To celebrate the July 7th release of her latest novel, The Purifying Fire, Laura Resnick answered 5 interview questions and I have 5 copies of the book to give away. Currently, Laura writes fantasy, but she has also written several romances under the name Laura Leone. Her fantasy books include The Chronicles of Sirkara series, beginning with In Legend Born, and the Esther Diamond urban fantasy series, starting with Disappearing Nightly.

The Purifying Fire A Magic: The Gathering Planeswalker Novel by Laura Resnick
This book begins the story of Chandra Nalaar, the impulsive young fire mage whose exploration of the multiverse and the extent of her own volatile power draws the attention of an ancient faith that sees her as a herald of the apocalypse.

Sound interesting? Giveaway rules are below, but first, Laura answers some questions.

When you discuss the writing process, you mention research as one of the steps you take before you even write chapter one. What is the strangest fact you have come across when conducting research for one of your books?

I don’t know what the strangest fact has been (as a fantasy writer, I read a lot of strange research material), but I can certainly give an example. In my urban fantasy Disappearing Nightly, there’s a scene where the characters are wading through research books about bizarre supernatural disappearances and summarizing the improbable contents for each other. All of those distinctly strange anecdotes were taken from my own research. I’m not sure I’d call those anecdotes “facts,” but I did find them in books that purported to be nonfiction.

In another example, some friends considered doing an intervention when they found me with some “how to” books about becoming a sex worker (prostitute, porn actor, etc.). No, I wasn’t that broke and desperate; this was research reading for my last romance novel, Fallen From Grace.

Mephistopheles appears in your living room and offers you a deal – he will rewrite history so you were the author of one work of literature of your choice. Which book would you choose? Or if you decide making a deal with him is foolish, which book would tempt you to accept this offer the most?

I’d probably choose Katherine Neville’s The Eight, a terrific gazillion-word historical-contemporary mystery-fantasy puzzle-adventure about a priceless chess set and a secret alchemic formula. But I doubt I’d actually accept the deal, since I’d rather write more of my own books than get credit for Neville’s.

You’ve lived in the US, England, Israel and Italy. How has the experience of living in several different countries influenced your writing?

I’ve also crossed Africa overland. And what living in other societies teaches you is that there is no “normal” way of thinking and of doing things. “Normal” is just what’s locally accepted; in another place, the exact same thing sounds so strange, people think you’re making it up, or warped, or degenerate, or incredibly privileged, or quite silly. So my experiences of living in other societies have influenced my ability to see through the eyes of characters totally unlike myself and create believable fictional societies unlike my own.

Before you became an author, you had sworn to never become a writer. What changed your mind? Do you now wish you could go back in time to tell yourself to stick to your guns and stay out of the writing business?

Nothing changed my mind. After becoming a professional writer, I tried twice to quit. But this is my calling, like it or not. I wish I felt compelled to do legal work for vast, wealthy corporations with insanely generous benefits and bonus plans. (My parents also wish this.) But, alas, this is what I’m compelled to do. Go figure.

What is the one book you have lodged in your brain that you wish you could write but know you never will?

When asked what he’d do if he was told he had only a year left to live, Isaac Asimov said, “Write faster.” Indeed! I have absolutely no idea which of my gazillion story ideas will lose out to the Grim Reaper. But since I can’t live forever, and since I get new book ideas all the time, something certainly will.

Thank you, Laura, for taking the time to answer some queries!

If you would like to read more about Laura, she also stopped over at SciFiChick on Tuesday to discuss what she enjoyed most about writing for the Planeswalker series, her writing career, what inspires her, how she spends her leisure time, and her next projects on the radar. Yesterday she was over at SciFiGuy talking about her favorite scene from The Purifying Fire, her next fantasy novels, her experiences writing romance novels, and some of her all-time favorite novels.

Giveaway Rules
If you would like to win a copy of The Purifying Fire, I have 5 copies to give away courtesy of Wizards of the Coast. The giveaway is open to anyone, no matter what country you live in. To enter, send an email to fantasycafe AT novomancy DOT org with the subject line “Planeswalker” containing your mailing address. Mailing addresses will only be used for sending the books to the winners and emails will be deleted once the contest is closed. The giveaway will end on Sunday July 12 at noon (Eastern Standard Time).

Good luck!