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Q&A with Laurie R. King
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(last edited Sep 10, 2012 09:55AM)
Sep 10, 2012 09:55AM
Why did you make Mary into some kind of invincible supergenius who recites irregular verbs in 5 languages to fill up spare moments? And why a doctor of divinity who is agnostic? I know you have read theology but why did you choose the same path for your most famous protagonist?
Sep 10, 2012 12:14PM
I politely beg to differ with your choice of word in invincible. Mary has scars aplenty from her accident and from her adventures with Holmes. As to the languages... I knew a professor who knew at least 6+ languages and who also had an interest in religion (particularly Greek, Latin and Hebrew in relation to the Bible). I see No problem with Mary having similar interests.
Sep 10, 2012 12:40PM
Many who study religion, though initially perhaps to fortify long held beliefs and interests, often become less intense on literalism and become more metaphorical or even agnostic. One of the great theological scholars on comparative religions, Karen Armstrong, is a splendid example having begun as a Catholic nun to become a monotheist based upon her studies. Many leave the pulpit to become scholars and writers. I see Mary's agnosticism as quite realistic.
Sep 10, 2012 02:45PM
Mary is far from indestructable and hardly even a supergenius She IS very intelligent and logical - an equal to Holmes in every way. But even Holmes cannot solve cases without investigation - without following lines of inquiry that lead to dead ends. Mary and Holmes are not all-knowing mind readers and they certainly have holes in their knowledge base - Holmes readily admits that anything out of his specific interests of study is not worthy of his time. And I sing showtunes in my head in spare minutes to keep my mind focused at work- sounds like it wouldn't work but it does. Mary's conjugating verbs keeps her mind active during her down-time. Everyone has their quirks, nothing wrong with that.
Sep 10, 2012 03:34PM
Heck, my own father, who had both Rumanian and American law degrees and a Ph.D., read ancient Greek and Latin and spoke, to my knowledge, at least seven languages fluently, with smatterings of at least a couple of others. And while in his later years he was a short, round, sedentary man, in younger years he was a champion fencer and played tennis. And served in WWII and Korea, although not in direct combat conditions (which did not prevent him from being wounded by a sniper). Many people thought the world of him, but I don't think any of them -- even me -- thought of him as a genius.
Modern-day Americans think it rare to be multi-lingual, but I have met many Europeans, as well as well-traveled Asians, who are multi-lingual, and who consider that to be a commonplace and utilitarian skill, in addition to whatever it is they actually do for a living.
Sep 10, 2012 04:13PM
How cool, Lenore, and such good points. Your father sounded like a true Renaissance man. Just think, if an author wrote a fictional female character with your father's skills than people would undoubtedly call her a Mary Sue.
I met a gentleman at the park who spoke six languages, and his two and a half year old son who was squealing on the Merri-go-round already spoke three.
(last edited Sep 11, 2012 07:38AM)
Sep 11, 2012 07:38AM
I'm not asking if it is possible to do this, just asking why she chose Mary to be like this. she also survived things a normal person wouldn't, just like Lies in the Stieg Larson books. Of course you don't want to kill off your main character, I guess.
Sep 11, 2012 07:40AM
If I were writing a novel I'd borrow some of my personal traits, but likely would make main protagonist as unlike myself as I could.
Sep 11, 2012 03:13PM
Lenore wrote: "Heck, my own father, who had both Rumanian and American law degrees and a Ph.D., read ancient Greek and Latin and spoke, to my knowledge, at least seven languages fluently..."
I would like to have known your dad! And he'd make a great character in a book :)
Sep 11, 2012 03:17PM
Henry wrote: "I'm not asking if it is possible to do this, just asking why she chose Mary to be like this. she also survived things a normal person wouldn't..."
Interesting. Are you thinking of the car crash that killed her family? If so, I don't see that as unusual. There are (sadly) many many examples of tragedy striking a family and leaving only a single survivor. Ditto being shot by her maths tutor -- gunshot wounds to the shoulder are perfectly survivable. She certainly
a lot of risky situations but that's the nature of her job. So do cops and private investigators and soldiers (and for that matter arms dealers,
, and terrorists!). It's all in a day's work for some professions :)
Sep 12, 2012 12:14PM
Hi Henry et al, sorry for the late entrance into this discussion. Fiction characters in general are larger than life, and can embark on things a mere author cannot, be that accurate darts or a gift for languages. And of course, as a series goes on, they accumulate, until a list of unlikely things that would have seemed absurd in book one doesn't seem to utterly impossible twelve books later.
Having said that, Russell is intended to be an extraordinary person, a young female Sherlock Holmes. Given that, it would be odd if she DIDN'T have a lot of extraordinary skills.
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Q&A with Laurie R. King
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