A: Hi Audra, fortunate is the word I choose to describe how I feel to be here with you, Zi and your readers.
Z: How apt of you to use the word fortunate. To steal from an old philosopher, "Fortune is a god..." Angelica and I have been granted an absolute privilege to be able to channel our creativity, draw upon a life of experiences, and some writing skill, all with a purpose of entertaining. "Industry is fortune's right hand, and fragility her left." is an old proverb. So, to put all that in a pistachio shell, thank you for having us.
A: You have pistachios? Where are they? Share.
Z: It was just a turn-of-a-phrase.
A: Ok! (note to self... buy nuts) Then I thought we agreed to one sentence as a greeting?
Z: Change periods to comas, adjust caps and then it's a run on sentence. Then I kept my word. Haaa!
A: Hi Audra.
Z: Hi Readers.
Tell us a little about your writing process. Are you two planners or pantsers? Do you write together or pass the manuscript back & forth?
Z: Duh! I'm a plotter's plotter. I pre-plot the plot, and outline that first, but only after I pre-plot the outline. This is not intended to be dismissive but completely honest. Because we work together, we have wonderful sessions where we outline. We texture locations and pre-define characters. It is rare that on the fly do we ever vamp in a new direction. That would be unfair considering we share the geneses and development of every project. Oops, you just saw the engineer in me, a vision becomes reality within a certain set of guidelines.
A: Live long and prosper Mr. Spock! You can see the pyloric sphincter in him. Which means I don't have to do any of that anal stuff. Yea!
Z: She is the resident PITA and questions everything. But somehow we get structure.
A: However, when we are in the midst of creating the outline we sometimes want to go in different directions which makes for some interesting banter.
Z: Banter or cursing?
A: Banter. If I cursed you... I'd be a witch... and I am not.
Z: So, cuss?
A: I'm a cuss free zone. (She pauses and smiles... evilly) So, we plot... plot... plot... and then I run off down the rabbit hole out the squirrel’s niche round the borrow, and then Zi grabs me by the seat of my pants (metaphorically) and sets me down ... and then we plot... plot... plot... which can bore the bejebeebees out of me, so I jog off to thinking about Green Acres and Ham Hocks... but Zi tugs on me breeches and we plot... plot... plot... yes, I am the pantser... he the planner.
A/Z: As for our working together, if we are in the same office, we sit side by side, and work the book through. After all, we pre-plotted, outlined, discussed. Sometimes, we work a section on our own. However, the fun really begins when we are apart and use Join Me which allows Zi to be the host computer and allows Ang to cyberly steal his mouse, which he, of course, tries to snatch back. It is well-known as the Mouse Wars. A war in which Ang thinks she is winning. So, do we have rules? Yes. Oft times the one who screams the loudest, writes first. But generally, we look and say something like, that needs color, color it... who me?... yes!, or that did not scare me... scares me... amp it up and scare me, or take that crap and file it in the circular filing cabinet... fine, then you rewrite it.... I will!. (we write in a pout-free zone) For the most part it is an additive process, with the delete key option open to either. At the end of the day we must agree on the product and we have agreed that we will agree.
If you could have dinner with any author, past or present, who would you choose and why?
A: Margery Williams, the author of The Velveteen Rabbit… (Remembering the story, sniffles and blows nose, loudly.) She touched my heart as a child, and I would love to know the person who made me cry and laugh and feel so sad yet happy. I missed the characters. I’d carry the book around. Since it was read to me, I’d hold it out in a demanding fashion to any and every reading-able adult. I couldn’t wait to learn how to read so I could read every book in the world. I’d hoard books and comic books like a rabbit and its carrots. They were my friends.
Z: Chipmunks horde. Rabbits they wiggle their noses. Re-examine your simile.
Z: Zi... yes, me. But not just me, the twenty-something me. I wrote then with a charming naivety and I respect that highly. Cynical writing is a trap that bleaches the imagination out of the work. Agendas are not funny fictional products. I'd sit and watch me, as I ate a crab cake for the very first time and sense the freshness on my spirit. I constantly remind myself that there is creative beauty in being awed.
A: Yourself? So you pay and you also get two meals. Dog!
Z: Woof! (Smiling knowing she was correct)
Where did you draw inspiration for Snake Dance?
Z: The world of SNAKE DANCE ultimately was a huge extension of Angelica's quirky imagination sparked by that proverbial what if moment. A love story of two opposites, threatens by heinous evil, placed in a sci-fi/fantasy worldscape, which allowed these contradictions to both magnified and homogenized.
A: There was the challenged.
Z: I suggested that models be the frail bird, the powerful snake and the vicious mongoose. Wow! We sat and word pictured the aforementioned animals' temperament traits and used that list to be part of the base construct for the characters' personalities. Natural conflict! This was followed by a tedious creative meeting where we brainstormed the plot, using folded paper airplanes that when unfolded held ideas. That storming turned into an epic adventure of compromising our lack of a willingness to compromise followed by a Water Gun Battle Royale. The trade-off was that the characters and the conflict reflected my imagination as polished by her craftiness. The story unfolded naturally and with simplicity, because we both found a remarkable fascination in the iconic tale. But the color, the facade, the tone and texture were occasionally a confounding task. We literally wallpapered our office with page after page after page of ideas and as we constructed the sci-fi world of Starling we drew from what seemed to be an endless reservoir of cognitive subtext.
A: Did you tell them that we fought... and fought?
What’s your sci-fi novel about, in 25 words or less?
A/Z wRen defies her heritage, braves the dark legends of the Asp to be with VeIper, enemy to the Kin, the protectors of her Nestling.
Z: We hope we entertained your readers and thank you again for this opportunity. As one armadillo said to the other while standing on the side of the road, "Be careful the walk across could get you tired." It is always my pleasure to try to entertain.
A: You actually used an armadillo reference? Have you no shame? Audra, the banter you see here is quite typical to our days. I, too, thank you for this fun interlude, but mostly I thank anyone who has ever read anything that we wrote. We write for you.
Thank you so much for stopping by! And now, an excerpt...
Her Shell Breech
...“Her name,” he demanded more sternly than he intended, flashing to the monster all expected. Mong was controlling, though feral, he did not wish for all to know his interest but they did. It could not be evaded. He had the look of a devourer. She was his. He desired it. He silently claimed her, and none would dare to come against that claim once it was officially made known, and he intended to do so.
Charon stepped forward, honored that this noble elite took such an interest. “Her name will be from this point forward, wRen, she honoring my great Aunt.”
“wRen is to be mine,” Mong uttered in a low breath he could only hear. Then for all to hear stated, “wRen is a beautiful name, so apt, for your biddy is more beautiful than beauty could expect. Proud you must ache.” He turned to the fellow Kin, “Murd, you have done well.”
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