The Cult of Gentle Mother, The Conté Look, Prince Gareth Has Siblings, and Pounce’s Hobby

Tammy: Right now I can tell you no one ever passed a law against the lady knights.* It was the rise of the cult of the Gentle Mother in this generation and the next that resulted in the turning of society against women in “rougher” occupations like the military, the provost’s guard, and knighthood. It helped that Tortall entered a relatively peaceful time when fewer warriors were needed. By Alanna’s day things were changing again, and sometimes it takes the force of will of one hero–and the approval of her patron goddess–to change things around.

…Roger and Gareth didn’t have the Conte looks/eyes, and was also wondering if they had any other children?

Tammy: Roger and Gareth both have brown hair, and there’s a lot of intermarrying to produce the Conte looks of Jonathan’s time! And Roger and Jessamine did have other children after these events.

Tammy: Pounce has actually always been a constellation who took an interest in human doings because they were such hapless things, rather like kittens, but far more amusing, because kittens eventually grow up. Then he observed that some humans tried to better the lot of others besides themselves, but a great many of them got killed before they could achieve any major changes. Because he was getting bored, the gods being selfish enough to eventually get on his nerves, he decided it might be even more amusing to help some humans achieve more than they might have normally. Everyone has to have a hobby. Some of us chase comets until they smack into stars or worlds; some of us groom heroes.

NOTES FROM Words of Tamora Pierce
*This seems to contradict what Tammy said two years before at Random Buzzers on the subject:

“Actually, they forbade the addition of more female knights about thirty years before the last ones died–the realm was overloaded with peacekeepers, the conservatives were in power, and the cult of the Gentle Mother was at the height of its popularity, so it was decided the realm no longer needed its women to help keep the peace. It was something that happened throughout the Eastern Lands” (Random Buzzers – Lady Sabine).

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers – Fall 2011 Chat with Tamora Pierce!]


Dale, Pounce, Kora’s magic, and Elkhound to Mastiff

But Dale was sweet in his own special gambler way. And of all the times for Pounce to have to go play with the stars! What exactly was he doing up there, anyway?

Tammy: Wasn’t Dale fun? I based him on a professional poker player. I just kept looking at those hands . . .

No, we’re not to know what Pounce was doing up there. I can’t even understand the sounds he’s using. They’re all in electron, or gamma ray, or something.

Does Kora have wild magic?

Tammy: No, there are regular mages who work solely with animals because their magic bends that way–you’ll meet one who specializes in horses in MASTIFF. Kora’s just an all-around mage who’s a little better with medicines for animals. Don’t forget she can tag someone and find them when she wants to, as well. And I’m sure she has plenty of other little tricks up her sleeve that make her a very useful mage for Rosto!

One question though: Why did you change the title of the last book from Elkhound to Mastiff?

Tammy: I found out that while elkhounds are used to hunt big game, they don’t actually bring it down. They corner it for the hunter. In fulfilling Beka’s hunting track, I needed the kind of dog that expressed a truly big task before her, that she is instrumental in performing: thus, MASTIFF.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers – Bloodhound]

Animals in Real Life

Tammy: I based Faithful on my college cat Fido, who approved the pages he liked of the original Song of the Lioness manuscript by sitting and shedding on them. My current black cat, Scooter, has been standing in for Pounce, and like Fido, gives me plenty of advice on how I should proceed. The problem is that I couldn’t understand Fido and I can’t understand Scoot, since I don’t speak cat. ::sigh::

Scooter did get to give away his older “brothers,” PeeWee and Gremlin, to Kora and Aniki in Terrier, which made him very smug for about a week. One of our other cats who has passed on, Ferret, has appeared as Mystery in Street Magic and the unnamed orange and gray cat in Lady Knight. Kel’s original sparrow friends, Nari, Arrow, Freckle, and Crown, Flick the squirrel in Wolf Speaker, and Slapper and the other named pigeons of Terrier, are all friends of mine from Riverside Park whom I fed regularly while I lived nearby. (Slapper was actually “Gloucester” after Richard III, for his clubbed foot, humped back, and crazed eyes, but I couldn’t use his real name, so I called him after his habit of smacking me before and after I fed him.) Kel’s griffin is based on my best friend’s pet dove, found and rescued in Washington Square Park, while the dragons Scamp and Grizzle are her toy poodle and Maltese, and Little Bear and Achoo are two later dogs of hers. (Pidge, the dove, was my presentation of the joys of rescuing wildlife.) I see no reason why animals who are my friends can’t be in my books.

