TBP: How did you become
drawn into the clutches of involved with That Book Place?
Sarah: We met Frank Hall at the Harrodsburg Book Fair. Sarah immediately spotted his Hydra Publications banner and headed over to investigate. Overall, he struck us as a cool guy who was into cool books, especially when he asked if we’d like to come speak at his store sometime.
TBP: Gwen and Sarah, Sarah and Gwen, your writing is very different. Are your writing processes very different, too?
Sarah: They are entirely different. Gwen is a plotter. She researches and comes up with her basic story, then sits down to write it. She begins writing with Page One and continues in chronological order till it’s finished. I’m insanely jealous of her.
I’m a pantser. I write by what I refer to as the ‘spider’ method. I begin with the scenes that come to me and write those first. Those scenes are almost never the start or finish of the story. Once those are done, I write the in-between stuff. It’s not unusual for me to have to reorder those first plot points. By the time I’d finished my first novel, I’d had to use a calendar and Post-Its to figure out how things worked best. My final product may not begin _in medias res_, but my writing certainly does.
Research? I do my research when I realize that there’s something new I need to know to write a scene. Those generally come as surprises.
TBP: Do you critique one another’s work, or do you prefer to rely on critique partners outside the household?
Gwen: Both. Sarah is my first reader, and the only person who sees a chapter or short story before it is finished. She gives me great feedback and makes everything I write better.
On the other hand, I don’t get to read Sarah’s work until she’s finished her first draft. I’m also her first reader and make suggestions. Usually she makes some changes before someone else sees it.
Both of us rely on our Sisters in Crime chapter and a couple of other beta readers before we submit our work. I really like to have Sarah’s mother read my books, because English is not her first language and fixing anything that confuses her will generally make the work less confusing for everyone else.
TBP: How did your main character and subject first come to you? How or when did you know he, she or it was a Project and not just a passing Idea?
Sarah: I had fun confessing at Bouchercon that Cynthia had begun as Gwen’s character in Vampire: the Masquerade. I ran a campaign set in Irvine, and when it was over I didn’t stop thinking about the characters or their adventures. I finally asked Gwen if I could use Cynthia as the heroine of a novel, and she said ‘yes’. This is, BTW, also my proof that Cynthia is not a Mary Sue. I say Dylan is, while Gwen claims that Josie is my Mary Sue.
Gwen: I borrowed the name from one of Sarah’s Darkover characters and created an entirely different character. I wanted to tell a little about the Irish experience in America, but most of the character is drawn from the women who served as nurses during the Civil War, those who joined the Army posing as men, and the women who worked for Pinkerton. Nessa incorporates elements of all of these women. She is deeply scarred by the violence of her new country and the poverty and hunger she left behind.
TBP: Have you ever thought of collaborating on a book?
Sarah and Gwen: We’re considering it. We’ve collaborated on a few short stories. “The Final Statement’, recently published in The ePocalypse, was a joint project. We’ve also written an amusing story involving two retired nurses from World War I that we hope to see published in an upcoming Sisters in Crime anthology. We’re thinking about doing a full-length novel about the nurses set in the 1920′s. The biggest obstacle is our different writing styles. When we’ve done short stories together, Gwen generally diagrams the plot. Both of us fill in the details. Sarah does the heavy lifting in writing the first draft.
We tend to write two characters when we collaborate, generally two characters working as a team. Each of us creates the personality of one of the characters and makes sure that the dialogue and actions are true to that character. That’s how we deal with the difference in our writing styles and focus.
TBP: If you could sit one of your characters and one of your co-interviewee’s characters down together, who would they be? How would it go?
Sarah and Gwen: Dylan meeting Nessa would be the most amusing. He would find her charming, and offer all sorts of tips for her cross-dressing. Nessa might not find Dylan equally charming, however. He’s brassy and something of a fop. He also rarely treats things seriously (a consequence of feeding from the patrons of his bar).
Cynthia meeting Doc Haydon would be the most amiable. He is a scientist and an innovator, and Cynthia would admire that about him. Doc Haydon would be fascinated with the technological advancements made since his time. Even her cell phone would be a validation of his confidence in technology’s future. The inventions of his own time – photography, electricity, the telephone, the phonograph (MP3s) and even batteries – combined together in a miniature, portable form! He’d also be curious about the scientific basis of vampirism, which Cynthia is curious about too.
All Tad would learn from Josie: more four-letter words and that even girls were more helpful in a fight than he is.
TBP: Thanks, you two! Now let’s have some bios and buy links for folks who aren’t lucky enough to come see you in person at That Book Place.
SARAH E. GLENN
Sarah E. Glenn, a product of the suburbs, has a B.S. in Journalism, which is redundant if you think about it. By day, she works for the University of Kentucky. By night, she battles banality by writing weird stories. Several have appeared in mystery and paranormal anthologies, including G.W. Thomas’ Ghostbreakers series, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, and Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology.
All This and Family, Too is Sarah’s first novel. This heartwarming saga answers the question: can a vampire survive the challenges of a gated community, even with the support of a loving family?
My web site: http://www.sarahglenn.com
My blog: http://saraheglenn.blogspot.com
The biggie for me: All This and Family, Too: http://tinyurl.com/ATFTamazon
Some other book links:
Caldera short story (this is a standalone on Kindle, set in Santorini, Greece): http://tinyurl.com/vrykolakas
Fish Tales: The Guppy Anthology: http://tinyurl.com/FTGuppies
Big Book of New Short Horror: http://tinyurl.com/BBHorror
Halloween Frights Vol 1: http://tinyurl.com/HFVol1
Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending the colorful history of her native Kentucky with her love for mystery fiction. She currently lives and writes in Lexington, Kentucky, but grew up in a large Irish family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. Her stories have appeared in anthologies, at online short fiction sites, and in micro-fiction collections.
Circle of Dishonor, her first novel, is set during the turbulent political upheaval of post Civil War Kentucky at a time when murder was more common in Kentucky than it was in anywhere else in the United States.
Gwen’s Web Site: http://www.gwenmayo.com
Gwen’s blog: http://gwenmayo.blogspot.com
Circle of Dishonor: http://tinyurl.com/CODamazon
Pocket Full of Trouble, a chapbook: http://tinyurl.com/POTamazon
TBP: Thanks, Gwen and Sarah, for joining us today. We look forward to your appearance in person at That Book Place on October 15, 2011.