ME = BOLD
BRIAN = BLUE
JASON = RED
Hi Jason and Brian, thank you for being here today. First of all, can you describe your book to those who may have not heard of it before?
Brian: Thanks a lot for having us! XII: Genesis is set 100 years in a dystopian future. Diseases have been cured, people have been brought together to live in harmony and life for all intents and purposes seems to be vastly improved from the world we know today. So much so, in fact, that the powers-that-be have renamed Earth New Earth. But there is a growing evil that threatens to destroy New Earth, and twelve supernaturally gifted individuals from around the globe have been recruited to stop this destruction from happening. The problem with this, however, is that doing the right thing will cause them to be branded as terrorists by most of New Earth, named Public Enemy #1 by the most powerful man on the planet, and heroes by only a scant few. The big question for the twelve is this: Faced with these and many other enormous obstacles, will they even want to do the right thing, knowing all the trouble it will bring down on them?
Jason: It's a pleasure to join you! Brian did such an outstanding job setting the scene for the premise that I don't have much more to add! I do think it is important to note that this book and series does not fit into any typical genre. It's both young adult and new adult in content, while appealing to mature adult readers as well based on numerous test reads by unbiased sources. It has supernatural elements, it has a lot of action, but the character development was our primary focus in telling the story so there also a lot of humor, and more than a couple of love stories being developed.
Where did the inspiration for the book come from?
Jason: I had the vision for this book series forming in my mind as early as 2000-01 but it was sitting dormant in my "To write" files until Brian and I met and started discussing our mutual writing history and project files. We agreed to collaborate on XII and three years later, here we are!
Brian: The idea originated with Jason a long time before I got involved. Years before I got involved, actually.
Who would you recommend it for?
Brian: This novel is something that will appeal to a variety of audiences. The primary audience figures to be those readers who fall into the young adult/new adult categories, but in doing test reads for the novel we found that it appealed to men and women, young and old, so it has the ability to crossover. And with the elements of action, drama, the supernatural, urban fantasy, romance and even forbidden love, there are aspects of this story which will appeal to all sorts of reader sensibilities.
Jason: From a parental perspective, I think it's important to note that this has been scaled down to a "PG-13" rating, but it is more mature in content than what some parents may want their children reading. My teenage sons have read it, and as Brian mentioned, we have eager fans over the age of 50 who loved the earlier versions - but XII definitely has more teeth than say, Twilight.
You both wrote the book together: was it as easy as you expected? How did you overcome disagreements?
Jason: We definitely had to learn "the dance". We knew it was crucial for this story to have "one voice" and previous to this joint project, Brian and I had decidedly different writing styles and experiences. I don't think we ever had outright disagreements about anything (which is remarkable really). If we saw something differently, we both had an equal voice and opportunity to make our case for our position. We also found that our voices started syncing up over time as well. We're still very different writers inherently, but I've learned to add more words and syllables to my "short and sweet with teeth" style, and Brian has learned to pare down his "cover all the bases descriptively" style... at least when working together!
Brian: It was definitely not easy! Apart from a number of occasions where life happened, we also had to find solutions to a number of issues. By the time Jason broached the subject of this novel to me, he no longer lived in the same area I did (we don't even live in the same state!), so we had to be very intentional about trying to find time to work together via Skype. But even then, when you have 8-5 jobs and family responsibilities, it can make working together difficult, especially if you can't find the right rhythm for working together in the best way possible.
Did you ever experience writer's block?
Brian: Heh, absolutely. Then I just punched it in the face and started writing whatever, even if it wasn't related to XII. I'm a freelance writer in addition to writing novels, so there's always something for me to be writing. I actually find that this helps me clear my head sometimes if I need to step away from the material a little to get a fresh perspective.
Jason: More like "life" blocks. I don't remember a time where we ran into a section that had us scratching our heads - at least not after two re-writes. LOL!
What are your favourite books?
Jason: That's a loaded question! Depending on genre and my mood, it varies. My tastes mirror Brian's for titles, but it's easier to name my favorite writers: Lewis, Tolkien, King, Peretti, Dekker, Frost, Poe ...and I have to admit (for better or worse): Wallace, Grevioux, Lumley, Meyer, Collins, and Mead. If there are vampires, werewolves, wizards, elves, lightsabers, swashbuckling, or gripping suspense - I'm inevitably hooked once I start reading.
Brian: Too many to name! Among my favorites, however, are The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Harry Potter series, Ender's Game, Catch-22, Wonder Boys, Three (by Ted Dekker), The Dominion Trilogy (by Robin Parrish), anything ever written by Langston Hughes...I could go on and on about this subject!
Did you plan beforehand or start writing straight away?
Brian: We had to do some planning simply because Jason had to outline so much of what he was thinking when he first told me about the story back in 2008. I started to get a sense of the novel's scope, tone, etc., and we started doing some back and forth on characters, their various arcs, and then we just started writing it as best we could. It took us a while to find the method that worked best for both of us, but once we did we really got going!
Jason: The vision was clear but it was so massive that finding the proper starting point while learning the best way for two "drivers" to share the wheel was a process.
What was your favourite part to write?
Jason: There are two parts that stuck with me equally for different reasons. Writing the sequence where the Twelve get their "markings" had me literally laughing out loud as the scene played out, and there's a moment when the team sees a side of Joshua (Their leader) that isn't normally on display following a colossal failure and the loss of many lives. The message of that scene and the visual at its conclusion literally had me in tears as I was writing it.
Brian: There is a scene early on in the book where the reader is first introduced to the eight individuals who will be the primary villains in this series. By this point the reader knows that things on New Earth are far from utopic and that dark and evil forces are everywhere, but this scene helps put a finer point on it. I loved writing this scene because it was dark and ugly and menacing and just...evil. They're in this secret underground lair surrounded by this oppressive ambiance and despite laying out that these eight are going to be the "giants" that our twelve main characters will have to square off against in this series, there is one who clearly is in control of the others. Before working on this novel and getting involved with this series, writing about things which are dark and evil wasn't exactly my thing, so it was a lot of fun to create this ominous scene and give the readers just the slightest hint of what our heroes will be up against as the series goes along.
Can we look forward to more books written by you?
Brian: Absolutely, as XII: Genesis is the first in what will be an eight-book series!
Jason: What he said!
Finally, what is the best thing about being a writer?
Brian: I get to use the God-given creative streak inside of me to provide for myself and my family. I get to tell stories. I get to dream. I get to share those dreams with whoever wants to dream with me. What's not to like about being afforded the chance to do what you feel you were born and created to do?
Jason: (Big smile) The biggest pay off for me is when I've gone through the "birthing" process and given life to what feel like real souls to me and then have my readers talk about them as if they really are. That visceral payoff of seeing or hearing of an emotional response to what I've written, especially when it's the response I was fishing for, is amazing.
Thank you very much, Brian and Jason! Great answers! :)