A cheerful hello began my conversation with Cherie Priest, author of the Southern Gothic novel Four and Twenty Blackbirds, recently re-released by Tor Publishing. Sitting in the lobby of Marriott, we were surrounded by costumed con-goers of all stripes as we carried on our talk. I expect that any other author might have been distracted by the stormtroopers and anime characters, but not Cherie.
“The mothership came to pick me up at RiverCon about six or seven years ago,” she said. “That was up in the Fort Knox area. I still go to Chattacon, of course, and I went to Fantasm while it was still open. And Dragon*Con… but that’s really the big, expensive con of the season.” While still interested in science-fiction and horror, Cherie admits that the main reason that she comes these days are to see friends that she has made in the past, make new friends with people that she has met on the Internet and in her LiveJournal, and for the costuming and clothing. “After all,” she admitted, “it’s not like I can dress like this in Chattanooga!”
With more than 1,400 regular readers on her LiveJournal and over a thousand hits a day on her personal site, cheriepriest.com, Cherie Priest’s predilection for fancy clothing and fancy writing comes as no surprise to her regular correspondents. “I think that LiveJournal is an excellent way to network,” Cherie mused. She said that when she first started working with Tor to get her book published, she wondered if she was the only person in her age bracket and gender to get a book put out. “But now I’ve met several different authors who have all been published and they’re around the same age as me.”
Cherie has categorized her book, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, as a book that can be called “Southern gothic, supernatural, ghost story that really doesn’t fit any genre.” Regardless of where it does or does not fit on the bookstore shelves, it has garnered rave reviews from such notables as Charles de Lint. “Getting that review from Charles de Lint was absolutely thrilling,” she gushed, waving her hands excitedly. “It’s like… there are no words! It’s Charles de Lint that’s saying my book is great.” Cherie admitted that this book was not what she considers her best effort. When asked if the praise from de Lint and others is setting an expectation for a higher level of performance on her next book, Wings of the Kingdom, Cherie said that she feels that it is a good motivation to try harder because she wants people to see what she can do when she writes something she feels is excellent.
Cherie Priest’s book, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, will be released by Tor Publishing on October 1st. Interested people can find out more about Cherie at her website, cheriepriest.com and at her LiveJournal, www.livejournal.com/users/wicked_wish.