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Interview: Melissa Marr

Melissa Marr is the author of the best-selling Wicked Lovely series, which has been optioned for film by Vince Vaughn. Her latest novel, The Arrivals, is about a group of strangers from throughout American history who find themselves transported to an alternate world that resembles the Wild West with monsters and magic.

This interview first appeared on Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast, which is hosted by John Joseph Adams and David Barr Kirtley. Visit geeksguideshow.com to listen to the entire interview and the rest of the show, in which the hosts discuss various geeky topics.

 

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Your new book is called The Arrivals; what’s that about?

The Arrivals is a story of killers from different time periods who are pulled into an alternate world where they have to deal with demons and political intrigue. Theirs is a world in which death is not necessarily a permanent state of being. I’m kind of fixated on death, so what I wondered was, “How do we deal with the idea of never knowing whether or not death is permanent?” In these characters’ lives, after six days they either wake up or they don’t, and there’s no predictable way to determine which it will be. The main characters are: a brother and sister from the late 1800s American Wild West, Jack and Kitty, who have been there the longest; Edgar, who is a trigger man from the Prohibition era; Melody, who’s a 1950s housewife who likes to kill people; and Chloe, who’s a modern day girl who is our most recent arrival. They believe that they are working for the governor and trying to be a force for justice, but at the same time, they’re also dealing with the fact of death being impermanent and having a nemesis who is basically destroying the community, the land, and the mines. The antagonist is an embodiment of cultural imperialism focusing on both the political and the personal in this world.

You describe the book as a big departure from your previous ones; what would you say makes it so different?

I’ve obviously enjoyed my other books, but this was the book I wrote just for me. It’s possibly the weirdest thing I’ve ever done. I’m dealing with coffin texts from the Victorian era. I’m pulling in Prohibition, the 50s, and all of these eras that are just fun. It’s an alternate world, and it’s time-space travel, and it’s lots of monsters and viscera hanging off the walls. It was a combination of cowboy and action movies, and science fiction love that said, “I’m going to do this, and either my editor will hate it or I’ll get away with it.” It appears that I got away with it.

For people who haven’t read your other books, do you want to say what those are like by way of comparison?

I’m best known for the Wicked Lovely series, which is faeries in the modern world. It’s traditional faeries, and it’s coming out of my Scottish and Irish heritage. It’s a little bit more romantic, but also a little dark. It’s not an action series. It’s dealing a lot more with relationships, traditional folklore. I also have a new children’s series that I just started with Kelley Armstrong called The Blackwell Pages, and that’s dealing with the descendants of Norse gods in modern day America. I had Graveminder, which was a small town where the dead don’t stay dead. The other books are a lot more dealing with myth and folklore, whereas The Arrivals is gunslinging, monsters, and action, and not so much with the mythology.

You mentioned the Victorian coffin texts; could you explain what those are?

Victorian was one of my eras in graduate school, and in the Victorian era they were very fascinated with Egyptology. They’d have these parties in which there’d be a sarcophagus that you’d unwrap, and there’s different things that come with it. There are these things called coffin texts, which were little pieces of text that would be included, and there’s one in particular that talks about not fearing death and facing death. This particular text (used in The Arrivals) reads like it’s a recipe or spell for opening a portal. When I was reading it, it made a connection with physics for me, with the idea of time-space travel and wormholes. I consulted with a physicist friend on the idea of time-space and wormholes, and then I put fantasy and science together, and suddenly there’s a passage that, instead of being a reference to what death is like, is actually instructions for opening a hole that takes you to another place and time.

You say that you didn’t use a ton of folklore and stuff in this series, but in the back of the book you do have a list of real world antecedents for some of the elements in the book, like Garuda, bloedzuiger, and the Lindwurm. Where do those things come from?

I guess when I say I don’t use folklore, I mean that I don’t use a whole body of lore. For instance, Wicked Lovely is specifically pulled out of a certain culture and a certain type of lore. With The Arrivals, it’s very piecemeal. Lindwurm is a type of dragon. For bloedzuiger, literally the word means “blood sucker.” Cynanthropes are dog shapeshifters. They’re parallel to different types of creatures in lore, but I wanted to be clear that they weren’t those things. I find it very frustrating when someone calls something, for instance, a vampire and it doesn’t behave as a vampire should. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t having people come in with the baggage associated with those words, so I pulled comparative words and concepts in order to rebuild them the way I wanted them to work in my world, instead of relying on the existing lore and baggage that ties to specific words.

