Steal The Dragon Author's Comments
Fresh from finishing my first book and sending it out to the publishing houses more to prove I wasn't a coward than out of any real belief it was publishable I set out to write my second book. I'd learned how to write conversations and scenes so I thought I'd tackle something with a bit more complex plot. A murder mystery, I thought, wouldn't be that hard. I'd enjoyed Aralorn's spying job and decided to try that again. Murder and politics go hand in glove. So I plotted out a murder mystery because I'd learned in school that you were supposed to start with an outline. Mind you, I usually wrote my outlines after I had the paper done, but I knew that was how you were supposed to do it.
In Masques, I'd found the perfect spy in Aralorn who could take the shape of a few useful animals. In Steal the Dragon, I decided I'd try to find a heroine who could also become a good spy. A servant, I decided. I do remember that I was quite firm about that in the outline. Five pages into the story I had a Really Good Idea. If a servant was invisible in a noble household, how much more invisible would a slave be? No, wait, an Ex-slave who is blackmailed into going back into ... Ouch. The first thing I realized, after twenty pages or so of whining, was that there really was no such thing as an ex-slave. It's something that sticks to you, like a rape or an abusive marriage. I threw out my outline and tackled the real story.
My writing skills were really not up to the job. But the story burned in my fingers, if I could just get it out. Writing Steal the Dragon was like rolling boulders up a hill. I threw away three pages for every page I wrote. I finally sent it off to Ace, where Laura Anne Gilman had already bought Masques. She very gently refused it but agreed to discuss her reasons and look at it again if I rewrote it. The problem, it seemed, was not with Rialla, but with her romance lead, Tris. He was always coming to the rescue. So I took a good look at him and realized something. This was Rialla's book, but Tris, like Aralorn (from Masques), was infinitely better suited for the job, shapeshifters being the perfect spies. So he would sit around until Rialla got in a tight spot and then rescue her, just like Superman.
I'd have to rewrite the whole thing. What helped the most in this project was that between the time I'd sent Ace the first, terrible, draft of Steal the Dragon and when Laura Anne rejected it, I'd written most of When Demons Walk and sometime during the process I'd finally learned to write.
So I made Tris something different a healer with a touch of the dryad -- and the rewrite came together better than I'd hoped. I dropped terrible scenes that still make me wince especially since I know my editor had to slog through them. . . giant spiders crawling down the buildings, Tris taking the shape of a park bench. . . really, really terrible scenes. And I was left with a book that in many ways is still my favorite.
I learned a lot from Steal the Dragon, not the least of which was that good editors make good books. Oh, and a bit of trivia if you'd like. Not having extensive experience with fighting, I draw upon my husband and his misspent youth for my fight scenes. I had particular trouble with the physical blocking of one scene in Steal the Dragon and finally made my husband write it for me. I polished it a bit and put it in. Obviously Mike did a good job of it, because that's the scene Ace used for the inside cover sample.
Patricia is the #1 New York Times best selling author of the Mercy Thompson series and has written twenty four novels to date; she is currently writing novel number twenty five. She has short stories in several anthologies, as well as a series of comic books and graphic novels based on her Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series. Patty began her career writing traditional high fantasy novels in 1993, and shifted gears in 2006 to write urban fantasy. Moon Called was the first of her signature series about Mercy; the non-stop adventure left readers wanting more and word of this exciting new urban fantasy series about a shape-shifting mechanic spread quickly. The series has continued to grow in popularity with the release of each book. Patty also writes the Alpha and Omega series, which are set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson novels; what began as a novella expanded into a full new series, all of which debuted on the NY Times bestsellers list as well.
Patty was born in Butte, Montana, back in 1965. If you’re good at math, you’ll have deduced that she’s currently twenty-nine. In fact, she’s been twenty-nine for a while and has no intention of getting any older. Fiction authors don’t obey the laws of space and time, they invent them. Don’t argue, or she’ll make up a dragon right behind you . . .
Patricia was born book-privileged. Her mother was a school librarian, and she shared a room with an older sister who loved to read. Long after they had been put to bed, her sister would use the small night light to read Patty stories; her early favorites were fairy tales. Knights and castles, fair maidens, and monsters of every ilk became their nighttime companions.
Soon, Patty learned to read, and whole worlds were hers to explore. She rode on the Black Stallion, and flew the skies of Pern on a dragon. Sometime during that period she stumbled onto a treasure trove. Her older sister had begun collecting comic books; pristine originals were place in cellophane sleeves and organized in cardboard boxes. When her sister was away, they were removed by grubby fingers smeared with peanut butter and jelly for a clandestine read, returning with a faint smudges and wrinkled pages from reading under the covers. To this day, her sister periodically calls Patty and tells her how much more her original copies of the X-Men would have been worth if left pristine in their sleeves. The number keeps going up.
Patty is a prevarication professional. She lies for a living, telling whoppers and fibs so outrageous that people pay her to fib some more. Her only concession to honesty is that she tells people she’s lying to them, which is what separates a fiction author from a politician. She loves to play with her imaginary friends, and meeting with readers who know her imaginary friends is a treat. Her biggest complaint with writing is that she has far more ideas for stories than time to write them.
Patty and her family reside in Eastern Washington near Tri-Cities, home of Mercy Thompson; yes, it's a real place! When not working on the next book, she can be found playing truant out in her horse pastures, playing with the newest babies.
- Mass Market Paperback: 275 pages
- Publisher: Ace (November 1, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780441002733
- ISBN-13: 978-0441002733
- ASIN: 0441002730
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces