Kids: Daine/Numair, Aly/Nawat, Beka/Farmer, and Buri/Raoul

Daine have a favorite form? Does she turn into stuff for her kids, who try to copy her? I’m imagining Numair walking into a room, seeing three crocodiles, and just walking back out.


I like the way your mind works.

Yes! To all of the above. Favorite form… I know she really loves to fly. Of course, she adores being a wolf. Probably owl and wolf and horse. She loves galloping. She loves the freedom.

With the kids, Rikash can’t change yet (not until he’s older!) Sarralyn is off the ban – her favorite is anything that can fly. She’s a pain in the ass.

I have a question about Aly and Nawat’s kids. With their father originally being a crow, do the triplets retain any bird features? Can they morph, like Daine’s daughter?


Ochooai can’t. The things that make her a little person prevent her. She can speak a rough crow dialect, but she can’t shapeshift at all. Junim and Ulasu can, which causes no small amount of stress for the family. Ochobai can’t help feeling like an outsider watching the two of them take off, even though her sibs adore her. Her parents work with her to find ways to deal with her physical differences, so she can deal with the world on her terms.

When she feels impaired in any way, she’s getting really good at finding ways around it. She has a good friend in a street beggar who she hangs out with. He gives her good advice and conversation, she sneaks food to him. They do all right.

Also, do Beka’s kids ever join the Provost’s Guard? Would at least one feel inclined to follow their mother’s footsteps?


Oh yeah! Absolutely. But they’d also have the opportunity to get educated and rise higher, which Beka and Farmer would both want. I haven’t thought as much about them growing up, because I’m still preoccupied with what happens to Beka and Farmer after Mastiff.

As least one or two would want to stay with the Provost’s guard.

Can you tell us what happens with Buri and Raoul?


They have glorious sex under trees, in tents, in lakes…. In carriages. I think at some point they’ll probably adopt. By the time they’re attached Buri’s getting a little old to have any of her own. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of orphans around.

SOURCE: [T72602792, T92117, T504602, T42364142]


Modern AU: Kel, Alanna, Daine, Numair, Aly

…what types of modern/real life jobs do you think your characters would have?


Kel is probably military. Regular army, I would think. Alanna, same thing. She’d be one of the first women to have gotten in. Daine would be a vet. She’d work in rescue and rehab/release for wild animales. Numair would be involved in astronomy or one of those really arcane aspects of physics. One more– Aly would be in intelligence.

SOURCE: [T18653142]

Characters – Real People, Actors, or Photographs

Tammy: I base characters on people I know–the Lord Provost in LIONESS RAMPANT on my father, Alanna on my younger sister Kim, the Shang Wildcat on my stepmother, Thayet on my best female friend, Kyprioth on my friend Bruce Coville, Evin Larse on my husband, Sandry and Kel on fans.

Other characters I base on actors, the characters they play, or performers–Beka on the young Jodie Foster, Lady Sabine and Duchess Winnamine both on Sigourney Weaver, Tunstall on French actor Jean Reno, Daine on Trini Alvarada (Meg in the Susan Sarandon Little Women), Taybur Sibigat on Bobby Goren in Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Numair on Jeff Goldblum, Rosto on Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Ozorne on Ozzy Osborne, Goodwin on a tough Russian cop from the Bruce Willis The Jackal played by Diane Venora.

Other characters come from photographs I have that strike a chord with me: Sarai and Dove, Ochobu and Junai (Ulasim was based on professional wrestler Eddie Guererro).

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

Tammy: …I believe, that I based Alanna on my younger sister, the hero paramedic. Well, I also based the Lord Provost on my dad, the Korean War vet–thus the similarity in wolfish grins between my lord and Alanna in the Hall of Crowns. And the Shang Wildcat is based on my stepmother, who has been known to say, “Some kids need more raisin’ than others.”


