I began this blog in September 2012 and one of the first to leave a comment was Inionnmathair. Their comment was so positive and supportive it was a major confidence boost! I’ve been following their blog ever since and today I am so happy to have them here for my very first author interview to help launch their new book, The Perfect 7.
So you’re probably wondering why I keep saying “They” and “Their” for this author. It’s because “Inion N. Mathair” is Irish for daughter ‘n mother and it’s the pseudonym for this writing team.
Without further delay, I’d like to introduce you to Inion N. Mathair, welcome to Writing Pieces of Me.
InM: Thank you for having us, Arlene. We can’t tell you what an honor and privilege it is to be here.
When I first visited your blog, I couldn’t believe you were a writing duo. I can’t imagine writing a novel with a partner. Can you tell us how you come up with your story ideas, how you agree on your story’s direction and how you settle disagreements if you have any?
Inion: The initial idea for a story starts with one of us, (mind you it’s very vague in comparison to what it eventually becomes) then we discuss the potential of the tiny seed and contemplate whether it should be on the back burner or not. If the character’s voice is too loud to drown out, there’s no way we can ignore it, and so we begin playing with the story. This is Mathair’s favorite step in our process because she says we’re like two little girls playing pretend.
After that, we separate and by separating I mean we sit 24 inches apart on my futon in our writing room and write what would be considered to be the first chapter. We do this, until both of us have captured the voice of the character, then comes my favorite part, the blueprinting; order in the chaos. This step is essential in our writing because there are two authors in this team and we must be unified in our vision before we ever begin the character’s journey. Of course, we always remind ourselves that the direction is subject to change, and has been known to do just that. We never try to control the story or stifle our character’s regalement of their journey. We prefer to keep an open mind and allow our characters to tell their own story.
Then, we assign chapters to each other, based upon our writing strengths; Mathair has a knack for drama, romance, heavy dialogue and character introductions while I prefer the action sequences, inner monologues, unusual plot twists and unsettling endings. During the writing of the actual book, there’s a lot of communication between us, making sure each chapter melds together seamlessly so that it appears that one mind is at work.
Wow, that’s impressive. So can you tell us a little about your new book, The Perfect 7?
InM: Certainly, The Perfect 7 is the first in a five part series and is actually the second book we wrote as Inion N. Mathair. We published it first because we noticed a trend in controversial novels and a big push for Biblical storylines with edgy twists as well as a strong male lead. The Perfect 7 has religious connotations, but is a fictitious take on spiritual events. And, though it’s not kosher to say, it’s both of our favorite out of the three series we’ve created.
The Perfect 7 is a coming of age story with a pre-apocalyptic backdrop that follows five teenage boys in a rock band. These enigmatic characters are thrust into the world of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll and don’t realize that the ‘feel-good decadence’ is a smokescreen for a much larger picture, which is the fact that they are all integral players in a spiritual war that’s been brewing for over a millennia.
That sounds intense! So, how long did it take to write The Perfect 7 from first draft to publishing?
InM: That’s a great question, Arlene, and one we don’t get quite often. Our mentor informed us that by the time we were done with our novel, through the first, second, third, fourth, fifth drafts and all of the editorial rewrites, we would be able to quote full chapters of the material. At the time, we thought he was crazy, but it’s actually very true. The first draft of The Perfect 7 took a little under three months to write, but from first draft to publication it was 13 months. And, now we can safely quote the first chapter by heart.
Self Publishing vs. Traditional – how did you decide? And will you make the same choice for your other books?
InM: We initially wanted to go traditionally. It had always been my dream, but those were misguided notions of a very naïve girl. One that thought she’d move to New York City, live in a studio apartment and be a published author within three months of moving there. LOL. However, per our mentor’s orders, we spent a solid year researching all things literary, educating ourselves and immersing into the entire world of publishing. We began to see a rising trend in self-published authors, but it was the financial and creative advantages that ultimately sold us. We heard so many horror stories from authors that were traditionally published and the universal complaint was that there was little to no profit from their own works and a complete loss of creative control.
What actor would you choose to play your lead character?
Inion: Yay! We love this question! Though some would see this as silly or superfluous in the writing process, this is actually a must for us due to the fact that there are two authors in our writing team. So we spend the blueprinting portion of our process choosing visual aids to accompany our characters in order to keep a unified vision of our story. Finding an actor to represent Kevin was a heady thing, as he is a very dynamic character and we had such a specific idea of what he looked like in our minds. Mathair was the one that finally found him. She came running into my room, turned on the TV and screamed out, “I’ve found Kevin!”
