We’re super excited to have had the chance to ask a few questions of Margaret Dunlap – one of the authors of BookBurners! Before we get to that, here’s a bit about the book!Bookburners by Brian Francis Slattery, Margaret Dunlap, Max Gladstone, Mur Lafferty
(Website, Goodreads)Published by Saga Press on January 10, 2017
Genres: adult, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Horror, Science Fiction, Urban
The critically acclaimed urban fantasy about a secret team of agents that hunts down dangerous books containing deadly magic—previously released serially online by Serial Box, now available in print for the first time!
Magic is real, and hungry. It’s trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, and only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. She joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad—Team Three of the Societas Librorum Occultorum—and together they stand between humanity and the magical apocalypse. Some call them the Bookburners. They don’t like the label.
Supernatural meets The Da Vinci Code in a fast-paced, kickass character driven novel chock-full of magic, mystery, and mayhem, written collaboratively by a team of some of the best writers working in fantasy.
Describe BOOKBURNERS in 5 words.
Hmm… I’m going to go with: Serialized Pulpy Fun Supernatural Adventure
How did BOOKBURNERS come about, what was your inspiration? What made you think you had to write this story?
I’m lucky on that front. Bookburners is written by a team of four writers, (Max Gladstone, Mur Lafferty, Brian Francis Slattery, and me) so inspiration was never a problem. Max created the initial concept and then we all got together in his dining room with a whole lot of index cards and sharpies and worked out who the characters were and what the shape of the first season should look like. That shape was pretty rough initially, but as we each wrote our outlines and drafts of the individual “episodes” it was enough to keep us all moving in the same direction.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any other character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love to introduce Sal Brooks (our lead character) to Phoebe and her unicorn Marigold Heavenly Nostrils (from Phoebe and her Unicorn), mostly because I think she would find them equal parts delightful and confusing, and also because I would love to write the scene where Sal comes back to the rest of her team and has to explain that the magical phenomenon they detected was a nine-year-old and her best friend, who is a unicorn.
Can you share (without spoilers) a line or section of BOOKBURNERS that is your favorite?
I can’t really pick a favorite, but this section from the beginning of episode two, written by Brian Francis Slattery, does a great job capturing the feel of series in just a few lines:
“The door was just a wooden door, made from three wide planks. Sal had just walked through the wide rooms and long hallways of the Vatican Library, with their marble and their frescos and their saints in a million colors, the kind of stuff that hit you over the head with the knowledge that you were most definitely not in America any more. Old Europe. Old money. Old secrets. Secrets within secrets. Compared to all that, this door looked like it was going to lead to a broom closet.”
Needless to say, that door did not lead to a broom closet.
Since we’re talking 2017 books, what upcoming 2017 release (besides your own) are you most excited to read?
There are so many things on my TBR pile already that new releases fill me with a mixture of both excitement and dread. But I am definitely looking forward to Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire.
When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Because writing is such a solitary activity, I really enjoy spending time with other people when I’m not working: getting together with friends for D&D or a board game night, or just having a gal pal over to watch TV.
Do you have any strange writing habits?
Like a lot of writers, I like to have music playing while I work. It’s white noise and also serves as a kind of “time to work now” cue for my brain. Because I like to write outside of my house, that means I’m usually wearing headphones while I work. The strange side effect is that sometimes I’ll put on my headphones and then forget to start the music because just the physical cue is enough to get me into the work mindset. Brains are weird.
What are you currently reading?
Heroine Complex, by Sarah Kuhn. It’s so much fun!
Any advice for aspiring writers?
If you want to turn writing into your career, give yourself permission to take your work seriously. You don’t have to wait for someone else to tell you that you get to be a writer. In fact, the sooner you start treating yourself like a “real” writer, the sooner other people will start to see you that way too.
What’s next for you? Are you working on anything right now that you can tell us about?
Well, the team and I just turned in Bookburners Season 3 to our editor, and I am really excited for that to go live in June. As for me as a solo act, I’ve got several projects cooking, but nothing I can go public with yet.
Tell us 3 random facts about you.
- I am left-handed.
- I have watched every episode of the three contemporaneous Star Trek series.
- I really like cats, but I’m allergic. So I have to like them from a distance.
Favorite Song (right now):
I have such pedestrian tastes in music, it isn’t even funny. The last song I purchased was “America’s Sweetheart” by Elle King, which is, frankly, too cool for me.
Favorite Book (right now):
Lately I’ve been recommending Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef to anyone who will listen. Gabrielle Hamilton is a tremendous writer and her memoir is riveting.
Favorite TV Show/Movie:
The Princess Bride was the first movie I ever saw more than once in the theater. I re-watched it recently, and not only does it hold up, I found layers that I had completely missed when I was eight. I can’t ask for more from a film than that.
Going by words that my copyeditor flags for overuse in my drafts, my favorite word must be “just,” “seemed,” or “apparently.” *headdesk*
(I wish I had something clever to add to that, but I really don’t. I just like purple.)
Favorite Curse Word:
I have to go with the classic here and say: fuck. It’s just so fucking versatile.
Follow the Full Tour
2/8: Fiction Fare – Q&A
2/13: Just Commonly – Q&A
2/21: Novel Ink – Review