Marjorie M Liu - Eye of Heaven

I was in the middle of writing THE RED HEART OF JADE, and -- as happens quite often -- I began thinking about the next book, EYE OF HEAVEN. Specifically, the character who I knew would be the focus of the story: Blue Perrineau. Quiet, competent, deeply protective of his friends -- the guy everyone turns to when there is a problem -- and the one person no one ever thinks about as having his own difficulties. Probably because he never talks about them.

That kind of stoicism is what drove me as I wrote about Blue, and ultimately, his counterpart: Iris McGillis, shape-shifter and circus performer. Opposites, and yet the same down to the core. Both isolated by their parents and the circumstances of their lives -- and both unbearably lonely.

The rest fell into place. The villain took shape as I thought about what it would mean for Iris -- an extremely private woman -- to have a stalker, and what it would mean if that stalker knew her secrets. Profit or pleasure -- that was the question -- and the villain became a man of both, an expert at procuring other humans for the modern slave trade. And what better prize than a woman who is part magic, and can change her shape from human to animal?

That's all I had as I started writing EYE OF HEAVEN -- which is typical of the way I work. I almost never have a plan as I write. No outline, just people -- and the characters in my stories are always my inspiration. I let them do the talking -- I go where they take me -- and it feels good to work that way, like the book is a natural evolution of hearts and minds. And in this case, Blue and Iris were a joy to write, though their circumstances -- family betrayal, human slavery, the black market trade in organs -- were significantly less so. Trial by fire, that's what I like to put my characters through.

Anyway, I hope very much that you enjoy EYE OF HEAVEN! After you're done, please visit the Dirk & Steele site (http://www.dirkandsteele.com/), narrated by the agency's foul-mouthed boss, for some additional insights into the characters and the series.