Bestselling fantasy author Patricia Briggs told Tor.com that the fourth and latest novel in her Mercy Thompson series, Bone Crossed, follows the eponymous Mercy Thompson, a VW mechanic living in the Tri Cities, who also happens to be a half-Native American coyote shapechanger who was raised by werewolves.
Although Mercy is a shapechanger, she’s not the only supernatural creature in town; Briggs said that Bone Crossed is a vampire-plot book, and her vampires plot very deviously, thank you very much. “Marsilia, the Mistress of the Tri-Cities vampires has found out that Mercy killed one of her favorites—with Stefan’s [Mercy’s vampire friend] help,” she said. “She’s finished punishing Stefan and she’s preparing to deal with Mercy. And at that opportune moment, a college acquaintance of Mercy’s comes to ask her to deal with a haunted house in Spokane, a few hours away from the Tri Cities.”
Briggs said that many times, the ideas for her books come from a very vivid scene that pops into her head—sometimes years before she writes the book. “Sometimes that scene just blends into the book, sometimes its an introduction to a character who interests me, and sometimes, as with Bone Crossed, it is a major plot point,” she said. “The scene in question was, at first, very short. Just a badly damaged Stefan who shows up at Mercy’s house and says, ‘Run’ before he attacks her—and that’s when I knew that not only was Bone Crossed going to have to deal with the damage Mercy took at the end of Iron Kissed, but it was going to tie up another loose string left dangling in Blood Bound.”
Which means some very delicate writing if someone completely unfamiliar with the series is going to pick up the book and enjoy it without reading the rest of the books. “Or, more likely, pick it up after having read the previous books a year ago (or, in the case of Blood Bound, possibly two years ago) without boring the readers who just finished the other books yesterday,” Briggs said.
Briggs said that writing a series is something different for her. “I’ve done a duology (Raven’s Shadow/Raven’s Strike) and a book with a sequel (a stand alone book, and then another that leans hard on that first book—Dragon Bones/Dragon Blood); I’ve done shared world series, where I build a world and then drop in to visit for a novel here or there,” she said. “This is the first time I’ve gotten the chance to play with the same cast of characters for an indefinite period of time. I find that it makes me more patient. I can take story snippets I find fascinating and just drop them in knowing that I can explore them later if they continue to interest me.”
Briggs is currently working on Hunting Ground, the next in the Alpha and Omega series. “Hunting Ground is set just before the werewolves announce their presence to the humans they share the world with—which puts it between Moon Called and Blood Bound in the time line,” Briggs said.
Next up for Mercy is Silver Borne, and other of Briggs’s projects include a Dabel Brothers comic book series Mercy Thompson, which begins with an original story called Homecoming.