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To celebrate Patricia Briggs’ upcoming Australian tour with Supanova convention, we asked Patricia to answer a few short questions with one of our in-house superfans, Kim!

Before we get into the more general Mercy curiosities, let’s just straight into Silence Fallen. Did you always want to see a Mercy book outside of the United States or was it a surprise for the series?

I, as I imagine any writer does, collect experiences and tuck them back for later use.  So once I’d been in Europe, it was probably inevitable that someone would go to Europe.  However, I was pretty sure it would be Anna and Charles—who are my traveling characters.  Even when I sat down to start writing Silence Fallen, I was not planning on sending Mercy there.  But the way I write is to throw characters into a room and see what happens.  Once Mercy was taken by the villain, I asked myself what the villain would do with her.  The answer was obvious—not keep her in the stronghold of his enemies.  So Mercy went to Europe to our mutual surprise.  I suspect I was happier about it than she was.

Can you give us a hint of some of the dangers Mercy will face in Silence Fallen?

Mercy’s biggest asset the past few books, is that she now has all of these people she can call upon to help her—Adam, the pack, Zee, Stefan.  I wondered if that would make her forget how to operate on her own.  In the course of writing the book I found that it changed how she operates. 

Silence Fallen has werewolves, ghosts, witches, very old cities and a very old vampire or two all peppered with backstories of various characters.  Oh, and it introduces Larry, the Goblin King.

How do you decide which foe Mercy will be up against next? Do you prefer writing about the fae, vampires or werewolves; or are the outliers more exciting (i.e. Guayota and the Tibecena)?

I have two books to write before I go back to Mercy again—an Alpha and Omega (Burn Bright) which will be out in 2018, and a new spinoff starring the blind witch from the short story “Seeing Eye”.  So I haven’t gotten around to planning the next adventure for Mercy yet, though I have bits and pieces of plot swirling around to be used.

Oddly, I think I prefer writing about characters.  It doesn’t matter much to me whether they are fae, vampires, werewolves or humans—other than how the supernatural (or not) aspect of their lives has moulded their characters.

You have an incredible cast of supporting characters: Jesse, Warren, Ben, Darrell, Sam, Zee, Tad, Tony, Uncle Mike, Honey, Stefan – the list goes on. How do you decide who gets a cameo in the next book in the series? Do any of your characters push their way into the story when you didn’t intend for them to be there?

Decide is such a strong word for what I do.  My writing process most resembles those programming trees that I was taught in high school in my Programming in Basic class (Yes, I am that old.  No, I cannot program in Basic anymore.).  So Decision Trees run my life (and thus maybe “decide” is exactly the right word, after all).  I begin using logic—who would Adam pick to go chase Mercy to Europe?  Then, with that answer in hand, I ask—who would be the most interesting people for Adam to pick to go chase Mercy to Europe?  And I see how closely I can make the first list resemble the second without making Adam look stupid or incompetent.  It is important, I find, to make sure there are unexpected character appearances, in order to keep the book from feeling predictable.  I, like many readers, am easily bored. 

The hierarchy and drama attached to the fae keep Mercy and the Pack on their toes. One of the biggest curiosities is Underhill (followed closely by Baba Yaga – who is awesome! – and just how powerful Zee really is). Mercy has visited Underhill twice now – in Iron Kissed and Fire Touched; did Underhill recognise her? And will we see more of her in future books now that Aiden is hanging around?

In her own way, Underhill, I think is the most frightening (and tragic) character I’ve ever built.  Of course I won’t leave her mouldering away on the shelf.  I don’t know that Mercy made much impression on Underhill the first time, but she (Underhill) certainly remembers who took her playmate away from her now.

We have to ask, will there be a new Walking Stick – maybe not an actual walking stick, but an object that can’t be contained?

I don’t know.  The walking stick was a surprise to me—I just couldn’t control it.  Even Coyote couldn’t make it behave itself.  Having finally (I hope) put it in its place, I’m not anxious to repeat that experience.  Seriously, I worked really hard to make a magical item that wouldn’t be too powerful—but I was defeated in this by my own logic (Nothing made by magic is ever really static. Old things tend to gather power and become unpredictable.).  And while that was fun, it also threatened to destroy the story balance.  However, I am prone to shooting myself in the foot, so I won’t say “never”, just “probably not for a while”.

Through no fault of her own, Mercy seems to struggle with female relationships (excluding Jesse, because she’s fantastic). She particularly has trouble with female werewolves - but she’s come a long way and is starting to make positive ground in the pack. Do you see her finding a female confidant within the pack? Or is there someone outside the pack she might be able to turn to when the men in her life get a bit crazy (we’re thinking of Margaret Flanagan here and the girl-talk car ride)?

Mercy’s complicated relationships with women started with her own mother who she both revered and felt betrayed by.  Mercy has a problem with people who let her down.  Throughout the series, she has been gradually setting the defences she had learned aside, moving from being very alone, to being part of a family and then a community.  Because of a lot of things, (her career, her foster father Bryan, Tad and Zee) she started mostly with men.  But she is branching out—Margaret, Auriele, and, very oddly, Honey.  Jesse doesn’t really count because Mercy bonded with her early on—when Jesse was a child.

Mostly, I let the relationships develop from the story, not the other way around, so I don’t know where Mercy will turn. 

And finally, Mercy and Adam have their story. Charles and Anna are going strong. Do you ever see Samuel and Ariana having a spin off series or is their story complete, with the occasional appearance in the other books?

I don’t know.  Ariana and Samuel are in Africa right now—which I find interesting.  It should tell you something about the way that I write that I don’t actually know why they are in Africa.  I see short stories in their future, but for a novel, I generally prefer to write about characters who are less high-powered than Samuel and Ariana.  Not only is it easier to put underpowered characters into danger, but it makes them easier to relate to.  With the Silver Borne, Ariana isn’t as powerful, but I don’t know how long it would take her to power-up if she set it aside… hmmm.  Yes, short stories, at least, are in their future.

  • Silence Fallen - Patricia Briggs

    Coyote shapeshifter Mercy Thompson is attacked and abducted in her home territory. Fighting off a crazed werewolf, she manages to escape, only to find herself alone in the heart of Europe, without money, without clothing and on the run from the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world.

Kimberley Steel

Kimberley Steel

I got my first taste of heart filled books as a YA blogger, before settling down in the Product department of Hachette Australia. I tend to read mostly Young Adult, Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance novels – but I’m open to anything with a good hook! My ideal weekend is sitting back with a cup of tea, a new book and a few hours of uninterrupted reading time.

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