ALL FOUR KIDS: An Interview with Trisha Leaver & Lindsay Currie, co-authors of CREED

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Sona Charaipotra taking over the blog today! And since my debut, Tiny Pretty Things, is a collaboration with one Dhonielle Clayton, I was thrilled to be able to interview the All Four Kids debut duo of Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie, who collaborated on the super scary CREED, which hits bookstores today. We chatted about publishing craziness, crafting a scary story, balancing mothering and writing, and how they write together with more than 1200 miles between them! And they rock. Herewith, Trisha and Lindsay!

CREED is available today at Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Can you tell us a bit about the book?

CREED is the story of tree teens — Dee, Luke, and Mike —who accidentally find themselves stranded in town run by charismatic leader, Elijah Hawkins. It chronicles their three day long struggle to free themselves, not only physically but mentally, from Elijah’s control. The playlist below speaks to the desperation, fear, and hope that kept them alive, fighting for a way out as opposed to blindly accepting their fate.

The “official” Creed Blurb:

Three of us went in.

Three of us came out.

None of us a shadow of who we once were.

When their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and Luke’s brother, Mike, seek help in the nearby town of Purity Springs. But as they walk the vacant streets, the teens make some disturbing discoveries. The seemingly deserted homes each contain a sinister book with violent instructions on disciplining children. The graveyard is full of unmarked crosses. Worst of all, there’s no way to contact the outside world.

When Purity Springs’ inhabitants suddenly appear, Dee, Luke, and Mike find themselves at the mercy of Elijah Hawkins, the town’s charismatic leader who has his own plans for the three of them. Their only hope for survival is Elijah’s enigmatic son, Joseph. And his game may be just as deadly as his father’s….

Did you guys ever scare yourselves while writing? (Don’t laugh — I’ve done this before!) 

Trisha: No, but I have a pretty high tolerance of “scares.” That said, I am quite sure my search history would have more than one person questioning my sanity! LOL!

Lindsay: Nope, but occasionally if I shut my eyes and envision some of the things we write, I can creep myself out. Especially the sirens and crop fields at the beginning of CREED. Terrifying.

How did you and Lindsay start collaborating (and meet?) — and how did the concept for CREED come together? 

Trisha LeaverTrisha: Once upon a time, in a land far, far away… just kidding. We were critique partners long before we started collaborating on CREED. We had similar writing habits and styles, so it started off as more of an experiment…a way to keep our minds off things while we both had solo projects making the rounds. I’d write a scene and toss it at her, she’d tack on another scene and toss it back. And so it went until we had 64,000 half-way decent words sketched out.

You guys are 1200 miles apart. How did collaboration work? Are you pantsers or plotters?

Trisha: I am a panster 100% of the time. I have a rough idea of where the story starts and ends, but everything in the middle…well that is fair game until the words get typed out. As for how we collaborate form 1200 miles apart—lots of emails and phone calls.

Lindsay: Ditto. I’ve tried writing with an outline and it generally ends up reading like a forced mess.

What has the debut author journey been like? Does it help having a partner on this wild ride?

Trisha: In one word, I would have to say the entire experience has been surreal. You spend days…months…years crafting this story, slaving over every word choice, questioning every plot point. And then one day, you have to let it go, let the world take a peek inside your creative mind. It’s scary and exhilarating and exhausting, and…well, surreal.

Lindsay: WILD! I really think publishing is a lot like a roller coaster for me. The highs are amazing, but the lows damn near kill you sometimes. It’s nice to have a partner along for the journey, especially someone as level-headed as Trisha.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve experienced on your publishing journey? 

Trisha: How absolutely supportive the author community is. From beta reading, to holding your hand through a difficult revision, to raising a virtual glass of wine to you when you hit a milestone, the author community is small and tight knit, and full of the most generous people I’d ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Lindsay: How many NOs it often takes to make a yes. I won’t say how long it took me to get an agent, but it wasn’t fast. And it’s hard when you’re in those trenches to remind yourself that the overnight successes are actually very rare. The longer journeys – the ones that take years of blood, sweat and tears – those are more often the norm.

