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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Interview with Sable Grace, author of Ascension

Today I am very excited to interview the wonderful writing duo, Heather Waters & Laura Barone, otherwise known as Sable Grace!

Sable Grace
Welcome ladies, can you please start off with telling us a little something about each of you?
L:Well, I’m not sure if people would call me a bookworm—because I have enough books for a small library—or a nerd because I like tech toys and am an avid gamer. I also have an addictive personality so I get sucked in quick. I’m a mom, have three active toddlers living in my house, and married to my real life hero (I know, so cliché, but still true) for half my life.

H: I’m a nerd! A gigantic, proud nerd with a love of video games (hello World of Warcraft buds!) that might swing me to the geek side, too. But more importantly, I’m the mother of two pretty spectacular kids and wife to a pretty amazing man for the last 16 years.

I love how the two of you work together to write one book. Can you share with us your writing process? Do you have any rituals that you go through?
H: I’m typically the brainstormer, mainly because I’m the fool who has to write the synopsis for each book. Since we usually don’t have a plot that early, I have to make one up in order to get the next proposal out the door. I’ll usually write the first few pages of the manuscript as well, just to help me get the synopsis up and running, and then I pass to Laura. We usually stick to a page quota for each day and we’ve done this via two different methods – she’ll take one day, I’ll take the next, or we’ll both write every day, me in the morning, Laura at night. There are no rituals, per se, unless you include the wine that flows on the rare occasion that we get to work side by side. With her living in Ocala and me in Jacksonville, that doesn’t happen often enough! I’m a control nut. Spreadsheets, schedules, revisions, etc. Laura’s more relaxed and laid back. I think if we both needed to control the process, this would never work. Like, ever. Seriously. I’d kill her if she didn’t kill me first.

L: I pretty much write whenever the spreadsheet tells me to. For years, even before we started writing as Sable Grace, I’d tell Heather what I wanted to accomplish in the year and she’d set up a writing schedule that would show me how I could get done all I wanted to do without stressing or giving up sleep to get it done. So when we started working together, it only made sense that we have a schedule and charts. And, since I absolutely love to watch the little pie chart fill up, this works well for me. There are times I wish we lived closer so we could work side-by-side more but perhaps it’s best that it takes two hours to reach each other—or she might give into urges to smack me more often J

You two seem to have compete opposite personalities, I bet it can get pretty interesting at times. Can you share with us something funny that has happened while writing together?
H: I can’t think of any funny event in particular, but we’re able to make each other laugh every day. As different as we are (and boy are we!), we both have the same patterns of speech in real life – the same snarky, sarcastic sense of humor that gets us in trouble with people who don’t get it. But humorous stuff does happen in the process over all. We just got revisions back for book 2 of the series where our editor pointed out that a pair of boots that had gone missing in one chapter kept appearing and disappearing again in the next several. Because there’s two of us writing the scene, it’s pretty easy to have one of us forget a detail like missing boots, and the other one remembers. Keeping details straight like that can be a major headache.

L: Wow, funny happens with us every day, especially on those rare occasions we get to work side-by-side. We get each other’s humor, which is not always a good thing since there’s a good chance many won’t, but it keeps us in chuckles. Some of the funniest things in the writing process is when we envision our editor scratching her head trying to figure out what two seemingly different words placed together in a sentence have to do with each other and all she puts is a “huh?” in the margin. Cracks us up because we’ve either deleted too many words or left a couple stragglers and completely change whatever we were trying to say—or simply confuses the daylights out of everyone involved.

What part of the writing process do you ladies love? What part do you hate?
H: As far as what I love the most… it’s the revision process. The hard work is done at that point, and now I get to fiddle and tinker and figure out what works and what doesn’t. There’s not really a part of the process that I hate. Maybe the synopsis, but even those can be all right if you get on a good roll. I guess a better question/answer would be what am I weakest at? I won’t remember to put in details unless I’m forced to. You may never know what the town looks like or what the characters are smelling unless I remember to go back and put it in. I’m too caught up in the story to care, honestly, and tend to skip right over it when I’m reading other books. But I know readers like that stuff so I do try!

L: My favorite part is the first draft. I love to see where the story is going to go and figure out all the twists and turns. Learning the characters and seeing what else can happen to them is sheer joy. Hate is such a strong word, but trying to figure out the logic behind something is not always fun for me—or Heather!—but sometimes the scene on the page doesn’t include the reasons for whatever was in my head, because well, I didn’t know them at the time I wrote it, so it can be a lot of work fixing those. Sometimes it requires rewriting, but most times we can talk it out and discover the truth behind an event or action to make it all logical and flow with the story.