In the dedication of the book, you also thank your dad for the years of Westerns, action movies, and guns. Which Westerns, action movies, and guns have the most influence on you?

My parents are card-carrying NRA members, and I grew up with guns. My father actually collects guns. I’m a very good shot, I’m very proud of that. Being a girl growing up in rural Pennsylvania, there are gender issues, and I was determined that I was going to be as good as the boys. I’m partial to a .357, and generally I prefer a revolver. I don’t like a 9mm (usually). I’m a scrawny-armed girl, so I can’t deal with a .45, and I’m not really good with rifles. Dad has a collection of guns, and he would get them all out, and we’d set up targets in the field, and you just shoot, and it’s fun. My husband is a retired Marine, so he was an expert at the highest level you can get in all of the options: small arms, large arms, he even did anti-tank artillery. It was a bonding thing for us, too. So, I’m a big fan of guns. I don’t agree with the idea that we should not have any rules on them, but when you grow up country, and there’s so much distance between you and the police, and it takes a very long time for that one officer to get to you, there’s something comforting about having a nice little artillery in your house. It was the way I was raised. As to Westerns, they were all Daddy liked to watch. We watched Westerns. Give me some Clint Eastwood, some Charles Bronson, and I was a happy girl. That was our father-daughter bonding. Then my husband is a huge comic geek, and to be honest, we’ve been subscribers to Wired from the beginning, and anything tech, anything comic, anything action is his deal. His degree was actually in film, so when we started dating, we went to every action and superhero movie that came out.

You mentioned that the setting was very Western, but the heroes in the book all come from different time periods. How did you decide which time periods to draw the characters from?

I started with Jack and Kitty, again with the Western, and I love the Prohibition era, so Edgar was an obvious choice. I don’t know what it is about the 50s, I don’t know if it’s a result of being a Marine wife, but the concept of femininity, with the 50s woman who’s put-together and very polished but has a rotten core and a twistedness in there, is something I’ve always been really interested in. When I became a Marine wife, they had etiquette manuals, and they read straight out of the 50s. It would be very confusing to me because people would call the house to speak to my husband, and they had a certain number of statements or comments that they would make to me. They’d inquire after the children. It was all very throwback. Again, Melody was a logical choice for me. I needed a modern one, so Chloe was obvious. Hector, my 80s guy, was because when I was bartending, we used to have the carnies come into the bar all the time, and I loved the carnies. If I was building a carnie as a character, I wanted it to be someone who would be based on the people that I had known, and so Hector became a logical choice. My in-laws actually live in a self-sustaining house in the mountains of Colorado, off the grid where there are no utilities. They have a self-composting toilet. So the hippy character, Frances, was pretty easy to build, too. I can look at my in-laws for that. It was very much types of characters that I find intriguing as a person.

I thought it was interesting that there’s a part where Chloe is from 2010, and she’s starting to be interested in Jack who’s from the Old West, and she’s startled to realize that he has a very blasé attitude toward brothels. I was curious, what do you think about those two attitudes toward brothels? Do you fall more on the Chloe side or more on the Jack side?

I actually fall more on the Jack side. I understand that there are people that have an issue with it, but it’s a service like any other service. I think that sometimes in our country people are a little more uptight about sexuality than makes sense to me. I had a lot of friends that were dancers. I used to spend a lot of good time in strip clubs. There are people that appreciate being able to have relations without having to worry about emotions, and if it’s a service, and people are responsible, and not taking advantage of each other, I don’t see an issue with it.

Just from hearing you talk it sounds like you’ve had a very colorful, interesting life, and that even goes back to your childhood where you said that you were raised believing that faeries were real.

I was. I think colorful is a very polite way to put it. We’d hear those stories and that was the same as facts as you hear in church, and the same facts as you hear anywhere else, in school. There was proof. We would leave out whiskey for the good neighbors, and in the morning, it was gone. The cat wasn’t drunk, the dog wasn’t drunk, so clearly there were faeries. It was later that I realized that perhaps my grandfather might have been drinking it, but at the time, I thought this was evidence. There was never any reason not to believe. There was a section of the woods you didn’t go into because there was a banshee that hung out there. We had an old record player thing that would periodically start on its own, and my mother said that’s because someone from the dead was trying to communicate with us. That was just how I grew up. I think I was a teenager when I realized that some of it was, perhaps I’ll say, useful. I had gone out on a date, and I had come home missing curfew, and my mother was waiting up, and I explained to her that I would have come home sooner, but there was a vampire between me and the door. I had proof. There was a mark on my throat where the vampire tried to get me. My mother looked at me very seriously and said, “Did you have your cross?” I did, I had a crucifix, and so I showed it to her, and she said, “Okay,” and I didn’t get grounded. It was this realization that there was a power in story. In retrospect, I realize that my mom was just being cool, but at the time it was also this moment of, there’s a choice to believe in these things, and a choice to embrace it, so it was fun.

