I get a lot of questions by email and at conventions, so I thought I’d gather up the most common ones I get into a list for new readers:
- Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Oddly, no. I never really had any desire to write until I was an adult. I discovered I was good at it by sheer accident and realized I enjoyed the process and the result.
- What was the very first thing you wrote?
The very first thing was the real life account of a humorous camping trip I took with my then-boyfriend (now my DH for more than 27 happy years!) People laughed when they read it and suggested I submit it to an outdoor magazine. Well, I loved the shorts that Patrick McManus put in magazines, so I figured, “Why not?” Not having a clue about how things worked in publishing, I submitted it to a few magazines. I was lucky enough to find an editor for Rocky Mountain Game & Fish who had a similar sense of humor. He purchased it for real money! I’d never really thought about magazines buying the stories on their pages, so I started to research it. After a few false starts, I offered an article about a local lake to the same editor. He liked it, too! Pretty quickly thereafter, I had a fairly steady gig of writing articles for the magazine about places I already went to fish and camp. Then I ventured out into the wider magazine world and got articles published with them too. It wasn’t until much later (a couple of years) that I tried my hand at fiction. At the time, the X-Files was burning up the TV, and there was a real-life paranormal phenomenon in my home town of Pueblo, Colorado. I created the fan fiction novel “Blue Lights”. (By the way…want to read it? It’s available online for free! http://archiveofourown.org/works/1943016 Again, in my naïve newbie state, I didn’t realize a beginning author couldn’t publish an authorized tie-in novel, but I tried hard to find an agent anyway. While I got all rejections, interestingly, it was only because they were tired of working with tie-in media novels. Apparently, they’re somewhat of a pain for agents. But I did get offers to resubmit something original. The next original book I wrote was an historical novel about the old west, and not really suited to a national audience. It got picked up by a regional press, which had nothing really to do with my later books, and is a story for the bar at some convention. Find me at a convention bar and I’ll tell you…
- So how did you wind up writing for Tor Books?
Another long story that I’ll condense drastically. My friend, C.T. Adams was writing a novel about shapeshifters in Boulder, Colorado. I was a huge fan of the Laurell K. Hamilton Anita Blake series, and especially Edward, the assassin. I wondered what would happen if Edward became a werewolf. Of course, I wasn’t going to write about her Edward, so I set about to create my own. Tony Giodone was born! Cie gave me permission to write in her reality, using different characters in a different place, but using the same backstory of the world. It started as a short story and after another VERY long story about the failing of three publishers, it found a home at an ebook publishing company. While waiting in line for a book signing by Laurell Hamilton in Denver, we found ourselves in line next to a nice lady and started talking about the book we’d gotten accepted by the epublisher. Telling her the story took up the whole time and before we left, she asked if we could send her a copy of the book to read. We did, and she did. What we didn’t know right then was that the nice lady was the personal assistant to Ms. Hamilton! She liked the book so much that she gave it to her boss to read! Eep! We actually got a very nice and helpful email from Laurell, making some suggestions for the book and telling us that she hoped it was okay that she overnighted it to her agent to read too! Double EEP! The agent also loved it and thought she could sell it to a print publisher if only we weren’t going with our current epublisher. We were very fortunate that our publisher loved books so much that she encouraged us to reach for the brass ring and try for a print deal and let us out of our contract. A new editor at Tor loved the book too and made us an offer. The rest is history!
- Why aren’t you writing with C.T. Adams anymore? What happened?
A combination of things, really. One of the big ones is that we had story ideas individually that didn’t appeal to the other person to write. That’s not saying they weren’t great ideas, but what was in one person’s mind as exciting doesn’t always resonate as exciting to the other. And, in a couple of cases, we wanted different paths for the characters. For a long time, when that would happen, we would literally flip the nearest available coin and the character would go down the path of the winner. But that doesn’t always work, so we did the next best thing. We flipped a coin to see who would continue the journey of the characters as the only author. So, here’s how it worked out:
Tales of the Sazi – Cathy won the flip got to choose a series. I’ll continue to follow the stories of Wolven and the Council and all the characters you’ve come to know and love (including Tony!)
The Thrall – Cie won the flip and got to choose the next series. She can continue the journey of those characters if she chooses. It was only intended to be a trilogy, but who knows?
The Blood Singer – Cie won the flip for Celia and her world. It will continue under the Cat Adams name, but with Cie as the only author.
Agathia – The reality of Magic’s Design was won by Cathy in the flip. While it’s a stand-alone novel right now, I’ve always wanted to delve back into the reality and tell some more stories. We’ll see what happens.
And of course, there were a bucketload of plotbunnies that we’d discussed that were split as well. One that Cie got in the flip was world that became The Exile, which is Cie’s first solo work and is on the shelves now. Others that I won in the toss will be coming soon to a shelf near you , with me as the solo author.
So really, nothing will change because of how we wrote books, and you’ll never really notice that anything has changed except the name on the front cover!
- Wait, what do you mean “how we wrote books”? How could we possibly not notice one of the authors is missing?
Ah! See, that’s sort of interesting, because we didn’t co-author in a typical way. We would do a “lead author/secondary author” method, where one person would write the WHOLE BOOK. The secondary author would then come in and make edits, which the lead author could accept or reject. Depending on which book you read and loved, you’ve already been reading us as solo authors. Here’s how it worked out:
Hunter’s Moon – Cathy as lead
Moon’s Web – Cathy as lead
Captive Moon – Cathy as lead
Howling Moon – Cie as lead (this was the originally planned first book of the series!)
Moon’s Fury – Cathy as lead
Timeless Moon – Cie as lead
Cold Moon Rising – Cathy as lead
Serpent Moon – Cathy as lead
You can see why I chose the series! For The Thrall, Cie was the lead in all of those, so she got them. I picked the Agathia reality where I was lead, and Cie picked The Blood Singer, where she had penned 4 of the first 6 books (I wrote Demon Song and The Isis Collar).
- Do you write full time?
No. I have a day job. I write on the weekends and at night.
- Do you listen to music when you write?
No. I like to write in the quiet.
- Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a plotter! I have to have a whole scene plotted out in my head before I can put a word down on the page!
- Will you read my book and help teach me how to write?
Not one-on-one, I’m afraid. I’m already pretty booked, as you can imagine. But I do spend a lot of time teaching writing on the AbsoluteWrite.com forums. Come find me and thousands of other bestselling authors where we give our best advice for free! http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums
- Will you recommend me to your agent, like Laurell K. Hamilton did for you?
I have recommended people to her before, but I have to read the book and love it first—just like Laurell. Unfortunately, right now, I haven’t had a spare moment to read even the authors I already love, so I’m afraid that’s off the list for the moment. But who knows? Maybe that will change someday.
As more questions come in, I’ll update this list, but these are the most common ones! Feel free to ask any additional questions through my fan email, at: firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer them.