Cris and Clare Meyers
‘Yes, we co-write with our spouse. No, we’re not crazy. And yes, the look on your face when we said that is probably the best part of saying it.’
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In the beginning…tell me what made you decide to start writing?
‘In the beginning…’ That’s a loaded question. It just sort of happened. Cris remembers writing what he calls ‘bad Star Wars fanfiction’ when he was little, and Clare too had a few amateurish stories she wrote as a kid. We both majored in English and continued writing individually, getting better but still not pursuing publication. We didn’t start writing together until almost ten years after graduation and found that we were even better writers together. As for the Criminal Elements series (you know, the series we started with our first published book), we actually had the character concepts for Renee and Stone before we had the first story. The story itself was probably bantered back and forth for about two months before we sat down and started writing.
Tell me about your series.
These aren’t your average criminals.
The Criminal Elements series is an urban fantasy that features a group of supernatural criminals. Some are Talents, wielders of elemental magic. Others are shapeshifters. While these abilities give them an edge in a business where one wrong move could be their last, it also makes everything that much more complicated.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
We have two unfinished books—one is Shifting Identities (the third book in the Criminal Elements urban fantasy series) and the other is a historical Victorian-esque fantasy (Cris likes to call it gaslamp fantasy). Shifting Identities is a lot further along, and we’re hoping to have it out in early 2018. The second one has about 10,000 words drafted, and we don’t even have a working title for it yet.
What’s your opinion on the practice of ‘banning’ books?
It’s pointless and arbitrary. The amount of time and effort spent banning books (dictating what someone should or shouldn’t read) could be far better spent reading them and discussing the issues they bring up.
Tell me about a principal character in your book(s). What makes them memorable?
We’ve chosen to highlight each of our five main characters by giving them each a turn in the POV spotlight and allowing them to shine and connect with readers as only a POV character can. That being said, probably the one that is the most memorable—for good or ill—is Rook. He is cocksure and sarcastic, a were-crow and hacker. Rook is loud and in your face, and you either love him or hate him—maybe even both.
Indie, or traditionally published – and why?
Indie. We decided to self-publish because we didn’t want our completed stories to languish on a thumb drive waiting for the stars to align. We might try the traditional publishing route at some point, but for now, indie suits us.
Are you a plotter, or a pantser? What do you think of the opposite approach?
Our process is a bit of both. We have a pretty solid idea of the overarching plot, but the finer details tend to come as we write. Part of it is because of how we co-write, alternating sections and overlap-editing as we go. We aren’t against plotting at all. Laying it all out start to finish works for some people, and we’ve made little mini-outlines ourselves. But we accepted long time ago that things will change as they write, and we feel that it’s too easy to stifle new ideas or plot points if it doesn’t fit ‘the plan.’
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
There are a few inside jokes that have crept in, and of course, there’s a bit of foreshadowing people can find if they go back to the beginning. But we try to limit those ‘you had to be there’ references to the ones that stand on their own and just have that little extra for a handful of readers. Or we let Rook make the joke—because he’s like that; he doesn’t care if someone gets the reference or not.
Do you listen to music when you write, and if so, what do you like?
If we could agree on what to listen to, maybe we would. But we can’t. Our music tastes are pretty different. While we can deal with each other’s music when in the car, we’re also pretty sure that ‘just putting up with it’ wouldn’t help us write. That being said, we do usually have something making ignorable background noise while we’re working (usually the TV).
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Just how well we work together. Merging two styles and two views of the same story into one is already a challenge—as most co-writers will tell you. Some have even called it insane. And to do so with your spouse? Yet we write together remarkably well, and our stories are better for it.
Cris, Clare, thank you for participating in Galaxy of Authors!