Cowboys and Vampires make for a great combination I sure have Blood and Whiskey on my TBR list. Check out the author interview I have for my stop on the tour and be sure to check out Blood and Whiskey
Thanks for being on, can you tell me about yourselves? –
Our pleasure. Thanks for inviting us. Here’s the quick and dirty 411: Kathleen is a geologist and filmmaker by education, a writer by choice and a tortured artist by temperament. She was born and raised in Washington, DC, and is an avid — rabid — reader. We’re talking falling asleep every night with the Kindle in her hands avid reader. Clark is a former cowboy, former poet and full-time cloud watcher. He was born in Texas, grew up in Scotland and then on a ranch in Montana where he fell in love with the west. When Kathleen entered the picture, he cheated on the west and moved to Portland, Oregon, which is still, technically, “west.” He is also an avid reader and used to be a chef, which means he suffers from PTfSD — Post-Traumatic food Service Disorder.
What is your work space and routine like? –
We both work in communications (Kathleen for a medical university and Clark for a national financial services company) which means our day jobs are about cranking out words that connect with the intended audiences. It’s a double-edged sword. On one edge of the blade, we’re both pretty good at high volume, deadline-driven writing. On the other side of the blade, we’re usually mentally fried when we get home. We have to be very diligent about setting aside time to write creatively, and be highly productive in that narrow window between a martini and falling asleep early. It helps to have clear “assignments.” While working on Blood and Whiskey, we had a detailed plot map and took turns writing chapters, then swapping to edit the other persons work.
As far as work space, it’s mostly our house. We are like seriously the worst house keepers of all time, spending every spare minute writing, researching or reading. That means our house usually looks like a federal superfund site. Out-of-town guests usually come to visit every few months, despite our best attempts to discourage them, so we have to clean everything up. We also work well on the road though, so we sometimes take our laptops and notebooks and head to the coast or the mountains. We’re writing this interview in a room overlooking the ocean in Newport, Ore. It’s almost sunset and a weiner dog is barking outside the window.
What are you reading now? –
Clark: I’m reading The Oyster: The Life and Lore of the Beloved Bivalve. I realized before we left for Newport that I didn’t know how oysters reproduce. I’m also reading The Undead: Organ Harvesting, the Ice-Water Test, Beating Heart Cadavers–How Medicine Is Blurring the Line Between Life and Death. We read a lot about death for research. It’s not healthy.
Kathleen: My reading has been a bit erratic lately, all over the place. I just finished 50 Shades of Grey to see what the fuss was all about. I’m having fun discovering new Kindle authors and download a few books every week, mostly thrillers. I love books that combine great storytelling with new knowledge — about a place, a culture or a subject. I recently finished Liquid Fear (Nicholson) and I learned something about scientific research and The Silent Oligarch (Jones) which had eye-popping about financial dealmaking in Russia.
Being a two person writing team is there a dominant person, the one who takes the lead role? –
It changes almost daily, like the weather. Only if the weather was on “bath salts.” We’re both stubborn, strong-willed and completely sure that our individual approach is the right one. So when we get to a place that requires a discussion, it always turns into an argument. Always. We’ve argued about the most ridiculous things — like whether an em dash is too phallic or whether flashbacks are trite — and the winner is usually the one who has enough energy to maintain their position the longest. That’s why the “lead” status changes so frequently. And also, we both trust each other completely so it really doesn’t matter which one of us is right. Maybe we just like fighting. The real challenge is coming up with characters and plotlines that inspire us both. With two separate filters, two minimum thresholds, it takes a lot of magic to make sure we can both stay jazzed about the project at all times. We think that comes through in our books.
What do you do when you disagree on how a scene should go? –
We don’t want to sound like masterpiece theater authors, but we really let the characters make the decisions. When we’re writing, once we’ve ironed out the plot, the details fit together like a puzzle and if there’s something about a scene that doesn’t work, it’s usually pretty easy to identify the trouble and figure out a way to fix it. When we were working on Blood and Whiskey, at about draft three Kathleen realized we had written a scene early on in which one of the main characters — Lenny, Tucker’s best friend and survivalist type — was unexpectedly ruthless. Once she identified it, even though Clark wrote it and provided a passionate defense, ultimately, changing it was the right thing to do.
Getting to kill as many people as you do in the books do you ever unleash a little and secretly kill off an old boss or someone you don’t care for? –
Clark: Absolutely. I have a detailed and lengthy revenge journal and spend way too much time imagining all the glorious ways to destroy them while inflicting as much agony as possible. I’d like to think it helps bring to life the motivations of the evil undead in our books, but truthfully I’m just a small, petty person.
Kathleen: No. I’m a vegan. I think all life is equally important. I would never want to kill someone, but I do get to experience that vicariously through our characters. And I am tempted sometimes to name a character who we know is going to die a slow and horrible death after someone who has recently irritated me.
The covers look great did you have much input in them? –
Absolutely. Our publisher worked with a talented local artist and designer, Brett Lloyd, and we were intimately involved with it. Probably WAY more involved than Brett would have liked.
What are the future writing plans? –
We’re hard at work on book three of The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series, tentatively titled Undead Asylum. We’re also working on a new series, a paranormal detective with a strong female lead. Think of it as “paranoir.”
Can you tell us about Blood and Whiskey? –
The Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series, ultimately, is all about star-crossed love. Can a cowboy and vampire really stay in love and make a life together?
Blood and Whiskey, the second book in series, picks up where The Cowboy and the Vampire: A Darkly Romantic Mystery left off.
After narrowly surviving a vampire apocalypse, Tucker, a down-on-his-luck cowboy, and Lizzie, a newly-turned vampire with a growing thirst for blood, hightail it back to LonePine to settle down and start a family. But nothing ever comes easy for these two lovers.
The vampire world is in disarray and the undead are facing the prospect of mortality for the first time in, well, forever. Without a blood savior to turn the willing, the Royal vampire line faces extinction. The mysterious Council of Nine is headed to LonePine to find out if Lizzie has the power; if not, they’ll lay waste to the tiny town. But the Reptilian vampires, conveniently able to reproduce the old-fashioned way, have other plans.
Chafing under thousands of years of brutal oppression at the hands of the Royals, the Reptilians see their chance to finally alter the balance of power by assassinating Lizzie. They’ve sent their own “ambassador” to LonePine, an undead cowboy killer straight from the old west.
Meanwhile, Rose, the niece of Tucker’s best friend Lenny — a quirky conspiracy theorist and improvised weapons expert — has disappeared from the streets of Portland. When Tucker and Lenny investigate, they uncover a horrible, depraved mystery centered in the sagebrush-soaked isolation of remote Plush, Oregon.
Blood and Whiskey (Pumpjack Press, May 2012), by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays, is the second book in the Cowboy and Vampire Thriller Series. It’s a wickedly funny tale of love, loyalty and sacrifice in the modern west.
About the authors
Stuff Clark likes: sagebrush, the American West, clouds, whiskey and graphic novels. Stuff he hates: running quarterbacks, drivers who don’t use turn signals and the sound of flip-flops.
Stuff Kathleen likes: Russian literature, anarchy, martinis, lava and the ocean. Stuff she hates: intermissions, Halloween corn mazes and high-speed vehicular sandwiches. And the Muppets.
Find out more about The Cowboy and the Vampire Thriller Series:
Check out the awesome giveaway for books 1 and 2 in the Cowboy and Vampire series. There are two sets to be won and a chance at a $50 GC to amazon for a review.