Hello ladies and welcome to Coffee Time Romance. My name is Venus, and I am thrilled to be speaking with you both today. Cynthia Gael is the collaboration of writers K.G. McAbee and Cynthia D. Witherspoon. Her genres include paranormal romance, scifi, and thrillers.
Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed as I'm sure your fans will enjoy learning a little bit more about you.
Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?
CDW: Any comment or suggestion made by our readers is a favorite of mine because each comment or suggestion helps us to know what we’re doing right or what we need to fix. Granted, I do love when you play to my vanity, but that’s just me.
KGM: I always enjoy hearing about it when a reader enjoys our work. I especially enjoy, however, when the reader takes the time to point out specific characters and ask if they’re based on someone I know or if they’re entirely created. My characters, for example, seem to just appear but I know, deep down, they’ve been with me forever.
How much of your personality and life experiences are in your writing?
CDW: for me, my writing is an extension of myself, so my personality and life experiences will show up somewhere, somehow. I think it’s more subliminal but at the time, I don’t recognize the personality traits or experiences as my own but of those of my character. I hope our readers feel the same.
KGM: I don’t think any writer can say a character is born fully formed, like Minerva from Zeus, from his/her brilliant mind; we absorb, either consciously or unconsciously, everything we see, hear and especially read. And I read, constantly, so I’m sure all my characters are formed from that swamp of my subconscious which is so full of all sorts of things. That said, though, I do watch others—not to sound all stalkerish—and remember little quirks of speech or action. Hey, it’s what writers do, right?
What is your writing schedule like? You both write under your own names as well so how do you find time to collaborate?
CDW: Well, we meet every other Saturday to brainstorm or write. But for me, I write constantly; I’ve been known to get up in the middle of the night, write for two hours and go back to bed. In essence, I don’t have a set writing schedule since I’m always thinking, jotting down notes, or tossing plot points around in my head.
KGM: I like to write in the mornings best, so our collaboration time works great. That’s the actual, physical, hands-on-keyboard writing because, to a certain extent, I’m writing all the time. Scenes and dialog run through my head all the time, especially at night when I’ve gone to bed. When I was a kid, I always made up stories after I was in bed at night; writing is a natural extension of that, I think. Who doesn’t like to tell stories? Who doesn’t like to hear them?
Walk us through the process of your collaboration, do you get together, work over the computer or phone how exactly do you go about the process?
CDW: I hate the telephone! Seriously, we seem to have this psychic link. I’ll think of an idea and Gail’s already written it, or vice versa, before we’ve discussed it. It’s funny how our stories seem to write themselves. In order to have a successful collaboration, both parties must be committed to the project as a whole, and there must be an overwhelming respect for both your co-writer and writing. Otherwise, nothing will get finished that you start.
KGM: While we only have the opportunity—at least for right now; hopefully that will change soon!—to get together every other Saturday, we do stay in constant touch via email. Like Cindy, I hate talking on the phone, so the Internet is our lifeline. Communication is so easy with Cindy; we’re on the same wavelength and we always seem to being going on the same path—though I sometimes stray into the rocky bits on the side while she’s la-la-ing down the center.
Did you do much research for this book?
KGM: We’ve done very little research, aside from reading up a little more on the original Matthew Hopkins, the self-proclaimed Witch Finder General. I’m a major English history geek, so the period stuff is not a problem, other than checking dates. What we both find amazing is when an actual historical event occurs conveniently when we need it. For example, we’re also writing a steampunk series within the Balefire Chronicles, and we found out an earthquake happened in San Remo, Italy, just at the exact time we needed it. How convenient—and creepy—is that?
Did you always plan it to be a series?
CDW: Absolutely! I believe that every story begs for a sequel and ours are no exception. As previously mentioned, these characters become a part of you and thus, their stories continue for the writer long after the final page is written. In our case, our characters in the Balefire Universe are too in depth to leave them stranded in a single story.
KGM: I plan everything to be a series, whether it turns out that way or not. I’ve got a children’s series at Calderwood Books called The Crystal Staircase series; book one, The Dark Legacy, and book two, The Island Prison, grew from one book to two because there were simply too many stories that had to be told. In The Balefire Chronicles, we’ve got so many characters to develop, so much back history to explain, so much future trouble to get into, I don’t see an actual end. Balefire in the 25th Century? Actually, we’re already thinking about a dystopian series—but more about that later.
What are your main concerns as a writer?
CDW: To be honest, if I have any concerns, then I can turn to Gail and she fixes them. That’s the great thing about collaboration; you have someone treading this path with you who is facing the same problems and you know you can address them together. At the moment, I have to say I have no concerns, not even time.
KGM: Wow, what pressure! I’m not sure I can bear the burden. As for me, I have a greed, almost a lust, for more time to write; always have. That’s the single thing which made me quit a perfectly good job, so I’d have time to write.
What do you do to relax and recharge your batteries?
CDW: We brainstorm. We throw ideas around.
KGM: Movies and good television help; a good story is a good story, regardless of the medium which sends it to your brain. And I read a lot, all the time.
What motivates you in general? In your writing?
CDW & KGM: The next story. The next character. The next scene. The next idea.
Do you have a favorite author and/or a favorite book?
CDW & KGM: Way too many to list. Email us and we’ll make suggestions.
Do you use mood music, candles, no noise, when you write?
CDW & KGM: Dogs are necessary for proper brainstorming and writing. The more dogs, the better. Other than that, an endless supply of caffeine and we’re good.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
CDW: Sit down and write. You hear it all the time; you read it in every writing book, but so many aspiring writers tend to turn to how-to books and not actually write.
KGM: I completely agree: BICHOK. Butt in Chair; Hands on Keyboard. It’s the only way. And read, read, read, read, read. And submit, submit, submit. And don’t give up.
Please introduce us to your favorite character in "The Balefire Universe".
CDW: You’ll meet my favorite character in book two: Balefire and Lodestone. Alistar Faa has become one of my most treasured characters to write. He’s sarcastic, and rude, and hilarious. And he’s a babe.
KGM: My current favorite character, oddly enough, also appears first in book two. Zachariah Pringle is British to the max, drives a Rolls and looks with contempt on anyone who can’t make a proper cup of tea. He’s also brilliant, witty and has a difficult role to play, with a lot of emotional baggage that he treats in the usual Anglo-Saxon fashion: he ignores it and carries on.
What's new for you in the near future?
CDW: Our dance card is filling up! We’re going to be appearing at several events which will be detailed on our website, and working on our steampunk series as well as Balefire and Bloodstone. For me personally, I have a short story being released from Open Heart Publishing on October 31 called “My Own Making” in their An Honest Lie, Volume Two anthology.
KGM: We’re teaching classes, we’re doing book signings, we’re going to conferences and conventions, we’re all into promotions right now! We’re teaching a class at Coffee Time in February 2011, which we’re both looking forward to. In addition to our Balefire stuff, which is ongoing on so many levels, I’ve got a short story hitting the streets from Untreed Reads on October 21; the story is horror and is called “BLZ”.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to be interviewed ladies. I'm sure your fans are excited to read more about "The Balefire Universe".