Ladies and gentlemen and other courteous people, it’s finally here, the day you’ve been waiting for —

— the day Clockwork Phoenix 5 goes on sale!

What? That’s not the day you’ve been waiting for? But it has my short story “The Mirror-City”! Oh, wait, I know, short stories —

— today is the day you can read “From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review”!

What? Not what you were thinking of, either? But it’s a Lady Trent short story! Surely you want to read her infamous dispute with Benjamin Talbot, about his —

— oh. Ohhhhhhhh.

You’ve been waiting for the publication of In the Labyrinth of Drakes.

Well, I have good news for you, ladies and gentlemen and other courteous people. Today it goes on sale in both the U.S. and the U.K. A part of me does not quite believe this; surely you had it in your hot little hands ages ago? I mean, I finished writing the thing more than a year ago — how is it possible that it hasn’t hit the street before now? But such is the way of the publishing world. It’s out at very long last, and I heartily encourage you all to run out and buy it from your nearest respectable bookseller.

With this, we conclude our Five Days of Fiction. But of course I have one more question for you all . . . and one more prize to give.

In honor of the day, the question is this: if you could spend the rest of your life studying one type of creature (be it mythical or real), what would you choose?

I’d probably go for faeries — which is a bit of a cheat, since that’s a flexible enough term that it encompasses a huge variety of creatures. But it’s the folklorist in me; I’d love to see the entities behind all those legends. A part of me wants to say dragons (if mythical) or cats (if real) . . . but I know the truth; I don’t deal well enough with the biological realities of an obligate carnivore to really want to follow them in person. On the page is good enough for me. 🙂 Faeries, though: that’s more of an anthropologist’s job. That, I can do. (Assuming I don’t accidentally step wrong and find a hundred years have vanished or I’ve turned into a tree.)

And yes: one lucky respondent will receive a signed copy of In the Labyrinth of Drakes. 🙂 Let us see what menagerie our guests have assembled for us!

~ Well, it wouldn’t be very safe, but the living trains in Valente’s Palimpsest. I wouldn’t at all mind studying Lady Trent’s dragons, either, but I suspect that she has that covered. — Pamela Dean, author of Owlswater (due out later this month!)

~ I am so determined not to say “dragons” here, I am going to the obverse of the cliche-coin and will study cats, thanks. — Chaz Brenchley, author of Bitter Waters

[editorial note: a man after my own heart!]

~ I’m quite fond of Treants. As an introvert, I think it would be just lovely to sit and converse with them in their slow, methodical way. I like the thought of a long-lived creature who loves nature and had both a love of song, and a sense of humor. — John Pitts, author of Night Terrors (due out on April 11th!)

~ Hedgehogs. I find them fascinating and always have. — Juliet McKenna, author of The Tales of Einarinn and The Aldabreshin Compass

~ I think it would have to be mermaids. I grew up by the ocean, and one of my early childhood ambitions (besides ballerina) was to be a marine biologist. I would have been so happy spending my life studying cetaceans.

That being said, I think I might have transitioned to studying the interaction between multiple mythical cultures. Like the cultural differences between mermaids, naga, and gorgons. I bet there’s a lot more cross-cultural dispersion than people think, and that intersection is an under-represented area of study. — Alyc Helms, author of The Dragons of Heaven

~ This might sound contradictory to yesterday’s response, but I’d like to study the orcs of Middle Earth after the fall of Sauron. They have just lost the biggest war of all and are in danger of going extinct. Either they need to change their ways to survive in a world ruled by Men, or they should have their stories and culture recorded so they will not be forgotten when they can not survive any longer. — Harry Connolly, author of The Great Way

~ People. It’s already my life’s work, and I don’t expect I’ll ever get tired of it. — Leah Bobet, author of An Inheritance of Ashes

~ Griffins, definitely. They have the best of both worlds–flight and fight, beauty and ferocity, and gold. And, of course, they typically live in the mountains, my favorite environment. — E. C. Ambrose, author of Elisha Barber

~ I’d have to go with dragons. Everything, as Tolkien once famously said, is better with dragons. Failing that, if I have to stick to a real beast… then I’ll take wolves. — Alma Alexander, author of Empress

~ Angels, as imagined by Gaiman — Tim Akers, author of The Pagan Night

~ I can think of nothing more fascinating (or tasty) than a Brussels sprout. Does that count as a creature? — Sean Williams, author of Hollowgirl

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