Friday, 31 January 2014

Guest Post: Feeding the Muse - Rachel Neumeier

Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier is published on February 4th in the US and February 6th in the UK. I loved Black Dog so when the lovely folks at Strange Chemistry were looking for blog tour participants I jumped at the chance to take part. Without further ado, please welcome Rachel!

Feeding the Muse

Thanks for the invite to The Bookish Outsider – it’s a pleasure to be here!
BLACK DOG is a bit of a departure for me, as you may know – my first contemporary (or contemporary-ish) fantasy, my first paranormal (or paranormal-ish) fantasy.  Even for a semi-established author, it’s hard to break into the urban fantasy/paranormal/werewolf/vampire crowd, and the only reason to try it is because your muse gives you a push you can’t ignore.  
As it happens, I know just when I started reading UF and paranormals.  It was some years ago, when a convention put me on a werewolf panel.  Now, I had nothing in particular against werewolves, but in fact I hadn’t ever read any books featuring werewolves.  None.  After all, I had no shortage of other fantasy novels on my TBR pile, and who can even begin to know where to start in a genre that has blown up so far so fast?  But I didn’t like to tell the convention folks I couldn’t do their panel, so instead I picked up a handful of werewolf stories real quick.
One of those was MOON CALLED by Patricia Briggs.  
I probably don’t have to tell you how I fell in love with Mercy Thompson, and with Bran and Samuel and Adam and the whole world of werewolves.  I read the rest of the series and then branched out:  Ilona Andrews and Kelly Armstrong, Charlaine Harris and JR Ward.  But for me, Mercy Thompson was the first – and I still think that this series is the most consistently outstanding.  You can bet that I’ll be right there when NIGHT BROKEN hits the shelves this year!
So, indirectly – or actually pretty directly – Patricia Briggs is responsible for BLACK DOG.  Because you know how it is, when you fall in love with a series.  You hate to leave those characters, that world, that reality.  So, in my case, I created my own reality and world and characters.  
Of course my world isn’t actually much like the world of the Mercy Thompson series, barring both being contemporary-ish.  And my black dogs aren’t much like Briggs’ werewolves, either.  I kept the “hot-tempered werewolf” trope, but took it a step further by giving my black dogs an actual demonic twist.  I liked the idea of making most werewolves male, but created new reasons for that gender imbalance to occur – I could explain the exact genetics behind my black dogs and the Pure, I worked it all out, though those details did not make it into the book!  I loved the idea of one central authority for werewolves, but handed my Dimilioc a recent crushing Pyrrhic victory to reduce their effective power.  And, of course, I killed off the vampires in the recent backstory.
But Patricia Briggs’ series was the one that acted as a muse, giving me a strong push to write a werewolf story in the first place.

A huge thank you to Rachel for stopping by! I'm ashamed to admit that although I have owned a copy of Moon Called for several years I still haven't read it... I will definitely rectify that - and soon! Look out for my review of Black Dog coming in the next couple of days!


  1. I have a copy of Moon Called too. I read it several years ago. I didn't think the series would become so popular. Maybe I'll read the book again and pick up the rest of the books. I remember I didn't hate the book but I don't remember loving it either.

  2. This is so great! I LOVE Briggs. Moon Called was my first urban fant. too and it's my favorite. Briggs is one of my muses as well.


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