Today’s interview is with Carrie Clevenger (author of Crooked Fang) and Nerine Dorman (author of Inkarna), who teamed up to pen Just My Blood Type and Blood and Fire. They share with us their experience collaborating together, as well as what they have planned for readers next.
CARRIE CLEVENGER: It was an absolute pleasure. One of the things I enjoy most co-writing with Nerine is that we bounce ideas off one another, which further agitates the plot line and raises the level of excitement. We also have different strengths to complement one another which makes the task of writing a story that much easier. She’s great at descriptions and motivations whereas I am more of the idea person, the bang and sizzle, so she grounds my wild runs of the imagination.
NERINE DORMAN: I particularly like some of disagreements. I like the fact that Carrie will sometimes take a step back and say that there’s something that’s not working. Then we’ll throw ideas back and forth until we tease out what’s bothering us. The story is almost invariably stronger for this kind of exercise, especially for us knowing when to stand firm on something or back off.
LZ: Did you go into the process with concerns, considering you’d never collaborated before?
ND: Before we wrote our first collaboration, we’d already spent a lot of time delivering critique on each other’s work, so we were already familiar with each other’s style, and had a mutual love of the other’s writing. That helped a lot. Also, our styles complement each other. Having a mutual love and respect for each other’s writing helps a lot, and the process is like hitching two horses to the same chariot. We have to work together otherwise it’s an uneven ride. Most importantly in a writing partnership is knowing when to give so the other can lead, and when to take the initiative.
CC: I had collaborated before, only to have each and every effort fall into…well. Let’s just say you can’t just fall into a partnership with just anyone. I think what I took away from the experience was that you have to have different strengths in order for it to work. An example would be leadership and support. Or perhaps plotting versus fleshing out said-plot.
LZ: How did you both decide on the premise for the collaboration?
CC: Honestly, it was a mashup of introducing Xan from Crooked Fang to the public as a free giveaway with a big what-if of Therese, an erotic romance writer, met this this big bad vampire. How would they play off one another, that sort of thing.
ND: I must admit I felt a little … weird … about some of the flirting at first. But I had to separate myself from the character I’d portrayed. But it was kind of me at the same time.
LZ: What was it like having your alter ego in a story, and how did it feel to have a hand in writing it?
LZ: You have also collaborated on another story, Blood and Fire. Can you tell us a bit about that?
CC: Blood and Fire is a larger production and features two main characters, my Xan Marcelles from Crooked Fang and Ash Kennedy from Inkarna. That one came about because we wanted to introduce Ash in a crossover story with Xan, who is already somewhat known. Plus their opposing cultural backgrounds and unique respective assets made for an often-comical exchange. In a word, fun.
When we went from the goof-off phase to a true submission to Dark Continents Publishing, we had to make a few changes so it could stand on its own, whereas before it was set up to be another simple mashup like Just My Blood Type.
ND: I think the practice we had writing Just My Blood Type really was good for preparing how we’d handle dialogue. That was my main concern, that I was able to write Xan’s dialogue during my writing turns. Things definitely flowed more naturally by then and I had a lot more confidence. Also I really liked the way Carrie was able to “channel” Ash.
LZ: What are you working on now, or what do you have in store for readers next?
ND: At present I’m revising a post-tech spec-fic novel for a prominent GLBTI publisher I was invited to submit to. I’ll be totally stoked if they offer a contract but, even if they decide to decline, I’ll still have a super novel to shop around to agents and other publishers. Other than that I’ve currently got a GLBTI-themed fantasy novel sitting on an editor’s desk as a full sub, which is quite exciting. And while all that’s going on, I’m promoting my current release, Inkarna, and will possibly chase Carrie up for our next collaboration later this year once she’s finished revisions on her solo debut novel, Crooked Fang (Lyrical Press), for which I am her editor.
CC: Crooked Fang, Xan’s story, is releasing in a few weeks so that’s my big time sink right now. I’ve been doing guest blog posts and interviews, both with me and with Xan to get word out about my novel. After that, I’m toying with either a horror/thriller story I call 27 and the sequel to Crooked Fang called Pale Rider. Pale Rider is already third drafted but I took a break from the Crooked Fang universe for a few months to let my mind recharge and simmer a new exciting plot.
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Carrie Clevenger landed in the urban fantasy genre when she couldn’t decide between horror and humor. When not writing she enjoys listening to music, hanging out with musicians, attending local venues, catching her favorite bands on tour, and obsessing over The Next Big Album release. Carrie resides in Austin, Texas.