Today the UM has fellow unicorn enthusiast Tali Spencer visiting the clubhouse. Tali's Thick as Thieves was the subject of our Happy Hour Chat, so learn more about where she got her inspiration and read on for information about a big (awesome!) giveaway that Tali's hosting on an earlier blog post!
BMBR: The question on every Thick as Thieves reader's mind, unicorn horn...how did you come up with that idea?
The unicorn arrived thanks to a writing prompt for my Wednesday Briefs weekly flash. The week I joined the group, one of the prompts was unicorn, mandolin, some kind of plant. I love writing fantasy, so that prompt spoke to me. I was feeling playful, so decided to have fun with it. Unicorns are magical. And their horns are rather suggestive, symbolically speaking. I’d always had this plot bunny in the back of my head about a brawny, perpetually horny barbarian, so I threw him into the mix. He’s hungry, kills the unicorn thinking it’s a deer and—of course, being horny—uses the horn in a sexual manner… well, naturally, I nipped and tucked that idea, added the mandolin and plant, and tweaked it all into making some kind of sense. Thick as Thieves exists because of that unicorn horn!
BMBR: You had to know you would get a lot of reactions from the epic blurb for Thick as Thieves. Did you have any misgivings about using it? Did you worry about it being a little misleading at all?
Oh my gosh, that blurb! Where do I start? My publisher and I felt it was important to let readers know about the ridiculous premise upfront. Thick as Thieves is a sword and sorcery romp and we wanted readers who like that kind of fantasy to know the story would have some fun with sex and sorcery. The downside was some readers might read that first line and think the book was going to be pure smut. Those readers would either 1) be disappointed when it wasn’t pure smut, or 2) not read the book because they thought it would be smut. I tried different approaches, but no other version of the blurb quite captured the sense of fun. So I asked people who’d beta read the book or had read the first third of it on my blog (everyone who commented on the story received a free copy of Thieves) what they thought and universally they said, “Oh no! You have to mention the unicorn horn!” So I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I will say this… the blurb has gotten a lot of attention!
BMBR: The UM was overwhelmingly Team Vorgell, he is such a great character. Of all your characters who is your favorite and which of your books would you recommend to a friend new to the genre?
Well, this answer might be different next time, but… I have a big old soft spot for Vorgell. We’re a lot alike, actually. Big, blond, smart but not necessarily quick, and plopped into situations where we don’t always understand what’s going on. We never quite fit in, but still manage to almost fit in everywhere.
I’d probably recommend Thick as Thieves to a friend new to the M/M genre because of the fast pacing and humor; it’s just easy to read—but it’s not really about being gay. Dangerous Beauty is a fantasy historical that’s definitely about being gay, so it might be a good one for readers who want a little less magic and fantasy.
BMBR: Are there any more plans for stories that feature unicorns, mythical creatures...unicorns?
You’ll be pleased to know the next book has a lustful harpy and a kickass kraken. I see a dragon in a story after that. There’s a unicorn in that one, too—the mate to the unicorn Vorgell killed. Unicorns mate for life, you see and, well, it sort of recognizes Vorgell’s magic. I haven’t decided yet if it will love him or hate him. Mythical creatures allow for all kinds of crazy, sexy, sinister fun.
BMBR: If you could choose to put any of characters into a favorite book of yours, who would you choose? Why? And what book?
Oh, I would love to put Vorgell into Brute, a wonderful fantasy by Kim Fielding. Actually, Ms. Fielding and I have talked about doing a story together featuring our two giant heroes but haven’t really gone anywhere with it yet. I can see our two worlds being neighboring countries, with danger and intrigue, and people who underestimate what our underdog characters are able to do to thwart an evil plan.
BMBR: Petal, she's darling. How in the world did you choose a basilisk as a pet?
Little Petal just popped up one day. Originally she wasn’t in the book at all! I needed to have some magical way to lock Madd’s collar, something he’d have to steal back from the Baron, so I thought, “Basilisks are cool. How about a basilisk egg? And the magic in the unborn basilisk binds the spell.” That worked. And it worked for Ibeena to want the egg as payment, because magical creatures are rare, right? So Vorgell pockets the egg to bring back to Ibeena. And that was the plan. Then the story hit a nice lull (all good, because it was after something intense) and I thought, “Well, Vorgell can go to sleep here but what if he crushes the egg? Wait! What if the egg hatches!” I loved the possibilities, so I hatched it. And Vorgell showed early in the book that he has a soft spot for animals. So of course he nurtured the little critter once it was hatched. It was also the best kind of fun to see Madd, and other characters, react to Vorgell having a basilisk. How could I not run with it?
BMBR: We here at UM not only take our reading seriously (the UM side-eyes) but we also take our unipornian delights just as serious too (the UM chants: FOR SCIENCE!). So if we had a chance to put "Thick as Thieves" on film, who would you cast? Would there maybe be a porn model or three involved?
This is going to sound strange, maybe, given how sexual my books are, but I don’t watch much porn—and when I do I don’t take note of names. I’m too busy watching. <coff> So while I can definitely see a porn model in Vorgell’s role, especially, I have no names to offer. I sort of envision him as a Chris Hemsworth on steroids, bigger and more rugged. Also whoever it is would have to sport a mighty nice cock. I actually do have a human inspiration for Madd. His name is Rasmus Ledin and he posts self-portraits on deviantArt. But I don’t know if he can act or if he’d be interested in appearing in sex acts. One thing for sure: if there’s ever a movie for Thieves, I want to sit in on casting auditions!!! For science, you know.
BMBR:Where do you see Madd and Vorgell thirty years after they meet?
They’ll still be together, lovers and best friends. From the start I’ve known they were forever. Despite their rocky introduction, they totally get each other. I would love for readers to see them grow into a sexually devoted couple with an unbreakable bond. In the first book, Vorgell is clearly the one more in love, and most of that stems from lust. In the second book, he and Madd grow closer as Madd’s significant barriers against sex being actually, you know, meaningful, begin to break down. Love starts knocking on the door for both of them, and they become even more sexually attuned, though still flawed and hooked on adventure.
In thirty years, I see them being more settled. They’ll have gotten tired of thieving and always being either on the run or short of coin. They’ll have battered their bodies and spirits a bit (though never their need for each other) and will probably leave Gurgh and the decadent cities behind. Maybe they’ll take up with a community of witches that’s reformed its view of how men fit in and where they can use their accumulated expertise. Maybe a small country somewhere could use a pair of adventurers. Vorgell might even father a child along the way. Neither will ever marry a woman, but I can see them raising a child, or at least helping some woman they like a lot to do so. I would like to see them being respected members of a community.
Thanks for visiting, Tali! Any friend of unicorns is a friend of ours. =D
Giveaway details: Last week Tali visited the blog with a guest post and mentioned an AMAZING giveaway. Check out the details and enter here. The giveaway contest closes at 10PM (Pacific time) on January 27, 2014, so you still have time to enter by leaving a comment on LAST WEEK'S POST.
Good luck, and may the unipornian force be with you!
P.S. As a friend of the unicorns and January's author of the month, Tali is an honorary UM member with the unicorn name Daisy Rainbow Mane.