Answers, Part 1

Thanks for the great questions!  I’ll be working through these over the next few days/weeks.  To get things started, I picked the most controversial, burning question of all:

  • From celestineangel, “Who would win in a fight: Talia or BATMAN?”

Notice how Batman is in all-caps?  It’s a subtle psychological technique to give Batman the edge.  He’s full of tricks like that.

The first question is which Batman?  The Adam West incarnation?  Talia wipes the floor with him.  Frank Miller’s version?  That’s a nastier fight.  Batman from The Brave and The Bold?  He has a laser sword, and the Batmobile is a freaking Transformer!  I’m going to assume a kind of blended uberBatman which merges the most popular features of the character.

Both characters are armed to the teeth, but Batman’s toys have a technological edge.  Also, Batman spent his whole life training to be the best at everything.  Talia only started learning martial arts after awakening from her fairy curse.  On the other hand, fairy magic gives Talia superhuman grace and skill.

It’s a difficult question.  Therefore, I’ve decided to skip it and come back later in the post.

  • From alienpenguin: “[W]ere there any folklore history or analysis books in particular that you found helpful in researching the princesses series?”

The SurLaLune web site is a wonderful resource.  The site includes multiple versions of various fairy tales, many of them annotated, and I often found myself referring back to the site to check details of different fairy tales.  I’ve kept a complete collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales on my bedside table for several years now.  I also read a variety of essays, both online and in print, that talk about the symbolism, history, and meaning of various fairy tales.  Though to be honest, after four books, it’s all a bit of a blur.

A blur like Batman, swinging through the night!  Remember that Batman tries to avoid killing his opponents.  Talia doesn’t.  This gives Talia an advantage, because she doesn’t hold back.  But is it enough of an advantage?

  • From Matt W: “How much time do you devote on an average day to writing? What do you sacrifice to have that writing time … and do you have it at the same time every day?”

You know how Batman has to balance his daily life as billionaire playboy with his second job as the dark knight?  What I do is exactly like that.  Exactly!

In 2001, I chose to take a state job because it came with a union-regulated lunch hour.  I’ve been writing on my lunch break for nine years now.  It lets me do 4000-5000 words a week, which translates to about a book a year.

These days, I need more time to catch up with correspondence, meet unexpected deadlines, and figure out stories that become more complex with every book.  When I’m on deadline, I’ll try to sneak in some evening writing, and my wife sometimes takes the kids out on weekends to give me extra time.

I don’t play video games, because I can’t spare the time.  I don’t read as much as I’d like, and I make it to the movies maybe 2-3 times per year.  I try to make family, my day job, and the writing my top priorities, but it’s a struggle to balance everything, and some days I do better than others.

Speaking of family, Batman has none.  He works alone, or at best allows Robin to tag along.  Whereas Talia has Snow and Danielle as backup, meaning she’s got a can of magical whoop-ass waiting in her corner, not to mention the animal revolution Danielle can summon up.  Cheating?  Maybe … but only fools fight fair.

Therefore, I’m going to call this one for Talia.  Further debate (and fan art — lots of pretty, pretty fan art!) should be carried out in the comments.