Going to Gretchen McNeil’s signing was always a given, especially when she was appearing with Kendare Blake. The event being held at MGRB was just a bonus.
Michelle, Hubs, and I got to the store insanely early because traffic wasn’t that bad. LeAnna let me go back to the super secret back room and I walked out with some titles I have really been coveting. We ended up leaving and wandering around some of the nearby stores [where I spent a small fortune on DVDs and nail polish] before going back.
And then we waited.
As we waited, I realized that the amount of money that I spent on books, DVDs and nail polish could have gotten a new Kate Spade purse. Gah. We were chatting it up and we heard as Gretchen walked by saying that she recognized all of the usual suspects.
Elana K. Arnold ended up coming over and I chatted with her for a minute. She told me about the secret special thing she’s planning for her launch party of Splendor.
The ladies were introduced around 7:40. Gretchen started out with an intro to 3:59. She had the idea sitting in traffic, to run the red light or not run the red light? It has two parallel casts that can interact with each other. It is really really really complicated and if she ever decides she wants to write something like it again, someone needs to hit her.
Kendare gave an intro to Antigoddess. She just recently got lines from the Iliad on her back because she’s a psycho. With her MC, you can guarantee that her life is going to be ruined for the next 3 books. Actually wrote the book 3 different times and scrapped every one of them. Wrote the idea of the dying goddesses as as short stories. Wanted to work with Cassandra, but Cassandra didn’t want to work with her. Brought Athena in, to shoulder some of it and when that happened, the story came together.
Gretchen to Kendare: Did you start writing it before Anna?
Before the Cassandra story, yes. Easy to work on because I wouldn’t have separation anxiety from Cas and Anna.
They talked about how neither of them read the finished book. Gretchen didn’t actually have a page one rewrite for 3:59, but the notes on it were extensive. They voted on whether or not there would be a Q&A and a reading or just a Q&A. Since a lot of people decided not to vote, it was author’s choice and they nixed the reading.
Do you have a specific writing process? Have the idea and immediately get a pen and paper?
K: I give my ideas a brush off. Never fails when I’m working on something, there will be an amazing new idea. Can’t be too mean to it because I’ll be working on it eventually. Get to know the characters, think about it a lot. Once I find the start, I know it’s time to write.
G: Normally I open a word document and title it something and write a few sentences, save it and then close it. Then I’ll go to amazon and make a wish list of books to do research on it. If it still seems like something to do [unicorns in the Sahara! It’s like my little pony but with shoes!] then I’ll work on it. I also like to research the market. I don’t want to be the 5th person to write a Houdini book. I don’t know what I’m going to do next, but I’ve got 5 ideas.
Now that you’re multi-published, can you sell a book on a concept?
K: I just had this conversation with my publisher. I was told that I can turn in a sample chapter and synopsis, but I don’t.
G: Possess was the only finished book I sold. Ten was sold on a synopsis and 6 chapters that all got scrapped. The two books that come out in 2014 and 2015 were sold from one page [for the first one] and one paragraph [for the second]. It’s nice to have not done all of the work already. I work better with the figurative gun to my head.
What was the line that you got tattooed?
It’s from Hector’s speech… [I didn’t the entire quote and I didn’t want to mangle it]
If you could be a character in each other’s books, who would you be?
K: Bridget from Possess
G: Having a half Asian character in 2001 was interesting. The original girl was white with really big Keira Knightly round eyes and I was like, “Dear Harper Collins…” I told them that if the book was published with that girl, I would not defend it.
I would definitely want to be Athena. I have always had an Athena fetish, not in the sexual way…
Are there any other funny things that have happened to you when you’ve gone to publish?
G: Funny ha ha? Or funny ugh?
>K: That’s something I’m really going to have to think of.
G: I’ve told the story about Christopher Pike a few times, but I’m going to tell it anyways…. [If you want to read the story about Christoper Pike, read it here]
K: I don’t have anything like that. When we saw the first mock up for the cover for Anna, it looked like there were some female problems for Anna. It got fixed and it’s fine. When the first mock up for Antigoddess came up, the blood was in the middle of the feather. What does that look like? My books have nothing to do with menstruation! My next book better have something to do with super ninja periods.
What are you reading now?
G: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton … It’s really awesome.
K: NOS4A2 by Joe hill. It has demon children with shark teeth, I love him and I’ll say it: he’s better than his dad.
What’s next for you?
G: You’ve already written all of them in the series, right?
K: Yes. They told me that they were going to come out every 7 months, so I freaked out and wrote everything and then they came back and said never mind. So now I can take my time with whatever I work on next.
G: The Don’t Get Mad series is about 4 girls from four different groups who have formed a secret society to get revenge against bullies, mean girls and teachers. After that, I’m not sure. I have some historical pieces, but who knows.
After that question, they started signing. I was first in line, as always. Gretchen was up first and she started laughing when she saw me with 4 arcs of 3:59. [“I’m pretty sure I only gave you one.”] Kendare started laughing and said that I had a lot of books and Gretchen said that I always had a lot of books and I was always first in line.
And this is seriously the best inscription ever.
When I got to Kendare, she asked about my blog. I gave her a card and she said that it looked familiar and she thinks she’s been there before [squeeeeeee].