It is with great pleasure that I welcome Catherine Verge and Paula M. Fox today to introduce their debut urban fantasy novel Game Over. Together they collaborate and write under the pen name Taylor Keating, but both are successful authors in their own right. They hale from Atlantic Canada. While this is their first urban fantasy, Catherine writes historical fantasy under another name and Paula writes contemporary romance.
Game Over is the first book in a series that will continue with Mind Games in June 2011. A third book is also planned. I asked Catherine if she would talk about the collaborative process with her writing partner. Check out the great post below.
Video game designer River Weston is ready to sell her soul to smooth out the glitches in her latest project. When she unwittingly taps into a parallel dimension via cutting-edge technology, a Dark Lord is quick to take her up on her inadvertent offer. Trapped in the world she thought she’d created for her game, River finds herself in a very real alternate dimension that she must escape from before her soul can be used to unleash evil—upon this dimension and many others.Intrigued now? Do you want a copy of Game Over? Taylor Keating are offering a giveaway of a $25 Amazon gift card so you can do just that! The giveaway is open until Monday, November 22.
River’s only ally is the sexy and mysterious Chase Hawkins. A prisoner of the Dark Lord, Hawk is a man adrift—literally. His body safe at home under the watchful care of the Guardians’ scientists, his astral-traveling spirit has been enslaved by his people’s worst enemy, the Dark Lord. Clinging desperately to his sense of self, Hawk is determined to turn the tables on his captor before the connection to his body is lost. When the beautiful, achingly familiar River enters the picture, he vows he will do everything he can to save her from her bleak fate.
Drawn together with an inescapable force, Hawk and River must wrest her soul from the Dark Lord’s grasp before it’s too late.
So a very warm welcome to Catherine and Paula !
The Creative Process and Collaboration
With regard to fantasy, I’m often surprised by the number of non-fantasy readers and writers who harbor one of two assumptions – writing fantasy is easy because you get to make up stuff, or they think it’s hard … because you have to make stuff up.
Writing fantasy isn’t about making stuff up. And whether it’s fantasy or not, all writing is hard.
On her own, my writing partner writes contemporary romance, while I write historical fantasy. She was hesitant to use magic in a story and wanted something a bit more real. I explained that they weren’t mutually exclusive. When we decided to tackle what we thought would be a paranormal romance, neither one of us could have predicted how unusual our very different voices would sound when blended together.
My writing partner is wonderful, but she’s really not an abstract thinker. She’s got the business degree. She likes everything nice, neat, and logical, and happening in sequence. She’s also upbeat and positive, and greets life with enthusiasm. She’s consistently nice to people. The main characters are hers and she wants them to have a happily-ever-after.
I, on the other hand, throw things out there to see what sticks. I’m messy, I’m only nice to people when I feel like it, and I’m constantly trying to kill off her happy characters. The subplots are mine because I love making stuff up. And occasionally, explode.
But I don’t really make very much up. I take ideas – What if a post apocalyptic earth world is threatened by dark magic? – and try to make it plausible. I have a degree in Social Anthropology and the only person I know who actually enjoyed reading Machiavelli’s The Prince. I love to see the workings of a despot’s mind. What is the reasoning behind conquering a State? When do you use force to maintain control? What of the ruling families within the society? Who holds the true power?
Once we started to really explore the Game Over world and my writing partner realized she could drag in the familiar to ground it in reality, she quickly became caught up in it. We were off to the races.
We decided on a world decimated by a virus because in our real world, that is a credible threat. Bubonic plague, Spanish flu epidemics, or even white powder mailed in small packages. Those are a reality of the world we live in. And what happens when things go bad? People start defending their borders in an attempt to keep the bad stuff out. We saw it in Toronto with H1N1. Step one is an international travel advisory.
We needed magic in our world, but decided we wanted a modern techno-baddie. We threw in a mad scientist. The magical beings in our stories are every bit as fascinated by the workings of technology as the techie geeks are by their magic. Our baddie, however, doesn’t want magic so he can rule the world. He wants magic so he can make his experiments work. Have you ever met a scientist interested in anything other than figuring something out?
And of course, you can’t forget the do-gooders of the galaxy… We threw them in, too. Everyone’s got a nosy neighbour, am I right?
The key to believable world building is to start with something and someone you know. We hope people will appreciate the world we’ve created for the characters in Game Over, and enjoy the series. The Game isn’t Over, it’s really just begun.
Thank you so much for being here today Catherine. We very much look forward to Mind Games in 2011.
You can find out more about Taylor Keating at their website and blog.