Q: How did you con or talk your way into joining Asprin and eventually being allowed to take over the Myth World Series?
A: I made Bob an offer he couldn’t refuse. No, but seriously, folks.
I began to work with Bob while he was suffering from a bad bout of writer’s block. It can be fatal for a writer’s career to become stuck while also on deadline and with other contracts looming. (In fact, he had just found out he was on the New York Times Bestseller List for Phule’s Company.) My husband was one of Bob’s best friends and had worked with him on other business matters. Bill thought it would be a good thing for Bob to get away from his other series for a while and work with a collaborator on something new and unrelated. He chose me because I also write humor and Bob and I have gotten along famously since we met. The punning alone would have driven normal listeners mad. But to collaborate
We wrote about our first experience in the introduction to one of our books. First we circled one another nervously, yowling war cries. Claws were extended and hissing threats issued. Bob literally gave me the “I have a rep to protect” speech. I retorted that so did I have a rep to protect.
Thereafter, we just settled in to the stimulating exercise of plotting out a book. The result was License Invoked, a contemporary fantasy set in New Orleans about spies, magic and rock’n’roll. We had such a good time that when Bob finished the original twelve-book Donning-Starblaze contract for the Myth-Adventures, he asked me to collaborate with him on new Myths. He felt that I understood the characters and the basic tenets of the universe. Plus, I could sling puns with the best of them. I have a gift for literary mimicry, so I was able to write in a style that so approximated Bob’s that it is difficult for readers to guess who wrote what. And I’ll never tell. He trusted me with his baby. I will always do my best to repay that trust.
We wrote six Myth novels and an anthology together before he passed away in 2008. The publisher approached me to continue the series. I felt I could do it. I wanted to do it. My husband was Bob’s literary executor, so there was no problem getting permission from the estate.
Q: How difficult is it to stay true to Myth and yet expand it to fit your vision?
A: No trouble, really. I do respect the universe and the characters (who have since moved into my head. The scaly green guy is a particularly demanding tenant). Bob had always left plenty of scope for expansion. I have never and will never approach the edges of possibility. At the moment the characters are still working out their position in the newly revamped M.Y.T.H., Inc. since Skeeve rejoined it. That makes for some interesting conflict. Bob always wrote strong female characters, so I see plot lines involving Bunny, Tananda, Massha and others. Bob left several elements unresolved, such as Robin and the boys. There are many places I can go with future books. I’ve got two books fully plotted that will follow the one on which I am currently working, and many more ideas.
Q: Todd McCaffrey was allowed to create new time settings and characters for Pern. How difficult is it for you to keep with the characters created by Asprin?
A: I find it a little difficult to get inside Guido’s head sometimes. Bob wrote him from the point of view of a guy who had been in the military. Bob did a stint in the infantry. I have never served. I know people I can ask for perspective, but it’s different than living it. I’m not as uninhibited as Tananda, but I will move outside my comfort zone to get her point of view. I don’t have a problem with the others.
Q: What character or aspect of Myth is the most fun for you to write?
A: I enjoy throwing Skeeve into a situation that confuses him. His perspective, as the perpetual innocent who in spite of evidence to the contrary believes the best about others, is a great jumping-off point for playing on absurdity. He does have a good heart, and he believes in the win-win scenario. In the end, he always finds a solution that is true to him. I love looking for those twists.
Q: Do you have more Myth Manuscripts coming in the future?
A: I’m working on one at the moment. It should be going in to the publisher soon.
Thank you very much for the opportunity to say a few words! I really appreciate it.
Thank you, Jody! I'm looking forward to Myth-Quoted.