interview banner

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Valerie.

  • Be sure to read our review for Box Office Poison (Linnet Ellery, Book #2) here at OBS.

MelindaSnodgrassValerie: Your biography doesn’t tell readers much about you. Could you tell us a little more about yourself?

Phillipa Bornikova: That’s because Bornikova is a pen name and I was trying not to make it too obvious that I was really Melinda M. Snodgrass.  I’ve had a varied career, I was a music major and studied opera in Vienna Austria, I returned home and finished my undergraduate degree in history, then on to law school.  My focus  was on  Constitutional law, but you can’t exactly hang out a shingle saying you do Con law so I took a job first for the government and then in a corporate law firm.  After a while I realized that while I loved the elegance of the law I wasn’t all that fond of lawyers so I quit and tried writing and discovered that was really what I had wanted to be when I grew up.   I still sing for my own enjoyment, and my major hobby is horse back riding.  I’m an F.E.I dressage rider and I have two horses – my Lusitano stallion Vento da Broga and my filly Elantari.  And I also manage a small natural gas and oil company that was founded by my father back in 1968.

Valerie: Which character in the book do you think you are most like? (Or who is most like you?)

Phillipa Bornikova: Linnet, definitely Linnet.  I made her a dressage rider and of course she’s also a lawyer.  Many of my characters are musical, but I decided not to do that with Linnet.  It was a little too close to home.  I’m  also short, and I have a devastating habit of saying exactly what I’m thinking before the internal editor kicks in.  There’s also a bit of John in me – practical, hard-headed, and a little bit cynical.

Valerie: Linnet Ellery is only five feet tall, which really surprised me! What’s the story behind her (lack of) height?

Phillipa Bornikova: Because I’m short, and those of us who are vertically challenged have to make up for the lack of inches with a lot of attitude and charisma. I’m not quite as short as Linnet – I’m 5’2” but it has an affect on how you interact with the world.

Valerie: Pick one: humans, vampires, werewolves, and the Fey. Why?

Phillipa Bornikova: Probably Vampires – at least as I’ve envisioned them.  There’s a sadness and a melancholy to go with the wisdom and knowledge.  I just wrote a line for one of my vampire partners when he regrets that he can no longer feel the touch of a snowflake because his dead skin isn’t sensitive enough to experience the sensation.  Being dead dulls the senses and cuts you off from many of life’s experiences.

Valerie: Out of all the awesome and cool jobs you’ve had, which one is your favorite? Why?

Phillipa Bornikova: May I pick writing?  It has meant so much to me.  I get to day dream and people pay me to write down those fantasies.  A close second is managing Western Minerals and Oil.  I find working with the geologists and petroleum engineers to be fascinating, and I love taking on the Texas oil men who always underestimate me.

Valerie: How has being a story editor of a TV series helped you to write this series?

Phillipa Bornikova: Working in television really honed my plotting skills. I was good at it before I went to Hollywood, but years on various TV shows, and rising to the level of producer where I had to guide other writers really cemented that ability.  Urban fantasies are damn hard to write.  They are mysteries and romances and fantasies all rolled into one, and it’s a real juggling act.

Valerie: How did you come up with the name Linnet Ellery?

Phillipa Bornikova: I wanted her to be a descendent of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Judge Ellery looked like a good choice. I then scrolled through name books testing out first names with Ellery.  Linnet made me think of larks and nightingales, and I just like the rhythm of the name.  I’m a singer and also played piano so the rhythms of language are important to me.

Thank you to author Phillipa Bornikova for an amazing interview!