For the second interview this morning, I have a bit of a problem. Even though these two authors collaborate on their writing, each has a separate happy place in which to be interviewed. Richard wants a snow covered mountain retreat with red wine at the ready. Andrea prefers to sit under a Bahama palm tree. How to sort out this dilemma.
I must apologize to Richard, but I’m going with the palm tree. But there is Skype, so on with the interview.
- Who are you and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?
We don’t know if we’re all that fascinating but we think the series we are creating is. So from that standpoint…
- Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?
We first tried our hand in screenwriting. We got an agent for a female driven suspense. He was the producer of the movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The timing was not good for our project though, as the agent brought us on, on September 12, 2001. The day after 9-11. Hollywood did not want to make anything with any fear or violence so the script never sold despite getting great feedback and having plenty of interest.
3. What interested you to become a writer rather than something else such as rock star? We both love to tell stories. There is nothing else we want to do!
4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?
We would love to have dinner with Oscar Wilde because he was a genius and so much fun. Oh but he’s dead. Oops, that’s what you get from paranormal authors.
5. If I were stranded on a deserted island or suffering from a four hour layover at the airport, why would your book(s) be great company?
Onyx Webb was designed for this. Sometimes we say it is Downton Abbey meets American Horror Story because it has a lot of family drama but also suspense, crime, horror, romance, and paranormal. We tend to compare it to a t.v. series because it has that feel. So if you need a story that will suck you in and erase the time, this is it.
6. Share your process of writing in regards to: plot and character development, story outline, research (do you Google or visit places/people, or make it up on the spot), writing schedule, editing and number of rewrites.
We currently have a very tight writing timeline. We’re publishing a book every four months. We create a general outline for each book and then each scene. We plan for 45 scenes per book. There are not re-writes exactly, but one deep edit and then a few lighter edits of the entire book. There’s a lot of research although we spent a couple years planning these books so luckily a lot of the research is already done.
7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don’t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?”
We would say just start writing and see where it goes.
8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read, “Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?
Well Onyx Webb says, “Think Life is Precious Now? Just Wait Until You’re Dead.” So that is pretty much our philosophy. It’s easy to say, one of these days, I’ll… well we say, One of these days is Now!
9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?
We are only half way through the Onyx Webb series, so we will finish by 2017 and then we will see.
10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?
Excerpt: Onyx Webb: Book One
Lake Ponchartrain, Louisiana
September 21, 1927
There were three events that made 1927 a memorable year for Onyx Webb.
The first event was the Great Flood, a disaster that decimated the bayou and surrounding area for hundreds of miles, setting in motion a mass exodus—including many of Onyx’s friends and neighbors—cutting the region’s population in half.
The second thing was an explosion of artistic creativity that possessed Onyx with a constant need to express herself—writing, drawing, painting, poetry, photography, singing—and any other art form imaginable. It was exactly what Onyx’s mother, Jofranka, said would happen.
“Onyx is half-ghost, Andre, the child of a human and a ghost,” Jofranka had told Catfish. “When the time comes, her need for energy will be insatiable—you must help her feed that need every way you can, for creative energy is the source of life.”
Catfish Webb did not want his daughter to be a half-ghost, whatever that would entail. He wanted Onyx to be 100 percent human—100 percent alive—like him.
Though he’d been warned, Catfish found himself in an ongoing state of denial, as if ignoring the truth would not make it so. So, when—at the age of twenty-nine—Onyx began begging Catfish to buy her pencils, paper, and other art supplies, he balked at the requests.
“A young woman needs to be out of doors,” Catfish told her, “in nature, child, not cooped up inside.”
“That’s the thing, Papa! I want to draw trees and deer and streams and rocks and birds and glorious sunsets!” Onyx exclaimed, twirling in circles in the old houseboat. “I want to capture every beautiful thing in all its majestic glory, Daddy, please please please please please!”
Catfish continued to avoid his daughter’s requests until one day she began ranting about wanting a piano.
“Fine, fine,” Catfish said. “I will get you some paints and a drawing canvas or two, but there’ll be no piano. A heavy thing like that could fall right through the floor into the swamp.”
* * *
There was something else that happened in 1927 that would have a profound impact on Onyx…
She met Ulrich.
Onyx was sitting on a stool with a canvas and her paints, directly across from the Tchefuncte River lighthouse on the northern shore of Lake Ponchartrain, when she saw him. Even from forty yards away she could tell the man was handsome, his bronzed muscles gleaming in the southern sun.
He was also suspended a hundred feet in the air from a rope tethered to the railing atop the lighthouse, a bucket of whitewash hanging by his side. The irony that they were painting the lighthouse at the same time—even if painting it in different ways—was not lost on her.
“I’ve blossomed into a woman of marrying age, Daddy!” Onyx had declared to her father years earlier. “It’s time for me to find a man, bear children, go places, and have a life of my own.”
Every time Onyx broached the subject, Catfish simply put her off.
“What’s the rush, child? The right one’ll come along, and when he does, you’ll know. The right one just ain’t appeared yet is all.”
Onyx felt she’d waited long enough.
This was the one.
She just knew it.
Onyx continued painting, carefully applying the final few brushstrokes to her canvas and trying not to think about the man—as if that were possible—while the August sun beat down hard on her.
Eventually, the man climbed down off the lighthouse and made his way toward her. She worked hard to pretend she hadn’t seen him coming, continuing to paint until she was suddenly covered in shade.
Onyx looked up at the large, muscled man standing over her. “What are you painting?” he asked in a strong German accent, pronouncing the word what as vhat.
“I am painting you,” Onyx said.
“Me? Might I see your masterpiece?” the German asked as he stepped behind Onyx without waiting for her to answer.
Onyx waited in suspense for his response.
“It is nice but boring,” the German said, noticing a look of disappointment spreading on Onyx’s face. “Not the painting,” the German added quickly. “I mean the lighthouse is boring. The painting is marvelous, but the lighthouse is all white—no color, no pattern, nothing to draw the eye to a focal point.”
Onyx exhaled, realizing she had been holding her breath in anticipation of his response.
“I guess you are right,” Onyx said, her cheeks blushing.
“There is no guessing about it!” the German declared. “My father was a collector of fine art and taught me of such things.”
The handsome German extended his hand. “My name is Ulrich, Ulrich Schröder.”
“Onyx Webb,” Onyx said, taking Ulrich’s weather-worn hand in hers and shaking it.
“Well, Miss Webb, perhaps when you return tomorrow to finish your painting, the lighthouse will not be so boring.”
“But what if my painting is already complete, Mr. Schröder?” Onyx said playing along, having gained confidence by sensing his interest in her.
“That would be a tragedy for us both,” Ulrich said. “When fate draws two people together, it is the job of man to comply.”
Fate, thought Onyx.
Yes, it was fate.