This Chicks Sunday Commentary: A Book Signing with Patricia Briggs and Anne Bishop

When I was asked if I wanted to drive three hours to spend an hour listening to Patricia Briggs and Anne Bishop talk about their new releases Burn Bright and Lake Silence I said, “Absolutely!”. Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson is one of my favorite fictional heroines and her Alpha and Omega series feeds my need for paranormal mysteries. The thought of spending an hour listening to her talk and possibly having a question answered was too good to pass up. Anne Bishop, author of The Others series and Written in Red, was my 2017 surprise find and quickly moved to the top of my list of great Urban Fantasy series. Who wouldn’t want to see the women behind these well crafted series?!!

My sister, myself, and a friend spent Friday afternoon driving to Lexington, Kentucky for the last stop on their joint tour. Both of their new books had release dates last week and I’m guessing decided to join forces to meet the masses. I’m not sure what I was expecting when we got to the Joseph Beth Booksellers Friday evening, but the next hour and a half was really entertaining. I took some notes so I could relay some of the questions asked and their answers, but please bear in mind that I’m taking a little bit of leeway with their answers, but the meat of them is all Patricia Briggs and Anne Bishop.

Patricia and Anne posed

The picture above shows Patricia Briggs on the left and Anne Bishop on the right. The evening started off with each of them reading most of the first chapter of each of their books Burn Bright (Patricia Briggs) and Lake Silence (Anne Bishop). I have read each of the books already and had my own vision and internal voice to these characters, but it was really interesting to hear the people who created them speak their thoughts. Interestingly, Anne Bishop who was a little more reserved in person, was very animated and gave a different voice to each character she read. Patrica Briggs who was very animated and personable in person, did a pretty straightforward read of Burn Bright. Do they like reading their books out loud to a room full of people? I’d be pretty embarassed to do so myself so I was impressed they did such a good job at it.

After they finished reading they stood up and engaged the crowd. They would answer our questions but not until the whole room howled like a wolf. Appropriate to both of their series, but the Arooo! that everyone belted out came directly from our own little Lakeside Courtyard. I pictured little wolf Sam from Written in Red howling away at Meg as I’m sure a lot of other people did as well. That howl certainly broke the ice!

Questions & Answers:

->PB- Is there ever going to be a time when Mercy, Adam, Anna and Charles join together in a book to fight against evil?  Probably not but they may all be in a short story together. PB said she has read quite a few “reunion” books and sometimes they don’t seem to work out too well. So she’s hesitant to do so herself.

->AB- Will you visit the Black Jewel world again? Patricia Briggs broke in all excited and said she has actually read the bones of a story by Anne set in that world, but Anne was quick to say that she wasn’t sure if it will grow into a full story.  (It sounded to me like she didn’t want to make any promises? I haven’t read the Black Jewel series myself but there were a LOT of those fans in the audience.)

-> PB- Does she have a preference for writing in first or third person? I thought her answer was really interesting. PB said that when she first started writing Mercy’s stories she wrote in first person but we may have noticed that change in more recent books. She claimed she “cheated” by allowing us to see through another characters eyes. (I think that technique works really well because Mercy became more fleshed out and through Adam’s eyes I connected better with her.)

->AB- What is Anne’s favorite book? (There were a lot of groans in the audience about this question. A hard one to answer!) Anne said that she’d go back to Moon of Three Rings by Andre Norton because it was the first book she read that she realized that you could have emotional characters set in a fictional world.

->PB- How difficult is it to want to put a character in a book but can’t find a place for them? She answered that Charles was one of those characters. She knew so much about him, who he was and his back ground but he didn’t fit into a 100,000 word novel. She told him to back off and she’d find a place for him. Ultimately that’s why she wrote Alpha and Omega. Her editor asked for a novella and when she said she was writing about Charles her editor was worried. After she read it she asked for him to have his own series. She did say that she wished, now, that she hadn’t made him so powerful because it was easier for her to write characters who were the underdogs. He definitely isn’t!

->AB- Is she every going to go back to Meg and Simon? (I would imagine she gets asked this question ALOT because her answer was very straightforward.) That story arc was completed with Etched in Bone. She’s released Lake Silence this year and then she has Wild Country coming out next year about the town of Bennett.

->PB- (strange person alert!) What happens if someone were to donate an organ and then become a werewolf? (To give her credit Patricia Briggs gave a straight answer.) If it’s before they become a werewolf they will still not have that organ, if it’s after then their organ will grow back. (The same woman later went back to a different version of this question by asking how Charles still has pierced ears if that’s the case? Patricia responded “the same reason why he can shift and have clo5es on when no other werewolf can. He’s Charles.)

->PB- (I asked my question without trying to give anyone in the crowd any spoilers.) Online, there seems to be a lot of talk about a scene in Burn Bright where Anna and Charles are having a conversation about Mercy and Bran’s relationship… Patricia totally understood where I was going and also tried to answer without giving any spoilers. She said, She knew right from the start that those were Bran’s feelings and that now was the time that she needed to reveal that fact. It will not change anything about their relationship or future books. She said that a lot of readers have asked for a book about Bran but she said that we wouldn’t like him if she gave it to us. He is not a very nice guy. (INTERESTING!)

->AB- (my question to Anne Bishop) I have read The Others and listened to the audiobooks as well, when she is writing how does she layer the characters so well? Simon is a wolf and speaks in a growly wolf-like voice. The next time I read it, I notice other wolf-like attributes. Does she write the narrative and then go back and fill in the attributes? She very emphatically said NO. She has lived with these characters for a long time. Has gone to the grocery store and asked Simon if he likes carrots (she makes a scrunchy eww face). When she writes, all that layering is put in as she writes it the first time. She doesn’t have to go back and do it. (Wow!!)

These were only some of the questions asked and answered and I’ll admit to getting caught up in the moment and forgetting to write things down. When you listen to an author speak about their characters and the world they built it’s as if they are talking about real people. As Anne said, she went grocery shopping with Simon. I can only believe that this is why I love their characters so much. They are so real!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Friday night with Patricia Briggs and Anne Bishop. Were you lucky enough to go to one of their book signings? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts and any fascinating questions and answers!

If you would like to read my review of Burn Bright and Lake Silence please click on the title of each book!

To purchase Burn Bright click the link. Burn Bright (Alpha and Omega)

To purchase Lake Silence click the link. Lake Silence (World of the Others, The)

Signed books