Did you read Red Rising in June with Wikia Y.A. Society? We got a great response to our call for questions for our Pierce Brown Q&A, and now the super talented author has answered all of your questions! A HUGE thank you both to Pierce and to the community members who asked questions here.
Want to know about Pierce's inspiration for Red Rising, how he gets inspired, or even more about what he'd save first in a house fire? Read on!
And WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
About Red Rising and the Red Rising series
Q: Why did you choose to base so much of Gold society on Ancient Rome - names, gods, etc.?
PB: I grew up in love with Roman culture. Mostly because I saw in them a civilization much like ours, yet couched in the worship and respect of tribal gods. It’s an interesting dichotomy—as is the rise, decline, and fall of Rome. It’s a beautiful arc unparalleled in scope by any other empire (in terms of years, land, culture, civic advancements) in history. Yet it was an empire built upon slavery. We tend to forget that, or at least forgive it because they built incredible things and carved their way through history.
Red Rising utilizes Roman culture not just because Roman names are cool or it gives an imagined sense of majesty to model your evil space empire on the Romans, but because I wanted to explore a civilization that was profoundly beautiful in its accomplishments, and then see the cracks in the firmament, the horrors perpetrated in the name of greatness. And then let the reader decide: what is more important, greatness for our species? Or equality for it?
Q: Are the ages given in Earth or Mars years? 16 in Mars years would be 30 in Earth years.
PB:The ages, like gravity, are all Earth standard, per Societal standardization tables.
Q: Can we expect any news about Red Rising movie adaptation coming soon?
PB:I believe so. We’re trying to get the script in the right place before we make any moves forward though. It’s a complicated beast.
Q: If everyone's Colors are decided genetically, and Darrow's rebellion/restructuring is successful, how would people look after, say, 300 years of Colors intermingling?
PB: Well, I’m not going to give you any spoilers. Nice try.
Q: Who exactly are the Peerless Scarred from the institute? Anyone who survives without being enslaved? Does that mean the Jackal isn't one?
PB: The Board of Quality Control discern whose performance merits the Peerless Scar. If you’re enslaved it reduces your chances of having an incredible apprenticeship, like Darrow’s with the ArchGovernor. That said, the primus of a house that loses is still a hot commodity compared with the dregs of a house that wins—look what happened with the Howlers. They got sent to Pluto.
The point is the hypocrisy and corruption of it. But basically, if you survive the Institute and did reasonably well, then you are a Peerless Scarred. Some few shame themselves and are marked for life as cowards.
Q: In Golden Son, the Jackal tells Darrow that he killed Pax because he didn't realize who he was. However, we later learn that the Telemanuses are the staunchest allies of House Augustus, so I find it hard to believe he really didn't know who he was. Can we assume the Jackal was lying about this?
PB: The Jackal is usually lying. But also, the Jackal was not raised with the Telemanuses like Mustang was. They were raised in different homes after Claudius died. The Telemanuses have homes in New Zealand but also in the highlands of Mars. Augustus chose them to be her guardians, hence her powerful connection with the family, and the Jackal’s disdain for them.
Q: I spoke with you at Phoenix Comicon and you told me you killed a specific character off by choosing a name out of a hat. I am wondering if there are any names remaining in that hat that may still be killed in Morning Star?
Q: What happened to Nero's wife? He said she hectored him into helping the Jackal but there was no sign of her in Golden Son…
PB: Nero’s first wife died. That was Claudius/Jackal/Mustang’s mother. It was her sister who was at Augustus’ side on the gravLift after the Gala. Augustus’ second wife, who is a bit of a weenie, was the one begging him to let the Jackal win at the Institute because she was responsible for his upbringing. She’s still around, but she’s not a huge player. Augustus essentially married her because he was in financial trouble and needed her father’s capital to strengthen his house.
Q: Why did Darrow lose at the academy because his ship got destroyed if he had 6 more ships? If the rules were that you lose if your main ship is destroyed, then why wouldn’t Darrow have assumed Karnus’s ship was still active?
PB: It’s actually not about losing his main ship. He lost for actions unbecoming a Gold Praetor. Only when he planned to launch himself at Karnus’ ship did the Proctors and Fleet Instructors fail him and take control of his ship. The Academy is not the Institute. These students are leaps and bounds more valuable than the kids at the Institute. The last thing the instructors would want is one of their top students spattering himself on a deck. So it was a disqualification (also influenced by the Sovereign, because she wanted a Bellona victory there, as evidenced by the fact that she gave Karnus the ship).
Q: There’s a fire in your home. You figure that you've got time to grab maybe three things before saving them and your own life. What do you grab and why?
PB: My Millenium Falcon blueprint from 1978 which was used on the second Star Wars film, and is labeled “Star Wars: Episode II” (sic). Because it is my adult accomplishments meeting my childhood joy.
My idea journal, because my soul is in the pages and there’s no backup. Whichever friend is sleeping on my couch, because I’m tender hearted and they probably owe me money.
Q: Will you be touring for Morning Star? Perhaps, an extended tour? That might hit, for example, Michigan? Or Omaha? Or Toronto?
PB: Much of that is up to my publisher. I’ll be finding out shortly.
Q: Do you have any advice for students going into publishing and perhaps what you look for in the publisher/author relationship?
PB: Check out the website TheDailyFig. I’ve an interview there were I answer 90 questions from aspiring writers .
Q: Have you ever been caught by the famous "writer’s block?" If so, how did you stop it?
PB: Very often. You don’t stop it. You have to push through. Usually that means just typing. Typing anything, even if it is dreck. You need to built up a head of steam. It’s the inertia principle. An object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion....
Q: Do you have any new projects planned after Morning Star?
PB: Several for TV/Film, but also a fantasy novel I’m excited to crack into.
Q: Do you have any plans for side-stories or revisiting departed characters?
PB: Wouldn’t it just be the tits to be inside Sevro’s noggin?
Q: Which authors are your favorites and which authors inspired you to write?
PB: Bernard Cornwell, GRRM, Rowling, Frank Herbert, Alexander Dumas. I love grand adventures, and few are better than the above mentioned folks. Give me grandeur and sweeping vision, and I’m a happy camper.