Quick Three Interview: Mary Robinette Kowal on Shades of Milk and Honey

Jeff VanderMeer on September 14, 2010

Sometimes you just want the straight scoop, delivered succinctly. Thus, the Quick Three Interviews, starting with...

Who: Mary Robinette Kowal was the 2008 recipient of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer and a Hugo Award nominee for her story "Evil Robot Monkey." She is an avid and talented puppeteer.

What: In Kowal's first novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, we get exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill.

Who Said What: The Romantic Times writes, “Written with painstaking attention to detail, Kowal’s prose is serenely evocative of the time period, and the fantastic elements are a seamless fit. Give this one a try!”

The Essential Questions:

If your novel were a meal, what would it be?

My novel would be a light afternoon snack of fresh strawberries, a sharp country cheddar, and a loaf of bread baked in a brick oven that morning. It would be eaten under the shade of an oak tree, while lying with your head in the lap of your beloved. You might open a bottle of champagne and let the bubbles tickle your nose.

If your novel were a piece of music, who would have composed it?

Ludwig van Beethoven would have written this for solo piano. It would be a variation on a theme and the movements would seem both familiar and new.

If your novel were an animal, what animal would it be?

I believe it would be a Roe deer, which tend to be smaller than other deer and somewhat shy. It is found in England and prefers secluded habitats.


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