I have lots to share about ConCarolinas, but that is for later in the week. For now — here is a post about a great new book I enjoyed so very much. The heroine is snarky, quick, and dangerous!
Literary agent by day, author by… significantly earlier in the day, Lucienne Diver is here to talk about her new urban fantasy Bad Blood and how her own personal insanity inspired the crazy cast of characters.
Before you decide that gods and gorgons walking around in modern day L.A. sounds a bit far-fetched, let me tell you a little something about my family.
The first thing that you have to know is that we’re the people you ask your server to seat you away from in restaurants, because we’re loud and boisterous and certainly not keeping to our seats. That’s okay—mostly when we all get together we have huge home-cooked meals (not cooked by me, mind you, or the family line would have died out some time ago) with a zillion courses all set out at once and demolished within five minutes flat. Which means that if you’re not early, you’re late, and the food is gone by the time you’ve hung your coat in the closet. We have a second stomach for desert, we’ve always said so, which is why it’s served about ten seconds after dinner is cleared…or there is mutiny. Our family motto is “It’s always noon somewhere,” because we don’t understand this prudish thing of waiting until five o’clock for our bubbly. Not weirded out yet? Stay with me.
We’re the kind of people who poke holes in paper cups to create dribble glasses at funerals and know ourselves to get so rowdy we generally ask for the too-small room at the back of the parlor to avoid bothering others with our raucous celebration of the deceased’s life. I could tell tales of my much-decorated cousin taking his father’s cop car out for joy rides in his teens, and his father arresting the one-legged man found beating his wife with his prosthetic leg because “he didn’t have a leg to stand on.” Or about my other uncle who accidentally stabbed himself in the leg…twice, with the same knife. Or about those two uncles together flooding the bathroom when they tried to float a half-full box of Tide in the toilet and then flush the evidence. Bubbles galore.
I could tell about my great grandfather cutting hair in NYC, taking a little too much off the top (of an ear) belonging to a Mafioso and the subsequent hit out on his life. One of my cousins flunked a non-fiction, essay assignment in grade school because she accurately depicted my family…and it was not to be believed.
Oh, so many stories. And these are just the ones they probably won’t disown me for telling.
So, while my grandmother may not actually be the bearded lady at the circus, like my heroine Tori Karacis’ Yiayia, she does have a fairly credible mustache going on now that she’s stopped bleaching. My point is that truth really is stranger than fiction. If you were to tell me that my family line, like Tori’s, started out with a drunken liaison between the god Pan and one of the gorgons…well, it would explain a lot. People ask all the time where writers get their ideas. The answer, of course, is everywhere. You need to let experiences and interactions fire you all up, and you’ll find they hook up with each other in interesting ways (much like gods and gorgons). I didn’t realize when I started writing Bad Blood where it had come from, just that Tori had a story she wanted to tell and some very colorful people around who wanted to help her tell it. But now I know. My mental mixer combined one part murder, one part myth and another part mayhem (no wonder where that originated) and Bad Blood was born.
I hope it goes down nice and easy, but fair warning, it has quite a kick.
Bad Blood, first novel of the Latter-Day Olympians
Available digitally June 28, 2011, print in 2012