us a little about Within the Flames.
Marjorie: Within the Flames is the 11th novel in the Dirk & Steele series (which features a host of magical creatures saving the world, falling in love, battling evil). The hero is a young man named Eddie, who has been an important and much-loved secondary character since the first novel, Tiger Eye. For years, readers have been begging for his story, and finally – finally – I found the inspiration to write it.
As long-time readers know, Eddie has had a difficult time of it for the last few books. He lost control over his ability to manipulate fire, making him extremely dangerous to be around. Only now, in this latest novel, is he finally feeling comfortable with his abilities – but that comfort won’t last when he’s sent to find a young woman with a similarly destructive power over fire. Only, she’s a dragon shape-shifter – who is being hunted by witches.
The Book Pushers: What was the inspiration for the Dirk & Steele series?
Marjorie: Life, I suppose! When I travel, I’m always reminded that there’s so little I know, and have experienced. There are endless mysteries in this world! Who’s to say that magic doesn’t exist, all around us?
The Book Pushers: How many more books do you have planned for Dirk & Steele?
Marjorie: That’s hard to say. I’m launching a new paranormal romance series for HarperCollins, so for now the Dirk & Steele series is on a temporary hiatus.
The Book Pushers: When I read Tiger Eye for the first time, I got the feeling that it was intended as a stand-alone. What caused you to decide to use it as the starting point of your longest series?
Marjorie: You’re right. Tiger Eye was intended as a standalone. Or rather, it was my first book! I had no intentions whatsoever, other than trying to sell it to a publisher! Fortunately, that happened, at which point I had to revise my expectations. My new editor wanted a series, and I had no objections to giving him one.
The Book Pushers: How do you balance comics and two continuing series?
Marjorie: It’s something that I just do. I don’t put a huge amount of thought into how I stay organized, but somehow the work always gets done.
The Book Pushers: Do you have any other series/books perculating away?
Marjorie: I do, actually. I’m launching two new series next year. The first is about a young woman who discovers that her quiet, conservative Great Aunt was a legendary dominatrix during World War Two – and now runs a weekly club for all her friends in the nursing home, who are also retired dommes. Of course, someone is trying to kill these old women – and our young heroine, who has some pretty nifty powers of her own, must keep them safe and find the murderer.
The second series is a paranormal romance about three siblings from our world who are transported to an alternate dystopian reality where humans have used a vast zombie army to commit genocide against the “monsters” of the world — werewolves, vampires, elves, and so on. In fact, it’s the humans who are the real monsters, and these three siblings are forced to navigate this strange world where the good guys see them as the enemy – and the bad guys want to control them for the odd magical powers they begin to manifest.
The Book Pushers: What gave you the inspiration to have tattoos that become helpful demons in your Kiss series? Or should we say helpful demons that become tattoos?
Marjorie: I saw a documentary on the full-body tattoos of the Yakuza.
The Book Pushers: Which character has made an impact or impression?
Marjorie: Probably Maxine Kiss. Her next book, The Mortal Bone, hits shelves at the end of December. To celebrate, my publisher is releasing one of the Hunter Kiss novellas, as an e-special, bundled with a never-before-published Hunter Kiss short story.
The Book Pushers: Do you find that writing romantic/UF heroes different to writing comic book heroes? And what comic hero would love to write about and what fictional hero would you like to spend time with?
Marjorie: Well, it’s the difference between writing my own characters – born from my heart and mind – and writing characters who are owned by another, and who have a long history and established personality within a set universe. One isn’t necessarily more difficult than the other, but the process and approach is different.
As for what comic book hero I’d love to write…I’ve been fortunate enough to dabble with my favourites, already. But maybe…Catwoman?
I’d love to spend time with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike (from the mystery series written by Robert Crais).
The Book Pushers: Do you find that your trips back to China give you inspiration for your writing?
Marjorie: Oh, always. I think any kind of travel you can do shakes up all those loose brain cells.
The Book Pushers: If you were chosen to create a romance themed superhero what kind of power would they have and what kind of arch villain would they have to battle?
Marjorie: A romance themed superhero? That’s a hard question, because I think there’s something already inherently romantic (in the classical sense) about any hero – super powered, or otherwise. For example, the X-Men books are very romantic. In theClaremontyears, there was the love triangle between Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops. Not to mention Rogue and Gambit! Also, it seems to me that Batman and Wonder Woman have always had a certain, definite, attraction for one another.
Power matters less than character — and chemistry between characters.
Thank you so much to Marjorie for being here today! Marjorie is giving away one copy of In The Dark of Dreams. Open to US only and ends December 7th. Good luck!!