Saturday, October 06, 2007

Interview with PC & Kristin Cast

Today I've got something special for you - an interview with the writing team of PC & Kristin Cast, authors of the awesome House of Night series. You guys know I loved Marked (book 1), and I'm so excited to tell you that Betrayed (out now) was just as good!

PC is going to be dropping by the blog to answer any questions or comments you guys have, so hit her with them. She's also giving away a signed copy each of
Marked & Betrayed. The post will be up all weekend - we'll draw the winners from the comments noon on Monday, New Zealand time, so feel free to bug PC till then!

1. How/when did the two of you decide to write together?

C: Well, I was working on chapter 1 of MARKED and I kept screaming down the hall asking Kristin questions like, "KRISTIN! What do teenagers call being drunk?" and "KRISTIN! Is it revved or gunned an engine?" (This was her first semester in college before she moved on campus.) Somewhere in the middle of my shrieking I realized it would be way easier on both of us if she and I just co-authored. Kristin agreed - I ran the idea past my agent, and she thought it was great. And off we went.

2. I'm always curious about the technical aspects of collaboration. How do you write the books - do you do a chapter each? A scene each?

PC: When we first started writing together I would write and chapter, send it to her, then she'd rewrite and send it back to me. We're on our 4th book now and our system is much smoother. We discuss plots, conflicts, characters, etc., and then I write a draft of the book and send it to Kristin. She rewrites and sends it back to me. Sometime I call her in earlier and have her read sections and we discuss. Also, I often leave blanks in Zoey's internal dialogue and Kristin fills them in for me.

For PC: Is it easier or harder to collaborate with someone as close to you as your daughter?

PC: I've only had limited experience collaborating with another author (Gena Showalter and I have done some writing together - which was a very enjoyable experience), but I'd say it's much easier than I think an outsider would imagine. Kristin and I have always been very close and we're used to being honest with each other. Plus, I can beat her, which is a definite plus.

4. For Kristin: What's it like collaborating with your mother? Does she try to be the boss?

Kristin: Working with my mom is really easy, because she tends to be laid back and really wants and values my opinion. Also, I get to tell her when sh
e sounds old and when she’s wrong (which is completely awesome!).

5. How many books in the House of Night series? Is it open-ended or closed?

Right now we're contracted for six books, but I'd call the series open-ended. I don't know how we're going to get done what we want to do in only six books.

6. I loved Marked and after reading Betrayed, all I can say is that you two are amazing! Did you know you were going to be writing a series when you began Marked?

PC: Thanks Nalini! Coming from an author I respect so much that's a wonderful compliment. When I began MARKED I was only planning two books, but St. Martin's wanted three in the original contract, which is a good thing, because no way did we get the story told in two books! Before we'd finished with the third they were already wanting three more - again, a good thing because the plot had just exploded.

7. In Betrayed, something earth-shattering happens. I want to ask you about it but I don't want to spoil it for your fans, you want to make any general-will make sense after you read the book-comments about Betrayed?

PC: I'd say to trust us. We're going to make you cry, but just believe that
there are some characters we love too much to actually kill off, even if it means creating a whole new species of beings.

8. What's book 3 titled and what's it about?

PC: Book three is titled CHOSEN, and it beings a month after the events of BETRAYED. It gets darker as the issues Zoey has to deal with become
more serious. And keep in mind - teenagers tend to make mistakes, and Zoey is definitely a teenager.

Kristin: I think CHOSEN is amazing! It is my absolute favorite – well, so far.

9. You have amazing covers for this series. Did you have any input into that aspect of things?

We gave them a lot of input about Zoey's tattoos, which they translated into the amazing design on the cover.

10. Anything else you want to add?

PC: In October St. Martin's is launching the House of Night website, It's going to be an interactive site, so we would love to get your feedback!

Kristin: I just want to make a general thank you to everyone for their support and emails!

(Don't forget to comment and enter the giveaway of one copy each of Marked and Betrayed!)


dobby said...

Hi! Books look great esp the cover art. Is it harder to write for teens or adults?

Leslee said...

Love the books!!!

PC Cast said...

It's not harder to write for teens, but it is different. There's a different tempo to the plot and an emphasis on other things (teenage angst and moving the story forward quickly versus description and lush sex). It took a little getting used to, but I have the swing of it now. I do enjoy writing for teens very much and I love the characters and world we've created.

tetewa said...

Enjoyed the interview today and the books look like my kind of read.

Shari C said...

Looking forward to the House of Night website and enjoyed reading your interviews.

Working together sounds very interesting, but at the same time a little scary. What happens when you cannot agree on something for in your book? Who came up with the names for the characters in your books?

catslady said...

I love the single worded titles (easier to remember lol) and the cover. I also enjoyed the interview. Can these books be read stand alone or definitely need to be in order?

KimW said...

I enjoyed hearing all about you and your books. It sounds like a great series! I think that's neat that the two of you write together. It seems it would make it more enjoyable and create a special bond. Thanks for stopping by.

PC Cast said...

Hi Shari,
When Kristin and I disagree on a plot element or a character, etc., the one of us with more experience that pertains to the disagreement gets her way. Example: if it's something that has to do with the mechanics of plot or character development I'm the more experienced writer, so I over rule Kristin. If it's something that deals with the teenage realm - like specifics of dialogue, who's wearing what, etc., Kristin gets her way. Right now we're arguing about who Zoey should end up with. We can't agree, so we've decided to let Zoey choose.

