Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Special Guest: Marion Sipe

Please give a warm welcome to Marion Sipe, author of A Sign In Blood. I'll try to keep my discarded throngs at bay while we do this interview. They're used to me ignoring them lately. Just don't look any of them in the eye and we'll be fine.

With A Sign in Blood, what did you have the most fun writing?

The ending. It still gets me every single time I read it. I hope it does the same for others, but just knowing that it hasn't lost anything for me, despite my having read it at least a dozen times, makes me grin. So, it's my favorite part of the book, and the part I enjoyed writing the most.

When you can enjoy your own story even after all the hard work and multiple readings, you know you've created something wonderful. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

I learned a lot of things, actually. Liral and Chadri are characters of color and through writing them, and researching in order to write them, I learned a bit about the subject. The rewriting and editing always teach me something new and through it I think I gain a better grasp of the craft. Even if it is just a little each time. Getting crits for the story taught me a lot, too, and really made me look at things from different angles, which is always fascinating.

Writing and editing seem to be an endless learning experience don't they? Speaking of which, you know I'm a NaNo nut. Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo?

I did several years ago, and then again last year. I had a great time and made some really awesome friends. I won, too! I actually wrote something like 135k in a single month. It was glorious, but exhausting.

135k? That is glorious! What's your favorite NaNo Pep Talk?

Lemony Snicket did a pep talk last year and I still have it in my inbox! It's really fantastic, and I re-read it whenever I need a boost. It never fails to make me grin, and to keep me writing, which is, I suppose, the point of a pep talk! :-D

We all need a little motivation now and then. What gave you the idea to write your book?

I can't remember. It's been so long, I really have no idea what that initial spark was. It could have been anything, really. I know that, somewhere after I had started writing it, I got stalled and then I saw this wonderful documentary about deserts and that got me back into the story. I find deserts fascinating, and being able to build one really hooked me.

What kind of readers will enjoy your book?

My hope is that there's something for everyone, but I think we all want that for our books. I think people who enjoy an immersive world and complicated characters will enjoy A Sign in Blood. And, of course, the hardcore fantasy readers to whom 300 pages is a great start. :-D

Sounds good to me. What research did you do for the book?

For this book specifically I researched deserts, mountains, gunpowder, a variety of plants, toxins, several cultures, camels, cavalry, and a bunch more stuff. But I would have done all that anyway. I enjoy the research, too. I just hope that I did it justice.

I'm trying to imagine how that all comes together. Gun-toting camels clashing with the mountain camels who employ toxins! Ok, probably not. Ahem... What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

A great big smile? Honestly, I'm not sure. I hope readers enjoy the story, and I hope it makes an impression, but there's not any one thing in particular I'm trying to say. I hope it makes people think, it certainly did me.

Thanks for stopping by, Marion! My discarded characters must like you, they behaved the entire time. Or maybe they're quietly plotting how to get ahold of a herd of those gun-toting camels...

You can purchase A Sign In Blood here Amazon or here B&N or here Smashwords


  1. I remember that Lemony Snicket pep talk -- awesome. It's also my favorite, although I didn't have the intelligence to save it anywhere.

  2. I'm sorry, I was busy designing gun mounts for camels.

    p.s. Being the filthy pig I am, I can't help but wonder if that figure in the water on the cover is ever going to go in deeper and do the wet tee short thing. (You didn't really expect us to behave, did you Jean?)

  3. Behave? Oh no, certainly not. Especially not you, Fred. ;)

  4. @Ray - You can find all of the 2010 NaNo Pep talks here:
    Cause I am a NaNo geek like that. :D

  5. Gun-toting camels are the best idea ever! Bactrian camels, of course, so that the guns can be mounted on the front hump! :-D

    @Ray - Thankfully, Jean has a link!

    @Fred - Well, until they come up with animated covers, you'll have to use your imagination! ;-)

  6. Oh animated covers! What a lovely idea! :-) Great interview Mary!

  7. Give them time, I'm sure we'll see animated covers eventually! :-D Thanks, sweetie! And thanks for dropping by!


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