Hey all! I’m excited to be interviewing the talented, Patricia Briggs, today on the blog. We’re discussing DEAD HEAT, horses, and everything in-between. I’m sharing my five star review too, so sit back and enjoy the wolf-y excellence!
1. I realize that asking an author to pick a fav series is like asking a mother to choose a fav kid, but… Mercy & Adam or Anna & Charles? Why?
I have no idea. Usually I’d pick the one that was easiest for me to write (I’m all about making my life a little easier). But Mercy and Charles are easier for me to write than Adam and Anna. I have no idea why.
2. Did you always know that you were going to write a spin-off series, or did your characters develop a mind of their own?
The spin-off came before I really was certain that the Mercy series would make it. I wrote “Alpha and Omega” because I’d been asked to participate in a collection of four novellas (about a quarter of a novel) with a story connected to the series. My editor loved the novella and asked if I’d consider a series based on Charles and Anna.
3. It’s no secret that here at Rabid Reads we LOVE werewolves! Why do you continuously cast them as your lead protagonists in the majority of your novels (instead of vampires, witches, etc)?
I have always loved werewolves. Wolves are my second favorite animal, next to horses. As for vampires, I think I have a bit of an issue with a relationship where one of the people has to feed upon the other. I have no trouble seeing the potential problems and tragic end—but I don’t like tragedy much.
4. Have you ever owned / known a horse like Hephzibah (a.k.a the Evil Queen, Hellbitch)?
None of mine have ever been that bad, but I know of a couple. A friend of mine had a horse that only children could ride. I always wanted to know what bright soul thought of putting a kid on a horse that always bucked off adults and award them with Parent of the Year.
Horses, like people, have different personalities. Most problem horses are made that way—but some are just born different. Usually dangerous horses are put down before they kill someone unless they are valuable. Hastings, Man O’ War’s grandsire was infamous for his temper—which he inherited from his dam.
5. How do you keep track of two series that are set in the same world, and follow similar timelines?
I don’t actually think of them as two separate series. In order for the books to feel real, I have to think of them that way. The upside is that the storylines are very easy for me to track. There is a lot of information that I have to keep organized, though, and the wonderful mavens who hang out on my forums have put together a canon for both series—and that saves me a whole lot of time and frustration. I also have pre-readers who go through the books to check for continuity. That doesn’t mean some problems don’t make it through to the final book, but we do our best.
6. You tackle a lot of sensitive subjects that the majority of Urban Fantasy authors shy away from (i.e. rape, child murder, relationships between exes, etc); what pushes you to explore these taboos in your books?
I write about people, real people with real lives. That means that bad things, terrible things happen to them—because that’s what life is like. My favorite people to write about are heroes, I know a lot of everyday heroes. When terrible things happen—or just everyday drudgery happens—they put their shoes on every morning and go on with life, trying to make the world a better place and find a little happiness along the way. These are the kinds of people I like to write about.
7. My associate reviewer, Melanie, has horses too, and according to her every horse person has a favourite story. What’s yours?
Haha. Just one? Okay. I have an evil gelding—like Brain (from Pinky and the Brain). I love him and he’s my favorite. But it’s a good thing he doesn’t have opposable thumbs, just saying. As an example, one day a few years ago I was working in the barn and Speck (the Evil One) was dozing in the sun. About a football field away two mares were grazing in the small yard around our house, an Arab and our rescue mustang. Arabs are mostly smart—but not this mare. The mustang grew up learning to protect herself and it left her with some issues. I finished my chores and stopped to give Speck a pat. He looked at me, snorted and bolted down to the house. He chased those mares (I told you he was evil, right?) around the house once then trotted back to me to reassume his relaxed pose. He snorted at me and then looked back at them. We watched those poor mares, convinced that he was still chasing them, run around and around the house.
Patricia Briggs was born in Butte, Montana to a children’s librarian who passed on to her kids a love of reading and books. Patricia grew up reading fairy tales and books about horses, and later developed an interest in folklore and history. When she decided to write a book of her own, a fantasy book seemed a natural choice. Patricia graduated from Montana State University with degrees in history and German and she worked for a while as a substitute teacher. Currently, she lives in Montana with her husband, children and six horses and writes full-time, much to the delight of her fans.
For once, mated werewolves Charles and Anna are not traveling because of Charles’s role as his father’s enforcer. This time, their trip to Arizona is purely personal, as Charles plans to buy Anna a horse for her birthday. Or at least it starts out that way...
Charles and Anna soon discover that a dangerous Fae being is on the loose, replacing human children with simulacrums. The Fae’s cold war with humanity is about to heat up—and Charles and Anna are in the cross fire.
This book started out as a sweet vacay type story line with Anna & Charles traveling to Arizona to buy a horse from an old friend. We got to see a different side of Cornick, witness a couple of flashbacks, reconnect with an old love, and meet Hosteen’s pack. There was of course some mild tension, but that’s to be expected whenever two alpha males are in the same room; however other than that it was looking like this was going to be a relatively tame installment. Ha! Yeah right, this is Patricia Briggs, and she doesn’t do cute. DEAD HEAT’s fae mystery kept me guessing, the ending made me cry, and the werewolves rocked, as usual.
I’ve become accustomed to being spoiled by this author’s furry characters, so when I first opened this novel I was surprised to find… horses! I marveled at the level of detail Briggs went into with regards to these magnificent beasts from the various breeds, to their different gaits, temperaments and the competitive side of shows. I actually had to pause mid-chapter to read her bio because I needed to know whether she had existing equestrian knowledge or had put her research cap on for this latest book. She lives on a horse ranch in case you’re wondering. I really enjoyed the amount of information she managed to incorporate alongside the plot.
Don’t tell Clay & Elena (Kelley Armstrong), but they are in danger of losing their title of being my favourite werewolf couple because Charles & Anna are gaining on them with each new ALPHA & OMEGA installment. Cornick’s lone wolf status is no secret, so discovering that he has a human friend was quite the revelation. His relationship with Joseph awakened so many feels; however I wasn’t overly happy about Maggie’s role. Why is Briggs so big on ex threads? Urgh! Charles & Anna are working through another couple dilemma, and I just love how conflict makes them stronger. Their character growth continues to be one of the high points of this series.
Our friendly neighbourhood FBI agent, Leslie Fisher, is back in the thick of things which was great because I liked her in FAIR GAME. It turns out that the fae did not go quietly into their reservations, instead they are underhandedly siccing their worst monsters on human society, and the Doll Collector was their latest ruse. This novel’s plot deals with children, and it’s not pretty, so it’s not recommended for everyone. That being said, this author has a propensity for misdirection, therefore expect the unexpected! There was also a touch of humour though in the form of Hephzibah, the Evil Queen Hellbitch, and leave it to Briggs to work in a Supernatural shout out. Squee!
This was my first time reading an ALPHA & OMEGA book, and although I missed Holter Graham’s narration, it’s clear that no matter how you tackle DEAD HEAT, the end result will be 5 stars.
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