Today’s D-Day–that would be “D” for Delivery of Beautiful Darkness, the highly anticipated sequel to best-selling Beautiful Creatures! This is great Southern Gothic fiction, set in the small South Carolina town of Gatlin, where things aren’t as they appear.
I had the chance to ask authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl a couple of questions for my monthly Fiction Affliction columns over at Tor.com — I was particularly interested in how their team writing process works. Read on for a chance to win a copy of Beautiful Darkness!
Q: Can you talk about how you and Margaret started working as a team, and how your team-writing process works?
Margie: We became friends when my oldest daughter was in Kami’s third-grade class. She was so naughty, we ended up in conference all the time! Eventually we got to talking and realized we were reading the same books, mostly fantasy and sci-fi. One day, over lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant, we came up with an idea for a Southern Gothic paranormal fantasy. I went home and told my oldest daughter, who didn’t believe we would actually do it. In the end, she dared us to write the book, and so we did–not to be published, but for my daughters and Kami’s students. And mostly to prove we could!
Kami: Our writing process is a little strange. We start by outlining and discussing universe, plot, characters, etc. Then we each choose a few chapters and start writing. When we’re finished, we swap chapters and do the unthinkable–we delete, add, and change whatever we want without discussing it with the other person. Then we trade the same chapters again. We compare our writing process to a running stitch in sewing, because we write over each other’s work so many times. But really, it’s more like Jedi editing. Lots of hack and slash. A sentence usually ends up with some of Margie’s words and some of mine, but it has to be good to stand up to that many passes. We draft really quickly, and revise very slowly.
Q: (Other than amazing writing, of course) Why do you think Beautiful Creatures struck such a chord with readers?
Kami: Our book is about figuring out who you are and trying to fit in, without giving up our individuality. It’s also about being strong enough to be the person you are — despite what other people think. I think that’s something both teens and adults struggle with. I know I do.
Margie: Kami and I are world-builders, which is one of the reasons we love fantasy, but also why we love the Southern Gothic genre. I think readers have embraced the whole world of the Casters and Gatlin County, in the same way that HBO’s True Blood works. Every character has their own eccentricities and secrets, powers that you may or may not have discovered – yet. We didn’t want anything about Beautiful Creatures to be generic, and it’s not.
ABOUT BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS:
Ethan Wate used to think of Gatlin, the small Southern town he had always called home, as a place where nothing ever changed. Then he met mysterious newcomer Lena Duchannes, who revealed a secret world that had been hidden in plain sight all along. A Gatlin that harbored ancient secrets beneath its moss-covered oaks and cracked sidewalks. A Gatlin where a curse has marked Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals for generations. A Gatlin where impossible, magical, life-altering events happen.
Together they can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan’s eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there’s no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town’s tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems.
COMMENT AND WIN!
Want a brand new hardback of Beautiful Darkness? Leave a comment answering one of the following questions:
1) What’s your favorite Southern paranormal story?
2) What’s your favorite Southern town? (No, you don’t have to have actually been there, and, yes, New Orleans is technically — if not actually — Southern.)
If you follow the blog, you get an extra entry. Follow me on Twitter @Suzanne_Johnson for another extra entry. I’ll draw a commenter at random on Monday, Oct. 18 and announce it here on the blog. Sorry, I can mail to U.S. and Canada only.