1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
Bil...I’m a retired USAF man, an arms instructor for 15 of my 20 years. While attending the Univ. of Texas I discovered the fencing side of martial arts; and since then I have studied about 10 years in the field of Bujinkan, a Japanese martial art.
Bon...I, too, am retired from a diverse life selling cars in Germany... teaching college in Las Vegas...marketing for a large newspaper...hauling pallets for a big-box store. I have an abiding love for both the martial arts (especially Chinese, Bruce Lee stuff) and for all phases of gardening/herbology.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Bil...Reading, mostly. While I’m not an all-out fan of military SF, at least half of what I read is martial or military related. I also enjoy history, especially as it relates to military and political themes.
Bon...I confess that my exercise these days can be counted in steps to the ‘fridge for a snack or to the stove to cook dinner for Bil and me. Before writing consumed my life, I was an active gardener/landscaper, and I loved scouting flea markets for rare finds.
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
Bil...I don’t think I have an actual “routine.” After writing down the main idea for the book, and then for each chapter, I let research guide the rest. Any author who has control of his characters is more disciplined than I am.
Bon...I must first have my cuppa coffee. Then I try to scout all my hundreds of emails and to deal with the most important ones. Then it’s off to try to moderate a Facebook group I started. At last, with my “desk cleared” (my mind swept of cobwebs), I can work on a story in progress. Usually that means about 2,000 words of new writing, and perhaps another chapter or so of editing.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
Bil...Ironically, my ideas come from spotting areas where no one else’s ideas have gone, or from thinking about how other authors have not treated a topic the way it deserves. For example, this series of four books came about because I noticed that no one else was writing about St. Patrick as a literary character. Everything happened from there.
Bon...My ideas come, always, as I type at my keyboard. The characters take on a life all their own, and they often even follow me to bed at night. I’ve been known to “invent” a brand new character as another character is trying to be heard. But the new one elbows the old one out of the way and just stays around.
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
Bil..My favorite is the second in the current series, a book called HIDDEN BY THE ROSE. It’s a “coming of age” with the usual theme: Growing up is hard because you are now in charge...but that doesn’t mean you get your way.
Bon...My favorite is this first novel, RUNNING OVER RAINBOWS. It let me explore the mind and motives of two people fifty years apart in age, yet with the same “wild pony” nature. Maybe, the book suggests, there is little difference between a unicorn and a wild mountain pony.
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about.
Bil...I am completely fascinated by mathematicians--especially those geniuses like Newton or Feynman who make that complex field accessible to the rest of us. And yet, would you believe, I’m very weak in math.
Bon...My whole life, I have feared horses. My first experience on the back of a horse ended with a broken toe. But almost all my books are full of horses and ponies. They’ve become almost characters in their own right: Alba, Nimblefoot, Storm, Shadow, and many more.
7. Are any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
Bil and Bon...We agree: Our books are purely from imagination. But all the swords, shillelaghs, short sticks and other weapons are very close to home, on a theoretical level anyway.
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
Bil...My muse is every author I’ve ever read and enjoyed...starting with Potter. Um, Beatrix, that is. Not Harry.
Bon...With me, the muse depends on the book I’m writing at the time. For RUNNING OVER RAINBOWS, that muse was my reincarnated old Latin I teacher, Mrs. Coates, who tried to drum the language of the Romans into a head full of adolescent dreams.
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
Bil...I have always liked apocalyptic fiction, “end of the world” speculation.
Bon...I have already ventured into romance and fantasy. The next, I think, would combine fantasy and romance with another favorite genre of mine--mystery. So I’d like to write a fantasy/romance/whodunnit.
10. Who are your favorite authors who are out now?
Bil...Lois Bujold (“space opera” SF), L.E. Modesitt Jr. (fantasy) and Rob Thurman (dark fantasy).
