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Storm Moon Press 3 Year Anniversary: Interview with SL Armstrong & K Piet and GIVEAWAY!!
[S.L.] I’m a thirty-three year old bisexual woman in a polyamorous marriage. I have nine cats (yep, nine!) and two dogs. I live in hellishly hot Florida, but hope to move to Maine in the next two or three years. I live with my husband and heterolifemate (aka, K. Piet). I’ve been reading and writing for as long as I can remember, and have always been lost in my own worlds. It brings me great pleasure now to share those worlds with other who become just as enamored of them as I am.
[K.] I’m a twenty-six year old genderqueer (female presenting) individual who has been caught up in this whirlwind of writing and publishing thanks to S.L. Armstrong, whom I befriended during my college years. I have a degree in Kinesiological Sciences, which makes me look impressive as a massage therapist (hello, day job!) and serves to balance my artistic side with a bit of human body worship. I, too, am looking forward to moving back to the chilly weather, and I hope to someday add a few cats and a romantic interest (or two?) into my balancing act of art and science!
2. How easy/difficult is it to write as a team?
[S.L.] I find it as natural as breathing with K., actually. I just finished co-authoring with Erik Moore, and that was a little harder, but in the end, I really enjoyed the sharing of the story. I find the stories flow faster and better with an additional mind to bounce ideas off of and take some of the writing responsibility on. It’s fun and interactive.
[K.] It was much more difficult when we lived three timezones apart, but now that we’re physically closer to one another, the co-authoring comes very naturally. Inspiration is always flowing, and we can chat about the lyrics of a song we both like and end up with a handful of book ideas in one go. Our idea list is much longer than I think we’ll ever manage to get through, but I know we’ll keep trying, since everything clicks so well between the two of us.
3. How do you balance ideas between the two of you?
[S.L.] Usually, I have an idea and thrust it upon K., and then we bounce it back for a couple of weeks. Sometimes, there’s roleplaying in an IM to get a feel for characters and voice and setting, and then we dive into outlining the story. If there is a disagreement in how something should go, we tend to talk it out, and one of us sees that the other one is right. We don’t fight over it or anything, so it’s pretty easy and quick to resolve issues. (Though, honestly, we share a brain, so we’re almost always on the same page even before one of us opens out mouths to share an idea.)
[K.] We do have those “Hey, I was thinking this would happen next,” moments where the other one of us just sort of looks up and chuckles, “I’m already writing that exact thing.” S.L. is definitely the neverending fount of ideas. I blame it on her being the Pisces with her head constantly in that cloudy, artistic haze that I sometimes find so difficult to immerse myself in. Once I get that initial push, though, I’m pretty good at tossing the ideas back and forth to develop them fully.
4. What is the first book that you can remember making an impact on you? Why did it make such an impact?
[S.L.] I would have to say The Wrong Number by R.L. Stine. This was before Stine began writing more children’s books than young adult. Fear Street books began when I was in the fifth grade, and I devoured every one that came out, but the first one I read was The Wrong Number. It was the book that started me down my path of loving the literary horror genre. Once I’d outgrown Fear Street books, I moved onto adult books (about seventh grade, I think) by authors like Stephen King, John Saul, Dean Koontz, Robin Cook, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allen Poe.
[K.] Tough question for me, since I was never a voracious reader. I’d say Memoirs of a Geisha, which was truly the first adult book I remember reading (and *gasp* choosing to read on my own). I just remember being transported into a completely different time and place when I read about Chiyo/Sayuri as she becomes a geisha and is caught in the various dynamics of a world unfamiliar to her. It’s that very same theme of being taken out of one’s element and awed (both in terrible and fantastic ways) that drew me later to J.R.R. Tolkien’s world of Arda as well as Mercedes Lackey’s Last Herald Mage trilogy of books.
5. How do you lay a book out before actually writing it?
[S.L.] We outline our books from start to finish. We begin with our beginning, 1/4, 1/2, and end scenes, and then fill out all the scenes between each so we can make sure the plot flows as it should from one major event to the next. This ensures the pacing stays right on track.
