I’m hosting an interview with two authors today – Ken Brosky and Isabella Fontaine. They’re the authors of the Grimm Chronicles series, a young adult fantasy series in which main character Alice goes out to fight the Corrupted, fairytale characters gone wrong.
1) How does it work, writing a novel with two people? I imagine it must be quite different from writing one on your own.
Ken: It is, if only because I need the help. I typically write the first draft, and then Isabella fixes it up. It turns out I have a lot of annoying little habits that pop up in my writing and need to be smoothed out.
Isabella: We brainstorm together a lot, too. In the first book, one of the main monsters has a taste for young women … in this case, “taste” meaning very much what a spider might do. That kind of thing really developed when we bounced ideas off of each other.
2) How did you come up with the idea behind The Grimm Chronicles?
Ken wanted to do something with a hero, but we wanted to make sure that we were being somewhat original with our story. That meant thinking outside the box and creating a unique tale. Enter: Grimms’ Fairy Tales. Instead of simply incorporating monsters from the fairy tales, we had an even better idea: what if allllll the characters in the fairy tales were evil, including the heroes?
3) What was your favorite book to write in The Grimm Chronicles series so far?
Book 5: Blood and Thunder. Definitely. We really put some blood, sweat and tears into that one. Not only that, we got to incorporate a little Moby-Dick into it as well. Books 4, 5 and 6 also touch more on the personal life of Alice, the hero of our story. She’s tasked with killing the monsters known as the Corrupted, but she’s also a senior in high school.
4) How long did it take you to write Blood and Thunder?
We set a deadline of two months for each book in the series. Most of the books are already plotted out before we start, as are the fairy tales that we plan on incorporating. But it’s still a tough process! The stress level can get a little high once we’re close to deadline!
5) Do you write an outline before you start, or do you simply start writing?
We have outlines for every story. We needed them so that we could make sure all 12 books have some common themes.
6) If you could have a drink with three authors (dead or alive) which ones would you choose?
Ken: Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville and H.P. Lovecraft. I imagine those three together would be something so ridiculously awesome that it would defy words.
Isabella: Nitchke, Kurt Vonnegut, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
7) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Master whatever plot you’re going to use, but make sure you’re creative about it. Make your story unique. One of the best ways to keep readers caring about your characters—and we’ve learned this firsthand—is to make sure you only have a few main characters. Don’t overdo it.
8) Are you working on something new right now? Can you tell us about it?
Book 6: The Order of the Golden Dragon! It’s going to be epic. Alice will have to face her most dangerous foe: a mysterious wizard who can infiltrate her dreams.
That sounds very exciting – and a little scary! Thanks for answering my questions!
About Blood and Thunder
Title: Blood and Thunder
Author: Isabella Fontaine & Ken Brosky
Upon making a surprising discovery in a Corrupted’s lair, Alice finds herself torn between her responsibilities as the hero and her desire to live a normal life. She’s been granted a unique opportunity to leave the entire world of the hero behind. But before she can make her ultimate choice, her nightmares return …
A ship is coming. And aboard that ship is one of the most terrifying Corrupteds Alice has faced yet. In order to face her foe, Alice will have to do without the help of her scorned friend, Br’er Rabbit.
At school, a miraculous recovery by the star of the baseball team prompts more questions, all of them bringing Alice back to that fateful encounter at the orphanage of doom. To make matters worse, a school bully has taken his terrorizing too far, a friend is in trouble, and the mysterious ship in Alice’s nightmare holds a terrible secret …
This story also contains:
– “The Fisherman and His Wife,” by the Brothers Grimm
– Chapter one of “Moby-Dick,” by Herman Melville.
Isabella Fontaine lives a quiet life on a farm in rural Wisconsin. She enjoys reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales and writing on a typewriter, which annoys her cats. This is her first book collection.
Ken Brosky received his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He’s written a number of books and regularly publishes short stories. He also helps out at Brew City Press whenever possible. This is his first young adult collection.