How was Sirenz born?
Char: We first worked on a picture book, which bombed (although I still think it was funny). We both wanted to do something longer so we decided to do a YA book. It started out with vamps (who hasn't thought about doing a vamp book?) but....everyone was doing vamps. Editors said NO MORE VAMPS. Scratching our heads, we wondered what to do that hasn't been done to death.
Nat: Then we started getting nostalgic about Xena Warrior Princess... (hope I'm not dating myself here!). Love that the gods were campy and like eye candy--and so the sirens--and Hades was re-born...
How do you balance the contemporary and paranormal elements of the novel?
Char/Nat: We like to think we don't go overboard on either. By basing the story in a contemporary setting, most readers can relate; been to a big city, did the high school tour, had an argument with roomies/classmates, etc. The paranormal, while some may consider it over the top to meet Hades in the New York City subway and get stuck in a deal with him, it's no more overboard than anything else out there. It helps that we stayed true to the Greek myths pretty closely so that was more familiarity. Readers won't be writing us saying, "That's not the ancient Greek myths I learned about!"
What was it like to write as partners? Was there a division of labor?
Char: There was a definite division of labor (too many cooks...). Nat hates first drafts so I began the manuscript, and we decided that we'd alternate the chapters from the two different characters' points of view.
Nat: We did edit together and wrote in each other's chapters, and we took turns entering corrections. We only had one rule--at the end of the day, if it's your chapter you get the last word--until it goes to the editor/agent--ultimately, THEY would have the final say.
How did you two manage to fuse and blend your ideas and writing styles into one awesome novel?
Char: *blushes. I think the two different characters let each of us showcase our different styles. It also helps that we revised MANY times to polish it. The last revision go-round, we actually sat at my pool and READ the entire book aloud to each other--but I read her chapters, she read mine. If either of us stumbled or got thrown off, we knew we had to revise that spot.
Nat: ♥♥♥ I really think it was going over it, and over it, and over it again--we have so many drafts, but we improved the manuscript with each pass.
Hades was portrayed as the evil god, the brooding god and the misunderstood god. But how and why did you two come up with the naughty, fashionable and seductive Hades in Sirenz and Sirenz Back in Fashion?
Char: How hard is it to resist a creepy, ghoully-looking god who wants only to snag your soul? And could you resist a hot bad boy who's going to solve your problems?
Nat: Still thinking about Xena and company... le sigh!
If you could add another mythological character from any mythology - Norse, Greek, roman, etc - who or what would it be? Why? What scene would the new mythological character be in?
Char: I think it would be so fun to have Osirus, the Egyptian god of the dead do a throw down for souls with Hades. Who will win? (Of course he'd be Hades' equal in every way...) *hmmm, makes notes...
Nat: Maybe he can be played by the guy from the Mummy (Brendan Frasier/Rachel Weiz)--not the bald one, the one on the camel... Oded Fehr... must make note to self to check out what he looks like now... *checks* Yep, he would make a fine Osirus!
What's next for Char and Nat?
Char: So much! We need to finish Sirenz 3: Myth Appropriated (working title) which will be released in 2013 but not with Flux. We have a deal with Peter Joseph and Kat Borzowski from Thomas Dunne books for a "Devil Wears Prada" meets "James Bond" book called Blonde Ops, to be released in 2014 which we need to work on SOON! And for my individual projects, I'm working on a serious (I'm serious!) ghost story and a medical paranormal. And I'll accept sympathies for my MG which is languishing in submission hell.
Nat: For the tandem projects--what Char said! Solo, I have a Victorian Fantasy on sub (am planning revisions), and a somewhat historical somewhat contemporary fantasy that I'm about to send to my agent--crossables crossed!
About the Authors:
When not playing with pointed objects, Natalie Zaman is usually writing. She lives in central New Jersey with her family and several fine looking chickens.
Lover of sparkly things, Char doesn't have as many shoes as she'd like, but wouldn't have time to wear them anyway with her three boys, husband, cat with issues, demented squirrels and insistent characters all demanding her time. She is represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency and is hoping to get all her characters into print just so they'll be quiet.
Giveaway: Sirenz Back in Fashion + Swag
In Sirenz, boarding school roomies Meg and Shar learned the hazards of making a deal with Hades, Lord of the Underworld. The wearing of a Tiffany's diamond ring in Sirenz Back In Fashion reactivates their contract, they find themselves back in his employ as sirens. And things are a little different this time; Shar is whisked off to the Underworld to play hostess as the dark god attempts to win her affections, while Meg is stuck topside, obligated to send spoiled rich girl Paulina Swanson to the Underworld. Hot gods, mere mortals and the Underworld have their secrets. Will Meg and Shar ever ditch Hades, and keep their wardrobes and souls intact?
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