Latest on Future Releases (March 2011)

Tammy: I do have other Tortall series planned, though not one from Kally (yet).  After the next Circle book I have the first of two books about Numair in the time from the end of his friendship with Ozorne to his first great working with Numair.  I have another Circle book between those two, and then a book about Maura of Dunlath (WOLF SPEAKER) and how she finds her place in the world.  After that I have a number of ideas, including Kel’s next adventure, what happens after Aly and Nawat’s children are born (the birth is in TORTALL AND OTHER LANDS), a story about Sarralyn and Rikash (Daine and Numair’s kids), and one about Neal’s daughter.

So fear not!  There’s more to come, and I’m sure we’ll hear from Kally at some point!

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce – Tortall] (Archive by WebCite)

Drawing Characters from Real People

Tammy: I draw characters from real people, performers or actors, sometimes the characters played by an actor, friends and fans, and sometimes simply from photographs paired with the right name.  I’ve found that if I work with such characters for a short time, they will become their own people, independent from those I base them on, and in the meantime I know how they dress, what they look like, in the case of real people how they move and talk, and how I can check in on them if I need extra help.

Examples: my younger sister the paramedic became Alanna (only with red hair, not blond), my dad became the Lord Provost in Alanna’s time, and my stepmother because the Shang Wildcat.  My friend writer Bruce Coville became Kyprioth the Trickster; my best friend Queen Thayet, her mother a Stormwing queen, her dove a griffin, and three of her dogs became dragons, Achoo, and Little Bear.  (Actually, I cast a lot of animals I know in my books.)

Sandry is a combination of four of my fans; Daja, Lark, and Briar began as pictures that caught my imagination, and Tris is based on me.  Frostpine was my writing mentor and Crane was based on the assistant to a powerful lawyer in an 80s TV show (Duke Vedris was based on his boss).  Rosethorn is Major Kira Neryse from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and the captain of Dove’s guard is based on Bobby Goren, played by Vincent D’Onofrio from “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”  Actor Jeff Goldblum became Numair; Sigourney Weaver is both Duchess Winnamine and Lady Sabine; Alice Cooper is Zhegorz in WILL OF THE EMPRESS, and Ozzy Ozborne is Emperor Ozorne.

SOURCE: [Random Buzzers: Chat with Tamora Pierce – Tortall] (Archive by WebCite)

More on Future releases (2009)

Tammy: I plan on quite a few more Tortall books, and heaven knows what they’ll all be about.  Right now I’ve got two Numair books, then Maura’s book under contract.  After that will come one or two more books about Kel.  After that I’m not sure about the order, but the books I definitely have planned are ones centered around Aly, Dove, and Dove’s choice of a consort; the lives of Aly’s children, particularly Ochobai, who is a Little Person; Neal’s daughter, who will go for her knighthood in a time when there are far more girls training as knights than there were in Kel’s day.  There’s also Daine’s children Sarralyn and Rikash, who have to find their way.  Rikash will be telling that story, because I’m terrified of his sister, but he isn’t.

I think that’s all I have in mind right now.  There may be more with Irnai and Tobe from the Kel books, and Kaddar and Kalasin, and Alanna’s sons.  Certainly there will be requests from fans for other characters who appear in the books, and who knows who my brain will pick up and say, “You know, there is a story for this one.”  My brain lives a life of its own, wild and free.  I just try to keep up.

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

Daine/Numair and Reactions

I was recently re-reading the Daine series and I have a concern to ask you about.  After you decided to pair up Daine and Numair, did you ever get anyone expressing doubt about it.  I mean, about the fact that a 30 year old man was in love with his 16 year old student?

Tammy: Occasionally I do, and my answer hasn’t changed.  In some ways, Numair is emotionally far younger than his age (he’s 27, actually), and Daine is much older than her years emotionally.  It didn’t feel wrong to me.  If their relationship had begun this way, it would have been beyond creepy, but it happened when Daine was no longer his student, but his traveling companion and co-worker.  He regards her as his magical equal, and in her field, she is.  Also, and this is something I end up saying time after time, this is a medieval period, when it was far more common for young women to marry much older men (who had established themselves in life and could afford to support a wife).  I mention as often as I can in the books that 16 is the age to marry among the lower classes, and some marry even younger.  I really cheat in some ways by having noblewomen marry at 18, when in our world they might marry at 9 or 10!  Very rarely was a woman able to marry someone her own age.

