Instead of asking one author several questions, we’ve asked several authors just one question. Please leave a comment or suggest a question for us to ask in the future. We’ll choose one commenter to win a copy of Jesse Bullington’s The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart on audio CDs (or, if you’ve got bad taste, something else from our stacks).
Question: Which speculative fiction character created by another author are you kicking yourself for not dreaming up first?
Rachel Aaron: I’m going to have to go with Killashandra from Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer books. The whole series was pretty cheesy 80s sci fantasy (especially the final 2 books), but I LOVED IT, mostly because Killashandra was ambitious, powerful, clever, and completely unapologetic about being so awesome, even when she got herself into major trouble. She was a savvy business lady who got the hot guys by force of personality. Three books wasn’t nearly enough Killa, and if I ran the world, I would grab the series from McCaffrey and run with it.
Jesse Bullington: Most recently, she’s the nameless (as far as my sieve-like brain recalls) narrator from J.M. McDermott’s brilliant trilogy-opener Never Knew Another. McDermott gives her a great, unique voice that perfectly captures both the feel of the world and the intricacies of the character; there’s poetry and brutality in equal measure, but both seem organically hers instead of existing to simply make her McDermott’s mouthpiece. She’s devout in her faith, being a priestess, which makes for an interesting, compromised narration — McDermott’s very grey world and cast of characters are all seen through the black-and-white filter of the true believer. Also, she wears a wolfskin hood, which is worth ten thousand cool points, and is a shapeshifter, which tacks on another ten Gs, at least — I’ve rarely come across such a smartly rendered psychology of a liminal character, sure, but also: wolfskin hood. Yes.
Gail Carriger: Terry Pratchett’s The Luggage. The Luggage doesn’t say much, and he doesn’t appear often, oh but when he does, he always steals the scene and readers know hilarity will ensue. Described as part portmanteau part homicidal maniac, always grumpy, sometimes lovelorn, The Luggage may be the greatest comedy character since Marvin the Paranoid Android. One wonders what would happen if the two ever met.
Seanan McGuire: If I could change the world so I’d created one character created by someone else, it would be the revolutionary Goldilocks from Bill Willingham’s fantastic Fables. Heavily-armed, seriously twisted, and more than a little bit insane… what’s not to love?
L. E. Modesitt, Jr.: Because my characters are so closely tied to my worlds, I can’t say that I’ve ever gotten the feeling that I wished I’d come up with another character first, but I will say that I’m really in awe of the world/characters that Roger Zelazny created in Creatures of Light and Darkness.
Thanks to these authors for sharing their secrets with us! One random commenter gets the Bullington audiobook.