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Questions 14, 15, 16, & 17

F: Where did you get the idea for the very messed-up character in Cold Fire?

T: The--oh, Ben? Umm... there--well, The Circle Opens was "Tammy writes off her true crime collection on her taxes." [laughter] And one of the things I'm interested in is serial crime, and serial arson is of interest to me especially. There's this case in California... Joseph Wambaugh, last year, published a book about this case, where they found out that the guy who was setting a series of arson fires in Southern California was actually a fire-fighting hero. Um, a fire-chief who was really respected and had gone to all these seminars to teach about arson detection, and he was the one setting the fires. They caught him because he wrote a book about it that was a thinly-disguised version of what he was doing.

Ummm... I like to go poking around the really nastier corners of human begins, and, so, I knew from my study of true crime that usually it takes a whole lot of abuse to turn s--a good human being into something really twisted. So that was where I got Ben Ladradun f-from. And I based the--at least his physical look on actor Randy Quaid. Which--don't get me wrong--I like Randy Quaid. But you are looking at the woman who wrote parts for her husband in radio playes in which he plays a boy-next-door psychopath. [laughter] I express my admiration oddly. [more laughter] That--does that...? And behind you, the young lady?

F: Do you have a say in the cover art that goes on your books?

T: At first I did not have a say in the artwork. Well, at first Jean Carl at Atheneum was my editor, and I wrote her: I didn't want any blasted ca-castles with lumpy ladies and muscle-bound barbarians on the cover. And I got back this note: "We are not a paperback house." [laughter] She sent me samples of this young artist that worked for Atheneum that she thought would do really well for me. This guy named David Wiesner, who did three covers for me, and then cruelly, wickedly, selfishly left doing my jacket-covers (okay, and some other authors) for his own cruel, wicked, selfish, award-winning career. [laughter] And he stuck me with some mo for the fourth book. And [the guys at the Books of Wonder?] said he looked at Lioness Rampant, the cover that has Alanna as hobbit, troll, old-person, and boy, and said: "I should've done this one." [laughter]

Umm... when the publisher doesn't really give a hoot, they--if you're lucky they'll show you what it looks like beforehand, but... they don't care what you think. Umm... if they wanna keep you happy [skips a bit while I turn the tape over] they show you the rough draft; they show you, sometimes, samples of the artists' work in advance. Umm... they ask for your input--and you say, "well, her hair's more brown, less frizzy, um... her eyes are green-hazel, not blue...." And, so, you have input into it. I think if the artist is talented, um, I really like seeing how someone--and if it looks like sh-he or she actually read the book, um--I like seeing how somebody else sees my characters and what I do. I mean, we're talking somebody whose continuing fan-moment laugh: one of my fans, at Sheroes Central, did Alanna, Daine, and Kel as Powerpuff Girls. [laughter] It so totally rocked. So--so I like seeing what people--and I wouldn't want to control somebody who at least is paying attention.

I wasn't sure about the Trickster's Choice covers. Um, Mal sent me the rough draft and I knew she'd been wantin' to try this woman's photographs for covers for a while. And I'm like.. "nnyuuu... it looks like a girl book." [laughter] And the thing with working with talented people is you give them the benefit of the doubt, so I took it on the road with me. And people would be walking by my little signing-table at appearances, and they would see those covers, and they were obviously uninterested when they started walking, and they would pull a U-ey and come back to look at those covers, and I went home and said: "Okay, Mal, you're right."

Who have I not answered yet? Yes, in the blue and white!

F: Um, where did you get the idea for that crystal-coated coal?

T: Where did I get the idea for crystal-coated coal? I just wanted the goddess to pick up something that was around, that would look cool. And if it stayed a coal, um, it would burn like heck. So she just kinda froze it, 'cause, well, she's a goddess and she can do that. [laughter] Just freeze in into thin ice. I just thought it looked cool.


F: Where'd you get the idea for Joren?

T: Joren was based on a guy I knew from my freshman year in college. He was absolutely gorgeous. He looked exactly like I described him, and he was the meanest person you could ever hope to name. He looked like an angel, a-and he was rotten clean through. So, it was a pleasure to finally get him out of my head. [laughter] I didn't realize he would bail so quickly, but--hey! I wasn't stopping him, you know?


mischevious, chomp
"Q" is for "quor"

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