On the blog today we have an interview with outstanding Generation V Author, M.L. Brennan, who was kind enough to answer some of my burning questions! Tomorrow I will be posting a full review of her novel Generation V. Be sure to be on the lookout for the next book in her series, Iron Night, It’s sure to be killer!
Q: Ok – I have to ask this – were you influenced at all by the TV show Being Human or movie Twilight? There are certainly similarities between the main characters.
Brennan: While I’ve heard of the show Being Human, I’m sorry to say that I have yet to watch it, so any similarities are purely chance or similar sourcing.
In terms of Twilight – while I never saw the movies, I did read the first two books. While I do have a similarity of vampires and a main character being to some sense shocked into a sense of growth out of a period of just-getting-by stagnation, I think the difference between Fortitude Scott and Bella Swan would be the instigation of the growth. For Bella, it’s meeting a romantic partner that triggers her out of a mindless routine of mediocrity, which is an external trigger. For Fort, though, it’s being faced with a moral situation where the easiest course of action would be to do nothing and return to his normal life, but that he instead chooses to engage with and, as a result, grows and evolves. So for him it’s an internal trigger.
Regarding TV shows – I think I was most influenced by Firefly, primarily the mix of action and high stakes with a hefty dose of humor, but also the extent to which the pilot episode showed Mal Reynolds to be a character who could be pushed very hard by people or events, but that once he drew a line in the sand, he was willing to risk everything, even when all the odds were completely stacked against him. I thought that was an interesting character idea, and it was something that I really wanted to explore with Fortitude Scott.
Q: I loved the depth of information about the vampire breeding and history you created for Generation V. Do you have plans to create a larger world based on this background?
Brennan: Thank you! I was fortunate enough that Roc liked the world of Generation V enough to have an interest in sequels, so I was able to expand on the physiology and the history of the vampires, as well as expand on other species not fully explored initially, in subsequent manuscripts. Right now the sequel to Generation V, Iron Night, will be published on January 7th, and I’m currently finishing the third book in the series. So I’ve gotten the opportunity to really push the boundaries and explore, which is wonderful!
Q: Fortitude Scott and some of the other characters have some “tongue-in-cheek” names, it seems to me, along the lines of the names of characters in Star Wars. (Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, etc.) Was this intentional on your part and were these the original names for the characters?
Brennan: In my initial construction of the world, the characters actually had fairly standard names that were meant to be representative of their time of origin. Given that this was a set of siblings who were born and shaped by extremely different eras of history, I wanted that to have a reflection in their names. It was much later that I started becoming dissatisfied with this idea (primarily because I really didn’t like a lot of Civil-War era male names), and I re-addressed the names. The oldest sibling, the sister who was born during the American Revolution, had always been named Prudence, and it was during my second pass that I thought about possibly using her name as the start of a theme, and giving all of the siblings a matched set of virtue names. At that point I also realized that I could use their names to give a bit of a hint about the nature of each sibling. Prudence, for example, is literally prudent, but not in a positive way. She would kill a person who might someday cause trouble for her family, for instance, and not be concerned at all. Chivalry is chivalrous, but in a way that has painful ramifications on his life and the lives of those connected to him.
Q: Are any of the circumstances that Fort finds himself in based on some real life experiences on your part? (Well – we hope not the blood sucking experience!) Or perhaps are you more aligned with Suzume?
Brennan: Oh, definitely. After I’d gotten my undergraduate degree in creative writing, I spent a lot of time taking crappy jobs and experiencing the joys of underemployment. A particular low moment was when I was working for a temp agency, and my boss asked me if I could alter my resume to remove any reference to my college degree – she felt that employers would be more comfortable hiring me if they thought that I only had a high school degree. So that contributed to the way that I chose to shape Fort – as a guy who had a degree that was proving practically useless post-graduation, and was finding it extremely frustrating. I also had my share of crappy apartments – though fortunately I was spared horrible roommates and cheating girlfriends. But I had enough friends who had experienced both that I decided to add that in.
Q: It’s apparent you enjoy this genre of writing. Any other types of writing you would like to work on?
Brennan: I’m really enjoying the directions that urban fantasy has allowed me to explore. Further on I’m sure I’ll want to dip my toes into classic fantasy or sci-fi, both of which I’ve enjoyed for many years.
Q: What is your biggest surprise since becoming a published author?
Brennan: How absolutely lovely people are! This summer I was able to attend ConnectiCon, WorldCon, and NYCC, and I met fantastic and enthusiastic people at all three. So being able to not only attend conventions, but also speak on panels and meet fans of the book through autographing sessions has been a very unexpected but delightful perk of being a published author.