Are you planning to collaborate further? What’s next for each of you?

Trisha: On the solo front, my YA Contemporary, THE SCECRETS WE KEEP, drops April 28th 2015 from FSG/Macmillan. I am insanely excited about that one. It’s about the complicated bond between twin sisters and the lengths they will go to keep each other’s secrets safe.

On the co-authored front, we have two books forthcoming. HARDWIRED, a co-authored sci-fi, is set to release fall of 2015 with Flux. Based in a contemporary world, HARDWIRED deals with the fall-out of genetic testing and the idea of nature vs. nurture. Our third co-authored work, SWEET MADNESS, is a retelling of the infamous Borden murders from the point of view of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan. I will be published sometime in 2016 by Merit Press.  

You each have three kids. How do you get any writing done? Tips about work/life balance please!  

Trisha: I am lucky — all three of my kids are school age so I have a solid six hours of writing time a day. I also have a husband who likes to cook and isn’t averse to doing laundry so that helps too!

As for life work balance…I may be a panster in my writing but when it comes to life, I’m an incessant plotter. I’m the kind of person who formulates a back-up plan for my back-up plan. Every morning I make a list, the items that absolutely need to get done are written in red, the rest get jotted down in black. It could be as complicated as re-work the closing scene to a WIP or as mundane as defrost the chicken for dinner. Do they all get done…hardly ever, but I find the list keeps me on track.

lindsay author photoLindsay: Ah, the million dollar question. Honestly, it’s hard and I won’t try to say it isn’t. There have been times I’ve looked at the laundry pile and sighed, or shook my head at the fact that I’m ordering carry out again. But my husband and kiddos are supportive and they never cease to amaze me with their patience.

There is one priceless thing about juggling writing with kids and that’s that my kiddos have watched Mommy go after her dream and achieve it. It may not have happened right away. It might not have been without a tear or two, but it happened. And I think seeing that kind of resilience and determination is better than a crisply ironed shirt and home made casserole any day!

As this community is fearless, we’d like to know something you are afraid of — and something you are not afraid of!

Trisha: I am deathly afraid of snakes.  Spiders, mice, and other sketchy type animals I can totally deal with, but not snakes.  They are slimy, and like to hide, and have the oddest looking eyes—it’s like they are looking at you and everything else at the same time, sizing up what the best angle of attack is.  Yeah…just no!

As for what am I not afraid of…criticism. I used to terrified of “what people thought” of me. It would keep me up at night, trying to figure out a way to make everybody happy, often at the expense of myself and my family. If there is one thing this crazy path to publication has taught me is that as long as you are true to yourself, and kind and generous to the people you love, then what your third cousin twice removed thinks is really of no consequence

Lindsay: I am not afraid of the dark…I used to be when I was a child, but not anymore. Evening is the quietest time in my house, the one time I can sit down and write. I am, however, deathly afraid of flying. It’s not the long security lines or cramped seats, it’s the whole crash and burn aspect that I hate.

 

Sona CharaipotraAn entertainment and lifestyle journalist published by The New York Times, People, Parade, ABC News, MSN, Cosmopolitan and other major national media, Sona Charaipotra is the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book development company with a decidedly diverse bent. A collector of presumably useless degrees, she studied journalism and American Studies at Rutgers before getting her masters in screenwriting from New York University (where her thesis project was developed for the screen by MTV Films) and her MFA from the New School. When she’s not hanging out with her writer husband and two chatter-boxy kids, she can be found poking plot holes in teen shows like Vampire Diaries – for work, of course. Her debut, the YA dance drama TINY PRETTY THINGS is due May 26, 2015 from HarperTeen. Find her on the web at SonaCharaipotra.com, CAKELiterary.com or Twitter: Sona_C.
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