Interview with a Fan
Updated: Oct 2, 2018
A big thank you to our super-fan Rena for coming up with these great questions. If you have any questions you would like us to answer feel free to fill out the 'contact' form!
1. How did you come up with such creative names for your characters?
It’s always difficult to come up with unique names, some were chosen from recycled story lines-and I am not sure how we even came up with those. Often times I came up with a sequence of letters that I thought looked good and worked with that to create a name. Combining names also works wonders.
In Onslaught we had to come up with names for the Likurni that could be easily differentiated from the Durthians. For that I only used the vowels I,o,u and tried to keep the consonants on the right hand side of the keyboard. That may be cheating, but it worked. –E
For me, the easiest way to come up with names was to simply mash together pre-existing ones. This process gives you an easy starting point, and has a bit of familiarity…at least to you as the author, since you know the root names. If that isn’t working for you, I’ve actually just hit random keys, and removed every other letter to give me some characters to play with. -L
2. How did you decide which characters would perish?
Some of the characters were slated for destruction at the moment they were created and somehow missed the cutting block every time it came around. Others weren’t supposed to die, but ended up meeting an unfortunate end. I never know what the characters will do and sometimes they surprise me. One character was supposed to die, ended up surviving, so we had to do him in in Vengeance. –E
Like Ethan said, some of our characters didn’t go according to plan…which is always fun as a writer. Some of the characters you create end up having such a role in the story, that if you get rid of them you have to write in someone else to fill their shoes. Sometimes, removing a character is a way to stir up the plot if you find yourself stuck…there are other techniques too, but character death always has unique ramifications. –L
3. Who is your favorite character and why?
My favorite characters are Alexa, Sorrongoth, Bretyhl, Jhadgar, and Kaefel. I think I like the conflicted characters the most. Their motives and actions are the most fun to see play out. I have a soft spot for all of the characters…even the ones like Yerak and Konhis-I try to give them a little redemption arc. –E
Probably my two favorite characters are Alexa and Seruke. Alexa has such an interesting story and really evolves throughout the trilogy. She starts somewhat weak and pampered, and grows into a true survivor. Seruke, is a fun character because there’s so much controversy around him. He seems likeable and good hearted, but his actions and choices are almost always questionable. -L
4. Who is your least favorite and why?
My least favorite is probably Seruke. He’s the fan favorite, but he’s pretty slimy. At the same time he is an awesome character to write. He’s fairly young and I think most of his actions are very relatable. Being my least favorite also does not mean that I don’t like him. –E
I would have to say Jergle. He was such an easily manipulated character, and while he cared for his people he just wasn’t really cut out to rule. –L
5. What will you change about your process when you write another book?
I fly by the seat of my pants when I write and only take down notes for plots and character description so I don’t get that confused. I don’t think I will change much, but my writing has definitely evolved and that can be seen as the series progresses. –E
Typically I like to have main plot points figured out, and write from one to the other, and let things flow somewhat organically in between. The way I develop characters has a strong effect on this. For each character, they have certain predetermined qualities and vices, and as I write them those traits can grow or shrink. So instead of having the plot drive character development, I like to let my characters drive the plot more. So, to get back to the actual question, I probably won’t change too much of my process right now. –L
6. Will you write another series?
I just finished a sci-fi story, it might become a series but for now it’s a standalone novel (which is what Rebellion was supposed to be). I am currently working on publishing that, name and cover will be released later! I also just started a horror story that will be three parts. I am not sure if I’ll publish that as an omnibus or a trilogy. It might also be only two parts. We’ll see how inspired I am. –E
I am currently working on a stand-alone urban fantasy novel and hope to have that completed and in the publishing process in another six months to a year. As far as Ethan and I writing another story or series together, we have kicked the idea around but do not really have a team-story in mind at the moment. We may collaborate on some short stories for out blog or newsletter, so keep an eye out for those. –L
7. What authors inspire you?
Authors that influenced me the most early on are Tolkien, Vonnegut, Rick Yancy, and George R. R. Martin. Now that I’ve started publishing and reading more I look up to self-published authors like Hugh Howey and Melissa McPhail I also love nonfiction and read biographies and natural science books. –E
Just like Ethan, J.R.R. Tolkien has been a huge inspiration. We grew up with those books and absolutely loved the films. Beyond that, I really enjoyed reading Tamora Pierce and Garth Nix as a middle schooler. I have reread the Circle of Magic and Sabriel series many times over. -L
8. Your female characters were, without exception, resourceful survivors. What were your criteria/inspiration for your female characters?
I think I’ve always had female role models from teachers, bosses, teammates, coaches, and of course my mother. I think that translates to my writing and I take those qualities to create convincing monarchs. My favorite scene in perhaps the entire trilogy is when Alexa and Vikinu are treating and their lovers are standing behind them. It’s a play on power that I hope the readers won’t miss and it shows who is really in charge. That doesn’t mean that the female characters are safe from struggles and I think the character arcs of Kerine and Alexa are some of the most dynamic, and both redeem and damn themselves by the end of the story. The trilogy really focuses on Seruke, Sorrongoth, Jhadgar, Kerine, and Alexa. Both of the women start out as love interests and transcend far beyond that. –E
My entire life I have been surrounded by strong women. For starters, our mother was the goalie for the men’s ice hockey team…You don’t get much tougher than that. From there, most of my favorite and most influential teachers and supervisors have been women. I saw a certain amount of tact and kindness in those women, tempered with a firmness to not take any shit from anyone. So, for me, I really enjoy writing strong female characters…the women in our books were introduced casually and tied to other characters. It was a sneaky way to bring them in, and allowed for them to have break-away moments and take on star roles of their own. -L
9. What inspired your vast and varied scenery?
Without a doubt the Wind River Range influenced the setting in Rebellion and continues to influence my writing. I love the mountains and as I explore more and more, I find extra details I can add to bring a landscape to life. –E
Our home in the mountains and high desert of Wyoming, was certainly the main source of inspiration for our landscapes in the trilogy. I’ve discovered, through working as a gardener, that to really create a good image of a location you need to know the flora. By using native plant life, you can also implicate weather and topography. -L
10. What were the pros and cons of co-writing?
I think co-writing really helped bring our ideas full circle. Pacing was the biggest and maybe the only con. The best part of co-writing is that we both created characters who had conflicts with each other so eventually one had to die. It was like bartering in a way, if your character kills so-and-so, this character gets to kill these ones. A lot of that was going on in Vengeance. –E
Working together really helped us to keep the story on track. Both of us, many times, had ideas or concepts that we wanted to bring in that really didn’t fit in the story we were telling. Having both of us needing to agree on the storylines advancement helped us to check ourselves. As my brother said pacing was probably our biggest challenge. For most of the trilogy we lived in separate states, and were both still in school, so there were a lot of moments where we were just ships in the night. -L