Only using colors and sounds, describe how you feel about mornings.
Matt: Blackness. Moans of despair. Clock radio talking. Clock radio smashing. The deranged laughter of one running freely away. Light blue sky. Resigned sighs of someone remembering responsibility and getting ready for work.
Fiona: Clock radio display red, whining mumbles about how I want to cuddle with Matt forever, Coffee with just enough milk brown.
If you got to pick the shape of a stress ball (one of those squishy ones that you can squeeze in your hand when your plot isn't working) what would it be?
Matt: I could really go for one in the shape of my enemies heads on a pike. I mean, I'd have to get some enemies first, but it would be really cool.
Fiona: I've actually been trying to find one in the shape of the companion cube from Portal. I can't believe they don't make them. I rely on stress balls, but I don't really project what's frustrating me onto them. I wouldn't want one in the shape of something I feel like crushing. They're more like little friends who don't mind siphoning off my aggression so I don't have to deal with it. A companion cube would be perfect to attach to and anthropomorphize in a creepily unwarranted manner... (Click here to read the full interview)
To start us off, can you sum up your novel in a tweet? (140 characters or less)
Fiona: Prospero High crawls with Shards, a more dangerous breed of shapeshifters who mean to destroy Ben and Mina’s friendship. #YA #Horror #SciFi
Matt: It’s got monsters, flamethrowers, high school intrigue & a crazy guy with a hook. What more do we need to say?
Not much! This series is definitely high on my TBR list!
So, Fiona and Mina, how did you two meet and how long ago was it?
Fiona: It feels like Mina’s been around my whole life, but it’s only been a few years. We’ve been through a lot in that time (a full finished manuscript’s worth beyond Splinters and Shards, in fact). I found her digging through the clutter of her desk, looking for some detail of the Splinters’ activities that she couldn’t find in the clutter of her head. I knew I was going to have to drag her outside more than she’d like.
Matt and Ben?
Matt: I’ve always been a sucker for classic adventure and Ben’s about as classical a hero as they come. He’s honest and strong and can be a little sarcastic when he needs to be. I kind of felt bad for the guy when he auditioned for this story because of what we knew we were going to put him through, but he said he was up for anything, and I think he’s delivered.
I think it might just be the role of the author to take perfectly nice people and do terrible things to them… just to see if they hold up!
What was your first impression of each other?
Fiona: I knew she was special. I knew she was a hero who could stand out among interchangeable cyphers.
Mina: I no longer believe in the existence of a merciful creator.
Matt: I thought Ben was honest, handsome and strong. Basically everything I hated in high school, so I knew he’d be a great foil for Mina.
Mina, don’t give up hope! I mean, at least I’m hoping that you’ll be okay at the end of the series…
Fiona and Mina, what’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened between you two?
Fiona: Well, there was that Valentine’s poem we wrote together. Mina doesn’t know I helped her with it, of course. That’s not until Slivers, though. How about that time I had to get her arrested just so she’d sit still for our last character interview? (Click here to read the full interview)
We’re back to Prospero, California with Shards, the second book in the Prospero Chronicles following Splinter Hunter Mina and her best friend Ben as they try to navigate high school and protect the town from Splinters who are body snatching the residents. Since the events in Splinters, we find Mina and Ben in a precarious agreement with the Splinter Counsel. The agreement states that as long as they keep quiet about Splinters and stay within Prospero’s limits; the counsel won’t go after them and their friends and families. But the Splinter Counsel is the least of their worries, as they discover a more superior race of Splinters called ‘Slivers’ or ‘Shards’ who are out to start a war by attacking humans and splinters alike.
Like the first book, the chapters alternate POVs between Ben and Mina, enabling readers to immerse themselves into what the characters think and feel. I had so much fun reading Shards and in my opinion it was even better than the first. With the world building and characters’ foundation already set reading this book was a breeze. I love that there’s no more secrets between Mina’s group of friends and the splinters. There are no more fake pleasantries or cordialness, and that’s where the fun begins…when Mina and her friends stop being scared and fight back. The new characters Greg and Julia were a hoot and who knew Haley had so much in her! She definitely surprised me the most... (Click here to read the full review)
On Writing a Partnership
Matt and I get a lot of questions about how we manage to write books as partners. Not so much about how we manage to write books about partners. The two go pretty beautifully together to make the stories we tackle together different from what one of us could do alone.
The majority of YA books follow a single perspective. The majority of fiction in general has a single, easily identifiable protagonist, even if other characters are heard from. There's nothing at all wrong with that, and Matt and I both love telling stories that way on our own, but The Prospero Chronicles takes a different technique.
This series is about Ben and Mina. Mina and Ben. They're partners, friends, and opposites in many ways. They get equal time to tell things from their sides, and they both do it as earnestly as if they were the only hero to hear from. Making a male and female character literally equal protagonists is an example we really like encouraging, but there's more to it than that. As a pair, they're able to add complexity to a lot of elements of the story compared with what we'd be able to see through one of them alone.
We get to see what it's like in Mina's head, with all her neurological abnormalities and all the terrible things she's been through, sympathize with her, and then be reminded from Ben's side how almost inexcusably awful she can sometimes be to the people close to her. We get her hardened, pragmatic view of the invading Splinters and what should be done about them, and then Ben reminds us to shake off the jaded blinders, and see what's being done to the people of Prospero with fresh eyes... (Click here to read the whole guest post)
Interests: Journalism and Politics. Senior Class President and Editor of the Prospero High student newspaper.
What's up with her lately: She seems to be the target of some unusually brazen Splinter attacks. These could be a trick to win her The Network's sympathy and confidence. Or she may simply be the first victim of changing Splinter tactics.
Greg Nguyen and Julie Kaplan
Interests: Each other, mainly. Julie's also a star student with a particular fondness for History and unusual fashion, while Greg favors conspiracy theories and breaking into cars.
What's up with them lately: They're back from a summer trip out of Prospero and not altogether thrilled with the changes to the Network's lineup in their absence. They're long-standing members, but can the other rebel humans really trust anyone who drops off the map so often, when the Splinters need only a few hours to replace a new victim?
Interests: Cheerleading. Friends. Boys. The ins and outs of the social order of Prospero High... (Click here to read all the profiles, plus the Girls With Books review!)
Thanks again, everyone!