Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Interview with Amy Helmes & Kim Askew, Authors of Exposure and Tempestuous.

First I would like to thank both Amy and Kim for stopping by I Blog, You Read to discuss their books Tempestuous, scheduled for release on December 18th and Exposure that will be available January 18th. Let’s see what these talented authors have to say about their experience writing together and their books from their Twisted Lit series, Tempestuous and Exposure.

Amy Helmes (left) & Kim Askew(right)

1. Were there any experiences or challenges that you can share about your process in co-writing together that would interest writers and readers?

We check our egos at the door, so any challenges that present themselves are pretty easy to tackle. We mostly just find ourselves laughing a lot! Neither one of us can imagine writing these books without the other person — it’s definitely a “two brains are better than one” philosophy. The best part of the writing process is the instant gratification of getting each other’s feedback. We alternate writing chapters, so getting to see what the other person has done with a section is always such a treat!

2. I think Craig Mackenzie is a fantastic version of Macbeth because you have brought him to a level that teens can identify with as far as social status. What do you feel teens will learn from your lead characters?

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is basically a sociopath by the end of the play, and that’s definitely not the direction we wanted to take with Craig! He needed to be relatable, and he also needed to be the sort of guy our very smart and pragmatic protagonist, Skye, would be in love with. He’s charismatic, but also very flawed. One of the big lessons Skye learns over the course of the book is how very arbitrary popularity is in high school, and we hope that’s a message that will resonate with readers, as well.

3. Instead of going with an actual high school for your setting in Tempestuous, you went with a shopping mall. What went into the decision of picking such a fun and unpredictable setting?

We agonized over the decision of where to set the story. In Shakespeare’s version, the characters are all stranded on an island. We thought about going the literal route (maybe an island during Spring Break?) but it didn’t seem quite right. Since the events in The Tempest kick off with a storm, we eventually started to think about snowstorms and where you could potentially get stranded. The instant the word “mall” entered our brain, the entire book fell into place for us.

4. Tempestuous and Exposure are two very different books but both entertaining. Do you have anymore William Shakespeare adaptations in the works and when can we expect them?

We’d love to adapt them all! We’re currently working on our version of Romeo and Juliet. It’s such a favorite saga for so many people that we wanted to tackle it sooner rather than later, and we think our version has a very unique angle! We also are eager to delve into King Lear and Henry IV, among many others.

5. How does it feel to know that some teens out there may be introduced to William Shakespeare for the first time through your books?

Shakespeare can be intimidating, to say the least, so we’ll be thrilled if our books help people find his work more accessible. By the same token, we want readers to know that you don’t need to know anything about Shakespeare to find our books entertaining. We wrote the novels with both Shakespeare fans and Shakespeare-phobes in mind!

6. Out of Shakespeare’s entire world of characters my favorite is Mercutio. When I think of Romeo & Juliet I immediately picture Mercutio in my mind because I just feel his death scene is epic, at least for me. Do you have any favorites and why?

Yes, we completely agree about Mercutio! Sometimes the “entourage” characters are almost as intriguing (if not more so) than the heroes. That’s why Tom Stoppard’s movie Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is so fantastic. Stoppard takes two minor characters from Hamlet and tells the story from their perspective. We played with that idea when we created Skye Kingston, the heroine in Exposure, who is the female equivalent of Macbeth’s friend Banquo. We really liked the character of Banquo and wanted to explore his role in a unique way.

7. If you could ask William Shakespeare one question, what would it be?

We would forever put to rest that annoying debate, “Was Shakespeare really Shakespeare?” by getting the answer directly from the Bard himself.

8. I just want to say that I loved Tempestuous and Exposure and sincerely thank you both for allowing me to interview you, is there anything else you two would like to share with readers?
We’re so happy you love the books! We’d like to thank you for giving us the opportunity to chat with you, and we hope your readers will love the series as much as you do.

Be sure to stop by Amy Helmes and Kim Askew's blog Romancing The Tome and check out this cute video that they put together to promote their fun books. 

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