SOURCE: [Tamora Pierce on influences, fight scenes, and more]

Faithful/Fido and Many Names

Tammy: I based Faithful on my college cat Fido, who approved the pages he liked of the original Song of the Lioness manuscript by sitting and shedding on them.  My current black cat, Scooter, has been standing in for Pounce, and like Fido, gives me plenty of advice on how I should proceed.  The problem is that I couldn’t understand Fido and I can’t understand Scoot, since I don’t speak cat.  ::sigh::

Does he even have a REAL name, other then “The Cat”?

Tammy: He does, KACPDrummer, but I can’t pronounce it, not being able to speak cat or constellation.  In Eastern Common, his constellation is simply “the Cat.”

Our choices for his names amuse him.  And no, he hasn’t always been named in variants of what Alanna’s friends suggested.  I just liked the synchronicity of Beka’s Cat having a name that Alanna passed over for hers.  He’s had many names in many languages.

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

Pigeons in Terrier

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]

Transcript: Book signing on 03-12-04 in Columbus, Ohio

q sama: Follow these links and it’ll take you to a series of livejournal entries I’ve backdated. Or, you could simply go to my userinfo, click on my memories, and read the ones filed under “Tamora Pierce.”

Note that typos are mine, but I’ve made a direct transcript, meaning that I don’t clean up Tammy’s stuttering or “Ummm”s or anything. I’ve written everything I hear on the tape.

Introduction and Questions 1 & 2

The questions adressed in this section are:
+ Can I record this session?
+ Can we take pictures?
+ What happens between Daine and Numair (NEW INFORMATION!)
+ Do Daine and Numair get married?

Questions 3 & 4

The questions in this section are:
+ How do you pronounce Alan? (a-LAHN or AL-an)
+ Where do you get ideas for your names?

Questions 5, 6, 7, & 8

The questions in this section are:
+ Are Aly & Nawat going to get together, even though he’s a crow?
+ Why did Buri leave the Riders when she married Raoul?
+ Where did you get the idea for girl heroes in general?
(note: Tammy rambles a LOT in this last question – v. interesting things!!)
+ Why did you create Briar, if your emphasis is on girls?

Questions 9, 10, & 11

The questions in this section are:
+ Will Varice be in the Numair-book?
+ Which was your favorite/least favorite book to write? (NEW INFORMATION)
+ Why did Leaf have to die? (NEW INFORMATION)

Questions 12 & 13

The questions in this section are:
+ Who would you recommend as publishing companies?
+ What was your favorite fantasy book growing up? (v. interesting for a Pierce vs. Tolkien assessment!)

Questions 14, 15, 16, & 17

The questions in this section are:
+ Where did you get the idea for Ben Ladradun?
+ Do you have a say in the cover art for you books?
+ Where did you get the idea for crystal-coated coal?
+ Where did you get the idea for Joren?

Questions 18, 19, & 20

The questions in this section are:
+ Where did you come up with the shikusen?
+ How do you keep your plots from repeating themselves?
+ Where did you get your ideas for the gods and goddesses?

Questions 21, 22, & 23

The questions in this section are:
+ Why did Alanna and Jonathan have to fight?
+ What is your favorite mythology?
+ In CoM, which element matches which character?

SOURCE: [LJ P#199184]

Peachblossom’s Former Owner

Who WAS Peachblossom’s former owner? Because when Kel asks Stefan who made his mouth so hard, he says, “Don’t worry. He won’t be harmin’ any nore horses,” or something like that.