I’m sorry if this still makes you uncomfortable, but the truth is that none of my editors or my agent, who are very careful people, ever mentioned anything.  I have promised my fans I won’t have such a large gap between romantic characters again, though!  (Can I help it I like older men and always have?!)

Also, what was the reaction of Daine and Numair’s friends to them falling in love?  Were they surprised or did they see it coming?

Tammy: Buri turned to Onua and said, “Well!  Look who finally woke up!”

Apparently the only ones who were surprised were Daine and Numair.  As I say, marriage between an older man and a younger woman is common.

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

Aly/Dove Books, Nawat’s Discovery, and Maura

Tammy: I certainly plan for other Aly/Dove books, now that I’ve recovered from my first go-round with Aly, and certainly the Darkings and Nawat will appear.  There are still the outer islands to be pacified, and Dove’s choice of a consort to be considered.  Nawat also makes a discovery about one of his children that makes a change in his life.  And I’m not sure of the ability of the triplets to shape-shift yet.  But those books won’t come until after the new Kel stories, which won’t come until after Maura of Dunlath!  Poor Maura.  Her place was always at the last of my current contract, so as other stories kept getting extended, like Kel’s, and now Numair’s, her story keeps getting shoved back.  But it’s one I dearly want to write, because it shows a very different part of Tortallan life than I’ve done before, so I’m looking forward to it.

SOURCE: [Random Buzz: Teens at Random]

SotL Crew Appearances in Upcoming Books (March 2008)

Will I ever see my beloved Alanna and the rest of the crew from the original quarter again?
The Song of the Lioness quartet is the favorite for many of us.

Tammy: Actually, you’ll get to see them in Numair’s book, which I will write when I am finished with the Beka Cooper trilogy. And you will see them in Maura of Dunlath’s book, which follows Numair’s. And in the Kel books I mean to write after that. So if you can be patient with me, there will be more Alanna and her friends!

I don’t plan any books which will be about the Lioness characters alone, though. I prefer to write about young heroes, because they are still finding their way in the world. I love to write about people who are just seeing the world and learning who they are and what place they will fill in it!

SOURCE: [LJ 8192]

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]

Future releases (Aug. 2006)

Tammy: So far it’s
BLOODHOUND — originally the Provost’s Dog, now just the Beka
ELKHOUND Cooper trilogy
the Numair book (still don’t have a real title)
Maura of Dunlath’s book (she’s from WOLF SPEAKER)

those are under contract

After that, I think I’ll be doing the
Kel-and-her-squire book (maybe 2)
Neal’s daughter for certain
and who knows what else?

SOURCE: [69376]

Gift Colors

Tammy: Assuming I knew what I was doing at the time . . .

I did start out going by eye color, before I realized that I was going to run into repetitions in a hurry. Then I began to get creative, and discovered I’d get repetitions anyway. That’s when I came up with no visibility for magic in the Circle universe (unless special magics are applied).

Roger’s Gift comes from the non-Conté side of his family, which is where he gets his dominant magic. It turned color in LIONESS RAMPANT through mixing with Thom’s, and after corruption by Roger’s hate and paranoia.

I try to have magical colors run in families (which is why I explain Roger’s color as I do), but it won’t always work out like that. It is why Neal’s and Baird’s colors are green, though.

And since I know my own magical system and I know a lot of our world’s theories of magic and color, it’s possible what I knew seeped into my subconscious thinking as I worked. If that’s the case, there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for Onua’s Gift being red (other than that it’s her favorite color): red is also a protective color, and that’s what Onua can do best with her Gift, particularly when the protection involves concealment. I think having an abusive husband helped her hone that skill.

I suspect that Numair’s Gift was actually something like a deep amber or gold when he was small, his mother’s family’s Gifts being in the yellow range, his father’s in the red range, but mom’s being the dominant, but in Numair’s case it was the development and expansion of his power with each year that changed his power’s color.

I imagine Duke Gareth’s Gift was originally a dark rose in color, but as he’s aged and his heart’s gotten worse, the color has paled. He doesn’t use it any more because of the strain it would put on him, but I bet it would be light pink!

