Summer of Series: Marie Brennan Interview & Giveaway

I am so excited to have Marie on the blog today! This interview was just so much fun!

A Natural History of Dragons
first in the Memoirs of Lady Trend series
Published February 5, 2013
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You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.
Describe Memoirs of Lady Trent in a tweet! 140 characters or less. No cheating or the Twitter Gods are going to get you.
The Memoirs are the life story of Scirland's foremost lady adventurer and dragon naturalist.

What has been your favorite part of writing Memoirs of Lady Trent?
The voice. From the very first pages, Isabella's voice has been a delight to write (paranthetical discursions and all). I love the interplay between her youthful recklessness and her elderly lack of shame, and the way that writing in a retrospective first-person viewpoint allows the character to comment on her society and her own actions.

Did you always plan for Memoirs of Lady Trent to be a series? How did it take shape in your mind?
Yes, from the start it was intended to be five books. I knew I wanted her to be building up to explaining some major discovery, and I wanted her to be able to go on expeditions to many parts of the world. Five felt like a good balance point: it lets me explore a fair bit without trying to stretch the arc of that discovery too far.

I know you are currently working on book four. Is there anything you can tell us?
As you may have seen from the cover copy, it takes place in Akhia. What the cover copy does not tell you is that this allowed me to indulge my love of archaeology: Akhia is of course richly supplied with Draconean ruins, some of which Isabella visits.

What is the most interesting thing you have Googled in the name of research?
Giraffe vertebrae! I was confirming my assumption that humans and apes have the same number of vertebrae, and discovered this is true of almost all mammals -- giraffes included. So when I saw they have seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, same as humans, I *had* to look up just how that works. It turns out that giraffe necks are amazing feats of evolutionary engineering!

What is one series you would recommend to readers?
Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. Historical fiction set in sixteenth century Europe, and they are *amazing* books. Dunnett is the only author who has ever made me feel abjectly inferior as a writer.

Thor, Iron Man, or Captain America? GO!
Shag, cliff, marry. ;-)

Meet the author!

Marie Brennan is a former academic with a background in archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, which she now puts to rather cockeyed use in writing fantasy. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spends her time practicing piano, studying karate, and playing a variety of role-playing games.


Tor is awesome enough to give away a set of the first 3 books in the Memoirs of Lady Trent series on behalf of the author!

All entrants must be 13 years or older and this giveaway is open to the US and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It is not too late to join the fun as we celebrate our favorite series and welcome new ones! Sign up for Summer of Series and knock down that TBR! 

And, of course, be sure to stop by Danielle's blog! Megan Erickson will be stopping by.


  1. Soooo.. I don't think I have ever heard of this series! It sounds great. Definitely going to be checking it out more. :)

    1. This series has my name all over it!

  2. These books are so so fun. Well, I've only read the first but it was a delight. Cheeky, clever, full of DRAGONS. You know that's a double win. It's manners and society and then clawed beats in the wilderness!! Plus the art is INSANELY gorgeous. Yep. Jumping back into this series ASAP. Also --- YAY FIVE BOOKS! I love that she has a fixed endpoint. Series tend to end up better when they do.


  3. I love recommendations from authors -- they know the best books! So I'm adding Dorothy Dunnett to my TBR pronto.

    1. They seriously always have the best recommendations! I added her after this interview landed in my inbox as well.