I’ve got another great title for your summer reading lists today! If you like intrigue, anything with a steampunk flair, and magic, you’ll definitely get into Armored Hearts!
Title: Armored Hearts
Author: Pauline Creeden & Melissa Turner Lee
Published: April 30, 2013
Word Count: 52,000
Genre: Steampunk Fantasy
Content Warning: G/PG Rating due to mild sexual tension and minor violence.
When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother’s side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales.
Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park and left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair.
Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.
Today I’m thrilled to have BOTH authors of this book in a first for this blog – a double interview! So let’s get to it
SJ: Every writer has some sort of process. Give us a glimpse into yours. Do you meticulously outline? Do you write depending on what calls are out there?
P:Together, Melissa and I have brainstorm sessions – we chat and throw ideas at each other then discuss why it will or won’t work with our characters’ personalities. Other than that, we both write by the seat of our pants.
M: Yeah, pretty much a pantser. The plotting I do is all in my head and I’m not always aware of how it happens.
SJ: Bonus question – Do you put on a cape and do a chant before hunkering down to work? Sacrifice anything? Along with your process, what’s your quirkiest writing habit?
Pauline: I always drink Snapple while I write – I love the stuff so much, I don’t allow myself the stuff unless I’m writing…call it a bribe
M: I often pace and listen to music before I write. Not always. Sometimes I take a long bath before and let the characters play for a bit so I have something in mind before I write.
SJ: Are you a meticulous planner or do you believe in the muse? Where do your ideas come from? Do they filter in through your dreams? Do they show up at inopportune times and whap you upside the head? Do they result in a shady deal with a dark power?
Both of us agree that our stories and characters just pop up in our head.
P: I get full on scenes and problems like: Jennie needs to stop by the grocery store on the way to church with her little brother, but wait, there are zombies outside…now what? And that’s the start of my story (Sanctuary, actually).
M: My characters show up in my head. I see them. I was on vacation when I met Gareth. I was at the pool with the kids and sitting in the hot tub watching them and I suddenly saw a man in a wheelchair, the old wooden kind. He was dressed like a gentleman and had a lap blanket. I got to know him and what was going on in his life and that was the beginning of Armored Hearts. The story was too big for me so I knew I needed Pauline’s help. I’m really glad she did. I could not have done this project without her.
SJ: What’s the book/story that’s closest to your heart? Is there a piece that you clearly feel is a piece of you? Do you play favorites?
P: I don’t really play favorites, I have a special place for them all.
M: The one dearest to my heart is the one I like least. It was my very first book, The Difference Between Night and Day. It came to me after a prayer asking to be able to write. I’d never been able to get a whole story down before and that one, I finally did. I knew nothing about writing craft, rules, pacing etc. and that all shows. But it was my first so it is still special.
- If you could only write one genre ever again upon pain of being sacrificed to Cthulhu, what would it be and why?
P: It would be Steampunk for me – I have 3 more stories that are sitting there, half written, waiting for me to finish them. And the others…they could live in that world, too.
M: Paranormal Romance. I’m a love junky, but I prefer it with a touch of weird.
- What’s your biggest frustration as a writer? What do you consider the downside, or is there one? Is there any cliché that makes you want to wring people’s necks?
P: Frustration number 1 – I never have enough time! I wish I could type twice as fast as I do and read even faster…but alas, I’ll have to stick within my limitations.
M: I struggle with consistency and time. I have a husband who works a lot and little boys who create large amounts of laundry and housework. I love them and they are worth the effort, so my writing goes on the shelf often. Also, if I am tired and stressed, I can’t write well. And most days I am tired and stressed out to the max with 3 boys who are little angels alone, but together enjoy whacking each other just for the fun of it. Try writing while sitting in the monkey cage at the zoo. That’s similar to my life.
SJ: If you had to be stuck in one of your own books/stories for the rest of your life, what would it be and why? If you had to stick a loved one in one of your own books, what would it be and why? An enemy?
P: Well, my stories tend to be fairly dark and tragic – I’m the dark side of Armored Hearts – Missy is the Light – so honestly if I or a loved one were forced to live in one of the stories I had a hand in, it would be Armored Hearts!
M: I think my painter series. I’d love to play cards with the immortal painters and sciences. It would be fun to be a part of that.
SJ: Do you think it’s possible to develop a sure-fire recipe/formula for success as a writer? Would you want to, or does that compromise the art or the fun of it?
P: The moment something becomes a job, it becomes less fun. There are moments, but it demands to be taken seriously. As a horse trainer, I don’t ride horses anymore for the “fun” of it, it is always work. Writing is similar. The formula for success? If I knew, I’d bottle it and sell it, too!
M: No, because every reader reads for different reasons and what you love one season might not fit in another.
SJ: Everyone has words of wisdom for young writers, so I’m not going to ask you about that. With a few unknown writers becoming success stories, a lot of people seem to think it’s an easy career choice. What would your words of wisdom be to these people?
P: READ tons – never stop! And Write lots– practice makes proficient.
M: Read books you love and study why you love them. Read books others love and find out why they loved them. Then sit down and write.
SJ: It seems like everyone likes to gang up on certain genres as being inferior, less meaningful, or cheap entertainment (especially if it’s speculative in nature). Make a case for the genre you write.
P: I won’t pick on your genre if you don’t pick on mine. Each one is like a family – my family is no better or worse than yours, and neither is my genre. Missy and I get along because we don’t pick on each other’s genre – mine is SciFi/Horror and hers is Paranormal/Romance – we both appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of our genres. And then we both gang up on Epic Fantasy together. Just kidding.
M: Yeah, I’m not into judging. You live your life looking up to some and down on others. That’s the recipe for a sore neck. I write what I love. I try to stretch and read out of my comfort zone. But I like what I like and you like what you like and that is just fine with me.
- What do you want people to instantly think of when they hear your name or your work mentioned?
P: Clever and original would be nice…
M: What an imagination.
- Please tell us about your latest/favorite work or a little bit about what you’re working on right now. It’s plug time, so go for it!
Together we have another project besides AH2 – a Romantic/Suspense/Mystery set in Alaska. We’ve only had brainstorm sessions so far, so it will be a while before it comes to readable fruition.
P: This year, that little novel I mentioned above, Sanctuary, will be released, and I’ve got a demon riddled space ship in the sky with Catalyst being published with Redeeming Tree Press.
M: yeah, AH2 and a romance called Forever Layla set in the 90s. It is Nicholas Sparks meets paranormal romance minus the deeply depressing ending. I’m pumped for everyone to read Pauline’s Sanctuary. I loved it and I don’t read horror/zombies. It was good enough to make me like something beyond my usual taste and I’m quite picky.
Pauline Creeden is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. In her fiction, she creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.
Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.
There’s also a tour-wide giveaway that includes the following:
GRAND PRIZE: Signed print copy of Armored Hearts, a Steampunk Charm Bracelet, and Bookmark Swag Pack (US Only)
SECOND PLACE: $20 Winner’s Choice of Gift Card to Amazon or B&N (or even PayPal Cash) (INT)
You can get in on that giveaway HERE