I'm delighted to welcome Christine Rose to Bookish Ruth. Christine co-wrote Rowan of the Wood with her husband, Ethan. Be sure to check out their site for great contests, and please feel free to leave comments and questions for Christine and Ethan. They will both be available to answer your questions today and tomorrow.
What inspired the two of you to write Rowan of the Wood?
It really is a culmination of a lifetime of inspiration. I had the idea after spending a very magical Christmas with my nephews. They were really into Harry Potter and Batman/Spiderman, so I started thinking about what made those characters so internationally loved... and then it hit me: a magical superhero whose ultimate alterego is a young boy.
Writers are often told to write what they know. Both of you drew upon your life experiences with this book. Could you tell us a little about that?
Cullen is loosely based on Ethan's childhood. He was a ward of the court and lived in foster care in the redwood forest, just like Cullen does. However, that's pretty much where the similarities end. The characters took on a life of their own.
Could you describe your writing process? Do you think it was easier or more challenging to co-write with your spouse than it would have been to write a book with someone else?
It was much easier writing with my spouse than it would've been with anyone else. I'm not easy to deal with, and Ethan is infinitely supportive and patient. We worked very well together, and we truly respect each other's input. The story and characters were originally mine, so if there was ever a difference of opinion or vision, it deferred to my vision. Ethan brought so much to the project, and it certainly wouldn't be as good of a book without him. As for our writing process, I hammered out the first draft in 30 days (after the story swam around in my head for about a year), and then Ethan took the manuscript and embellished my story. I took it back for the 3rd draft and did the same: embellishing and editing, etc... after the fourth or fifth draft, we sat down together and read it cover to cover making more detailed changes.
Rowan of the Wood features many great characters, but I was especially fond Cullen's blind friend April. Did you need to do any special research in order to write a blind character?
I am rather empathic in nature, and when I'm in my writing zone, I can begin to feel the characters just through my imagination. There certainly was some research done on what it's like to be blind. Since I'm so immersed in the internet, the biggest question came after the book was written while I was creating the character blogs. I was doing it as if it were an English assignment from Mrs. MacFey at first, and then it dawned on me that April couldn't participate in the blog! It really opened up a lot of questions that we'll be dealing with in future books.
If Rowan of the Wood were made into a film, who could you see playing Rowan, Cullen and Fiana?
Oh! I'm so happy you asked this! My dream for Rowan is the magnificent Scottish actor Kevin McKidd! While writing the character, I had James Marsters (Buffy's Spike) in mind for Rowan, but after I found Kevin through Rome, I knew I had found my true Rowan. Cullen will be an unknown actor, and as for Fiana, my illustrator Ia Layadi thinks that Rachel Weiss would make a perfect Fiana. I think she would be great as well.
Books are a big part of Cullen's life. What are some of the books you've read and enjoyed recently? Feel free to recommend old favorites as well.
I've recently read BREAKING DAWN, but I can't say I really enjoyed it. I couldn't even finish it. I liked the first three books much better. The series as a whole is a beautiful love story. Of course I adore the Harry Potter series. I really enjoyed the first half of Laurel K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series, but the second half really became too erotic for me. It was more like reading porn, and that's just not my cup o' tea. I'm looking forward to reading THE HOST, the Vampire Diaries, and DEAD UNTIL DARK. I love the vampires! There are so many great books out that I'm wanting to read. I look forward to going on tour in January, as it will force me away from the computer and give me more time to read and write!
Ethan is currently reading SINGER FROM THE SEA by Sheri S. Tepper. She's one of his favorite authors along with Tove Jansson and Terry Pratchett.
Will we be seeing more of Rowan and Cullen in future books? What's your next project?
You absolutely will be seeing much more of Rowan and Cullen in future books. ROWAN OF THE WOOD is the first in a series of five books. We're halfway through writing the second which is currently titled WITCH ON THE WATER, but that might change by the time it's published. In the second book we're introducing a new adult character as an alternate love interest for Mrs. MacFey, and we'll also be meeting a new teen character that could really set things ablaze!