Friday, 21 February 2014

Erin Callahan and Troy H Gardner-- Mad World Series.

My first interview is with two authors, Erin Callahan and Troy H. Gardner, authors of the MAD WORLD SERIES. ( Published 2012/2013.

So hi, to Erin And Troy! Thank you so much for answering these questions!

Me: What/who, inspired you to write The Mad World Series?
E/T: After bemoaning the state of some YA fiction during a trip to a bookstore (like klutzy girls swooning over stalkers), we decided we should give it a try.Me: Oh whoa! Did you know the ending of the books before you wrote them, or did you just let the story take you where it wanted to go?

E/T: A little We’ve had some major plot developments planned and even a few ending ideas since the first day we started talking about the series. We fill in the specifics when we sit down to plot out each individual book.
Me: Sounds organised! Commonly asked question; If you could be any character for the day that you've created, who would you be, and why?

T: Just for one day? I think I’d be Teddy since he’s never bored.
E: If it’s only for one day, I think I’d like to be Ally. It would be really interesting, and terrifying, to step into her shoes for a short period of time.

Me: Interesting choices! I'd love to be Astrid for the day! Did you find any part of the books hard to write, or did it all come easy for you?

T: Act one of Tunnelville was the hardest for me. Those travelling scenes were grueling. I had to get a map out and figure out their journey, and there were so many characters in each scene. At one point, I snapped and just decided that they take a bus because I couldn’t take it any longer.E: I agree with Troy that those early scenes in Tunnelville were tough to write because we were carrying such a large cast of characters. I also struggle with action scenes. As a reader, I’m not a big fan of action scenes and I tend to zone out when I read a lot of them. It can be difficult to write a scene that’s exciting, but also conveys something deeply emotional or significant in terms of character development.
Me: Suffering for your art! I know what living with the creative type is like, I live with a writer, pens fly at dawn! So, how do you find co-authoring?

T: It’s great. I can feel internal pressure when I’m writing to get a project done, but having a partner means I can email it off to Erin and not worry about it while it’s in her hands.
E: I love having someone to bounce ideas off of who has a really deep understanding of the story and characters. Obviously we seek input from outside parties, but Troy is the best beta reader I could ask for.
Me: Aww! Ok, so how would you feel in your characters’ situation?

T: Probably fairly similar to the way they do. When I’m writing first person perspective, I often put myself in the narrator’s shoes.
E: I’ll second that. I think we’ve worked hard to create realistic characters who have (mostly) rational reactions to irrational circumstances.
Me: Haha, realistic, you have created! Have you ever considered writing other genres in to the Mad World Series?

T: I’m all for mashing up genres, but in a series, I think the different genres need to be established early on. At this point, if we did something like suddenly injecting sci-fi into the narrative, I think it would feel like Indiana Jones fighting aliens—just wrong.
E: I agree with Troy, though I will point out that we venture a bit into the genre of alternative history for Perfection, book three in the series.
Me: Wait a sec, isn't that Indiana Jones and the crystal skull? Haha, can't wait! So, which character that you've created are you most like? And why?

T: I don’t really see any one character being similar to myself, rather there are certain aspects I recognize in a lot of them. There’s Max’s sense of humor, Lycen’s aloofness, some of Teddy’s views, etc.
E: As much as I hate to admit this, I put a lot of myself into Astrid, because it was the easiest way for me to make her three-dimensional. Many of our early reviewers complained about how annoying and judgmental she was in Wakefield. At one point, I half-seriously asked Troy if I should be offended. :)
Me: If it means anything, I liked Astrid! Do you plan any other books in the Mad World Series? Or are you planning a whole new series?
We recently submitted the manuscript for the third book to our publisher and we’re working on the fourth. We’re planning on a six book series.
Me: Great!! Good luck! When did you know you wanted to write? Was it always a dream or did it just happen?
T: I always wanted to be a storyteller, but initially I thought about directing.
E: I didn’t do a lot of writing in high school, but at some point in college I reread some of my YA favorites and thought it would be interesting to try to write YA fiction at some point. I didn’t actually start doing it until years later, when Troy talked me into into it.
Me: Glad he did! So, who is you favourite author/book, and why?
T: That depends on the day of the week for me. David Sedaris is my favorite humorist, I was a big Harry Potter fan, and I’m obsessed with A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones).
E: I say this in almost every interview, so Troy’s probably sick of hearing it, but my favorite YA novel is The Goats by Brock Cole. Every time I read it, I notice something that I didn’t before and the layers of emotion just blow me away. His other books are also great, though one of them is so bleak I’ve never been able to finish it.

Me: Ooh, I’ll have to add those to my to-read list! Any hobbies? Unusual skills?
T: I love board games and I’m a bit of a movie buff. I like drawing a lot, but I’m not that great.
E: I work full time, so writing is my primary hobby. I’m also a massive music fan—I play very rudimentary guitar, but I enjoy listening more than playing.
Me: You both sound like creative types! What is your favourite film?
T: I never get tired of Magnolia, Sleepaway Camp, Rocky Horror, or Shock Treatment.
E: I have trouble picking favorites, but recently I’ve developed a rather unhealthy obsession with Shane Carruth’s films, Primer and Upstream Color. As disturbing as Upstream Color is, it’s so beautiful that I want to press play again as soon as it’s over.
Me: Sounds really great! Do you have any pets?
T: Not currently, but I love housesitting for my parents since they have a dog and three cats.
E: My last pet was a goldfish named Cosmo, but he went belly up a few years ago. :(

Me: OMG, my fish disintegrated because the PH levels were wrong! RIP Cosmo! Wow, that’s quiet a pack of animals your parents have! Now, what's your favourite food?
T: I never turn down lobster (although there’s not much I don’t turn down).
E: I love both sushi and comfort food, especially a good beef stew.

Me: Tasty! Favourite place to travel?T: I loved every moment of a trip to Scotland several years back.
E: I’ve been to the Greek Islands (specifically the Ionians) twice. They are so peaceful and friendly, and the food is amazing. It’s the kind of place that makes you fantasize about becoming an expatriate.
Me: *Points to self* Part Scottish! Erin, so jelly-ous! (Weird word for you!) Greece is such a fab country! Online shopping, no shopping, or high street shopping?
T: Online about 90 percent of the time. Christmas shopping is so much easier in the comfort of my living room.
E: Ugh, I’m not a big shopper, but I try to do most of it online.
Me: I know what you mean! What's the one thing you always carry around with you/ wear?
T: I feel weird if I don’t have my wallet.
E. I always carry a handbag with my wallet and phone.Me: Sounds organised! Favourite time of the year?
T: Autumn is a nice break from the heat of summer and means Halloween is on its way.
E: As much as I love fall foliage, I love warm weather and sunshine even more. Mid-summer is the time of year I feel most at ease.

Me: Autumn and summer- great choices! Thank you so much Erin and Troy!

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