If you are an author, chances are you have about 300+ author friends on Facebook. Some of them you've met through workshops, conferences, and some through blogs like this one. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to co-author a book with one of them? Today I am pleased to welcome Shelly M. Burrows and Michael S. Stewart, a pair of authors who collaborated on a series. Blood Moon, the first book in the Dark Moon series.
Show your fangs, girl!
MJN: On your website, you mention that you are not writing for the Twilight crowd. Something along those lines. When you mentioned Stacia Kane as one of your literary idols, I was not surprised. There seem to be two polarized views of vampires - one being that of an exalted, tormented, ultimately noble albeit decadent creature, and another being that of a grisly, beastly being akin to the Orcs in Lord of the Rings. The world doesn't need any more Edward Cullens. What formed your view of vampires?
SB: I love all vampire movies. From Interview With a Vampire to Underworld. I am SO tired of seeing the vampires that hate what they are or the monsters they've become. Our vampires are proud of what they are. Also, they have different temperaments, just like humans. You have good and bad, but none are tormented types.
MS: Twilight and the angst-ridden vampires have their own niche and an abundant amount of fans. What appeals to me about vampires is what calls to a lot of us, the idea of eternal youth, power and wealth. That's an incredible amount of freedom and our vampires revel in it. I've been drawn to this genre since my parents let me watch Christopher Lee's Dracula movies in the early 1970's. Even though the vampires were clearly evil, they were also magnetic. As a rule, I do find the vampire tales that have them as shades of gray to be the most interesting. I think that's how are vampires are, straddling the fine line between being good or bad.
Writing in tandem
MJN: You and Michael co-authored the series. Is this your first experience at co-authoring? I'm only asking because all my co-authoring experiences ended in a disaster.
SB: Yes, this is our first experience co-authoring a book, but Michael and I have written together for years in various formats.
MS: I really think it helps that we're such good friends and share the same vision for our characters and stories.
Big screen dreams
MJN: Several reviewers said that your work had a cinematic quality. Have you ever thought of adapting your book as a screenplay? Have you fantasized about casting specific actors to play the parts?
SB: We would LOVE to see our books made into movies. That is one dream that I have. Though I have no experience with screenplays. We've actually put together a dream cast. You can find it on youtube here: Dream Cast Trailer.
MS: Yes, as Shelly said, we would love that! I think that's every author's dream.
MJN: You have some very Irish names in your novel. Saoirse MacKay, Caoihme O'Rourke. As a lifelong Celtophile, I notice those things. Do you have a Celtic connection?
SB: My family history traces back to Staffordshire, UK and all over that region. But for the purposes of our book, we wanted to show that Variants come from all over and have different nationalities etc. For example, we mention in Blood Moon that there are rumors of the Blood Moon Pack origins hail from folktales of the Wulver. We like weaving different mythologies into our stories.
MS: I've always enjoyed writing about characters with different backgrounds than myself and that is one of the perks of creating the Variant world.
To immortality and beyond!
MJN: Both of you clearly are not lacking in the imagination department. Have you thought of generating another race/species of monsters beyond vampires or werewolves?
SB: In our second book Dark Harvest, you get to see that the Variant World is much bigger than vampires and werewolves. They are just the tip of the iceberg.
MS: Yes, tip of the iceberg best describes it. Some of the types of beings will easily be recognizable for what they are, though we are putting our own twists on them; others will have readers wondering what the Hell they are, hopefully!