An Interview with Pierce Brown

We’re getting ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the one and only Pierce Brown! He’ll speak and sign the finale of his Red Rising trilogy, Morning Star, in our store Sunday, 2/14 at 3PM. Books and tickets are now available.

When and how did the original idea for Red Rising first pop into your head? How long was this story idea percolating in your mind before you started actually writing it?

RR swarmed into my head over the course of a weekend. I was mountaineering with two friends, going up the side of a mountain at 5 in the morning and trying to think of anything but the burn in my legs. The stars were so close you could reach out and put them in a jar. I’d been reading Antigone on the drive to the mountain, so it shouldn’t be a surprise how it crept into my thoughts. I thought of that theme–a mild girl standing up to cold power–and how it could transcend time. And I began wondering what man would that girl love? What would happen to him in her absence. And Darrow was born.

I wrote the rest over the next two months above my parents garage in Seattle.

How did the Roman elements come in to the story? Did you always know they were going to be there, or did they come organically while working out the story?

They come from my own obsession with Roman history. I knew if I made a space opera one day, Romanism would leak in. Didn’t quite know to what extent until I started ripping into the book.

It always fascinates me to know if a story ends up where the author thinks it will when her or she firsts start writing. Did this story end up going where you initially planned, or did it take on a life of its own?

It did end up just where I always thought it would. Each book ended just the way I knew it would. The path there was more circuitous than I might have thought. And since I didn’t outline I didn’t know exactly how I was going to get to the end, but that’s part of the wonder of storytelling.

Do you ever have time to read for pleasure, and if so, what do you read?

I do. I’m reading All the Light We Cannot See right now.

What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Write. Continue writing. Don’t get discouraged by failure. If you’re not writing, you’re making up excuses or assuming everyone else is connected. Unless you can fix that and get connected, get working. Took me six books before getting published–that’s a load of heartbreak, but it also grants you an invaluable sense of power. You can succeed if you put in the work.

What has been your favorite experience that has come out of writing the Red Rising trilogy?

Meeting the fans for whom the world of Darrow is as real as it is for me.

Hope to see you this Sunday when Pierce joins us here at BookPeople!

BONUS

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