2014 Snapshot Archive: Marianne de Pierres

First published at Helen Merrick’s blog.

Marianne de Pierres is the author of the popular PARRISH PLESSIS trilogy, the award-winning SENTIENTS OF ORION science fiction series, and the genre-bending PEACEMAKER Western/urban fantasy series. The PARRISH PLESSIS series has been translated into many languages and adapted into a role-playing game, while the PEACEMAKER series is being adapted into a novel adventure game. Marianne has also authored children’s and young adult stories, notably the Night Creatures trilogy a dark fantasy series for teens. Marianne is an active supporter of genre fiction and has mentored many writers. She lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and three galahs (and once upon a time three sons–before they grew up). Marianne also writes award-winning crime under the pseudonym Marianne Delacourt. Visit her websites at:  www.mariannedepierres.com  www.tarasharp.com.au andwww.burnbright.com.au

1.    Your latest release Peacemaker has had an interesting history, having started out as a webcomic. Could you tell us more about how this project began and has developed?

Peacemaker actually began its life as a short story entitled Gin Jackson. It was published firstly in Agog! Smashing Stories in 2004 and then later reprinted in a FableCroftanthology. The short story was set in the outback and had a strong spiritual theme, but when I began writing the novel, a few years later, I changed the setting to the city.

Sixty or so pages into it, I became obsessed with the idea of turning it into a digital comic. I’m still not sure why! That process took months, as I had to find an artist and teach myself a new way to write. I was reasonably happy with the first issue, but my artist had a change of direction in her life and couldn’t draw issue 2, so I lost the impetus to continue.

The story just wouldn’t go away though, and I later went back to working on the novel. Angry Robot bought it in 2013 (plus the sequel), and it was published this year. In 2014, Stirfire Productions optioned it to adapt into a novel adventure game. A strange journey, indeed, for the little short story that could…

2.    You have now published more than 15 novels spanning SF, crime, YA and now western/urban fantasy.  Looking back, what book or series are you most proud of?

I think I’m proud of them all for one reason or another, but I wrote the Sentients of Orionseries during a time of ill health and personal pressure, so it was a triumph against odds. Of all my works, it remains the series that required the most research, the most detailed world-building, and some hard-arse, headache-inducing thinking to bring the story threads together at the end. I feel like I sweated blood over it.

3.    Next year should see the release of the second book in the Peacemaker series, Dealbreaker, as well as the intriguingly titled Emo Traders. What other projects do you have in the works?

I’m such a flibbertigibbet; I have lots of project ideas that are in various stages of development. But the two that have priority are Dealbreaker (Peacemaker sequel) andPharmakon, a near future thriller/road journey. Then I’m also working on a crime novella for Twelfth Planet Press, and Emo Traders, a YA novel about trading emotions to gain access to an alternate reality. Starting a new writing project is the worst kind of addiction!

4.    What Australian works have you loved recently?

A ton of good stuff has come out lately from Jo Anderton, Dirk Flinthart, Andrew McRae, Alan Baxter and many, many others. And every day something drops into my inbox about another new Aussie author. I’m really looking forward to Keith Stevenson’s and Russell Proctor’ debut novels this year.  And Anna Tambour’s new collection in 2015. And Trent Jamieson’s new novel from Text. However, picking one above the others could prove to be a dangerous act on my part 🙂

5.    Have recent changes in the publishing industry influenced the way you work? What do you think you will be publishing/writing/reading in five years from now?

Changes would be something of an understatement, Helen. Publishing’s gone through the kind of transformation that music experienced a few years ago. The main way it’s affected me (as with all writers) is financially. And it’s so hard to know exactly where the path is leading. Obviously, there will always be a desire for stories, but how (in what form) people want to consume them, is evolving. I honestly don’t know where it will take us, other than increasingly online.

Personally, I’ve felt this kind of perverse desire to write more slowly because of it—to savour the experience, produce the absolute best I can, and not be hurried or worried into trying to make the same income as before. I think it’s a stress reaction, but I’m running with it!

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