01/30/2018 In Guest
Brandilyn Carpenter
Jan 30, 2018

Interview: Mercedes Lackey

I would like to thank the ever popular Mercedes Lackey for taking the time to talk with me today.

AQG: Which authors or books most influenced you as a writer?

ML: Well, C.J.Cherryh was my mentor, so obviously she influenced me a lot. Andre Norton, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Thomas Burnett Swan, Anne McCaffrey, T.H. White, Vera Chapman, Elizabeth Goudge, and Alan Nourse I think are my principal influences.

AQG: What was the first story you wrote—whether published or not?

ML: Oh dear god, it was probably around when I was twelve or thirteen, and it was the first of a series of stories I wrote in Andre Norton’s Space Patrol universe. I illustrated them too! I never showed them to anyone, and I am pretty sure they are long lost.

AQG: Do you have a collection of stories you wrote, put aside, and never published?

ML: I generally find a way to sell just about everything I write. I did have a couple of novels, but one of them turned into the first of the Obsidian Mountain books with James Mallory, and the other turned into Circus of Witches with Eric Flint and Dave Freer.

AQG: I read The Last Herald Mage for the first time in my early twenties when I was struggling with coming out. I remember thinking how realistic Vanyl’s struggles felt. Was Vanyel modeled after anyone specific?

ML: Not really. I just took every horrible thing that can happen to a kid who is suffering from unrealistic parental expectations, and then added the difficulty of being gay to that.

AQG: Writing LGBTQ characters in the 1980’s and 90’s wasn’t exactly a ticket to success. What inspired you to write series with Gay and Lesbian main characters?

ML: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover books with those gay characters, and Samuel R. Delaney’s books.

AQG: Do you have a favorite series and/or character from your works?

ML: The Secret World Chronicles The Seraphym, Bella Parker, and Victoria Nagy and Red Djinni and John Murdock, although Red is Dennis Lee’s, and JM is Cody Martin’s rather than mine.

AQG: The map of Velgarth shows numerous nations we know little about. Does it ever feel daunting to try to fill in all the history of your world?

ML: Actually it’s a bit of a relief because I always have somewhere new to go.

AQG: Are there any places or people in your universe you really want to share with your fans about but haven’t had time to write about yet?

ML: What happens to The Seraphym and John Murdock…between (spoiler) and (spoiler). The stuff I wanted to write after Apex, but won’t be able to since Disney doesn’t want any more of the books. All about Mags and Amily’s kids. Actually I am doing the last one right now.

AQG: What have you read that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves?

ML: Everything by Charles de Lint. Everything by Judith Tarr. Everything by Zenna Henderson. Everything by Vera Chapman.

AQG: Since there is always another story to tell, what can we expect next?

ML: Right now I am working on the three books about Mags and Amily’s three kids. They are all going to follow in Mags’ footsteps as King’s Spies, but in very different ways. After that I’m finally tackling the last of the Elvenbane books.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to answer my questions!



  1. Anne Barwell says:

    Thanks for a great interview. I was given a complete collection of Zenna Henderson’s People series and love it 🙂 Will see if I can track down some of those other author recs.

  2. I’m so happy you got to interview Mercedes. And some really good, not-your-usual questions, too. She’s a grand dame in my eyes. Last Herald Mage was also an early read of mine when I was coming out. I already loved fantasy, and to have gay characters? Oh my. And so well written.

    • Andrew says:

      She is awesome and the fact she agreed to answer my questions (I’m just some guy with a blog who writes books) was really nice of her. I can scratch one thing off my bucket list now 🙂

  3. Arwen says:

    Mercedes has always been one of my faves. I love that her list of authors closely resembles mine. Zenna Henderson is definitely underloved! I’m also a bird person, so there’s that! Thanks for a fun interview. I reread the Valdemar series a lot. I have them in print and digital.

    • Andrew says:

      Hi Arwen,

      Yeah, every few years, I dust off my very old copies, think I’m going re-read them, and then put them back so I don’t damage them and use my iBook to re-read. She was really gracious to answer my questions, so I was a bit on air posting this. 🙂

      • Jene says:

        I have only one of the Valdemar series, but I have all of her ‘steampunk magician’ series (as I call it) up to #10, on digital. I’m retired, so I wish her publisher could sometimes offer them at reduced price for those of us with limited finances. Needless to say, I think she is one of my favorite writers, and I think her list of influences covers many of my own list (although mine includes a fair number from before her list).

  4. Jeri says:

    I absolutely love Mercedes Lackey. The Last Herald Mage and subsequent books were my favorite and some of my first. Thank you for the interview.

    • Andrew says:

      Hi Jeri,

      Thanks for reading. Her books are some of my favorites too. Especially all the Valdemar books. She’s done such a great job of filling in a ton of the history that it feels like a real place to me and to many others I’m sure.

  5. Blaine says:

    Mercedes Lackey was one of my favorite authors when I started reading science fiction. Still is. The Magic series still gets me every time I read it. Thank you for your wonderful interview!

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