We base a lot of the characters in the books on real people - so we decide who we want in the books and choose together. I put my students in them, and Kristin puts college kids and high school friends in them. Other than that I ususally name the characters because I write the first drafts. If Kristin has a problem with a name, she lets me know in her rewrite and we compromise.

It's really surprisingly easy to work together. I suspect that's because I could still beat her...if I could catch her...

CrystalG said...

Great interview. Your books sound fantastic. I think it is wonderful that a mother and daughter write together.

Jambrea said...

Another great interview. It is wonderful that the two of you can work together.

Jennifer Hill said...

I can't wait to read the new book.

LadyVampire2u said...

Great post. And some great covers too. I know everyone probably mentions that but I had to also. So my question is this: Is it easier having a partner to write with? I bet coming with new ideas and twists is a snap with two great minds working together.

Ashley said...

I've heard nothing but good things about these books, I can't wait to get my hands on them.

Stephanie*magic* said...

Books sound amazing!
Amazing covers also!
Very cool you and your daughter work together!

Prue said...

Hi guys and thank you for such an enlightening interview. Here's some questions I love to know the answer to. Do you each have a favourite character? Also were the main characters based on anyone you know or is it just the extra people that are based on real people? Do you have plans for plot arcs if the books go past 6 or is it more like the book takes you where it wants? One final question and then I promise to stop. You talk about not knowing who Joey is going to end up with, does that mean that there is going to be a HEA? Thank you so much for your work.

Zhan said...

Very interesting interview. Do you find it faster to write with a partner or alone?

tam said...

Love the covr & interview.

Crystal Adkins said...

I think it is wonderful that the two of you came together to share your passion in writing! Do you plan on writing more books together?

PC Cast said...


1) Ladyvamp - Easier to write with a partner? Hum...I suppose in some ways it is. I don't stress over being sure I get exact teenage analogys and every bit of Zoey's internal thoughts accurate as per what a 17 year old would be thinking (the books are 1st person from Zoey's pov) because I know Kristin is going to come along after me and "fix" any of my mistakes. So that is easier. Sometimes it's harder because I have to wait for Kristin to get her part done and that drives me crazy.

2) Prue - Kristin has said her favorite character is Zoey, which makes sense because I created Zoey to be very much like Kristin at 16. I really like Aphrodite, which will seem odd to those of you who have only read MARKED. But by the time you get to CHOSEN you'll understand what I mean - I love her sense of humor, her cynicism, and her character arch.

3) Yes! We definitly base characters off real people. Everyone from the professors (ex: Dragon Lankford and his wife Anastasia are friends of mine), to the kids. "Damien" (not his real name) is an ex-student who helped us with lots of research on Nyx. Shaunee is a real person (albiet the House of Night Shaunee is a teenager version, as is Erin - yes, they are BFFs). We also sprinkle A LOT of my students and Kristin's high school and college friends in the books. It's fun!

4) We're contracted for 6 books right now, and we have a rough plot arch for them, but our plan is just to take the series where it wants to go. That could be 6 books or 16.

5) Yes, we definitely want Zoey to have an eventual HEA. But beware! It might not be a conventional one!

Crystal - 5) Yes! Kristin and I have already discussed two other possible YA series. Right now my adult deadlines won't let me take on another project, but my bet is my daughter and I will stay teamed up for quite a while!

Thanks for the great quesitons, y'all!

AmyC said...

I think that is awesome that the two of you decided to write together!! Mother and cool is that?? :)

Sara Hantz said...

I can't wait to read the second book. The first was awesome!!

orannia said...

The books sound great! I'm always on the hunt for new books/authors and I think it is amazing that you can collaborate so well.

Apologies if this has already been asked, but do you ever find that you have completely contradictory ideas about where you want the story to go? And if so, how do you work it out?

Thank you!


PC Cast said...

Hi Orannia - here's what I said earlier on the different opinions question:
When Kristin and I disagree on a plot element or a character, etc., the one of us with more experience that pertains to the disagreement gets her way. Example: if it's something that has to do with the mechanics of plot or character development I'm the more experienced writer, so I over rule Kristin. If it's something that deals with the teenage realm - like specifics of dialogue, who's wearing what, etc., Kristin gets her way. Right now we're arguing about who Zoey should end up with. We can't agree, so we've decided to let Zoey choose.

In addition - I write the first drafts, so sometimes I make decisions about plot and characters and Kristin doesn't particularly like it. She'll do her read through and if it works, she'll just say, "Jeesh, I wish you hadn't done_____________, but I see why you had to." On the other hand, if I've done something and Kristin thinks it didn't turn out, then I listen to her and it get changed in some way (or she'll change it on her write through).

Erin said...

Would love to be in the running, please.

Have a lovely day! :-)

Mahaira said...

Hi PC & Kristin,

I no you enjoy writing books but have you ever given them away as gifts during holidays and such? Do you think giving away free copies helps a writer's reader database?

Hope you had a great time answering all these qs.It's really nice to "see" you here. Hugs!

Mahaira said...

Do you have a mailing list or a yahoo loop? I'd love to get new book info if you do.

PC Cast said...

Thanks for such nice comments. I love to see so many new readers! If you have any questions specifically for me just let me know!
Thanks again,