Why and when did you begin writing?
The first story I remember writing was on my dad’s TRS-80, when I was around six. It was a Little Red Riding Hood remix. I’d decided that I didn’t like the end of the one my parents read to me, though I can’t recall what my specific issue was and how I solved it. I’m sure it was incoherent, regardless. Unfortunately, I was writing it in the command prompt of the operating system, which basically means that when I hit “enter,” it erased everything. I cried. My dad bought me a toy pony. It was all good.
What inspired you to write your book?
At first, my editor, Gabrielle Harbowy, asking for a second book in the Destiny series (I didn’t even know it was series before then!) I then stepped back into the lives of the characters, and I struggled with the core of the story. Then, in non-book life, a few events occurred that made me admire some friends and acquaintances that tried to do the best they could in horrible situations. I fed that idea to my story. Times are horrible, but let’s try to do our best. Problem is, doing our best isn’t always enough.
How did you come up with the title?
Well, at first, it was going to be called Destiny’s Siege, and the third one Destiny’s War. Gabrielle suggested the titles were too similar, a siege being a type of warfare. I agreed. We then toyed around with the idea of continuing the trend of the first book, Destiny’s Blood, and naming each book after body fluids. Our favourites were Destiny’s Cerebral Spinal Fluid, Destiny’s Mucus and Destiny’s Ear Wax, but we felt it didn’t reflect the dark and adventurous nature of the story (that, and we couldn’t quite pin down target audience for those titles, but we were pretty sure they’d be disappointed in the story). So Destiny’s Fall was born. Between the Blood and the War falls the Fall. (Poetry reference, anyone?)
How do you go about researching for your books?
I don’t start by researching the book. The stories and characters are what tug me along. But as the story progresses, I see where a bit of research could deepen the world or add some spice. In the Destiny series, I focused on flowers, botany, space travel (before casting everything aside) and astronomy, especially the birth of stars and different star systems. I love the library, the Internet, and talking to random folk. That’s usually how I get my research done.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Real people character traits and reactions definitely inform my characters, but no character is fully based on one person. My friends have too much depth and colour to capture them fully in a book, or even a series!
What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?
The most exciting part is getting it done, and the hardest part is the waiting. Stop and go. Stop and go.
Do you have any other books planned in the future?
Yes! The third book of the Destiny series, definitely. And also a sword and sorcery book. Plus some short stories. All fun!
Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?
Right now, I think Avienne Malavant is my favourite. She’s a bit of a drunk, and tries to make light of everything even though she’s conflicted, staunchly loyal and very sensitive. I can’t think of anyone I dislike. Even the bad guys are lovable, in a weird, “you’re totally skinning people” kind of way.
What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?
Write. Write some more. Get better at it. When you’re good enough, do some research into publishers. Don’t query blindly. Learn your stuff. Be a pro.
Just for fun:
What are your ten most favorite things?
- fuzzy socks on a cold winter day
- A clicky keyboard (but not too clicky)
- A bubble bath with long-lasting bubbles
- Hugs from friends and family
- A good book with a good ending that’s not all pink flowers and unicorns (unless they’re poisonous pink flowers and flesh-eating unicorns)
- A surprise
- Popcorn and a movie
- A road trip
- Coming home
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I work full time, so lots of that. I’m also a professional storyteller, so sometimes I’m out bellowing stories in theatre houses, tea shops, bars or street corners. I love walking in cemeteries and muse on who lies below, and if anyone remembers them. And I hang out with my friends and family as often as possible.
Do you have any pets?
Yes. Right now, between my roommate and I, we have two geriatric grumpy cats and two young hyper cats (a great combo). We also have three fish.
What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?
I love all foods, except cilantro. I love pickled things too much. I’ll stand in my kitchen and eat jar-fulls, unless my roommate stops me. I keep several antacid companies in business.
Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?
I do have a lovely writing room in my house, but I also write outside of the house a lot. In the mornings I frequent coffee shops. When I’m nearing the end of a manuscript, I sequester myself away at a convent. Best silent retreat you’ll ever have!
Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?
I’m typing too fast to eat a snack, and I hate getting sticky fingers on my keyboard. Slows me down. But I’ll take coffee or tea any day!
If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?
Everywhere. Especially places that aren’t in travel guides.
What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?
My favourite subject was math, my least favourite was English (I’m French Canadian, so English is not my first language). I can now write fine, and I can’t count past six. How things change…
What book are you reading right now?
Right now? I’m reading a zombie book. I read a zombie book in between every other type of book (or two, or three…) It’s a very unhealthy obsession, and my friends are planning an intervention.
Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.
My car’s name is Maude. If you guessed that, you’re pretty awesome and should use your powers for good. Oh heck, use them for evil if you want, but at least use them. Let’s not be wasteful.
Thanks for stopping by Marie!
About the book
A broken tradition. A hunted child. A rebellion that threatens to topple the very fabric of the universe.
When Layela Delamores gives birth to her first child, the ether immediately rejects what should be its only heir. A wave of destruction sweeps the ether races and sparks Solaria’s ire and rebellion on Mirial. A new heir rises to take the throne of Mirial, one who wields tainted ether.
Unable to access the flow of ether, Layela is left with little choice but to flee Mirial, seeking answers that may no longer exist, prepared to sacrifice everything to free herself and her daughter from the clutches of the First Star.
Elsa sent soothing waves to the earth. The saplings, still so small and tiny, responded in turn. Be still, she comforted them. They grew still and quiet, and she hoped they would avoid detection.
She reached out to the plants surrounding the gardens—the elm tree to the right, the great oak to the left. The bluebells lining the ground, mixed in with buttercups. The Lacile flowers which glowed gently, hiding now from the sun. The grass all around them, the wildflowers peeking through between the blades, the roses and their thorns, the poofy orange plants whose names she could never recall, and the bushes that held tiny leaves and pink flowers when spring was fresh and new.
She called out to all of them in the sunlight, to take care of the gardens, to protect the sproutlings of the Berganda in these uncertain times, while their mothers fought for peace on Mirial. Wave after wave of hope and need left her and filled the plants. With her all-too-human eyes, she imagined the plants standing a bit taller, but she knew it was only her imagination; they gently swayed in the wind around her.
Her own mother had been able to communicate with the plants and bend their will to hers. Or seal them to her with friendship, she wasn’t certain. Her own mother would have stood by Layela and fought, even giving up her life for her and the Berganda. Elsa hid her forming plans deep in her heart.
She had never known her mother, but she intended to live up to her legacy.
Marie Bilodeau is an Ottawa-based science-fiction and fantasy author. Her space fantasy novel, Destiny’s Blood, was a finalist in the Aurora Awards and won the Bronze Medal for Science-Fiction in the Foreword Book Awards. She is also the author of the Heirs of a Broken Land, a fantasy trilogy described as “fresh and exciting” by Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo award-winning author of WAKE. Her short stories have appeared in several magazines and anthologies, including the recent When the Hero Comes Home, edited by Ed Greenwood and Gabrielle Harbowy.
Marie is also a professional storyteller who’s told adaptations of fairy tales and myths, as well as original stories, in venues across Canada. More at www.mariebilodeau.com.
Marie will give away a signed eBook copy of Destiny's Blood (the first book in the series) to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop, and an autographed set of Destiny's Blood and Destiny's Fall in print (US and Canada only) or eBook (International) to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. She'll also give an autographed set of books to the host with the most comments (excluding hers and the host's).
Leave a comment for your chance—and mine!—to win copies of Marie's books!