Where did the idea of pigeons in Terrier come from?
Tammy: Well, Robert Howard once did a story on the pigeons from hell — well, they were not taken seriously in his day. I think it’s in Greek Mythology that pigeons are — carry messages from Hades. When I started working on the Daine books, I went to Riverside Park because I, well, couldn’t get near any wilderness. So I figured I’d get to know what wild animals I had access to, and I started with sparrows and squirrels. Their wildness was under question, because I don’t think any wild squirrels know how to unwrap deli sandwiches, and take the bread off, and help themselves to the ham and discard the lettuce. And I said they’re going, “That sandwich cost me 5 bucks!” And this [*] just looks me and goes, “So?”. But I soon discovered if you were going to feed any animal from Riverside Park, you had darn well better be prepared to feed the pigeons. And once you feed the pigeons once or twice, you’re doomed. And I had a rock where I’d sit, and they would be all around me, and making their sounds, and it occured to me that it was almost as if I could just listen hard enough, I would be hearing human conversation, and my mind being what it is, I thought, ‘What if it’s the voices of the dead? What if I were a cop, and I could get information about murderers from these birds speaking the voices of the dead?’ And I waited nearly over ten years to do something with that, but that’s where I got it.
NOTES FROM Words of Tamora Pierce
*I couldn’t make out what she was saying there, but I am open to suggestions.
SOURCE: [audio file: DragonCon 2008]
TRANSCRIBED BY: Len