Interview: M.L. Brennan talks about Generation V, Love Minus Eighty, Peeves and Stuff

August 26, 2013 Author Feature, Interview 8

What if you were a vampire, but you weren’t strong or sexy, nor confident and enviable? – instead you were just a somewhat nerdy, put upon guy who everyone seems to get over on! It would suck to be you wouldn’t it? Generation V by M.L. Brennan features just such a vampire…a living vampire to be precise. Today I’m lucky enough to have M.L for an interview!

I thoroughly enjoyed the new kind of vampire introduced in this book and highly recommend it to UF fans.

generation V

My Review of GENERATION V

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TABS: I’m cheating here because I haven’t finished reading Generation V – but I have it on very good authority that it is spanktastic. So thanks for granting me the interview!

M.L: Thanks so much for having me, and I hope that Generation V ends up living up to its spanktacular hype!

TABS: In the description of Generation V – the protagonist Fort is described as ‘still mostly human’. What’s that on about – no biting? drinks his V8 from bag instead? Or that daywalker business?

M.L: When I decided that I wanted to write an urban fantasy that had vampires in it, I began making some major modifications to the way vampires were going to work in my world. Now I like vampires in fiction, but a lot of the characteristics of more classic vampires just don’t work on a basic biological level. Here’s a creature that never ages, never dies, and can reproduce with just a few drops of blood? Whoa, population catastrophe!

So the vampires in the world of Generation V are a separate species rather than the undead. They are very much alive, and vampirism is a born trait rather than a post-death transformation. But that means that vampires would have a natural maturation process – in nature, no predator is born and is immediately top of the food chain. There is a period of vulnerability – that fourteen-foot crocodile is scary now, but it started out as just a little crocodile that was the potential lunch of just about everything else.

When Fortitude is described as ‘still mostly human,’ it is the phrase that his family uses. His sister was born during the American Revolution, his brother was born during the Civil War, and his mother is literally medieval – while Fortitude is 26. He looks like an average 26-year-old, but in vampire terms he’s still in infancy. This means that he doesn’t have extra strength, speed, or any of the traits that make the rest of his family dangerous. It also means that he isn’t hunting for himself yet – he still depends on his mother for sustenance.

Regarding the daylight – I thought that an increased sensitivity to sunlight would be interesting as an aging characteristic. So Fort, who is very young, has no problems with sunlight. His brother will have to throw on a hat during the day and probably get under shade for the noon hours. And their mother will stay behind blackout curtains.

TABS: I always find it refreshing when a female author writes a male protagonist. Admittedly there are SOO many female leads in Urban Fantasy that it gets tired after while. What challenges did you have in writing a male lead?

M.L: I’ve never really found much difference in writing male or female characters. For each there are the same challenges in creating an interesting and nuanced characterization, and keeping in mind the character’s goals, desires, and rationality. I wouldn’t say being female makes female characters any easier, or male characters any more difficult – what matters most is the basic humanity of the protagonist.

TABS: Now I’m wondering when you are creating, imagining, concocting whatever you call it – a male character…being a woman, how do you go about that? Are you out to make him swoon worthy? Course – I don’t know if Fort IS swoon worthy #smirk That’s right I’m looking at the hunk on the cover…

M.L: Well, first I try not to get wrapped up in gender. I started with pressures, with desires, with fears, and with traumas. Fort is a character who is terrified of his heritage, and the complete disregard that his family has toward the value of human life, so he’s running in the opposite direction as fast as he can – and while he’s at it, he’s rejecting *all* of their values. So that informed his choice of college major, his lifestyle, how he responds to pressures and conflict – all of that. These are the elements that make up who Fort is at the beginning of the book – and then I started working on what external pressures I could bring in through the narrative to start forcing the character to grow and evolve.

Swoonworthy is always in the eyes of the swooner – so I just tried not to worry about that angle of things.

TABS: Your first impression of your cover? And how do you feel about it now?

M.L: Loved it then, loved it now. There was such a great sense of grittiness to it, and I felt like the choice of model was fantastic, because he looked like a normal guy. The tagline makes me laugh each time, and overall I think it looks fantastic on a bookshelf!

TABS: How have your experiences been with doing publicity for your book and working with media folks? Especially bloggers!

M.L: Extremely positive! I’ve met so many delightful and thoughtful people who are incredibly passionate about the books they read, and it’s definitely a fun crowd to be around! One of the things I’m so excited about with Generation V’s sequel, Iron Night, coming out in January is seeing what the bloggers who liked the first one think about it!

TABS: What are your reading pet peeves? I would like to physically slap people that dog ear books…my hand twitches even now at the thought.

M.L: I hate it when I’m reading a book somewhere (public transit, doctor’s office, line at the DMV, whatever) and someone acts like it’s somehow weird and strange behavior. I always carry a book with me when I go places, and if I have to wait for something, I just pull out my book and settle in. So if I’m waiting five minutes for a prescription to be filled, I can pull out my book and read a few pages rather than just wandering aimlessly and or looking at the covers of the tabloids.