It’s interesting, I think you know Holly Black, and we interviewed her a few years ago, and she also was raised to believe that faeries were real, and I asked her, “When did you realize that they weren’t?” And she says, “I don’t think I’ve ever realized that. I think that when you’re raised with a particular worldview, that sticks with you throughout your life at some level. No matter what happens later.”

I’d agree with that completely. There are moments where you say, “Logically this cannot be the case,” but if I’m walking late at night and I see a dark shape, there is absolutely nothing logical that’s happening in my head. What’s happening is I’m thinking, “Is this the Wild Hunt? Is this a threat?” That fight or flight mechanism kicks in. You can try and logic it away as much as you want, and I think you have to believe in that to some degree in order to do the immersive fantasy that I want to write. My children were raised with that same belief. I think that’s very important, to have that sense of wonder. I don’t have an issue believing in myth and believing in the logic of science. I feel like I can make them co-exist in my head.

You’ve said that you also have had severe nightmares, even going back to childhood. You had a teacher who said, “Well, don’t be alarmed, maybe it’s just Satan trying to get you.”

No, they were very alarmed by that. There was much conversation with the Sisters. The parish priest came and talked to my parents. When I first started writing, I was in fifth or sixth grade, and Sister Elaine gave me a journal, and one of the very first things I wrote was a story about my nightmare that I had all the time, in which this wolf creature would come in and put his hands fingernail-to-fingernail, they would go tap, tap, tap, as they all touched together in the center of my chest, and then dig them in, rip me open, and lift out my heart. At the same time I was also sitting on the chair next to the bed watching this. He would look at me and hold my heart out to me. It was this very horrible, bloody nightmare that my parents say I had for as long as they can remember. I would wake up screaming, and I still have nightmares where I wake up screaming in cold sweats, and so now I use them, turn them into books, and people give me money for it. I’m not complaining about them, but I think there’s a kind of a believing in the supernatural and having those kinds of nightmares. If I don’t write, I have violent nightmares, so I constantly write.

Can you think of any specific elements of your books that were actually pulled straight out of a dream?

There’s a scene in The Arrivals where they walk into an office and someone has been possessed by a demon that has sort of slashed and killed, and so there’s blood and pieces hanging off the walls and decorating everything. There’s a scene in my first book in Wicked Lovely where someone is crawling across ice shards that are coming up out of the floor as the person is crawling, they keep coming up and embedding in the body. Both of those are from nightmares.

Getting back to faeries for a minute, as someone who grew up believing faeries were real, I’m curious when you may have discovered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories, just because he famously also believed in faeries.

I can’t give you a year for that. My uncle is a Victorians professor, and when I was a kid, we didn’t have a bookstore where I lived. He would bring home cardboard boxes and grocery bags of teaching copies that they send to professors to adopt a book. There were always stacks of classics around the house. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit this as an author, but I never paid attention to titles or author names. I just got in the box, got a book, and read. It would be years later when I’d look at something that I’d be choosing to read and say, “This is familiar; I’ve read it before.” I can’t tell you the year or the experience for most authors, except for Stephen King—he was my one exception. When I got a hold of Salem’s Lot, I was in middle school, and I thought it was the most brilliant thing I’d read in my life.

Then Neil Gaiman came along and stole you away.

[Laughter] I worship Neil. Aside from being a brilliant author, he’s just such a good person. He was actually one of only three author events that I had been to prior to being published. When I saw him, it was me and like ten other people sitting on the floor in a bookstore in Cary, North Carolina. It was quite different from the way his events are now. He was the most charming person. He was the best reader. For someone that is totally intimidated by reading in public, I thought that was brilliant. All these sorts of things that I’d been raised believing in, he was turning into stories, so I was just like, “He’s a god.”

Shifting gears a bit: You’re probably one of the only writers we’ve talked to who uses a snorkel as part of your writing process.