AscensionYour debut novel, Ascension, was released yesterday. Congratulations! Ascension and I share the same birthday, woot! Can you give us some details as to what readers should expect; plot, pace, romance, ect?
Happy birthday! Woot, indeed. Um, let’s see… plot: think Greek myths mixed with Vampyres and Werewolves and Witches… World goes Kablooey and kick ass heroine makes it all better. Or tries to. Pace? The Miata theme zoom zoom zoom comes to mind :D And as for the romance, all I can say is, you’ll see it begin in Ascension… but don’t be surprised if there are no marriage vows or moving in together at the end. You might have to wait a couple of books for that happily ever after.

What kind of readers do you think Ascension will appeal to? 
Anyone who likes adventure! Or sex. Kick ass heroines. Mythology. Or even things that go bump in the night.

Being a native Floridian I absolutely love St. Augustine, the architecture, the history, the atmosphere. What inspired you to pick it for the backdrop of your story?
H: I’m only about 30 minutes away from St. Augustine and it’s been a constant weekend getaway for me and my family over the last 15 or so years. The minute you step into the historic side of the city, there’s a noticeable difference to the way the air feels. It’s like you walk in a cloud of stories that have passed through the city walls. How could we not want to set the series there? Besides, it’s one of the first cities we destroy in Ascension, and if you’re going to start rebuilding the world, I can’t think of a better city to start reconstruction! Let it be the oldest city twice in its lifetime!

L: St. Augustine has always been one of my favorite places to visit with its history, not to mention all the ghost stories attached to it. And, as Heather said, it’s the oldest city now and deserved to be the oldest in the rebirth, too.

Do you have a favorite character that you wrote? Why? 
H: I love our heroine, Kyana. She wasn’t the heroine, originally, but when we first wrote the book, a character named Jordan was supposed to be the star of the show. But Kyana walked onto the page, protecting Jordan, and suddenly, Jordan looked as interesting as a pair of shoelaces. But for me, Kyana is kind of the Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, she’s interesting and kick ass, but she’s kind of just the focal piece that all the really interesting things happen around. The secondary characters are who fill the world up for me, personally. Geoffrey, Haven, Nettles. Those are the ones I tend to have the most fun with – probably because they can get away with a lot more naughty things than Kyana or Ryker can.

L: Oh, I love all our characters. Kyana for her strength and Ryker for his loyalty. Haven because she’s such a girly-girl when I’m so not! And Nettles, the change-o-character Queen. She’s been through a lot of transformations before finally reaching the person she is now. But my favorite, from the moment he stepped onto the page is Geoffrey. I have a thing for Vamps. Always have. However, my heart goes all gooey for the badass bad boy who knows what he is and won’t make any apologies for it. (Think Spike of the Buffy/Angel days. That’s Geoffrey’s persona for me.) He’s Vampyre. He’s killed for survival, for pleasure and for the Order, and he’s not going to make excuses for it. And, he has an awesome accent. Who could ask for anything more?

What makes Kyana and Ryker perfect for each other and why will readers fall in love with them?
Ryker is the perfect complement to Kyana, primarily because he’s everything she wishes she could be. Calm, caring and unafraid of what others think of him. She’s perfect for him because he knows she is all those things. And more. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Can you share with us a favorite scene that you wrote?
H: How to pick? A scene we wrote together or separately? Separately, a scene I wrote that I really loved was the final scene or two of Ascension. A lot of readers have said that they are irritated by the cliffhanger, yet they’ll pick up book 2 because of it. It’s not the cliffhanger that I’m proud of, though. It’s the final little twists those scenes reveal about the book. The final secrets explained, I guess. As for a scene we worked on together – there’s a particular bath scene that was cut out of Ascension… and might have worked its way into book 2….(Wonder if our editor even noticed that) :D

L: Wow, and I thought the favorite character question was hard. There’s the fight scene in. . . . no, wait, the one in Book 2 where the vehicle’s about to . . . . no, that’s not it either. Hmm, guess I’m going with the first time you meet Haven. Their friendship is such a strong part of who they are and what they’ll do, and it was just fun to write the mall rat when yeah, I only go to the mall under threat of death. Of course, that original scene was tweaked and morphed into what it is now, but the bond between them, that closeness that is so unique to them, is still there. Once again, have to agree with Heather on the favorite that we did together. That bath scene has seen a few versions and I’m keeping crossed fingers that it will be in Book 2.

