Friday, November 7, 2014

Interview with the authors of A Day of Fire, part two

I'm thrilled to share part two of my interview with the authors of A Day of Fire: Vicky Alvear Shecter, Sophie Perinot, Ben Kane, Kate Quinn, E. Knight, and Stephanie Dray (here's my review!). They kindly agreed to do a roundtable style conversation about the writing of this book. Be sure to check out part one of the interview to learn how this premise came about and what it was like for these novelists to write together (and there's a chance to win a Kindle copy of this book, too!)

What surprised you most about collaborating with the other authors?

Sophie: The sheer joy of it. This can be a very solitary business and so writers often come together to talk out snags in their work with fellow-writer friends. But this time group brainstorming had an extra layer of “all for one and one for all.” It was the most social writing experience I’ve ever had.

Ben: This part is where I missed out by living on the other side of the Atlantic! I know that four of the others met up a couple of times to bash out ideas, and to improve the storyline etc. I would have loved to have been part of that, as per Sophie’s comment above. I used to be a veterinarian (cue: sociable job) and now I write full time (cue: one of the loneliest jobs there is). I ain’t complaining - my job satisfaction continues to rate over 95%, but the biggest downside of being a writer is the solitude. I am lucky to be part of an historical writers’ association (the HWA), and to socialize with many of its members, but it was still great to collaborate with some new colleagues - now friends.

Kate: The fun part of writing collaboratively is taking advantage of the expertise in the collective pool. For example, Ben telling me that eyeballs don’t collapse when gouged out; they burst. He says he knows this because of the aforementioned veterinary experience. (Sure . . .)

Stephanie: Had we to do it again--and I think there will be an again!--we would Skype Ben and Vicky into our plotting chats because the brilliance of working collaboratively is that we were able to take advantage of everyone’s skill set in a different way. We were able to solve each other’s problems. Six heads are better than one!

Eliza: I agree with Stephanie! “A Day of Fire” was so much fun! Plus, being able to bounce ideas off each other made writing a lot easier--and the way Kate, Stephanie and Vicky teased me about my frustrations with the Roman naming process! I literally said at one point, does everyone have to be named Julius??? lol.

Sophie: Forget skyping Ben in! We need to fly over, put on the garb and do one of his fabulous ancient Roman charity walks with him! How about it Ben? Ladies welcome?

Vicky: An ancient Roman walk across the pond? Oh, I’m so there. And as we march, we could brainstorm. That is the only possible way I can imagine topping this experience!

Kate: I do my best thinking while walking. I’m bringing the gladius hanging over my computer. And can we get Ian McKellan’s voiceover from Ben’s Romani Walk film floating over our heads as we all saunter along? “These six authors are bitching about inaccurate Roman armor in Hollywood movies and planning a new project where no gladiators are wearing medieval bracers . . .”

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My thanks to the authors for their time and thoughtful answers.  You can learn more about the authors and find their websites here. And you can check out part one of the interview to enter to win a Kindle copy of the book!

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