Wow, you’ve done some research. I was really tired the first time I admitted that in public. It’s one of those things where the world has a long memory. I have a big bathtub, and I go under the water, close my eyes, and it’s a sensory deprivation situation, but I have to have the snorkel because there’s the need for oxygen. I have a salt-water pool for in the summer—it doesn’t work so well in the winter—but I think that blocking everything out where you don’t have input from any of your senses is a meditative state that I think helps to reach past “plot bunnies.” You don’t get stuck if you can just block everything out. I think the tub works, or something physical (I like to exercise), or something where you have to concentrate on the details. I weave, I bake, something that enables me to knock out that part of me that has doubts and questions, and once I get away from that and all this noise, I fall into the story again, and then I can get back to writing.

Is there a particular brand of snorkel that you would recommend for writers?

It’s actually one of my children’s. My son did a class in Southern California called “Snorkeling with Sharks” through either the Scripps aquarium or the Natural History Museum [of Los Angeles], and I stole his.

They have kids go snorkeling with sharks?

It sounds like the kind of thing that’s more dangerous than it really is. I don’t remember what kind of shark it is, but they can’t bite you. They’re little sharks. It sounds dangerous, which is very appealing to young boys, but really, they’re not dangerous sharks.

Speaking of blocking everything out, I’ve heard that when you have a book optioned for a movie, that’s what you should do. You should just try to forget about it and forget that it ever happened, but I’ve never really heard of authors who do that. With that in mind, what’s the current status of the Wicked Lovely movie?

They give me sentences I’m allowed to say and sentences that I’m not allowed to say.

What’s one of the sentences you’re not allowed to say?

See, there’s the problem. I tend to say those, and I know they’re going to listen to this, and I’ll get yelled at, so we’re going to not say those. I’m allowed to say that IM Global is on-board, and I don’t know if I’m allowed to say, but they’re the people with the money. Generally what keeps a movie from being made is lack of money, so that’s no longer an issue. I like that. We were to the point of being very on-track. I even have a full color copy table book of the characters and some of the CGI stuff. It’s gorgeous. Then it went into turnaround. So, IM Global came on board sometime around the turn of the new year, and now it appears that we are actually going to have a movie. I believe I’m allowed saying they are close to a new director, but I think that’s all I’m allowed to say. We have a new producer, we are going to have a movie, we are close to a director, things are actually happening, and I think that covers my approved list. I’d been begging them for more approved data before I talked to you because there’s other things, but they kept saying no, so I emailed them again yesterday with a sort of, “So, well . . .” and they’re like, “No.”

Speaking of money, I heard that the book was originally optioned by Vince Vaughn. I was wondering if he called you on the phone and said, “You’re money, Melissa! You’re so money!”

[Laughter] The Vince Vaughn story is kind of embarrassing. He is still my producer. I watch comic book movies. Give me The Avengers. Give me Thor. Those are my area. I don’t watch comedies, and so my agent called and said, “Vince Vaughn wants to buy your book.” I’m not sure if I’m allowed cussing on here, so I’ll just say my answer was, “Who the hell is Vince Vaughn?” My agent said, “Type it in the computer.” I looked him up, and I was like, “Okay, so he’s an actor. Why can’t he go to a bookstore? Do you have author copies?” She said, “No, honey, he wants to buy the book for the purposes of making a movie.” I was like, “Okay, sure, I guess?” The embarrassing part was that they’ve been really interactive, and I’ve gone over all the drafts of the script. I’ve met with both the prior directors, Vince, and people about the effects. I keep going out there, and the first time I went out there, Vince comes in the room, and all the other people knew what I said when they called me. They waited until he was in the room and said, “So tell Vince what you said.” I was like, “Uh . . . no.” Then they tell him, he laughs, and he said, “You really didn’t?” I said, “No, I’ve never seen any of your movies, but I can.” It was terribly embarrassing because he was so sweet. Then I said I would go out and see one of his movies.

Have you seen Swingers? Do you have any idea what I’m talking about when I say, “You’re so money”?

No, but I’ve read it in articles about him. I did go out, and I saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith, he’s in that one, and things blow up, so that fit my criteria.

The Arrivals is your new book, but you also have another new book out called Loki’s Wolves, which you mentioned before. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that?

