Today at New York Comic Con 2011 I got a chance to chat with the fantastic Marjorie M. Liu about the latest novel in her bestselling Dirk & Steele series, December's release Within the Flames. If you are new to the series, don't worry, Liu does a fantastic job of crafting a romance that anyone can fall head first into. However, for all of you longstanding Dirk & Steele addicts out there (like me!), you will be excited to see Eddie (finally) get his happily ever after. But it’s not a smooth road for the man whose supernatural talents mean that when he loses control, he can accidentally burn things to the ground. But perhaps this is exactly what makes him perfect for his heroine, Lyssa who is an honest to goodness dragon!
Morgan: Readers who have been following the Dirk and Steele series have known Eddie for a long time. But they might be surprised to learn that he is the hero of his own book since he is so much younger than the rest of your characters.
Marjorie: He is young in years, but he has lots of life experience. Eddie lost his dad when he was young and this left him in an abusive living situation. Eddie ended up growing up on the streets.
Morgan: Despite this rocky beginning, Eddie really proves himself to be quite a hero, and not in the traditional way. He is not a big tough guy that is going to go into a situation with guns blazing.
Marjorie: Eddie is smart, empathetic and compassionate. This is my kind of hero. He feels someone suffering and he wants to help because he has been there. He knows what it feels to be lonely and afraid. He has a big heart.
Morgan: Big enough to make room for a very interesting heroine. Lyssa is a dragon — complete with scales and the ability to set things on fire. I like how strong she is, stronger than Eddie in fact.
Marjorie: I didn't do that on purpose, but it felt right to me that Lyssa was so strong. Her character could not have been weak. But she is also very careful with her power. She is scared because if she lets herself go, there can be horrible consequences. That's why it is so comforting to find Eddie. Around him, Lyssa can be who she is without fearing that she won't be forgiven if she makes a mistake. He also gives her the confidence to try and do new things.
Morgan: When we first meet Lyssa she is very much alone, living underground in New York's subway tunnels (even though she has enough money for a home). This is a very unusual choice.
Marjorie: She's scared of hurting people around her and also scared of being hunted down by an evil from her past, so she hides. People tend to put themselves in their own cages. You might not see the bars, but in Lyssa's case she definitely holds herself apart.
Morgan: Let's talk a little bit about the “big bad” of this story: the Cruor Venator. I loved how there was a lot of anticipation throughout the book about exactly who/what this being is. It sends out minions and these are bad enough, but I don't think we can ever prepare for exactly the evil of this creature.
Marjorie: The Cruor Venator is the epitome for everything that is evil. The story really shows what happens when someone has unlimited power. There are no checks so they can do whatever they want.
Morgan: And in this case, that means a whole lot of death and destruction. But, as with all of your villains, there is never killing for killing sake. All of your villains are unique in their justifications and reasons behind their actions. Is there anything you can tell me about the bad guys from your next story?
Marjorie: I am working on a new series. It is a paranormal romance that takes place in an alternate universe where the "monsters" are the good guys and humans are the bad guys. In the series three siblings are thrown into a parallel universe, which has vampires, werewolves, elves, fairies and all sorts of creatures. But the humans have corralled them and put them into prisons and treated them horribly. The first book in the series, which will be out fall of next year, is a bit like Running Man crossed with 28 Days Later. Just imagine a regular girl dropped into the worst prison imaginable with angry supernaturals.
Morgan: Well I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on that story — in the meantime I will content myself with re-reading some of my Dirk & Steele favorites!
Liu's Within the Fire hits shelves on November 29. And while you wait you can check out more of our New York Comic Con 2011 coverage on the RT Daily blog all weekend long.