The movie was Nowhere Boy and it was the scene where John Lennon was singing “In Spite Of All The Danger” in a recording studio. I watched Aaron Johnson singing and strumming the guitar and knew at that moment, he’d always been the right choice for Kevin.
I can totally see Aaron Johnson as Kevin. Great choice! Now, what actor would you choose to play you in a movie about your life?
Mathair: I’ve picked these two women, though they look nothing like me. Meryl Streep or Bette Midler. The first is out of respect, admiration and the fact that I fell in love with her the moment I laid eyes on her when I was 24 yrs. old and the latter is because my daughter has told me from the time she was a little girl that Bette Midler’s tenacity reminded her of me.
Inion: Only because I’ve had girl crush on her ever since I saw the movie Much Ado About Nothing, Emma Thompson. Of course, my brother’s trying to steal the computer from me to write down another Emma. He says Emma Stone because she and I have the same kind of humor.
Who is your favorite author and what’s your favorite book?
Mathair: Ah, now you’re in our wheelhouse. I’m an eclectic reader so I have a wide range of choices, but I would have to say my favorite book was one of the first large novels I read as a child. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S Lewis. I would always read it in my closet with a flashlight, praying that I would look up to see that I’d found my way into Narnia. It was the first novel I’d read that fused fantasy with reality and it’s a formula that Inion N. Mathair has implemented in all of our writings.
Inion: That’s an easy one. Though I’m an avid reader with a salacious appetite, (Mathair taught me to read before I could walk) there’s never been a question in my mind that my literary inspiration is and always has been Anne Rice. I love both Lives of the Mayfair Witches and The Vampire Chronicles, but my favorite is The Vampire Lestat, which I first read at the ripe ole age of ten, and in my opinion, Lestat De Lioncourt is the greatest fictional character of all time.
Inion – I’m a major Anne Rice fan too and the Mayfair Witches was one of my favorite series of her’s too. So do you have any advise for the aspiring author?
Mathair: Absolutely, and it’s the two greatest pieces of advice I received. Grow thick skin and don’t be afraid to keep yourself open to suggestions from people much smarter than you. An author is so close to their work that they often can’t form impartial and unbiased decisions about the story and a lot of those decisions could potentially make the story greater. And, read, read, read. Never be afraid to learn more about your peers, your competition, and just for the love of opening a book and find a new world to dive into.
Inion: I guess this is what makes us such a great pair, we balance each other out. Because my initial response is to never allow outside influences to sway the story, including yourself. There’s a big difference between an author’s voice and the character’s. Don’t make your MC go right because that’s the way you want it, or because you want to vicariously live through that character. If he/she/it was destined to go left, then allow the story to tell itself and let the character take the journey. Also, I know networking is a huge part of our work, but if you’re spending more time on Facebook than your book, you need to reprioritize.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you or your book?
InM: The Perfect 7 is not the norm for YA Fiction. We knew that Kevin’s story would make a lot of people uncomfortable and that there’d be some backlash due to the vulgar language, gratuitous drug use, and controversial religious twists. We simply ask that readers try to remember that no man’s road to redemption is the same or should be judged by another and Kevin’s journey is far from over.
Intriguing last words … that is sure to make people want to read your book. And for a little enticement Inion N. Mathair have agreed to give away one free copy of The Perfect 7. Anyone who leaves a comment to this post up until 10:00 pm EST on Friday, Aug. 16 will be entered into a random drawing and I’ll announce the winner here next weekend.
Inion n. Mathair, thank you so much for your willingness to be my first interviewees! I’m so excited for you and wish you LOTS of success with your new book!!!
Seventeen year old Kevin Yager marches to the beat of his own drum. Unaffected by life, his crass and sarcastic outlook has coined him the bad boy of Juniper Falls, Alaska. Eager for success and hungry for fame, Kevin and his four band mates: Sam, Ivers, Roth and Lane accept an offer from business mogul Viktor Vikirrus to play at his trendy nightclub The Perfect 7. Seduced by sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, the boys are blinded by their benefactor’s generosity and are unable to see the hidden darkness behind Vikirrus and his club. Until their final performance, they discover that they’ve been hand-picked for the sole purpose of enticing the youth with their infectious music. Vikirrus intends to use the band to mass an army that will shake the very foundation of heaven itself and being Satan’s modern-day pied pipers has never been so grand. Follow their journey as they discover the secret to coming of age in a world whose age is coming to an end.