What's in a Name? Interviewing Rosemary Edghill

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Interviews by Fans
Title: What's in a Name? Interviewing Rosemary Edghill
Interviewer: Vision
Interviewee: Rosemary Edghill
Date(s): March 1, 2002
Medium: online
Fandom(s): Science Fiction, Fantasy, X-Men
External Links: full interview here; reference link; another archived link
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What's in a Name? Interviewing Rosemary Edghill focuses on her writing and its influences, her collaboration with Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mercedes Lackey, and Andre Norton, her interest in X-Men, and how being a fan got her paid work.


So Rosemary went her merry way writing Regencies, while meanwhile her evil twin, eluki bes shahar, was writing the Hellflower trilogy for DAW. So comes the day when DAW wants me to try a fantasy series, and to keep people from thinking they were going to get more space opera, they wanted to put a new name on the cover, preferably one that would be easier to alphabetize. So rather than come up with yet a third pseud, I dusted off Rosemary (the market for Regencies having suffered one of its periodic die-offs by this point, and Ms. Edghill having gone into hibernation) and had her write The Twelve Treasures. Of which there are only three, alas. I continued to use "eluki" on my short-story work for a few years, but then converted over to Rosemary there too, since it was less confusing for readers who might possibly be looking for my short fiction. Meanwhile, I did a couple of tie-in books and projects (a King's Quest novella and two X-Men novels) for which I used "eluki." For everything else, I ended up using "Rosemary," because that was the name that had become established.
Working with Marion was great fun. Because of her serious health issues at the time of the books, it was a different situation than working with Andre and Misty, and much more than in either of those cases, I was not only trying to re-create Marion's own style without intruding anything of my own, but to re-create her style from about 20 years ago, which involved immersing myself in her gothics, so I could not only pick up her style, rhythm, and word choices, but her ideas and her motifs. I was working from some unfinished manuscripts that she passed on to me for source material, and I used a lot of elements from them. Along the way I dug up some pretty obscure Bradleyana, like her "Sixth Sense" media tie-in, "In The Steps Of The Master", and a novel called "Can Ellen Be Saved?" which I think was based on a TV movie. Marion was a journeyman pro in the grand old tradition, who wrote anything that had a paycheck attached. Of course she oversaw everything I did, and when I finally got to meet her at the Fantasy Worlds Convention out in Berkeley, she told me how delighted she was with Heartlight, saying it was exactly the story she had always wanted to tell. I was so pleased: plotting Heartlight was sort of a detective story in itself, going back through Witch Hill, The Inheritor, and Dark Satanic to pick up the scattered and fragmentary clues to Colin MacLaren's past and weave them into a coherent whole in line with Marion's overall philosophy. Working with Marion really taught me both how to plot on an epic scale and to anchor a book in character at the same time.
I've been an X-Men junkie since Issue #1, 1964, so it was a serious Dream Come True. I got to play with the Mutants! Generally, tie-in contracts go to writers with something of a previous track record in published books, which I had. Often, their agent will suggest them for a project. Sometimes, in the case of something that has a huge appetite for material, like the Trek lines, they'll just go pitch (through their agent, of course, assuming they have one). In my case, I knew the editor of the line, who was looking for writers, and he knew I was an X-Men fan and he asked me if I wanted to submit a proposal. The important thing about my being a fan is because the other vital thing in writing tie-ins is a previous familiarity with the property. You need to know Highlander, Buffy, Quantum Leap, Charmed canon off the top of your head, because nobody is going to spoon-feed it to you.