Dan: What got you two into writing?
Loretta: I’ve been writing ever since I can remember. It started off with goofy, silly things that only a kid could dream of, then morphed into something bigger the older I got. When I met Scott, the world sort of exploded when he told me about his idea.
Scott: I’ve been dabbling with writing for years. I was lucky enough to be raised to believe that reading was essential and after a while I started coming up with my own crazy stories. I originally started writing this story set when I was about fourteen, but at such a young age became discouraged and filed it away until I met Lori.
Dan: What’s it like writing stories together? What are some of the benefits and hardships of writing this way?
Loretta: Overall, writing together is fun; you have someone there who can pull you out of the fire if you get stuck, or someone to constantly bounce ideas off of when you’re drunk at 2am. Scott and I are always talking about the world of Celn and those talks just make the world bigger and badder. Then there’s always the downside of waiting for the other person to get the motivation to write and/or edit. You may think you’ve written this awesome scene and when your partner reads it, they’re like ‘yeah…buuuut…we need this, this, and this,’ and all you can do is slap your forehead because they could have been doing that the entire time.
Scott: It’s been pleasant to have someone else that shares the same vision and bringing an entire world to life together has been an amazing process to watch. Lori brings ideas that I had never considered before and has helped evolve the story and even a couple of the characters. It is sometimes difficult to agree on how a certain scene plays out or finding an answer to a perplexing sticking point in the story. Because we both have different ideas there tend to be multiple ways to solve them leading to many long conversations about the best way to compromise so both people are happy with the end result.
Dan: What draws you into writing fantasy novels?
Loretta: Just the ability to create your own world where nothing is right or wrong, seeing creatures run around that would be so cool in the real world but, alas, no one has spotted yet. I think the fantasy genre allows you to really use your imagination without setting up the confines of say, horror or crime fiction, because you can have all of that and your elves, too.
Scott: Growing up playing Dungeons and Dragons in my teens really is where this whole thing started. The story and characters are loosely based on those experiences. To be able to take such a fond set of memories and immortalize them and make them so much larger is something most people only dream about. Besides, a fantasy world is only limited by how much imagination you have leaving you zero boundaries. In Celn anything is possible and that’s what I love about it.
Dan: You both show an interest in video games. Do you play fantasy, RPG, type games? Do you feel these games provide proper insight into the worlds you create in your own writing?
Loretta: Funny story about that. I was very limited in my gaming genres until Scott told me about Fallout 3—Bethesda took my hometown of Washington, D.C. and nuked it! I couldn’t wait to play it. Now that’s expanded my gaming horizons to RPG’s, FPS’s, sports…anything I can get my hands on, really. As for “proper” insight, I don’t think there really is such a thing, but games like Skyrim or Dragon Age can help with inspiration for setting a scene, while Army of Two or Mass Effect can assist with dialogue.
Scott: Love fantasy and RPG games! Ever since Dragon Warrior and the first Final Fantasies I’ve been dungeon crawling. Then when they evolved and Bethesda came into the picture with the Elder Scrolls series I was hooked. I don’t draw as much inspiration from games though, I tend to reference more from films or directors that tell a good story visually. I have always believed that the best way to tell a story is to help the reader “see” the events easily and clearly.
Dan: Who are some authors that have influenced your writing?
Loretta: Weiss & Hickman, Tolkien, Piers Anthony, Clive Barker, Orson Scott Card, Stephen King…oh, man. The list goes on.
Scott: This could be a long list but I’ll try not to drag it out. Okay: Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Piers Anthony, Tolkien, Mark Twain, Edgar Allen Poe, Louisa May Alcott, and Robert McCammon to name the most prominent ones.
Dan: Any new projects in the works?
Loretta: Many. The world of Celn was designed so that each of the characters we mention in Hyrum can have their own series/book, but right now we’re mostly focusing on the Hyrum series which is looking to be three or four books long. Plus there’s a zombie novel dancing around somewhere behind all that.
Scott: Our Hyrum series is the main focus right now but with a world so large there is always room for spin offs and numerous other adventures to share. I’m thinking that a zombie tale is looming on the horizon as well as another shelved story from my youth about cows waging war against mankind because in their words: “We will no longer stand by and watch our children become baseball gloves!” Yup we have everything from raunchy goats to battle cattle so stay tuned!
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