[K.] Writing from the seat of our pants just doesn’t come naturally to either of us. Without an outline, we stray all over the place and lose focus. We have, on occasion, written something on the fly together, but it’s definitely more of a struggle, so we happily stick with our detailed outline approach most times.
6. How do you approach revising? Do you do it together or separately?
[S.L.] I tend to receive the edits back from our editor, and the make all the edits myself. I’m a control freak over it. XD
[K.] I only look at the book again if S.L. gets frustrated with the edits or demands I do something for her. Because she has the need for control, I tend to detach and let her work her magic. Sometimes, I do a final read through to catch the tiny typos that may have been missed, but I’m such a dismally slow reader that it doesn’t always happen before publication.
7. What inspires you?
[S.L.] Mainly music. I hear a song and a whole story can pop into my head.
[K.] Same here. Or, as stated above, I just listen to S.L. for, you know… five minutes. XD
8. If one of you writes something the other doesn’t like, how do you approach that?
[S.L.] I think this has happened only rarely, and happened mostly in the early works we did together. The only scene I can recall vividly was during the Rachmaninoff book, and I didn’t understand the direction K. took a scene. So, I simply asked why she’d written as she had, we discussed how I’d seen the scene, and then the scene was rewritten. And, I think, that’s what made us begin to heavily write out outlines so everyone knew where a scene was supposed to go. It’s all about communication, really.
[K.] While we do typically share a brain, it’s never good when we have to try to read one another’s minds on the plot twists and such. It usually happens relatively effortlessly when we’re in the development stages, but if there’s a question while we’re actually writing, we’ve learned to just ask. I tend to do a lot of asking/checking-in with S.L. just to ensure I’m on the same path she took in her mind.
9. What’s the most frustrating thing that’s ever happened when writing as a team?
[S.L.] When one of us lapses in the writing. Sometimes, one of us is not in the mood to write and we have a deadline looming. It can be incredibly frustrating for the one who is trying to get the manuscript done while the other one just doesn’t want to write at that time.
[K.] Completely agreed. Other than that, things aren’t typically frustrating for the two of us, but we both have our cycles of creativity. When they align, it’s magic in the making, but sometimes they don’t, and that’s when we’ll have our frustrations, though they always end up resolving as we swing back into the work again.
10. How much of what you do in your day-to-day life goes into your writing?
[S.L.] Almost nothing. Making Ends Meet was the exception since it’s set in our current city, in the current area we live, and was drawn from my real life experiences with teen moms (just applied to our teen dad in the story). But, for the most part, I don’t draw from my real life to flesh out my fictional storylines.
[K.] I’ve occasionally thought to write a massage therapist character, but the trope that instantly comes to mind is the one overused in porn (the ‘ooo sexy massage, inappropriate touching, sex on table’ progression), and my need to subvert that trope is so very strong that I don’t think I would actually end up enjoying writing it. XD
11. Do you write to music? If so, what’s your favorite music to write to?
[S.L.] Usually. I love music. I have playlists for many of our books. XD I have such eclectic tastes that the lists are populated by many artists. Adam Lambert, Heather Dale, Little Big Town, Christina Perri, 30 Seconds to Mars, Three Days Grace, Slipknot, Nine Inch Nails, Lords of Acid, Lady GaGa, Kate Miller-Heidke… so many!
[K.] I steal music from S.L. *laughs* When I write, though, I actually tend to get distracted easily, so I prefer it quiet. This rarely happens, however, so I’ve gotten used to music or television playing in the background.
12. Describe your latest book in 140 characters or less.
[S.L.] In the modern world, psychic Gabriel Lawrence is drawn into the decadent & debauched magical world of Dorian Gray & learns the truth of who he is. (146, sorry! Immortal Symphony)
[K.] When Chloe becomes a werewolf, she falls for the pack’s lesbian alpha, causing tension between alpha & alpha-mate until all 3 make peace. (137, woot! Under the Strawberry Moon)
13. What do you love most about writing?
[S.L.] Playing my imaginary sandbox with my best friend. It’s a great joy for me to share these worlds and builds these characters’ lives with K., and then share them with our audience. I love it.