SOURCE: [63641]

The New Age Baby Name Book

I was just wondering how Tamora came up with the last name Salmalin.  Did you hear it some where or just think of it?

Tammy: The New Age Baby Name Book.

This was back during a very brief spasm when I thought it would be nice if I picked names that actually meant something. This is also when I was picking names whole from the book, before I started tinkering with spellings.

Then I discovered that matching names to personalities slowed down the beginnings of the books even more than they are already as I stop every other sentence to look something up or name someone new, so I stopped it. But I knew geeky old Arram Draper would want a majorly cool mage name to announce to the world he was a mighty black robe, no longer the geek who fell off his horse and forgot to take spells down before he left the room. . . .

Sarge’s real name, which I only ever gave once, is the only other name I plucked whole from the book: Musenda Ogunsanwo.

SOURCE: [63098]

Alanna’s Eyes

 Where do Alanna´s eyes come from?

Tammy: It is her mother’s family that has the violet eyes. And no, it doesn’t dictate eye color or vice versa; that was just coincidental. Numair’s eyes were brown, and Buri isn’t Gifted, at least, not where magic is concerned.

SOURCE: [59577]


Tammy: She’s 5’5. Before she got pregnant she was still fairly thin, though not as bony as when she met Onua. As a girl she’s shy except when she’s around the people she knows well, when she’s pretty emphatic. Farm girl who’s good with looking after animals in an ordinary sense until she’s thirteen, and then the other stuff after.

Of course she changed her name when they married–it’s the reason he was able to get her to marry him a week before Sarralyn was born, because she didn’t want her child carrying her mother’s name, as she did! But for the most part the world knows her as Daine the Wildmage. She’s gained confidence as an adult, so she doesn’t come off as being so shy anymore, though she gets a little frayed, having two children to look after. Numair helps a lot–he likes being a Papa, and doesn’t mind things like diapers. (Well, Daine doesn’t either.) (Of course, some of the household help they have at home is a little odd, and the kids have the most interesting playmates there.)

SOURCE: [49665]

Thom or Numair?

I have always wondered who was the most powerful mage. Was it Thom or Numair Salmalin?

Tammy: Seriously, I think it’s a question of apples and oranges, or rather, of different tactics. They were taught in different schools, and Numair would have had some combat experience, traveling with Ozorne on holidays, where Thom had only the usual hallway duel. I’d also look at the temperaments. Numair might be less confident out the gate, but Thom gets over-confident, where Numair finds his center and bears down. It would depend on who found the better duel, but if Numair got the opening, it wouldn’t matter if Thom’s technique was better–after a certain point, Numair can draw on sheer power. So Thom would have to out-think him fast, and Numair’s kinda hard to out-think once he gets steady on his feet.

SOURCE: [46176]

Age Gaps

Tammy: A point here, one that not everyone may know about. After Numair, I got so many screeching protests about age gaps and my own love of older men that I have publicly sworn never again to have a humongous age gap between my female heroes and the people they end up with (George is seven years older than Alanna, Numair 14 years older than Daine*). Taybur is 35 or thereabouts.

They would have come looking for me with torches and pitchforks. For Aly, for Dove. Trust me.

I was thinking Winna, but I asked her, and she says she doesn’t think she would want to have another husband after Mequen. She might change her mind, but not for a long time.

Yes, Taybur and Aly flirted. Neither or them could help flirting, anymore than they could help breathing. But Aly at one point thought that if she thought for a moment he was serious, she’d have to put him at arm’s length, because her real interest is in Nawat.

* Originally mistyped as “17 years older than Aly.”

SOURCE: [44218]

Changes to TC, Daine, and Numair

Tammy: Everybody remember how TRICKSTER’S CHOICE would be about Aly at 13, during the years of the Grand Progress in SQUIRE, and the sequel would be titled DAUGHTER OF THE LIONESS?

Well, um, I’ve now gotten comments back on the first draft from all of my editors, and I’m going to be making a few changes.

