In celebration of Tiger Tiger (Chicagoland Shifters) becoming available so recently, I am lucky to announce that one half of the dynamic writing team of A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder could take a few minutes for an interview. Ms. Noon, you honor me by agreeing to be grilled. ~grin~ While I focused on the writing aspect here, folks reading should know that there is another side to this interview on The Nightlight Blog. It features questions from the fangirl in me. ~squee~ Now, down to business, as it were.
DMS: Ms. Noon, I’m always fascinated by writing partnerships. How did you and the estimable Rachel Wilder find one another?
ACN: Honestly, by accident. She wrote an amazing story on a story archive we were both part of, and I asked her to be my beta reader.
I persevered, and after about a year, I wore her down and we started tiptoeing around each other. It was another year and half before we wrote anything together, but after that, things developed into the Noon and Wilder you know today.
DMS: That’s fantastic. I’m so grateful your partnership provides us such great stories. Filmmakers Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard managed to create one of my favorite flicks, “Cabin in the Woods”, with a clear division of duties. Since writing is so much more singular an act by nature, how do you and Ms. Wilder merge your talents?
ACN: We get asked that a lot, and it's hard to describe. We're in each others' heads a lot. We talk or chat online daily and share many emails. We both do writing, though I have the higher word count on average; but it's through the revision process that we merge voices and create one seamless story.
DMS: That makes sense. You have a gift for balancing plot advancement with hot sex scenes. Do you have a formula for this, such as penning a specific number of romantic interludes for each act of a book, or is the process more organic?
ACN: It's a LOT more organic. After one book where we had to take OUT ten sex scenes and still had about, oh, fifteen or twenty left, we decided to start noting the sex in our timeline of the book (which is a chapter-by-chapter picture of what the book looks like). That way, we can make sure we don't have too many sex scenes, too many in one section and nothing in another, etc. But that sort of balancing is true of all of the different kinds of action - we use the timeline to ensure a good balance in the story as a structure.
DMS: That sounds like a good approach. Do you use such tools as character sheets and plot outlines? And do you and Rachel Wilder have different approaches? However you make the magic happen, please keep up the good work.
ACN: Thank you! And yes, we have polar opposite approaches. I'm an organic writer who needs to get about 30k into a project before I so much as want to discuss what happens. Rachel is much more a structure writer and outlines from the beginning. It's a good balance, because we each use what works for us individually and stretch the other to think in new ways.
Character sheets are a necessity, though, I will admit that (though I hate them). But if you're in book four and get the eye color of your character wrong, you can bet a reader will notice - so character sheets help keep those important details straight.
Personally, I have never read Rudyard Kipling’s “Tiger! Tiger!” and need to change that. Was the short story an inspiration to you?
ACN: No, actually; the poem by William Blake is the inspiration. It's a poem about god, actually, and I find it deeply moving. It's basically asking the question how could you not see god in nature when he made the lamb and he made the tiger? There's the full text of the poem, here: http://www.bartleby.com/101/489.html.
DMS: Awesome! On a serious note, do you think (as I hope) that thoughtful M/M romances such as yours can sway mainstream opinion toward accepting homosexuality and polyamory, freeing couples (and threesomes) from ingrained moral strictures?
ACN: By themselves, no. But the fact that the market will bear them now, in 2013, is a hopeful sign. I think times will change slowly, but they will change. We are seeing much more traction for marriage equality, though polyamory still has a long way to go before it receives any kind of acceptance. But by simply telling the best story we can about people, and those people happen to be outside the "norm," we can define the "norm" more broadly so that such things become part of it.
DMS: That makes sense. It's nice to think there are good changes on the horizon.
Outside your published works, you pursue a fascinating array of other arts, write for various blogs, and you facilitate writers’ groups and workshops. How do you juggle all your commitments? And if there is cloning or a time machine involved, do tell how you avoid dangerous paradoxes.
ACN: No cloning, I promise! I work hard at time and life management. That sounds flip, but I really mean it. The Franklin Planner changed my life in 1995 and I've never looked back. I am so grateful to Hyrum Smith for developing it because he truly changed my life. If you're curious about his thoughts, he wrote a book called The Ten Natural Laws of Time and Life Management, http://www.hyrumwsmith.com/store/the-10-natural-laws-of-successful-time-and-life-management/
Writing and teaching are two major passions of mine and I work hard to make them a part of my daily life. It's hard. I'd love to come home and just loaf on the couch (actually, I think I'd be bored), but I do work hard to limit television and aimless surfing online so that I can focus on the things that are truly important. Defining that takes a lot of effort, but it's well worth it - because then you can focus on what you know is the priority.
DMS: I definitely can’t imagine you loafing. Thank you for this! I really appreciate you taking the time.
ACN: It's my pleasure, Darla! Thank you for having me!
DMS: Click here to buy now!
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