The short answers

Kyrstellaine asks:

Is the lacework that Theo does based on some real-world lace technique, or is it Liaden-world only?

We didn’t know about it when we started Theo on her lace work, but it turns out that there’s this, and this, and this, among other similar projects; so plainly other minds work in like fashion.

* * *

Judy asks:

Do you ever find yourselves talking like some of your Liaden characters? I.e., “All joy…”, etc.

Sadly, yes.  It seems to come most easily when I’m Very Annoyed.  I’m inclined to view it as a Good Thing, because if I’m using the energy to speak in Rolling Periods, and Broad Irony, I’m not throwing things.

* * *

Betsy asks:

Which of you writes dialogue and which one writes plot? Or do you divide up the writing in some other fashion?

Oh, we both write the dialogue; I’m not sure who writes our plots, but I’d sure like to have a word with them.  I know that some collaborators split the writing tasks, or certain characters will only be written by one writer; other characters by the other. . .we don’t do that.  Whoever is on-point has to do the Whole Job of Writing — Voice; Description; Plot; Ripping Out the Stitches when something didn’t work, and Setting In New Ones.

The reason this works for us is that we role-play the characters and the scenes and talk constantly about where we think the story’s going — lamentably, a moving target — so we’re both on-board with what the characters sound like; their motivations; their vulnerabilities and their goals.

* * *

Lacey asks:

Will there be a backstory on the norbears? (Much more about them, please.) Or on the dea’Gauss line and how they linked to Korval?

For norbears — have you seen Out of True?

On dea’Gauss — that’s a possibility — everything’s a possibility — but it’s not something we’re planning on writing soon.

* * *

Amanda asks:

Will the “5 book dash” bring the current Liaden storyline to a close? and related (but not exactly the same), what are your plans for retirement and will your current backlog fund such?

It’s our intent that The Five Book Dash will bring closure to the combined Agent of Change/Theo story arcs.

Retirement — no writer I’ve ever known has actually — or wanted to — retire.  Andre Norton had a novel published the year she died — at 93.  Anne McCaffrey was still writing when she died  — at 85.

I can’t speak to their personal affairs, but, unless A Miracle Occurs, we’re not going to be able to afford to retire.  I hope to avoid spending my last years under a bridge, but it’s possible that I will.

* * *

And, finally, OtterB asks:

It’s a minor point, all things considered, but it nags at me. What does Surebleak use for power when Pat Rin first arrives? Presumably the port has its own generators (or whatever), but what about the streets? It doesn’t seem like there’s enough cooperation to allow an electrical generation and distribution system, but on the other hand, I don’t get the impression from the description that they’re using, say, oil lamps either. Can you (heh) shed some light on this?

I’m thinking Handwavium, myself.

* * *

Thanks to everyone who contributed a question!  Even though I didn’t get to them all, I appreciate the time you took to ask!

6 thoughts on “The short answers”

  1. Re: dea’Gauss – that’s explained towards the end of Crystal Dragon, right? It’s a Mr. dea’Gauss (gets up to check book, yes, first mentioned in Chapter 29) who writes the contract between Cantra yos’Phelium and the Solcintran passengers. He is further referred to in a number of following chapters, and in Chapter 32 Cantra hires him as the newly established (by his contract!) Clan Korval’s que’andra (someone to oversee their contracts and accounts). That’s pretty good backstory, and the tale of how they linked to Korval.

  2. Speaking as a lace knitter: Beautiful as those examples are (and they truly are beautiful) they’re not lace.

    When I read the books, I saw similar shapes, with thinner yarn and larger needles, so you can see through it. Some areas much denser. Some much thinner. Sort of like space itself. It’s also easier to distort lace by gentle pulling.

    Knit lace would have almost all the properties needed. Search for knit lace shawl. Now imagine them shaped rather held flat.

    Thinking more, though, knit lace wouldn’t make a sturdy model, and looks like a limp lump of yarn until it’s wet-stretched.

    I suspect she crocheted, maybe similar to Clones Irish lace (Yes, crocheting uses a hook, but many people call it a needle anyways.)
    Best example I found:
    http://www.pinterest.com/pin/2251868536120813/

    That’s artistic rather than mathematical, but it would be easy enough to adapt.

    Needle tatting (or shuttle, but the book says needle) would work, but takes longer and is more lines than solid blocks. There are, of course, many other options.

    That’s what I saw in my head, and it connected me to Theo, since I love math and anything to do with yarn. It says a lot about Theo that she enjoys intricate, old-fashioned hand-work (much cheaper to buy at Walmart!) and thought to use it for complicated modelling. I’d like to be a fly on the wall when some of her (less-successful) mentors catch her wasting time with it.

  3. Once upon a time, each locality had its own locality Power & Light company. Some may have had several, for e.g. large cities. Often they were owned by the local government, others were private. Powering the electricity? Steam generators with wood or coal burning, gasoline-powered generators, waterwheels and water turbines, diesel generators, wind, or even solar hot water, are among historical power sources (relatives on Cape Cod live in a house on a small lot which includes in the deed the right to have a horse stabled on the property and to have a windmill on the property!) The Christmas Tree Shoppe store in Bourne at the eastern end of the Bourne bridge over the Cape Cod Canal, is in a building which has a -large- antique windmill (think the sorts of things on Delft pottery/porcelain0 which still rotates around, though it’s not powering e.g. grinding stones for grain or any other wind-powered production processes.

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