Loki’s Wolves is the book I wrote for my now fourteen-year-old son back when he was twelve. I had written Wicked Lovely for my now nineteen-year-old daughter. When my son got to that age he said he wanted a book for him that didn’t involve any kissing. Loki’s Wolves is a book about thirteen-year-olds in South Dakota who discover that Ragnarök is coming. In Norse mythology, that’s the end of the world. One of the interesting things about Norse mythology is that the gods can die. I went with the concept of the gods have gone and done stupid things, as gods often do, so Ragnarök is coming, but the gods are already dead. They need people to be their stand-ins for this final battle, and these kids who are descended from Norwegians who ended up laying down with gods at some point or another become the god stand-ins, the representatives, the champions for the gods, and the end of the world. It’s set in South Dakota, where my husband’s family is from. (They are Norwegian, complete with the extra A in the last name.) It’s the mythology, and my children’s heritage, in the state that the family is from.

On the cover, it lists the authors as K.L Armstrong and M.A. Marr. Why did you guys go with the initials?

Because our names are so long. We didn’t want one name on top of the other. We wanted them in a row because we didn’t want a sense of, like a lot of times when they do that on anthologies there’s the “lead author” and then there’s the other people, and we didn’t want to have that. Between the two of us, they didn’t fit properly. The other issue is that Kelley is a video game addict, and I’m an action movie addict. We are technically girls, and we were concerned about our sons because she did the same thing, this was for her son as it was for my son. Our sons are less inclined to pick up books by chicks, and so we decided that we would prefer to use our initials, in part because of our gender, in part because of the size of our names. The third reason is that my YA and her adult books are darker. We didn’t want young readers to then read our other stuff, because there are things in there that I wouldn’t feel comfortable with children that age coming across by accident. So we thought the responsible thing to do on several different levels was to use the initials.

Your publisher was nice enough to send us a copy of these books. I didn’t get a chance to read Loki’s Wolves, but I’m just looking at the cover, and it shows a boy and a girl facing off against ten or more gigantic killer wolves. The boy has a shield, but the girl seems to be holding a stick? Is it a magic stick or something? How do you fight wolves with a stick? Is she going to toss it and have them go fetch it?

[Laughter] I don’t know about the stick. At that point in the series she is, in fact, weaponless. Obviously that’s going to change, but initially it’s a case of we wanted to be sure that it was obvious that the book is both for boys and girls. We do multiple points of view. I write one of the boys and the girl. Kelly writes the boy with the shield; that’s Matt. The idea is to represent that it is not just about a boy and his sidekicks, which is something that we’ve had a lot of positive feedback on from moms, teachers, and young readers, saying that it was exciting to read a book that was middle-grade, but it wasn’t just that the girl was there, and it wasn’t told in her voice. I love Harry Potter, but Hermione doesn’t tell the story, Harry tells the story. I think there’s something to be said about making sure that all the voices are heard.

You wrote this book with Kelley Armstrong, and you guys had done these Smart Chicks book tours; are you still doing those?

We are not. The Smart Chicks book tour was supposed to be a single year. It was to be a one-shot because we had been told we couldn’t do it, and I never respond well to that particular sentence. We had been told that group tours had to be from a single publisher, and Kelley and I had done one of those tours, and it was very frustrating because I don’t think readers say, “Oh, well, I’m only going to buy books by this publisher.” So, it was supposed to be a single-year event. It was author-funded and -organized, mostly well organized, except that there was a little pushback because I forgot to include things like meals, which apparently should be on the itinerary. There were so many people that were interested, and our turnout was unbelievable. We decided to do it a second year, and then there were still so many cities and booksellers that were like, “Hey, you forgot us.” So we ended up doing a third year, and then we agreed not to do it again. We did three years. We did Canada and the US, and I think we ended up doing something like thirty cities between the three years. It was wonderful.

I’ve really found doing events with multiple authors is better because then more people show up. I did one event for my writers’ group in New York, so of course three people came to see me, but then one member of the group was really popular, and like sixty people came to see her. But then they all had to sit there and watch me before they got to see her.

I think it’s great in several ways. I think it’s great because, yes, everyone’s bringing in their readers. That part is fun, and readers are discovering new authors in that way. For us, the big motivation was that when you’re doing these things, like you guys asked me earlier to describe one of my books, and I fail at that so often, I’m just like, “I don’t know. It’s a book about some stuff that I like, and I wrote it on some papers.” But I can tell you about Kelley’s book, or I can tell you about Rick Yancey’s book. I can tell you about books that I dig. For us, it was very much about it [being] more fun and there’s less feeling self-conscious. I go on these tours, and I sit in a hotel room and do room service, or I’m on a plane by myself, and it’s boring, so a group tour is just more fun.

