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!