Do you have anything you’re working on now that you can share with us?
We’re both working on solo projects – nothing contracted. And as Sable Grace, we’re just wrapping up revisions on book 2 (title to be announced and book to be released Jan ’12) and have turned in the manuscript for book 3.

What would Ascension’s hero, Ryker, never be caught dead saying?
H: “Dude.” There’s enough surfer boy in him that he doesn’t need to be completely clichéd about it!

L: Oh, man, Heather took my answer! Okay, besides anything stereotypical to the surfer crowd, it would have to be “sweet” endearments. He has a nickname for Kyana, but it’s not your usual baby or honey or anything like that. He’d much rather show her what she means to him than put a label on it.

H: Wait.  I don’t think we’d hear him say “Not tonight, Kyana,” either.

What is Kyana’s, our heroine’s, favorite weapon and why?
H: She has these silver-plated daggers that have been with her since she joined the Order of Ancients. I don’t even know yet why she cares about them so much, but she gets really pissed off when she doesn’t have them.

L: Not sure what makes the daggers so important to her, but I think they’re her weapon of choice because they allow her to get in the grit of the action, get her hands dirty, and lets her look her prey in the eye when she kills them.

How did you celebrate your first sale as Sable Grace?
H: Ok, how sad is it to say… we didn’t. An excited phone call, and then we got to work.

L: Still sad that we didn’t celebrate the sale in a big way. I have toddlers so it makes it difficult to find adult time. My hubby swears that one day we’ll have one ginormous party to celebrate all four sales. Hmm, maybe on the fifth. If anyone at Avon is listening…..

Okay, time for some Quickies:
Coffee or Tea?
            H: Tea
            L: Coffee!
Beer or Wine?
            H: Wine
            L: Why isn’t vodka or tequila in the question?
Night or Day?
            H: Night
            L: Night
Fast or Slow?
            H: Wow. Um. Depends on the activity and mood?
            L: Is this a trick question? LOL!
Left or Right?
            H: Right
            L: Left
Up or Down?
            H: Up! Unless we’re talking about.. nevermind
            L: Up
Hot or Flirty?
            H: Hot
            L: Hot
Dressy or Casual?
            H: casual
            L: casual
Suspenseful or Tearful?
            H: Suspenseful!
            L: suspenseful
Contemporary or Historical?
            H: Gasp! I can’t answer that…. Ok yes I can. Historical
            L: Contemporary
Dog-ears or Bookmarks?
            H: Bookmarks for sure.
            L: Bookmarks, please!
Tattoos or Piercings?
            H: Piercings
            L: Piercings
Vampires or Werewolves?
            H: Vampires!
            L: Vampire all the way
Angels or Demons?
            H: Angels
            L: Wow, another trick question. Um, Angels, if they’re not ‘that kind of angel’ (Think John Travolta as Michael here)

Thank you so much ladies for stopping by and again, congratulations on your new release! Do you have any last words or comments that you want to leave for our readers?
H: I really just want to say thanks to you, and to everyone who’s already read Ascension and has written/said such wonderful things about it. I hope that you guys will come on this ride with us and see where the world goes from here now that we’ve gone and destroyed it.

L: Heather has such a great way of stealing all the good answers, but it’s worth repeating. Thanks to all who have written to say they’ve read/enjoyed Ascension. For their support and kind words as we make our debut into the real world. I hope each and every one of you stick around to see what else we have in store for Kyana and her friends.

H: That’s the prize for answering first :P

If you'd like to find out more about Sable Grace and their debut, Acsension, you can visit:

3 comments:

Rhianna said...

Firstly, a very Happy Belated Birthday Crystal... yesterday was just... oy... one of those days and I spaced it until I was almost asleep after midnight. *doh*

Somehow I haven't heard of Ascension until this interview. Ain't that the way? *sigh* So many books and so little time. What a great interview though! I'm always really curious how co-authorship works. Sounds like it's both more complicated and simple than I thought.

I'm gonna have to add this to my wishlist. Thanks for the interview Heather & Laura! (I'm a total WoW nerd too, hehe).

meggerfly said...

Nice interview! =O)

Kristin said...

Nice interview Crystal!! Ascension is one of the books I requested from NetGalley!! Happy Belated B'day!! (muah!!)

;) Kristin