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Q&A from Katherine Addison

This weekend we have a Q&A from Katherine Addison, who is not very secretly Sarah Monette, friend to this blog and author of The Goblin Emperor, which comes out on Tuesday. So basically, if you order it now, it won’t be like pre-ordering, it’ll just be like ordering. I’m in the middle of reading my advance copy now, and I figured it’d make more sense to have the questions I asked before reading up before the thoughts I had after reading, so here we go!

1. Would you characterize The Goblin Emperor as a noir novel or a clair novel? Or some of each, or neither? (As of the writing of these questions I have not yet read it.)

It’s some of both, I think, but it’s definitely more clair than the Doctrine of Labyrinths.

2. Katherine Addison is an open pseudonym. Did the book start as a project for that pseudonym? If so, did it feel different working under another name? What changed?

No, I had a complete (or nearly complete) draft of The Goblin Emperor when I signed the contract with Tor. It was always going to be the next book I published. I don’t divide my writing into “Sarah” and “Katherine.” It’s all just me.

3. If there was to be a line of perfumes for _The Goblin Emperor_, what scents would you want in it?

Elvish scents should be cold and crisp and bright, goblin scents darker and warmer and just a smidgen more ruthless. The Nazhmorhathveras use a lot of sandalwood (which is my personal favorite scent).

4. You have talked about The Goblin Emperor on your blog as a standalone. Is that still planned to be the case? Do you have other things you might want to do with these characters or with this world, or are you moving on to other horizons? Or do you know yet?

I don’t entirely know yet. This story is complete as it stands, so there won’t be any direct sequels, but there are a couple of ideas drifting around my head that could become novels set in the same world and with some of the same characters. And I don’t want to say any more because I’m paranoid about jinxing myself.

5. You’ve written fantasies with trains, airships, and other steampunk trappings. Is there a line of modernity past which things stop being fun for you, or do the gadgets make it all the more enjoyable?

I don’t see any reason there should be a line in the sand. One of the stories collected in Somewhere Beneath Those Waves Was Her Home is science fiction magical realism, and I am intensely fond of it. (“No Man’s Land,” for those who are interested.) And if we can imagine a world in which magic exists, there’s no reason not to imagine a world in which magic and computers exist.

6. Tell us about the inspirational powers of sock elephants.

The past three years have been hard for a variety of reasons, some of them physical and some of them professional, and I have found myself trapped in a sort of rut–or maybe a pit–of not being able to write, and then when I do write something, being utterly paralyzed by the nasty little voice in the back of my head that says, “No one wants to read that. Why are you even bothering?” You scrabble at the walls of the pit, and then you slide back down to the bottom.

So the sock elephant (whose history is
here) is a concretization of the idea that if I write something, someone will want to read it. No matter how ugly you are, someone will fall in love with you.

That nasty little voice is a liar. My sock elephant says so.

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