Marianne de Pierres is the author of the multi award-nominated Parrish Plessis and Sentients of Orion science fiction series. The Parrish Plessis series has been translated into eight languages and adapted into a Role Playing Game. She is also the author of the humorous Tara Sharp crime series, written under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt. In 2011 she’ll release the first of her new young adult dark fantasy duology entitled Burn Bright. Visit her websites at Marianne de Pierres and Tara Sharp.
1. The third book in your far-future space opera series, The Sentients of Orion, was published late last year; the fourth is due later in 2010. The books are written from a variety of viewpoints, and they are set on a galaxy-wide stage. Why did you choose to write the multiple viewpoints? And what were the challenges in constructing a galactic society?
Having already written a first person series (Parrish Plessis), it was a very conscious decision to go to third person, multiple viewpoint. Primarily, I wanted to challenge myself, having never written novels this way before, and secondarily, I wanted it to be different from the Parrish series. First person can be very limiting, and many subtleties are lost. I wanted Sentients to be complex and nuanced and tricky. I have to say that I got what I asked for, and the story has pushed me in all sorts of ways. The world building itself was instinctive and pleasurable. I’ve always believed that in the far future, some things will remain the same and others will be unrecognizable. What makes your worlds/galaxy/universe unique is the choices you make at that very bottom line.
2. As well as The Sentients of Orion, your work has included the science fiction Parrish Plessis series and the Tara Sharpe crime series (as Marianne Delacourt). This year you also have a collection of short stories coming out from Twelfth Planet Press called Glitter Rose; a young adult series, Burn Bright, is due in 2011. What’s it like to switch between different genres and styles of writing – do you have to finish one before going to another, or can you multi-task? Are there particular times of the day, or year, that you find better for one genre or another, or is it all about the ideas?
I love switching between genres and age groups. It’s liberating and stimulating. Sometimes I multi-task (I wrote Sharp Shooter and Mirror Space at the same time), but if the going gets tough, I revert to one manuscript only. I write best in the mornings, so what ever is most taxing gets done then. Afternoons tend to be stolen writing time (between driving children around) and therefore more suited to Tara Sharp, whose world I don’t have to create from scratch.
3. Are you planning to write more within science fiction and crime in the future, or do you want to try your hand at something completely different? Is there a genre or style you think you’ll never have a go at?
There will be more crime novels for sure but at the moment I’m re-evaluating my direction in SFF. No more space opera for the time being, but something … And I’m terribly excited about my foray into YA dark fantasy.
4. Do you read much within the Australian SFF scene? Who do you think are the Australian names to watch out for, in the coming years?
I’m not a huge short story reader but I do like to keep in touch with Australian spec novels. I was particularly delighted to see Voyager publish Kim Westwood. People to watch in the coming years? Trent Jamieson, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Nicole Murphy would have to be at the top of my list for great new fiction this year. But there are many others on the verge of breaking into the world of novels like Cat Sparks, Angela Slatter, Dirk Flinthart, Andrew McKiernan and Jo Anderton.
5. Finally, are you going to Aussiecon4? And if so, what are you most looking forward to?
Yep. I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to the heady ideas ephemera that rises when a whole bunch of people with the same passion are corralled under the same roof – it’s one helluva inhalation!