I talk to Marianne de Pierres about her new novel, PEACEMAKER, and her signature dish!
- The world of Peacemaker and its protagonist, Virgin Jackson, have been playing a big role in your life for a number of years now. Can you give us an insight into your relationship and history with this story?
It started out as a short story ten years ago entitled Gin Jackson: Neophyte Ranger. In that incarnation, it was more obviously SF and less urban fantasy. It was also set in the outback in a future Australia that looked nothing like the environment in the current novel. I loved the character and played around with some spiritualism in the story line without really developing the ideas. The story was published in Agog! And then later by Fablecroft Publishing. Around the time that Fablecroft reprinted it, I began the novel. I was enjoying writing it, but the notion of it seeing it as a comic slowly took root. I left the novel unfinished to pursue that idea. Comic artist extraordinaire, Nicola Scott, recommended a young artist to me. Her name was Brigitte Sutherland and she did a great job matching her artwork to my vision. Unfortunately, we never got past issue 1 as she was drawn away to other things in her life. That’s when I picked up the novel again…
- You’re well known for genre mashing. Is this something you set out to do intentionally when starting up a new story – to push boundaries – or is it more organic, something that just happens as the story progresses?
I just like it. It’s as simple as that. I find it stimulating to write and read. Single genre novels don’t always feel as exciting to me, and anyone who writes for a living knows how important it is to be thrilled by each new project.
- Peacemaker has a fairly large cast of fabulous secondary or supporting characters. Do you have a favourite? Who was the most fun to write?
I’m always a bit in love with my secondary characters. One or more of them is usually funny, and they are always quirky! In Peacemaker, I think I would have to say that Hamish is my favourite. He’s so dysfunctional, sociopathic but also very competent and reliable. Can’t wait to write more of the story with him in it.
- I know you put a lot of work into the naming of your characters. Virgin Jackson? Any insight into where that one came from?
I’ve always liked the name Jackson, whether as a surname or a first name. It seems kinda cool to me, so I’d always planned to to use it sometime. Virgin as a first name, was a way of harking back to an era when you could call someone a name like that and not be ridiculed. It’s old fashioned. I wanted that sense of nostalgia and connection with the good ol’ days
- You’re very active in connecting with your fan base via the internet, public appearances and conventions. How important do you think this is for authors both now, and heading into the future? And on that note, do you find there’s much difference between fans – ie; your science fictions fans vs the crime readers?
Put it this way, if you don’t make the effort to connect with your readership online then you’re disadvantaging yourself, and probably missing out on a whole lot of fun as well. Not all writers are interested in making the time consuming commitment to using social media on any kind of scale, and I understand their choice. But if you are inclined to be sociable with readers, it will stand you in good stead. The key word here is personalise.
- Lastly, having some inside information, I know you’re a bit of a foodie. Do you have a signature dish? What keeps you going when you’re closing in on a deadline? Sweet or Savoury?
I’ve fallen out of love with cooking but not eating. It’s a bit of a conundrum. That’s why I pour over your recipes with such zeal, Mandy. However, I can make a decent baked cheesecake, caramel bananas, and strawberry shortcake. Definitely a dessert person!