Thursday, July 19, 2007

Author Interview with Evan Trevane and Shawn M. Casey

"Ladies and Gentlemen, it's time for....The Blog Studio!"

Applause, applause.

Band begins to play, and the curtain rises as Carol Ann enters the blog studio wearing an olive pin striped pant suit, her curly hair pulled back from her face with tortoise shell combs that match her glasses and earrings.

CAROL ANN: Thank you!!! It's great to be here today. Wow! What a wonderful audience! I think we'll lock the doors and glue your drawers and I'll have a great audience next time, too!


CAROL ANN: Seriously, I'm thrilled that I can bring today's guests out to meet you. Yes, that's right. Plural. Guests!! I've been looking forward to having this interview for a long time. These two authors collaborate together to put out some spectacular and very entertaining stories. I had the pleasure of reading their first book. But let's bring them out so they can tell you about it. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Evan Trevane and Shawn M. Casey!!


CAROL ANN: Welcome! It's such an honor to finally meet you both.

EVAN: The pleasure is ours, Carol Ann. Thanks for inviting us.

SHAWN: Yes, thank you! As usual, Evan tries to speak for the both of us.

CAROL ANN: **laugh** You know, Shawn, you remind me so much of another author I interviewed a while back.

SHAWN: **tosses her long black hair over her shoulder. Her smile lights up her beautiful face with the very distinctive high cheekbones.** Really?

EVAN: Oh, I assure you, there is no one like Shawn, Carol Ann. She's one of a kind. **Evan's twinkling, piercing eyes dance with amusement, and his smile lifts his mustache.**

SHAWN: **pats Evan's hand.** Thank you. You're quite the charmer.

CAROL ANN: The audience is anxious to hear about the book you wrote together. **Carol Ann holds up a copy so the camera can get a closeup**

CAROL ANN: Who wants to start?

EVAN: I'll start.

SHAWN: Figures.

EVAN: The Pickle, My Little Friend. This short story is published by The Wild Rose Press. There, was that short enough?

SHAWN: **laughs** Oh, this is going to get good, isn't it? **Evan raises his eyebrows** Our current published title is a short e-book with The Wild Rose Press, THE PICKLE MY LITTLE FRIEND. This is a romantic mystery set just post WWII. Yes, the story is as unique as the title.


The ninth victim in the Bicycle Chain murders is found dead on his living room floor grasping a paper bag containing a pickle.Detective Jack Carter is working on the biggest murder case of his life. Which means, the last thing he needs is to find out that the one woman he has feelings for might be involved in the murders. Vicky Peik knows things, and one of those things is that her boss, Detective Jack Carter, is in over his head. Vicky has stayed a step ahead of Jack in her private investigation. Only problem is, despite her ability to sense the killer, he has managed to stay a step ahead of her. Something's wrong, and it's closer to home than Jack can imagine. Can Vicky find the killer before things go too far, and Jack can't get out?

CAROL ANN: I must admit the title alone was enough to make me buy this. I loved the story. It reminded me of the old detective novels I used to read.

SHAWN: That was Evan's input.

EVAN: Are you trying to make up?

CAROL ANN: They are just teasing, audience, I promise. When you both co-author a book, how do you actually work that? Evan, you first.

EVAN: We throw some ideas around and come up with a rough theme and an idea of what we want to write about. Then one of us writes the draft and the other does the rewrite. As the book develops, we trade sections as we finish them. The draft usually doesn’t get finished until long after the first parts have been rewritten a couple times. We end up talking about the plot and characters a lot so they evolve as the book progresses.

CAROL ANN: Shawn, anything to add?

SHAWN: Verrrry carefully. HA! In all seriousness, it’s a complicated process. We feed off one another’s energy, which is a real plus, but every detail must be choreographed down to the core so that nothing gets off track.All writers walk a tightrope, what info to ration out where, what is the underlying theme, what leads to what, etc. When writing solo, that information is stored in a single brain, and the author needn’t give a second thought to another author’s style, likes or dislikes. In a collaboration the very opposite is true. In order to preserve a combination of the two authors’ styles each author has to think just a little more about every proposed change. The real plus is that story rules supreme. Ego can’t exist. The art of listening is an absolute must. Considering your partner’s point of view, especially when your inclination is to disagree early on, is a prerequisite.
It might surprise some to learn that a good collaboration thrives on the differing perspectives. After all, if the collaborators never bring differences of opinion to the table, they don’t need one another. However, the two collaborators must share a bottom line vision. Otherwise, the differences become all that exist, and a partnership is impossible.

CAROL ANN: Where do you get the inspiration for your stories? Shawn, you first this time.