Tammy: He’s just a knight with two knees shattered beyond the healers’ ability to repair. So sad.

SOURCE: [75694]

Zek, Cloud, and Kitten

Tammy: 1. Zek. I don’t think marmosets would refuse to mate if their previous mates were no longer around. In any case, Daine wouldn’t be able to track down his previous mate and children. While she isn’t forbidden to return to Carthak, and Kaddar doesn’t exactly bear her any ill-will, well, it’s kinda hard for people to forgive the person who trashed an entire palace and killed (to all intents and purposes) an emperor, not to mention a bunch of soldiers and staff. She isn’t really welcome. Instead she helped the staff at the menagerie find Zek a new mate, and they took care of the babies themselves.

2. Kitten. Kitten is very much still with Daine and Numair! She was present at the naming, but I couldn’t exactly identify her by name because it was a vision I was describing (and it was Aly’s story, not Daine’s). Moreover, she can’t always keep up when Daine or Numair have to move fast–she doesn’t care for being jounced on a galloping horse at all, and if Daine has to shape-shift, Kit gets left behind, because she won’t be able to fly for a few centuries yet. She has her own friends when the Salmalíns aren’t around, and her own things to do. She was under the table at the dinner where Aly and Nawat said goodbye to the Tortallan delegation, talking with the darkings. Just because I can’t fit her in (my editors will ask me to cut, because my story has to be about my main character–unless she interacts with Kit, I can’t mention her because it’s too confusing without an explanation) doesn’t mean she isn’t there!

3. Cloud is also very much around. She hasn’t slowed down or mellowed much, either. She has had a few foals, but they’re grown and doing her proud. And soon she’ll be teaching a new generation how to act around ponies!

Daine’s skill can heal when she gets sick or chewed up, and her influence has made Cloud smarter in human terms, but neither she nor Daine would want her life expectancy extended beyond what a healthy pony is due. Don’t forget, they’re a lot more bound to the cycles of nature than we are. And Cloud has plenty more good years yet!

SOURCE: [38489]


Tammy: I don’t know how long pygmy marmosets live, but Zek, his mate, and his descendants live in the royal menagerie in Corus, in Tortall. (Actually, there’s a little door in their habitat where they can wander out and poke around in the palace if they like. Zek’s children, like their father, are very interested in everything. So if you look up at the draperies somewhere, or if you’re eating grapes and one goes missing, chances are you’re having an enhanced-intelligence marmoset moment.)

And this is going on with all of the animals who live around Daine. Must be an interesting area to live . . .

Tammy: And Zek has a new mate. He couldn’t find the old one–he’d have had to search all Carthak. But the new one is a very cool marmosetess, and they are quite happy together!

SOURCE: [19924]

Animal Gods

Does anyone know what happens to the children of animal gods? In “The Realms of The Gods”, it says Daine hears a wolf pack howling, along with pups. When they grow, what happens to the young? Are they extra-smart, or like regular wolves? Do they go to the mortal realms and live like normal wolves?

Tammy: I’d think they would scatter throughout the Divine Realms and form their own packs/herds/forests, etc. And I’d imagine that some break through into the Mortal Realms and settle and die after a much longer lifespan than the purely mortal animals. They would be smarter than mortals, too, but since they’re animals, humans wouldn’t notice in most cases. (I bet a lot of them settle far from humans, for that matter.) Or if a god tires, s/he lets one of her/his offspring take over and s/he journeys into the Black God’s realms (or the mortal world).

The First Oak isn’t lonely–it’s surrounded by its children. There has to be a First Forest, yes?

Everything has to change. If the mortal realms are a reflection of the divine ones, change has to be allowed there, too, though it won’t take the same form as the mortal ones. Change is just more structured in the Divine Realms, since they’re about order. Uusoae’s realms are about change for the sake of change, which is why order and chaos have to balance–both are needed for life, but having one more powerful than the other makes life meaningless.

SOURCE: [19275]