# Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
- Ash: I’m an English born dual citizen living in Massachusetts with my husband and German Shepherd puppy. I recently left teaching High School physics to become a full time writer and creator. Travel is a huge passion, along with escaping into epic stories through books, movies, and many other art forms.
- Talia: I’m an Italian American living in Utah with my husband, daughter, and two guinea pigs, with another baby girl on the way! I’m passionate about stories in all kinds of forms—music, dance, film, movies, and of course, great novels.
The Immortal Game is a Greek Mythology YA fantasy. Galene, a young greek goddess, is framed for a crime and exiled from Mount Olympus. Four friends follow on her journey to clear her name and save their home after they uncover a more deadly plot.
# What is/are the real-life story(ies) behind your book(s)?
We started writing it in 7th grade. Too old to continue playing make-believe, we still had a passion for it, and turned to writing down what we imagined instead. As huge fans of Percy Jackson, we were inspired to write a story centered around children of Olympians. Thirteen years later, that initial idea is now a published novel!
# What inspires/inspired your creativity?
Other great stories. We both thrive off of them, whether it’s the Percy Jackson books or the latest Marvel hit. Getting excited over other adventures sparks ideas of our own!
# How do you deal with creative block?
- Ash: I force myself to push through it (accepting the outcome will probably be garbage). Move myself to a new setting. Go searching for inspiration (though this can lean dangerously close to distraction and procrastination lol)
- Talia: I plot more. If I’m stuck it’s usually because I’m either 1) not sure what to write next, 2) not excited to be writing it, or 3) not motivated to sit myself down and force my fingers to type. Plotting out details gets me excited, and fixes each of those problems.
# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
There’s a lot of potential mistakes, but some of the biggest are 1) not researching enough, leading to unrealistic worlds and/or situations; 2) missing plot holes, for obvious reasons, and 3) not developing your characters enough. There’s not much worse than multiple two-dimensional characters interacting on the page.
# Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Lean into the expertise of those around you! Our title was originally The Dream Watcher, and it was an intern at Macmillan who thought of our new title The Immortal Game—which was much more epic and fitting to our story. Our cover was designed by a talented artist named Liz Dresner, and while we didn’t have a lot of say, we really loved the direction and were able to tweak some things that were important to us.
# How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
- Ash: I just don’t read reviews. I’m just not that motivated to see what other people think of it right now. But Talia sends me lots of the good ones when she reads them, so I’m happy there are people out there who like it 😀
- Talia: I’ve come to learn that if we get a really bad review, the reader wasn’t our intended audience anyway. 🙂 There’s always going to be a whole slew of people who won’t resonate with the story you’re trying to tell. If a few of them read it, it’s only to be expected. AND it means that your book is really out there, in the hands of random strangers with no obligation to be nice to you. Woohoo! (I also find that some of my best constructive criticism comes from the mid-range reviews!)
# How has your creation process improved over time?
- Ash: I’ve learned more about the structure of stories and rules you need to follow. Keeping those in mind as I’m creating helps avoid certain pitfalls when I’m writing later.
- Talia: I agree with the above—and reading a ton of books has certainly shaped my creative process as well. It helps me discern what does and doesn’t work for me, and apply that into my own books! As Stephen King said, “You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.”
# What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
- Ash: Best: finishing the story and being so proud of what we’d accomplished. Worst: Tension that arose between Talia and I throughout the process (a natural consequence that arises when co authoring a novel). Surprising: How long the whole process took. I hope it doesn’t always take 2 years to get published (not including writing the book!)
- Talia: Best: I agree—finishing the book, and seeing it turn from a Google doc to a polished, printed masterpiece. 🙂 Worst: Also a similar answer—trying to balance business and writing responsibilities with someone else. Being best friends made it both easier and harder to do so, but it was so worth it. Surprising: I think the contract shocked me the most. Learning the back end of traditional publishing really opened my eyes to a whole new world.
# Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
We lean toward personal satisfaction. You have to write what excites you, or your lack of interest will come through in your book and your readers will notice. Your publisher/agent will help you decide if the book you’ve written will be popular for readers now, or if it should be put on hold for a bit.
# What role do emotions play in creativity?
- Ash: If you are not emotionally invested in what you’re creating, it will never be as beautiful, powerful, or meaningful as it could be. It will fall flat.
- Talia: What is creativity without emotion? Emotion is what drives creativity to begin with. Emotion is what draws us toward creation in every form. I think if we didn’t feel, we wouldn’t create.
# Do you have any creativity tricks?
- Ash: Practice being creative in as many different ways as you can. It’ll build and they’ll feed off each other and inspire you in surprising ways.
- Talia: Be creative in your own way! You don’t have to write a book or paint a picture to be creative. Figure out what makes you feel, and tap into that.
# What are your plans for future books?
While we do intend to coathor again at some point, we don’t have any immediate plans. Instead, we’re working on our own stories right now.
- Ash: I have a completed New Adult fantasy novel I’m preparing to send around, and am working on a new YA fantasy about pirates!
- Talia: I have completed the first book in an intended YA Fantasy series—working title THE COBRA’S HEIR—which I plan to pitch as my next published book! While working toward that pitch, I am writing a standalone, New Adult speculative romance, working title MEET ME IN THE MIRROR. 🙂
# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
- Ash: I always put oats at the bottom of my cereal. I’m obsessed with dinosaurs. I collect sharp and pointy weapons.
- Talia: My comfort food is toast dipped in hot chocolate. I eat with my left hand and write with my right. I adore both dragons and guinea pigs. 🙂