Page 1 of 2
(2001-07-03)Q: Can you Tell us a bit about Dark Obsession?
A: It is a fantasy novel - swords and sorcery. The hero of the novel, Margot Master, is asked by a member of the trusted Vow to bring back a young girl for their unknown purposes. Margot had previously been a slave, and finds the idea offensive. But his deliberate disobedience has consequences. He becomes a fugitive and enters into a running battle with the Vow, only to find out he's dealing with a rogue priest and not the Vow at all. In order to clear his name, he has to run. And the girl, and another woman fighting to save her home from invaders, have to help him, before the priest manages to destory Margot, the order he'd promised to protect, and possibly civilization itself.
Q: How did you originally come up with the idea for the book?
Carl and I have each been avid readers of science fiction and fantasyfor many years. In addition, we'd each made up worlds and run DnD campaignsfor years - that is, we had many ideas that wanted creative outlets. Andlastly, we both liked to write, so it was natural for us to start.
The idea for the book itself was straightforward. We both wanted toexplore the things that drive people, good people, to do bad things.Sometimes it's as simple as love of country. Sometimes it is desire ofachieving a goal at any cost, or winning a heart, or doing something thatwill be remembered.
The trick was then putting the story together in such a way that we could explore obsession.
Q: What drove you to write fantasy fiction in the first place?
A: Regardless of what people may actually say, a person writes a story forthemselves. The story is lurking inside and wants to get out. The personhas a need to write it. So he does. Hopefully he does this without gettinghis ego so tied into knots that bad things happen. I'd like to think wewrote the story because we felt the story needed to be told.
Furthermore, while there are very good writers out there - Orson ScottCard, Spider Robinson, Robert Jordan, there are also a lot of bookspublished that aren't of that quality. We wanted to see if we could dobetter (and learned what every amateur learns when a pro makes things lookeasy. The process is much harder than it appears.)
Additionally, I had another reason. My daughter, Holly (14), hadexpressed a lot of interest in writing, so I thought the timing was right todo this and be a role model. Holly turned out to be our best editor.
As for the genre, it is easier to weave the many kinds of threads together in a ficticious world. I'm sure Carl and I could have done the same in a non-fantasy setting, but we each work a lot of hours every week and the time requirements would have been prohibitive.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the experience of co-authoring the book when the two authors live in Seattle and Boston?
A: Carl and I worked for the same company in Massachusetts in 1996 for sixweeks. Microsoft bought the company and move the jobs, and Carl, toWashington. While in the same company we had traded bits of writing andenjoyed each other's work, so when the thought crossed my mind to write abook, I contacted Carl by email and phone.
We were so excited that we each dashed off two chapters each within acouple of days of the start. (In all fairness, these formed the gist of thetwo story lines we would wind up weaving together, but very little of thissurvives.) At that point we stopped, realized we were writing in a vacuum,invented the world that would be the backgound of the novel with the help offriends, and only then started trading emails with story outlines and ideas.
This was all done by email. We've now got a web site, and it would beeasier to keep a master copy there that we could both be editing.
The work itself was straightforward. We would 'lock' a chapter while weworked on it until that pass was complete, then email it back to the othercoast for more work. Usually we would have two to five chapters locked (outof 40). And if we needed to edit a chapter that was being worked on, therewere enough other things that needed to be done that we'd just do those.Carl and I made sure that we didn't hold onto a chapter for more than aweek.
Both of us locked the whole book for consistency sweeps, usually at thetimes when the other was buried at work or needed a week off. In general,having two writers kept things moving forward even when one was blocked.
It also helps that Carl and I have similar styles of writing. Even our friends have not been able to tell where I leave off and Carl begins.