1) The book will be taking place in the spring following the events of LADY KNIGHT (so at least I can get in that mention that Aunt Daine’s baby is due any day now, and I suppose Numair and Daine will have settled their negotiations over the M-word–

FLASH BULLETIN COMING IN, Daine marries Numair in April of the year after LADY KNIGHT, to the tune of considerable jokes from their nearest and dearest that they fully expect her to deliver as she’s speaking her vows.

Yes, my brain is a very noisy place, with all these characters talking in it.

2) Aly is 16.

3) Since she turned out to be so much more like her Da than her Ma, and because she has a bet on with Kyprioth the Trickster, the second book will have a title more like TRICKSTER-something.

We continue with our normally scheduled program.

Tammy: Okay, just another reminder, this will not be another book–it all happens ‘way in the background of TRICKSTER’S CHOICE (September 2003). It’s just that one of the things that makes Aly nuts is that she knows Aunt Daine’s baby is just about due, and she knows Uncle Numy (yes, Aly’s gonna refer to him by y’all’s pet name for him) is wearing Aunt Daine down on the marriage thing.

Daine lost her contraceptive charm during all those shapeshifts she performed over the summer of the first year of the Scanran war. She didn’t even really notice until September, when her human clothes started to get tight and she felt strangely. When she went to see the healer, the healer cracked up and teased her about the daughter of a midwife not recognizing her condition.

Numair went nuts when he found out he was going to be a papa. Now he’s all Mr. Middle Class Respectability and he wants to get married before the baby comes (*right* before, as it happens). Daine couldn’t care one way or another, but since he thinks it’s so important (and she remembers what it was like to be called a #####), she gives in. It doesn’t change their relationship at all–they would never leave each other for any reason, even though until now they told themselves that they wouldn’t trap each other in a marriage because maybe the other one would want out of the relationship. (We know they’d never tire of each other, but they don’t.) But kids do change some things, one of them being that Numair wants to make it official, and Daine knows what it’s like for a kid in their world who doesn’t have a legit dad. And she does love Numair, and he her, so it works out.

Nobody knows if it’s a boy or a girl. It keeps shifting–not just what it is, but what sex it is. That’s the influence of all of Daine’s shapechanges while the baby was just an embryo.

SOURCE: [7429]

Daine, Pregnancy, and a Blayce-less War

Tammy: Daine lost her anti-fertility charm in all the shape-changes she made during LADY KNIGHT, and doesn’t remember where or when she lost it. She only realized something was a little off in September, when she couldn’t lace up her breeches. She went to a healer, who gave her the news that she was pregnant. Numair was over the moon.

Where it gets interesting is in Daine’s second and third trimesters. She changed shape so many times in her first three months that the baby got used to it, and has continued to shift shape ever since. Alanna tells Aly it’s very queasy-making to talk to Aunt Daine these days, because Daine keeps changing shape below the waist to accomodate the baby’s changes (infant to horse to rabbit to bird to fawn to cub to . . . you name it). And Numair now really, really wants to get married.

At about the same time as the start of the revised TC, then, Numair has finally talked Daine into marrying him, a week before the baby’s due. It keeps shifting even after it’s born. Here’s the part that may not make it into the book: on its naming day, when Daine’s and Numair’s families come to give the baby its name, Sarra sits the baby down and tells it to pick something and stick to it for a while. I just don’t know what shape/sex the baby picks yet. Aly’s kinda busy, and Kyprioth hasn’t shown her much of what’s going on at home lately.

Oh–the war’s in its second year, though Maggur’s having trouble keeping the Scanrans together now that he doesn’t have Blayce.

SOURCE: [9990]

Picking Names

Thomas (Thom) means “A twin” ! How cool!

Tammy: I don’t usually pick names by their meaning, so when I looked up Thom and Alanna after having written the original manuscript and rewritten it to be the first two books, I heard “Twilight Zone” music in my head for Thom’s name, and I cracked up over Alanna’s.

Numair is Arabic for “panther” (though mostly I just liked the sound of it). Musenda, Sarge’s real name, is a Baduma (African) tribal name meaning “nightmare.”}>

SOURCE: [12341]