[K.] Expressing and exploring parts of myself that I probably never would have discovered if S.L. hadn’t drawn me into the world of writing. She brings out so much creativity that I don’t believe I would have tapped otherwise!
14. What do you hate most about writing?
[S.L.] Editing. I hate it. When I finish writing a book, I just want it to be done and out. I understand the need for editing, and I make sure all my stories are subjected to it, but I hate the editing process.
[K.] When I can’t find the words I’m looking for or feel like I’m settling for a different description than the perfect one in my head that can’t be put into words. This is where S.L. and our editors tend to help me out.
15. What are you reading right now?
[S.L.] Nothing. This is sad.
[K.] Love You Two, a polyamory YA book by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, which I got for Christmas. Also, Task Force: Gaea by the wonderful David Berger, whom we met at NecronomiCon last October. And I’m still about 50 pages into Stephen King’s The Shining. I start a lot of books that I rarely finish. Next on my list is Off Balance, an autobiographical memoir by Dominique Monceanu.
16. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
[K.] Storm Moon Press, the independent publisher S.L. and I founded together, is currently celebrating its 3rd Anniversary! We’re really excited about this milestone, and we hope everyone will check out the big sale we have going on at our press! While we’re primarily a QUILTBAG press, we’ve expanded with a few imprints, one of which focuses on heterosexual/’mainstream’ erotica and erotic romance. Wild Moon is one area of our publishing that we’re looking to explore with fantastic stories from new and established authors alike. In honor of our anniversary, we’re holding both a big sale on all our titles and a giveaway on this blog tour! Anyone who comments with their email address is entered to win the grand prize of a free ebook each month for all of 2013! Runners-up will get gift certificates for $25, so we encourage everyone to comment on this or any other post in our blog tour to enter! For more info on our blog tour and the giveaway, head over to the official Storm Moon Press blog.
THIS OR THAT
1. Peanut butter or jelly?
[S.L.] Peanut butter.
[K.] Peanut butter. OMG Peanut butter!
2. Chips or cookies?
3. Best talent: music or art?
[K.] Art. (So long as it counts performance art, since I can then count hoopdancing and circus stuff)
4. Print or eBook?
[S.L.] Both? I like both. I have a huge eBook library and a huge print library. I love ‘em both.
[K.] I’d also say both, if allowed. Print feels nice in my hands, but ebooks are convenient for work/travel.
5. Pen or pencil?
[S.L.] Pen. Fountain pen, preferably.
[K.] Pencil. I hate not being able to erase. XD
6. Best friends: as many as possible or only need one?
[S.L.] Only need one.
[K.] Only need one.
7. Notebook or computer?
8. Print or cursive?
[K.] Print. And boy, I was expecting cursive from S.L. there! She’s the one with beautiful handwriting. Mine is pathetic, thanks to college courses making me take notes at lightning speeds.
9. Zombies or vampires?
10. Angel or Spike?
[S.L.] Spike. XD Mainly ’cause he had all the great, sarcastic lines.
[K.] Spike. Loved the contradiction of him: “I’m free if that bitch dies… I’d better help her out.”
This guest post is part of Storm Moon Press’ 3rd Anniversary Blog Tour! Comment on this post or any other post on the blog tour with your e-mail address, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win the Grand Prize of receiving 1 FREE e-book each month of 2013 from that month’s new releases for a total of 12 free e-books! Runners up will receive a $25 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon or All Romance eBooks. For more details and to find out about our 3rd Anniversary, head over to Storm Moon Press’ Official Blog. Thanks for joining us!
I am a filthy-mouthed 29-year-old full time mommy/wife/student, bookaholic, Twitter addict, & self-described tomboy-princess. I am never without at least one book (I usually have two... sometimes more), and I will be happy to tell you ALL about whichever book(s) I happen to be reading at the moment. :)