Me: The stage is set for the sequel and we even get to see a tiny preview at the end of Curse of the Spider King. Has the series been laid out already, or are you still unsure how many books will be in The Berinfell Prophecies?
WTB: There will likely be three books at least. We've just recently finished Venom and Song, the second book, and are considering some plot ideas for book three. It all depends on what God wants. If the books sell well, then certainly we'd write as many books as we have good ideas for.
Me: What can readers expect from book two of the Berinfell Prophecies?
WTB: Venom and Song will absolutely AMP the stakes. It's not just the Seven who are at risk but everyone in two worlds. Readers will get much more into the world of Allyra and meet the strange races and beasties that thrive there.
CH: Aside from all the freakish monsters, fast-paced battles, and crazy plots twists, my favorite thing about Venom and Song is that the readers really get to see each of the characters develop. In Book One, you're merely introduced to them; they don't really have a whole lot of interaction together. But in Book Two, the characters--who are each very different in their own rights--have to live with one another day-to-day. And things get extremely interesting!
Me: I love the interactive aspect of the riddle you pose to readers, what inspired you to create a forum just for readers of this series that will allow them to create their own tribe and solve a mystery?
WTB: Again, CH, you can speak best on this one.
CH: Wayne and I are both firm believers that reading needs to be exciting, and technology has allowed us to super-charge the way we involve fans. I've been really impressed with the whole ARG (alternate reality game) concept, playing out a story-line with real people in real time where their responses to challenges across multi-media platforms actually shapes the outcome of the game. We've had huge success with it and love getting to know our readers from around the world! As for Tribe Building, while I've certainly hand my hands in it a little, that's really Wayne's baby. He's a master at large-group ventures like that. I admire that about him a lot!
Me: Both you and Christopher Hopper/Wayne Thomas Batson are musical. Do you ever have jam sessions?
WTB: Christopher Hopper is the musician. The guy's played all over the world and has 9 CDs. I'm just a wanna be. I played in a metal band back in the day and loved it. It's the one area of my life that I've kind of had to let go, but still care deeply for. So CH and I thought about creating a soundtrack for Curse of the Spider King. We've recorded one song "The Lost Ones," that will be out on iTunes this month. I still can't believe it. But yes, we've jammed to it live and gotten spectacular reception.
CH: Wayne is a really good guitarist for all his "I've had to let it go" talk. I've had so much fun playing live together during our book signings...just so much fun. And as he said, people really seem to like the song, which is always encouraging. While the music is mostly mine, the lyrics are mostly all his. I can honestly say, Wayne is a brilliant lyricists, as he is a novelist.
Me: There are definitely plenty of spiders in this series. How do you feel about spiders in real life? Do you kill them when they come inside and your kids say, “Daddy, get it.”?
WTB: I kill them with great vigor. I absolutely hate spiders. They may serve a very necessary role in the Lord's ecosystem, but I just don't like the look of them.
CH: I find them absolute fascinating! Just today I was teaching my 4 year old, Eva, why spiders make webs...how they catch flies, wrap them up, then suck their insides out. Crazy! Who came up with that anyways? But, yes, I do get the chills when killing them, especially if you go to snag one with a napkin and it scoots away from you! YIKES! I'm such a girl!
Me: I caught a few references in the book that made me giggle. On page 210, it says, “…and some teachers were known to write novels in their spare time.” And on page 235, you give a shout out to Donita K. Paul’s most recent epic with this, “I did a poster for my book report on The Vanishing Sculptor.” What inspired you to add these fun little pieces of real life into your story?
WTB: CH did the first one, so he'll have to say. And the reference to Donita's new book came about because I'd just read it and was very very impressed. Therefore, a mention seemed natural.
CH: How can I not plug the great Wayne Thomas Batson with a cameo reference? Come-on! Too much fun!
Me: What was the most challenging aspect of writing Curse of the Spider King? And conversely, what was the most enjoyable part?
WTB: The challenge: Deadlines versus Available Time. Christopher and I are both very busy people ASIDE from writing. Large (and growing) families, full time day jobs, and numerous other demands make it really hard to find time to write...and not just write but collaborate. With Venom and Song, it has been absolutely ridiculous how much Christopher and my schedule clashed. Seemed like we could never find time to write together. Most enjoyable: the times we could write together. I can only tell you that one day I may publish our iChat conversations (which I've saved nearly all of). Writing with CH has been the most fun, definitely the most fun I've ever had writing. We are kindred spirits with weird views of the world. I think that comes through in the books.
CH: Most challenging? Definitely schedule juggling. Before these books, I was a morning person for 29 years, in bed by 10pm at the latest (and that was pushing it). It's currently midnight right now, and I'm still going strong. Something's just wrong with that. Most enjoyable? Spending time with Wayne doing what we love, writing novels for the glory of King Jesus.
Me: What do you do to battle the block? Computer solitaire, surfing the web, or something else?
WTB: I don't actually get writer's block. Most times I have more ideas than I know what to do with. However, I do sometimes get stumped on a name for a character or place or some such. Christopher will tell you I spend WAY too much time trying to put together just the RIGHT names. It's my curse, I think. The other issue is distraction. Writing with active internet around is dangerous for an ADD dude like me. Focus, Wayne, must focus!
CH: OK. Wayne is not exaggerating. He gets hung up on finding the "perfect name" more than anyone I know. It drives me batty sometimes (in a fun way!). But the payoff is that he gets KILLER names!
As for writer's block, like Wayne, I don't struggle with it very much because I'm always swimming with more ideas than I know what to do with. However, I learned a GREAT trick from Bryan Davis: Never finish a writing session at the close of a scene; finish mid-scene or mid-action. That way, whenever you come back to your manuscript, you come back into something you're excited to write! This has helped me a lot, not in battling writer's block, but in staying motivated!
And that's going to do it for this month's CSFF Blog Tour. Please check out some of the other participants' blogs for more info on Curse of the Spider King. And be sure to join me next month.
CSFF Blog Tour Participants:
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Todd Michael Greene
Rebecca LuElla Miller
John W. Otte