Hello Erin and Racheline and welcome to The Hat Party! <3 Thank you so much for subjecting yourself to the RANDOMNESS that is a Raine O'Tierney interview! Please don your best hat, and let's get started!
How did you first decide to start collaborating together and what is the most DRAMATIC thing that happened while you were writing together?
We met in fan circles and had been chatting about dabbling in fanficton together thanks to our fixations with House of Cards and Glee -- never let it be said our tastes aren’t diverse. But at a given point, we realized that original fiction was going to give us a lot more room to tell the stories we wanted to about the ugly logistics of common fantasies like fame and power. We started writing Starling five minutes later.
As far as drama, there’s been all sorts. We did make each other cry once, in the bad way, but you know, you work together and you figure it out and you move on. It’s like any relationship. Honestly, the funniest thing that happened is that someone at our coworking space stole our cookies. This isn’t a metaphor, the dude actually stole our cookies. It turns out he was an ongoing problem at the office and our cookies were the last straw and he got banned. I think the lesson here is to never underestimate your power.
What are your pie-in-the-sky, almost-too-embarrassed-to-say-out-loud dreams for your writing? No dream is too big!
No dream is too big! We totally agree. Every week we actually try to write about this on our blog. It’s a feature called Do the Thing! where we encourage people to want what they want and to pursue it fiercely.
We work hard to avoid embarrassment about ambition, but Racheline is trying to learn decorum and Erin is working hard to be more of a public force about her plans. Anyway, in addition to romance, we’re also working on a number of scripts, specs, and pilots. Being a part of creating the screen-based entertainment we love is a big driver for us.
Your thoughts on libraries:
Racheline: Libraries are rad, although I have to say NYC’s public library system isn’t all it could be. My partner is from Columbus, Ohio, which actually has the best public library system in the nation. So I am aware of my city’s inadequacies.
Erin: I grew up in Greece, New York, a suburb of Rochester, where the town library was actually an old Catholic church (It’s since been moved into a bigger, better building, which is excellent but also tragic). The stained glass windows were still there, there were bookshelves and carrells up in the choir loft, and my dad would take me through the cemetery to look at the old headstones whenever we went to get books. I’m not particularly religious, but that sense that libraries are this source of all knowledge and wisdom freely given in this beautiful space? Yeah.
Describe your collaborative writing process in 3 ½ words.
Questioning, interrupting creepitude
You have 200 words. Make. Me. SWOON! (Please!) And since you’re collaborators…co-written, of course!
Here we have a bit of a teaser from Starling:
As the night goes on, the crowd thins out and Paul and Alex switch from beer to mixed drinks. It is one of those innocuous, unspoken things Gemma would define as a sign, and Alex is pretty sure is just them egging each other on, step by tiny step. Whether that's towards oblivion or a hookup, he refuses to let himself be sure.
They drift apart and together over and over, never dancing again, but sometimes standing too close, Paul whispering harmless conversation in his ear, and sometimes too far, Alex calling something sharp and funny across a room, not for the purpose of saying I'm still watching you but, rather, you're all I can see.
Which is not good. Alex is smart enough to know that as cool and hot and seemingly lovely as Paul is, a lot of Alex’s feeling towards him is likely rooted only in timing, or the fact that Paul never changed the way he spoke to Alex when his circumstances changed. Both magic and normal are sexy.
But he also knows his opportunities are far and few between in his new life of look but don't touch everything.
You’re writing along and you’re attacked by a horde of zombies…ON FIRE…how do you survive? Or do you become a flaming zombie?
Wait, does fire not destroy zombies? But no, we do not become flaming zombies. We are far too stubborn to become zombies. Anyway, we save the files, open up the back of our laptops, rip out the batteries, throw them into the flaming zombie fire. Batteries are TOXIC and explosive, so they poisonously explode the flaming zombie’s skulls. If it misses any, we can use the shards of the laptop casing for stabbing the zombies. And we’ve preserved our hard drives and the writing -- although mostly we work on Google Docs so it’s up on the server anyway.
If you were to dedicate your book to someone who has no clue they changed your writing life—who would it be, and why?
Racheline: This question is weird for me, because I have an almost preternatural ability to run into those mentors and inspirations and then find myself having to dig out of whatever swooning acolyte nonsense I said at some point. Erin, who have I not met that I want to meet? Maybe if I am embarrassing enough here it’ll happen.
Erin: Ryan Murphy. Racheline wants to meet Ryan Murphy. For me it’s Ron Moore. I’d always been super into books, but Battlestar Galactica -- I was in college when it was on, yes I am a baby -- was the first show that really opened my eyes to what it’s possible to do on film, and taught me a ton about storytelling no matter what the medium.
If they were handing out awards for writing assets, in which category would you snag first place?
Adaptability. We are like the racoons of the writing world. We can write on the train, on the couch, in our office, in the park, in a cafe. Which is handy, because our list of projects is endless and on average we’re probably working on five or six things in various stages of completion and revision at once. We’re obsessed with all of them, and there are never enough hours in the day. So those little moments of writing 50 words or breaking plot on the commute are important.
What is a writing mistake you’ve made that you’ve learned and grown from?
We have this thing called the three-line rule. Which is that the last three lines of the scene you wrote on the first draft probably shouldn’t be there. If you take them off, you almost always get a better rhythm/beat/pacing to the story.
Similarly, don’t have people saying hello to each other on the phone or at a party. 95% of the time you want to skip into the conversation. It took us a while to figure both of those out.
And finally, for THE most important question of all: what kinds of dachshunds are the BEST kind of dachshunds?
Racheline: The long-haired ones. They dust for you.
Erin: All of them!
~ ~ ~
When J. Alex Cook, a production assistant on The Fourth Estate (one of network TV’s hottest shows), is accidentally catapulted to stardom, he finds himself struggling to navigate both fame and a relationship with Paul, one of Fourth’s key writers. Despite their incendiary chemistry, Alex’s inexperience and the baggage they’re both carrying quickly lead to an ugly break-up.
Reeling from their broken hearts, Alex has an affair with a polyamorous co-star and Paul has an ill-advised reunion with an old flame. Meanwhile, the meddling of their colleagues, friends -- and even the paparazzi! -- quickly make Alex and Paul’s real life romance troubles the soap opera of the television season.
But while the entertainment value may be high, no one knows better than Alex and Paul that there are no guarantees when it comes to love in Los Angeles.
Available from Torquere Press Inc. | Amazon | AllRomance
About The Authors: Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese’s gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry, is published by Torquere Press. The first novel, Starling, was released September 2014; its sequel, Doves, is scheduled for January 2015. Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller focused on themes of sex, gender, desire and mourning. Erin McRae is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C.
Connect with Erin and Racheline:
Blog | Goodreads (Erin) (Racheline) | Twitter (Erin) (Racheline) | Facebook
Comment between now and September 14th @ 11:59 PM CDT for your chance to win a handmade knit cap (personally knit by Erin), the very same kind worn by their story's protagonist Alex. Make sure you leave your email address to qualify for entry.