There is a Shards giveaway from June 3rd-July 3rd! This is one you definitely want to enter! And if you haven’t read the first book of this series, you must check it out! (Links are at the bottom)
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1: Describe your book in one sentence.
Fiona: The shapeshifting Splinters that infest Prospero answer Ben and Mina’s resistance with some particularly horrible new tricks.
Matt: Shapeshifters, serial killers, urban legends and the vicious cycle of being a teenager surrounded by lies: this book has it all.
2: What’s your favorite music to listen to while you write?
Fiona: It depends on what I’m writing, Matt and I have a pretty weird, long playlist for The Prospero Chronicles, but mostly I listen to alternative rock along the lines of Rise Against to get me in an epic kind of mood, and emo pop like A Day to Remember to get me to open up with my characters. Plus a few of Mina’s major anthems in my head are P!nk’s “Please Don’t Leave Me,” Kelly Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” and Adam Lambert’s “Whataya Want From Me?” Oh, and the bad guy of Shards is all “Enter Sandman.”
Matt: Again, as with Fi, it depends on what I’m writing. My last few projects, both with Fiona and on my own have had me listening to an odd mix of disco, one hit wonders, 80’s hair metal, pop from the last 30 years and Marilyn Manson. Eclectic tastes for eclectic stories.
3: Do you like writing heroes or villains more?
Fiona: This is strange to say, considering how much I love reading and watching a good villain, but so far my favorites to write have been the heroes. One of my favorite parts of the process in fact is really getting into the head of the POV character, figuring out what they want, what their limits are, what makes them different. Shards does have my favorite villain I’ve worked on so far, though. I can’t give away his name yet, but he’s uniquely suited to test those heroes’ limits, and the rules for writing him were basically, once he hits the page, he doesn’t leave until he can make me uncomfortable. That was fun.
Matt: I’m going to go with an obvious answer for a less obvious reason and say I enjoy writing villains more. I don’t particularly like writing them because I think evil is just more fun and uninhibited, rather, I enjoy the challenge that villains offer. I can never just write someone who is evil for the sake of evil. I have to get in their head and understand why they’re doing what they’re doing and write them as if they are the heroes of their own story that we’re just not seeing (though, going by my own recent yet-to-be-published projects, you actually will see them). I enjoy the challenge of making the readers uncomfortable, even sympathetic toward following a villainous character, where at the end of the day you may actually find yourself rooting for them if it weren’t for the fact that they kinda want to take over the world.
4: Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Fiona: Mina is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever created, period. She’s a hero, and she’s a long, long way from the standard heroine formula. She’s smart and tough and capable, and awkward and weird and paranoid and genuinely messed up in the head. She’s vicious and harsh and secretly incredibly vulnerable.
Matt: Mina’s a standout character, and while I enjoy writing for Ben, I found myself enjoying two of our supporting cast members even more than our two leads. Haley was a lot of fun to write for in this book, given her recovery from a pretty traumatic experience in the past book, where she tries to reconcile being the happy person she wants to be with the angrier, more bitter person she’s become given what the Splinters did to her. Another favorite, in a very weird way, is one of our new characters, Patrick Keamy. He’s everything I hated about a lot of the guys I knew
in high school, he’s loud, arrogant and violent, but in writing him and putting thought into him we wound up creating this character who’s weirdly principled for being as awful as he is, which made him a lot more fascinating to write.
5: Do you prefer salty or sweet snacks?
Fiona: I’m a sweet tooth type.
Matt: I love my sweets. Probably too much if my scale has anything to say about it.
5: What authors do you look up to and why?
Fiona: J.K. Rowling was my biggest inspiration as a kid, and she’s the standard I still look to for being able to pull readers head-over-heels into the world of the story and keep them there. Suzanne Collins changed the game and the standard for YA heroines and their quests, and a generation of women owes her a huge thanks. Lauren Oliver and John Green are my favorites for pure emotional resonance, and Scott Westerfeld for bringing the great potential for satire and social commentary in sci-fi into the YA realm.
Matt: I enjoy the works of Harry Turtledove and George R. R. Martin for their insane abilities to build worlds within reasonably realistic but still fantastical realms. Ditto Max Brooks, where although certain aspects of World War Z require more of a suspension of disbelief than I initially thought, it’s still a strong contender for my favorite book. That being said, I’m a horror geek who’s been alive these last 30 years, of course the writer I look up to most is Stephen King.
7: What’s your favorite food?
Fiona: Who can pick just one? Okay, I’m such a girl in that way, probably teriyaki steak and chocolate cookie dough ice cream.
Matt: Peanut butter and jelly on fresh sourdough.
8: What’s your favorite movie?
Fiona: I’ve never been able to settle on just one of these either. Chocolat was the reigning champion for a long time, but more recent movies are in competition now. Cabin in the Woods, the Tim Burton adaptation of Sweeney Todd, The Fault in our Stars movie adaptation, and this year alone has been crowding my list with Unfriended, It Follows, and Mad Max: Fury Road (brainless-sounding title, amazing movie).
Matt: I love movies so much that this is a nearly impossible spot to fill. That said, there’s a select list of movies that I can watch over and over without getting really tired of, so my favorite movie’s bound to be somewhere in there: Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Jaws, The Room, True Lies, Star Wars, Cabin in the Woods. Like Fi, Mad Max: Fury Road is a strong contender to being added to that list, but for being so new I can’t quite pull the trigger on that yet.
9: If your book was turned into a movie, who would you cast for the main characters?
Fiona: Mina was basically written for Chloe Moretz. Ever since I first saw her in Kick-Ass, I wanted her to play one of my characters someday. The rest of the younger characters we never really matched to ideal actors, because we always hoped they’d be played by real teens, especially at first, since it’s a five book series that would take a long time to film in its entirety, so anyone who struck us as possible, we’d instantly think, “oh, but they’d be in their twenties by the time the first movie would start shooting under the best circumstances.” We’ve got favorites picked for a lot of the older generation, though. Michael Emmerson for Sam Todd, Kevin Klein for The Old Man, Sacha Baron Cohen for Alexei Smith, Bruce Campbell for Mr. Finn, and Elizabeth Mitchell for Ben’s Aunt Christine.
TITCHENELL & CARTER—Author Information and Useful Links
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