Star Wars: Aftermath and Heartland Series author Chuck Wendig speaks to Hypable about the next book in his Miriam Black series, Thunderbird.
About ‘Thunderbird’ by Chuck Wendig
In the fourth installment of the Miriam Black series, Miriam heads to the southwest in search of another psychic who may be able to help her understand her curse, but instead finds a cult of domestic terrorists and the worst vision of death she’s had yet.
Miriam is becoming addicted to seeing her death visions, but she is also trying out something new: Hope. She is in search of another psychic who can help her with her curse, but instead finds a group of domestic terrorists in her deadliest vision to date.
Thunderbird (Saga Press) by Chuck Wendig is available now.
Interview with Chuck Wendig
For those unfamiliar with your Miriam Black books, how would you describe the series and its titular character?
Miriam can see how people are going to die by touching them, which has not precisely done wonders for her psyche. She’s been a wanderer, a grifter, a thief, and now, something of a vengeful spirit. As such, I like to think she’s about as healthy as a garage full of cats on fire.
What makes ‘Thunderbird’ different from the previous three Miriam Black installments?
In this one, we are seeing a Miriam on the verge of a transformation. She’s grown more addicted to her powers, but she’s seen clear enough to be actively searching for an end to those powers. And she thinks she has a way to end that curse: another psychic named Mary Scissors.
What keeps you coming back to this character?
She’s a dark blotch on an X-Ray, but that also makes her a lot of fun to write. Miriam isn’t about a character who makes the best decisions, but she’s one who always makes very INTERESTING decisions.
Heading into the fourth book means you’ve probably got a pretty good lock on this character, but what sort of challenges does she still pose for you when it comes to writing from her perspective?
The trick for her is taking her two steps forward, one step back — growing her character while also setting her back. Sometimes too it’s the reverse: one step forward, then two in reverse. Thunderbird is very much about her trying to move forward while life and circumstance and fate itself are dragging her backward.
If you could put Miriam Black into any other universe to wreak some havoc, which one would you choose?
I would never do such a thing to any universe! But I think she’d play well in King’s Castle Rock storyworld.
You’ve got a lot of irons in the fire; how do you balance it all and what happens when you hit a wall?
I hit walls all the time, but then I just climb them or drive through them. This is part of the trick of sustaining yourself as a full time writer, spinning those plates and juggling those chainsaws. It’s a skill like any other, and takes practice and time.
Of all your current projects, which one are you most excited to work on next?
I’m pretty excited to be wrapping up the final Miriam book, for sure.
What can you tease us about any of your upcoming books?
Editing the fifth Miriam book, The Raptor and the Wren. Writing the last, Vultures, as noted. Then I’ve got a kind of… epic horror-ish novel coming out next year, called Exeunt. Oooh, and a new book that focuses on how to tell stories, called Damn Fine Story!
About the author
Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He’s the author of many published novels, including but not limited to: Blackbirds, The Blue Blazes, the YA Heartland series, and the New York Times bestselling series Star Wars: Aftermath; the third book in the trilogy, Empire’s End is out this February. He is co-writer of the short film Pandemic and the Emmy Award–nominated digital narrative Collapsus. Wendig has contributed over two million words to the game industry. His collaborative comic book project, The Sovereigns, will be released from Dynamite in April. He is also well known for his profane-yet-practical advice to writers, which he dispenses at his blog, TerribleMinds.com, and through several popular eBooks, including The Kick-Ass Writer, published by Writers Digest. He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, tiny human, and dog.