Interview with Mary Patterson Thornburg, author of science-fantasy romance Luke Blackmon’s Rose
To guard herself from the perils of her own sensuality, Rose married a man she didn’t love. Now, two years after his death, she’s not sure she can really love anyone. She’s not even sure she cares…
To achieve what he’d always known was his birthright, Luke had to struggle against tremendous odds. But when science discovered a way to access the past, a powerful bureaucracy found a way to use Luke. Now, torn from his own time, everything and everyone he knew, he can see no reason to go on living…
An instant of attraction, uninvited but inescapable, brings Luke and Rose together. Together, they discover the strength to love, the will to trust and hope. But will these things be enough to carry them over walls of suspicion, guilt, bigotry, and hate?
Excerpt from Luke Blackmon’s Rose
And then the air in the room changed. There was a tingling, a sort of buzzing not quite within the range of human hearing. She thought, briefly, of what she’d read somewhere about the feeling people get in a thunderstorm when they’re about to be struck by lightning. She wasn’t sure anyone felt it but herself. Mira, who’d gotten up to look in the refrigerator for something, was apparently undisturbed. But then she saw Kingsley’s expression change as he glanced past her toward the living room portion of the greatroom, and she heard—or perhaps felt—soft footsteps behind her. She spun around.
Where the living room carpet ended, maybe three yards from where she sat, stood a very tall, very dark, broad-shouldered man. He was barefoot, dressed in black sweats. She saw him clearly for a fraction of a second before the lightning bolt she’d felt coming struck. In that fraction of a second, she realized why Mira had looked familiar to her. And realized, too, what had been going on with Kingsley since the turn their discussion had taken that evening—if not before. In that fraction of a second, she knew who she was looking at.
An Interview with Mary Patterson Thornburg
-What inspired you to become a writer?
I have no idea. Back in high school, an English teacher asked us what we were going to do when (and if ever) we grew up, and I said it was my ambition to write stories. Maybe I said that because I liked to read, or maybe it was because I thought I could do that without getting up early and going to a real job. I always planned to get started… someday. Almost forty years later, I finally did!
-If you could visit your book’s world for a day, what one thing would you do?
I’d go have a Belgian Framboise or two in Terence’s Tavern in Granville, the semi-imaginary Indiana city where several of my stories are set. It’s a beer-and-wine-only bar for grown-ups; it’s mostly quiet, mostly friendly, mostly welcoming, not too dark, but not too brightly lit either. Danny Doyle, who lives upstairs, tends bars most days, and he lets his two yellow cats, Tige and Miss Priss, come down to keep him company. As one of my characters in Luke Blackmon’s Rose says, “Yeah, it’s funky, but it’s safe. And I’m friends with the management.”
-It’s two in the morning. What does your protagonist reveal in confidence? (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.)
Rose: “You’ve probably noticed this about me, but I’ll say it anyway. I let Luke get away with too much, according to Mira. I cook and I clean. He’s always happy to help if I ask him, but it doesn’t bother him to sit on the sofa and read, or lie down and take a nap if he feels like it, while I’m doing housework. Quite often he does volunteer, and when he does I’m always glad for his help. But Mira scolds me for being one of these… these whatsit-wives…”
Rose: “Yeah. Tradwives. And I’m not. Really. It’s just that Luke came up in a different time, and having to adjust to this time, in so many ways, is so hard. He makes it look easy, but I know it’s not. He’ll learn this, too, I think, but it’s going to take… well, there’s that word again. Time. Meanwhile, I’m not going to push him. And I’m afraid that will make me look weak, to your readers. And that makes me feel guilty. It’s complicated.” (She laughs.)
Me: “I think it makes you look like a woman who loves her partner – loves and respects him, for who he is, not just the fact that he’s a man. If readers think that makes you something you’re not, then either I haven’t done my job or they haven’t been paying attention. And if that’s the problem, well, too bad then. F—k ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks with?
Any and all of them, singly or in groups. Keith Crawford, a very minor character, is intriguing and seems like he could be a lot of fun. Rose and I could go to Terence’s and drink raspberry beer until we had the hiccups. I’d love to go there with Kingsley, but I wouldn’t want either of us to get in trouble with Mira, because that could hurt. Badly.
-You’re in a tavern, and a dwarf challenges you to a duel. What do you do?
I buy her another beer, urge her to sit down at the table with me and drink it. I do not call her “a dwarf” or make sly jokes about her size. She knows who she is, and I can acknowledge her without insulting her.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
Probably several. Like my protagonist Rose, I can’t write science fiction because I’m not a scientist. Math-averse, don’t you know. I can fake it to some extent, though, which makes what I write “science fantasy” – aka “fake science fiction.” And… mystery? Hahaha. Never, except maybe by accident, or more likely miraculous intervention. For mystery, you have to be able to plot, and to do that you have to rely on your characters to be what you need them to be, not to suddenly set out on their own to be all that they can be, tra-la, without your guidance. My characters have a strange tendency to do this. And if I attempt to corral them, they turn into a bunch of Pinocchios – wooden liars.
About Mary Patterson Thornburg
Mary Patterson Thornburg has lived in California, Washington State, Montana, Indiana, and again, finally, in Montana. She was educated at Holy Names College, Montana State University, and Ball State University, where she then taught for many years. She’s been reading science fiction and fantasy since she was five, and when she began to write fiction it seemed only natural to write in those genres. Her literary heroes are Mary Shelley, who gave us all a metaphor for technology alienated from its creators, and Ursula K. Le Guin and Octavia E. Butler, inventors of worlds that shine their powerful searchlights on this one. She writes what some people call “science fantasy” (aka “fake science fiction) within as wide a range as possible, but almost always with a bit (or a lot) of romance.
Mary Patterson Thornburg will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour
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