SHAWN: **big laugh** Absolutely everywhere and anywhere. Right, Evan?

EVAN: Absolutely. You never know when an idea will strike or you’ll notice something that will make an interesting story.

CAROL ANN: Evan, what is your writing process? Do you outline, research, or just write?

EVAN: Shorter works, we just write. Novel lengths take some outlining to stay on topic, and to give direction in the rewrite seeing as the draft is usually not done yet.

SHAWN: That is the $64 million dollar question. The one constant is research. That is our lifeblood to situations that where we have little or no personal experience. Other than that, we have yet to discover a single process. We have both outlined extensively, and flown by the seat of our pants—more or less. The novels we’ve outlined do evolve beyond the outlines, and we’re constantly updating the outline documents. Our first completed novel, FOR HIS EYES ONLY, a romantic thriller, was written with no real outline, but we did rehash that book so many times it oozed out our pours!

Unlike most collaborations, we do not write every other chapter or separate characters. Instead, we rewrite one another’s work until the story becomes an entity neither of us could have written alone. Our collaborations are different then our separate styles. Yet, at the same time, our personal styles peak out in wonderful one liners and phrases. This delights both Evan and I, as we are one another’s most ardent fans. **laugh** How could it possibly be otherwise?

CAROL ANN: I love the way you play off each other. It seems, Evan, that you are a man of few words. Quick, short and to the point, while Shawn elaborates more. I can see how the two of you would be a great writing team. Shawn, which comes first--characters or plot?

SHAWN: Another good question! Like most authors, we’ve begun some stories with the ‘what ifs.’ That might sound like plot comes first, but sometimes it’s a ‘what sort of person would be in a situation like this?’

Our soon to be completed second novel, KNOT OF THE SLAIN, a paranormal suspense, began with plot. We had a situation that interested us, and had to create characters that fit within those parameters.

Another planned novel is built around two characters from FOR HIS EYES ONLY. Characters came first in this novel, but we had a built in parameter of plot based on their history in the first novel.

CAROL ANN: Evan? Would you like to add to that?

EVAN: For me, it’s usually plot or theme. Rarely, I get a character in my head and have to write about him or her, but it’s mostly a plot or situation.

CAROL ANN: See what I mean? You thought plot came first, and Shawn thought characters came first in For His Eyes Only. Yet, you write so well together, no one would realize two different people write your stories except for the authors name on the cover. Okay, here's a question that you will each answer differently I'm sure. What is the last book you read? Evan?

EVAN: Pursuit, by Thomas Perry

SHAWN: Christopher Whitcomb’s WHITE. Great book.

CAROL ANN: Shawn, If you could be any age at all, what age would you choose and why?

SHAWN: 40. I was young enough to still have the energy to stay up late writing, and old enough not to care what anyone thought about my eccentricities.

EVAN: It all started when I was 23, so I would like to go back and change a thing or two I did. Just kidding. I think 30. That way, I’ll have a few years before I have to start using reading glasses.

CAROL ANN: Ah, the man is beginning to loosen up! Okay, Evan, your life is about to become a movie. What would the title be and why?

EVAN: Me and My Friends, because I couldn’t have done it alone.

SHAWN: Aw, that's sweet, Evan.

CAROL ANN: Shawn, how about you?

SHAWN: It’s a Crazy Life. **laugh** That’s gotta be self-explanatory!

CAROL ANN: Let's see how you differ on this one. What is your definition of the word "romance"?

SHAWN: Never getting bored with your significant other. Sounds hokey, eh?

CAROL ANN: Not at all! That's a great answer. Evan?

EVAN: The most wonderful thing that can happen between two people.

CAROL ANN: Now that's a very romantic answer! Well, it looks like I'm getting the signal to wrap it up. One last question for each of you. Do you believe the pen is mightier than the sword? Why?

EVAN: The pen because the written word touches more people faster.

SHAWN: Without a doubt, the pen is mightier than the sword—which is really lucky for me, as I can hold a pen much longer than a sword! A sword can reach but a few people at any given time. The pen can reach millions. It’s no contest.

CAROL ANN: Thank you both! This has been so much fun. **Shawn and Carol Ann hug. Evan kisses Carol Ann's hand. Carol Ann blushes and grins at the audience.** Isn't he a charmer?



CAROL ANN: Audience, I suggest you hurry and buy THE PICKLE, MY LITTLE FRIEND. You can find it at The Wild Rose Press.

For more information about this great writing duo, check out their blog.

Thanks everone! And thank you Evan and Shawn!


Donna Michaels said...

Another great interview, Carol Ann!

I enjoyed hearing from Shawn and Evan! What a double treat!

Carol Ann Erhardt said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Donna!