Bon...Out now. Hmmm. That’s tough for me. I’d also choose Bujold (SF) and bow to the master Michael Chabon.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
Bil...My favorite female character is Caylith, of course, who does an excellent job of “riding the tiger.” All the males, to me, are really foils to give her something to bounce off.
Bon...Caylith, of course, is the center of all our books. For a male, I’ll have to go with Gristle, the sourpuss martial instructor and armsman who, as Bil notes, is an excellent foil for the young and naive heroine. He shows up in the second book. But Fletcher in this first book is kind of an early Gristle. Lurking under his deferential attitude is a very wise person who teaches his ward a thing or two about life.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Bil...It’s difficult to include recognizable humor. But every book needs a spark of comedy somewhere.
Bon..For me, the hardest thing is to accept the fact that all my “children” may never be found by more than a handful of people. They’ve become very real to me.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Bil...Write as though you love your characters, warts and all. If you don’t care about your babies, don’t expect your readers to care.
Bon...I can tell a wanna-be writer to do just that--start writing. And fill in the rest of your writerly time by being a voracious reader.
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
Bil...I would still be reading and enjoying life. But I’d never be able to autograph a copy of my own book.
Bon...I’m certain I would meld into the central Texas landscape, as I was doing before. I’d definitely be a garden gnome.
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
We have written a four-saga series called TWILIGHT OF MAGIC. The first book, titled Running Over Rainbows, takes a teenager to the old Roman province of Lindum, where she is to receive instruction from a wrinkly old auntie whom she despises.
When 15-year-old Caylith goes to visit her elderly aunt to learn the rudiments of becoming a lady, she finds that the older woman is much more than a crotchety wielder of a walking stick. Great-aunt Marrie has secrets, but she keeps Caylith “imprisoned”counting supper towels in the linen room and in the confines of the yard where the tomboy festers and plans her escape.
“I wonder, Brindie…”
Together we were throwing a linen up over the line. My friend seized it before my off-hand throw could cause the end of the cloth to fall in the dirt. She carefully began to spread and pull at it until it was stretched out on the line, and we began to pin it with pegs.
“Why does Auntie Marrie leave us alone for so many hours these days? Is she tired of teaching us or…?”
Brindl was carefully smoothing out the wrinkles as she spoke. “Pea, your aunt is trying to run a very large household and a full expanse of farmland and orchards too. I think she is doing a very good job.”
From the moment I sank to my knees in the forum, crying my heart out at the prospect of my lost basket and coin pouch, I had vowed to change. I would make Auntie Marrie proud—or if I did not elicit pride, I planned to astonish her with my controlled behavior and my new docile attitude. Yet now, when I heard Brindl almost doting over the dried-up old apple, it rankled.
“Well, I think she has found a swain.” I said it defiantly, making it up on the spot. “I suspect she slinks away each day to a—a lover’s trista.” I knew the word from—was it Ovid? One of the old Roman poets had spoken of a secret hiding place for lovers, and the word always fired my imagination.
“You are being silly, Pea. Maybe all her advice on proper marriage is beginning to set your mind on a side-path. One I am sure she would not approve of.”
I giggled. “Anyway, Brin, if you will please put out a few more sheets, I will be back in a very short while.” I had now firmly decided I must investigate my suspicions, outlandish though they seemed. Now was my chance to explore the room upstairs at the far end of the landing. Perhaps that was where Auntie met her secret friend.
We’d like to direct your attention to a 5-star review of our book by award-winning YA author Nya Rawlyns (aka Diane Nelson): http://sandinmyshoesreviews.wordpress.com/young-adult-historical/
This book is available at Amazon http://amzn.to/SV6dNE and at several other outlets.
The next book, Hidden by the Rose, takes Caylith and her friends to a most improbable land to meet an equally unimaginable relative. After meeting a young Father Patrick and then having to flee her ancestral villa, Caylith finds herself in a land of make-believe, with a very real grandfather...who is also King of Trolls in Faerie.
Thanks so much for letting us share our books with you today.