Please welcome Clay and Susan Griffith to the blog! They stopped by to talk about their new book, The Shadow Revolution, and we’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky US winner, so be sure to enter to win at the widget below the post.
Will you tell us a little about your new book, The Shadow Revolution, and the new Crown & Key series?
THE SHADOW REVOLUTION is a historical urban fantasy that takes place in the late 1820s. It’s set primarily in England, but it does visit different regions of the world too. We like to call the series Charlotte Bronte’s Avengers. Super-powered individuals from different schools of magic or fields of arcane expertise come together to stand against an ancient evil. It’s been a lot of fun writing ensemble fiction where everyone gets to shine in the sun and lend their unique ability to the fight. There’s a lot of action as one would expect in superhero tale, but there’s also a bit of romance and great character interaction.
Your main characters include an alchemist and a monster-hunter. Will you tell us more about them?
Kate Anstruther is our esteemed alchemist living under the shadow of her iconic father, a world famous explorer. She’s a brilliant scholar and a determined fighter. She struggles to keep what’s left of her family together using whatever means necessary.
As for our resident monster hunter, Malcolm MacFarlane is a brooding Scotsman. The best kind! He carries weapons designed to handle serious occult threats and has lived his life a lone hunter. He has a very black and white morality meter that will be tested over the course of the series.
Obviously you can’t do spoilers, but can you give us the scoop on a few of the supernatural beings that readers can expect in the new series?
Oh you know, the usual. Werewolves, mad-scientists and the like. Our newest monsters though are something more horrific. Something made though a blending of magic and alchemy. Depending on how each one is constructed, it can have a variety of different abilities, all of them horrible.
What supporting characters did you enjoy writing the most?
Hogarth. Hogarth. Hogarth. The loyal servant turned bodyguard for Kate Anstruther. The lengths he goes to in order to protect his charges just makes us melt sometimes. Such characters are staples in our books because they mean so much to us. Hogarth is always there to protect the children, offer sagely advice, and slam his massive mace into any thing that seeks to harm them.
Did you do any specific research for the book?
Yes, a lot. The series is set in the late 1820s. The time is both similar and different from the Regency Period that comes before and the classical Victorian Era that comes after. The trick is figuring out how. There are great resources, and so much of it can be found online. Journals and travel literature and newspapers from the period give you a sense of everyday life. Terrific maps of London and other parts of the world give you a sense of space and changes in the landscape. In terms of literature, the period is a little thinner. The Regency Romantics like Jane Austen have some value, but the explosion of Victorian novelists like the Brontes or Dickens hadn’t occurred yet. Even so, there is fiction from the period to dig into. That’s part of the fun of writing historical fiction, particularly sifting through eras that haven’t been mined in great detail.
How does your collaboration work? Will you tell us a bit about your writing process?
With a project the size of a novel, we work through the plot together first and create a detailed outline. Then we divide the book up into sections and go to work on our individual chapters. But we have to have that outline first so one person doesn’t make unexpected changes to Chapter Five that screws up the person who is writing Chapter Ten at the same time. That said, plenty of changes happen over the course of the writing. New ideas show up. Old ideas get thrown out. No outline survives the writing process untouched. Then we hand chapters back and forth for editing and to make the voice of the final book sound like both of us rather than either of us.
It’s been quite a while since we caught up! Have you read any good books lately?
Susan has been dining on a steady diet of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series, which she adores. She also just finished THE PAPER MAGICIAN by Charlie N. Holmberg, a clever twist on the schools of magic.
Clay has been reading a lot of screenplays and books on screenwriting. Even if he never write a screenplay, the art of screenwriting has a lot to teach writers of other types of fiction about character and story and pacing.
What’s next for you?
We have a new book in our VAMPIRE EMPIRE series called THE GEOMANCER. It serves as a continuation of the story for old fans, but can be a jumping on point for new readers. We just handed in the manuscript to our editor at Pyr Books, and it will be published November 2015. We are thrilled to be diving back into that world with some of our favorite characters. The stakes are higher than ever for them, with a trip into the Himalayas to stop a villain from their past.
About The Shadow Revolution:
A thrilling new Victorian-era urban fantasy for fans of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles, the Showtime series Penny Dreadful, and the Sherlock Holmes movies featuring Robert Downey, Jr.
They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.
As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.
After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.