Another day, another amazing author to announce to our growing lineup! Today, we are happy to welcome Robin LaFevers author of GRAVE MERCY and DARK TRIUMPH to #ATBF13! If you haven’t started reading the His Fair Assassin series, there is still time to become wrapped up in a world full of intrigue, mystery, and totally awesome fight scenes! Let’s get to know Robin!
Sadly, I am not one of those people who can write in a crowded coffee shop. I have my own little private corner office. Note, it is not really an office, but it is really a corner—a corner of my living room where I have an ancient rocking chair that is the most comfortable chair in the world, along with a desk/hutch thing with all my papers, index cards, colored pens, research books and all my precious notebooks. (I do a lot of my writing longhand.) It is, essentially, a cluttered, writerly nest.
How long did you have the beginnings of GRAVE MERCY before you started writing?
The idea for GRAVE MERCY was with me for a long time before I began actually writing it. It simmered in my brain for a year or three, as I just kind of poked at it and turned it over and over, waiting for it to jell and take shape. It was a very raw concept when it first came to me. The three absolutes I knew were that I wanted it to be about a kick ass girl, involve a sort of agonizing romance, and be set in the middle ages. Everything else was up for grabs. Since I was working on other books I’d already contracted to write for my publisher, I just let myself play with the story idea for a couple of years before I sat down to write it. That is actually one of my favorite stages of the writing process—just playing with ideas, trying them on and shifting them around until they feel just right. (Note: For me, playing with an idea usually involves lots and lots of research. There are so many fascinating things that really happened in history that I find it is often a great source of ideas or plot inspiration.)
Where did the character and town names come from?
Well, I’ll start with the town names, because that’s easy: they were taken from actual towns in Brittany. The even cooler thing is many of those towns are still there today and still have much of their medieval flavor and architecture, whether it’s the gate towers or the city wall or the 15th century cobbled streets and wood framed houses.
Ismae’s name was a bit harder to come by. Names are one of the most important parts of a character for me and I often can’t really settle into writing about a character until I get their name just right. I knew it had to have a bit of a French flavor to it, and it had to be medieval in origin, or at least feel that way. Luckily, I write in the Age of Google and so was able to access some amazing historical documents that let me see which names were in use back then. But none of them were quite right and many of them, frankly, felt decidedly wrong. For one, it seems like about 80% of people back then all shared one of five or six common names. The less common ones sound just strange to the modern ear and didn’t work for a heroine. I liked Isabeau quite a bit, but that created a problem because one of the historical characters in the book had that name and that would get way too confusing. Then I stumbled across the name Esme in reference to that time period, and Ismae just kind of evolved from there. Her last name, Rienne, was a slight modification of the French word for nothing, which is what she’d spent so much of her life feeling like.
Have you ever been to a rodeo?
I have been to a rodeo! Sadly, it was not a Texas rodeo, it was the Calgary Stampede. I was about eleven years old and my stepfather at the time was riding on horseback from Los Angeles up to Calgary, and our family drove up to meet him when he was done. I remember very little about the rodeo itself, but remember that it was an excruciatingly long drive up there. Also, I couldn’t read in the car (it made me car sick) so it was the longest I had gone without reading and that added to my misery. But I’m sure a Texas rodeo would be AWESOME!
For more information about Robin LaFevers and her books, check out her website.
About DARK TRIUMPH:
Sybella’s duty as Death’s assassin in 15th-century France forces her return home to the personal hell that she had finally escaped. Love and romance, history and magic, vengeance and salvation converge in this thrilling sequel to Grave Mercy.
Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?