Today I welcome Marianne de Pierres (my bookish-internet mother) to Book Probe (again) as part of the blog tour for PEACEMAKER, her new adult genre-bending urban fantasy, which publishes from Angry Robot Books on April 29 (check out my review here).
For the tour, I asked Marianne to detail the process of transforming PEACEMAKER from a 12-page comic to a full-length novel (and series).
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When I wrote a short story ten years ago about a park ranger in a future outback Australia, I had no thought of it being either a novel or a comic. The short story was a chance to continue exploring a landscape that I loved with some new and quirky characters (I had a ranger’s aide called Beano who farted a lot and was meaner ‘n a cut snake). The ideas didn’t get developed in much depth but it was definitely the beginning of my flirtation with the concept of a greater mythology.
Fast forward ten years and I’m thinking about starting a new novel. Virgin Jackson springs to mind. I re-read the short story and decide that I’d prefer more of an urban location. Then the idea hit – put the park in the city! I wrote the first 60 pages without taking a breath, and felt happy about the way it was taking shape. I discarded Beano to make room for others and delved more deeply into Virgin’s relationship with her deceased father. The character of Nate Sixkiller sprang from the research I did to refresh my memory about all things cowboy (at age nine, I believed I was a cowboy, so it was enormous fun revisiting the history of the West!). I blogged about it at the time, and a relative of the famous native American lawman, Sam Sixkiller, contacted me, which was neat. They were happy to help with any background, but I explained that it was a piece of fiction and unlikely to resemble the real lineage.
While all that was going on, I begin to get visions of an illustrated work. The notion grew and grew until I became truly enamoured with the idea of turning PEACEMAKER into a comic. I began the hunt for an illustrator and got through the process of teaching myself the art of comic writing. I succeeded in the former, but I have a long way to go on the latter! Anyway, I did manage to get issue 1 complete, and issue 2 written, before the illustrator went onto to other things in her life, and I got distracted with the Night Creatures series (I did look around for a replacement artist but money became an issue and I had to let the project drop).
A couple of years zipped by and I was suddenly back with the novel. I’d learned a lot from the comic process because it forced me to think forward to the end of the story in more detail then I normally would. I’d got to meet my antagonist Joachim Spears, the mythology megalomaniac, and acquaint myself with his idiosyncrasies. I realised then, that nothing about this world and world building would ever be wasted. Whether short story, comic or novel, the fictional imaginings of PEACEMAKER were part of a large, organic whole. One medium fed the other, and the writing – and I – was better for it. I’m excited to say another incarnation of the story isn’t far away either, but that’s an announcement for another day!
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Keep up-to-date and revisit previous blog tour stops here.
Wait, you don’t know what PEACEMAKER is about? (Other than that it’s AWESOME!, which also tells me you didn’t read my review yet…)
When an imaginary animal from her troubled teenage years reappears, Virgin takes it to mean one of two things: a breakdown (hers!) or a warning. Dead bodies start piling up around her, so she decides on the latter. Something terrible is about to happen in the park and Virgin and her new partner, U.S. Marshall Nate Sixkiller, are standing in its path…
Virgin Jackson is the senior ranger in Birrimun Park – the world’s last natural landscape, overshadowed though it is by a sprawling coastal megacity. She maintains public safety and order in the park, but her bosses have brought out a hotshot cowboy to help her catch some drug runners who are affecting tourism. She senses the company is holding something back from her, and she’s not keen on working with an outsider like Nate Sixkiller.