TABS: Now you know this was coming – but what are some of YOUR favorite authors and books? I have to know because that way I can grow my Avalanche of To Be Read. Someday I swear I’m going to smother in books. What a lovely way to die right?

M.L: Given the height of my own TBR pile, I think it’s definitely a possibility! Favorite authors is always such a tough one – there’s no way that I could narrow down the complete list, so how about I give you a few suggestions from the books I’ve read recently?

Will McIntosh’s Love Minus Eighty is a stunningly beautiful dystopian novel that is an amazing examination of technology and human emotion that I think everyone should read. I also just read an ARC of Django Wexler’s middle-grade fantasy The Forbidden Library – it’s incredible, and probably going to be the next Harry Potter, so everyone should pre-order their copy now so that they can be all smug about having gotten into the fandom on the ground floor! Teresa Frohock’s Miserere is a wonderfully complex and original fantasy that had an amazing balance of character and plot, and really surprised me with how much she made me like a plot device that I’ve always hated before – that should definitely go on the list. M. J. Scott’s Half-Light City series is a great fantasy with strong romantic elements, so I’d recommend that to anyone who likes that combination. Sharon Shinn’s Troubled Waters was an amazing fantasy book, and I’m just dying for the sequel which comes out in October. And, finally, two classics that I think everyone should read – Sherri S. Tepper’s Singer From The Sea, and Emma Bull’s War For The Oaks.

TABS: See I TOLD everyone Love Minus Eighty is the greatest….take note hehe.

TABS: So the Zombie / Vampire Apocalypse is nigh – what do you do? How would you survive? Personally I’m stockpiling SPAM – because HELLO! Protein, a zillion calories from fat, and I bet that crap will burn just as good as sterno.

M.L: Location, location, location. I’m finding a spare baby and a cute puppy and going straight to the closest military base. Lots of well-trained soldiers with guns to keep the undead hordes at bay and serve as the occasional red-shirt – I’m definitely surviving that movie!

TABS: Alright so some of our readership already knows about my obsession with SPAM – love it! – but the other question I love knowing is what fantasy creature would you envision yourself as if the big magic whammy hit the earth and we all morphed into something other than just boring old human?

M.L: Ah, that’s an interesting one. Well, taking a cue from my own book, I think I’d got with a kitsune on this one. I’d be a fox with a nice fluffy coat, I’d get to eat small rodents and maybe the occasional chicken, and I could resume my human form whenever I wanted!

TABS: Come come now – as we are all about confessions. Spill the beans and let us have it. What’s your confession (it doesn’t necessarily have to be book related)

M.L: I’ll probably need to say three Hail Marys and an Our Father after this one, but here goes – whenever I’m working with a book for my day job, I dog ear the pages, underline sections, write in the margins, and generally destroy that book. If it’s a book I really like, I usually end up owning two copies – one that I teach with that has all the marks in it, and one that I put on my shelf for pleasure reading.

TABS: Thanks so much for putting up with my brainless natter!

M.L.: Thanks so much for having me!

 

generation V

Reality Bites

Fortitude Scott’s life is a mess. A degree in film theory has left him with zero marketable skills, his job revolves around pouring coffee, his roommate hasn’t paid rent in four months, and he’s also a vampire. Well, sort of. He’s still mostly human.

But when a new vampire comes into his family’s territory and young girls start going missing, Fort can’t ignore his heritage anymore. His mother and his older, stronger siblings think he’s crazy for wanting to get involved. So it’s up to Fort to take action, with the assistance of Suzume Hollis, a dangerous and sexy shape-shifter. Fort is determined to find a way to outsmart the deadly vamp, even if he isn’t quite sure how.

But without having matured into full vampirehood and with Suzume ready to split if things get too risky, Fort’s rescue mission might just kill him.…

 

Generation V is M.L. Brennan’s first novel, published May 2013 by Roc Books. She has an advanced degree in the humanities, and works as an adjunct professor, teaching composition to first-year college students. She is currently hard at work on the second Fortitude Scott book, Iron Night, which will be published by Roc in January 2014. WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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8 Responses to “Interview: M.L. Brennan talks about Generation V, Love Minus Eighty, Peeves and Stuff”

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Seriously, I really enjoyed it. I’ve read quite a bit of urban fantasy but I loved the fresh take on the vampire lore…no sparklies here haha, and the kitsune made this one SO much fun. And the comedy oh the comedy…I love her sense of humor.

  1. Eva Millien

    Thanks for sharing the great interview and the giveaway. This book sounds great and I am looking forward to reading it. evamillien at gmail dot com

  2. BookLady

    What an intriguing book! M.L. has created a unique perspective on vampire mythology. Great interview. Thanks for sharing.