What are some new, geeky books that you dig?

I absolutely loved Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave. I read it in one fell swoop. I was supposed to be revising and ended up not able to because I just wanted to read Rick’s book. It’s more engaging than a lot of the YA that has been out previously, which I personally love. It’s an end-of-the-world alien invasion, dealing with that in very poignant, personal ways, as well as some guns and some violence, which I like. Richelle Mead has an adult book that I think is out now called Gameboard of the Gods, which is a future world in which religion is banned. It’s science fiction, but it’s also pulling in religion and some mythology, and some of the religions are being kept down because they are actually valid, and one particular mythological religion that I’m fond of is a factor, so that one was a lot of fun. Kelley has a new book, which may or may not [be out]—I have no sense of when things come out—she’s got one called Omens, which is [about] the daughter of two infamous serial killers who doesn’t know that she was adopted, and then finds out that she is, and the family that’s adopted her is very wealthy, and she’s very popular and public, and has to deal with this new notoriety. That one was interesting. Those are the ones off the top of my head. I’ve mostly been reading things like making baby food books because I have a six-month-old now, but those are my most recent not-baby-related books.

Do you want to tell us if you’re working on anything right now, other than baby food? Do you have projects off on the horizon?

I do, actually. I am finishing a book that is very unlike everything that I have written. It is a book told in multiple points of view from a girl who is a survivor of a killer and the killer himself, and that should be out next year. I’ve been wanting to write a contemporary killer book for a number of years, and my YA publisher finally agreed, so it has a little bit of a paranormal element, but it is primarily a contemporary with a murderer. Kelley and I just finished the second book in The Blackwell Pages trilogy, which is called Odin’s Ravens, and that’s out in May. I’m leaving with Kelley to go somewhere in Canada on the edge of the water and write the third book [soon.] I’m trying to finish my killer book, or at least put it in a place that I can take a break in order to go play with gods and monsters.

Does the killer book have a title?

Not that I’m allowed to say. They have one. Technically, as I was telling you, I’m not even really sure I’m supposed to be saying that, because they told me I’m not supposed to be talking about it online, but I’m not really typing this, I’m just talking to you, so we’ll assume that they aren’t listening.

You also have an anthology coming out this fall, right?

I am so excited about my anthology. It’s called Rags and Bones, and it’s a result of a friend, Tim Pratt, and I talking because he did something to do with Heart of Darkness and Dora the Explorer, which I thought was fun and interesting. We ended up taking a flip conversation into what if we took classic stories and made them science fiction and modern. It is a collection of stories by Neil Gaiman; Rick Yancey’s first ever short story, which has been optioned for film; the amazing Gene Wolfe; Kelley is in it; Kami Garcia; Carrie Ryan; and Saladin Ahmed. Really, really interesting science fiction and fantasy takes on traditional short stories, like Hawthorne, and Neil does a fairy tale, and Kelley does The Monkey’s Paw, so it’s these classic stories with a science fiction, modern twist, and it was an absolute joy to work on.

Do you have plans to update your website at any point in the future?

[Laughter] Yes, I do have those plans. I really do. I think about it regularly because my new book isn’t even on there, but Harper made a website for my new YA, and then we made a website for Blackwell, so it hasn’t been as pressing until The Arrivals, and I was determined that I would get updated before The Arrivals. But my infant son was born in December, and his birthmother was a drug addict, so we spent forty days in the hospital going through withdrawal, and he still doesn’t sleep more than two hours. Pretty much when I’m not writing, I’m holding the baby because he’s still suffering the effects of the drugs that were in his system, so that has been my general priority and focus in life these days—getting him okay.

We certainly wish you guys all the best. Do you have anything else you want to mention before I wrap things up here?

I want to thank you guys so much for having me. My teen son and husband were so thrilled. I tell them about my work stuff and they’re like, “That’s nice.” But I tell them that it’s you guys and there were the nods of approval, which I really appreciate. So thank you very much for that.

No, thank you. Thanks for joining us.

Thank you very much for having me!

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The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy

The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy is a science fiction/fantasy talk show podcast. It is produced by John Joseph Adams and hosted by: David Barr Kirtley, who is the author of thirty short stories, which have appeared in magazines such as Realms of Fantasy, Weird Tales, and Lightspeed, in books such as Armored, The Living Dead, Other Worlds Than These, and Fantasy: The Best of the Year, and on podcasts such as Escape Pod and Pseudopod. He lives in New York.