The Midnight Spell by Rhiannon Frater & Kody Boye
Publication date: February 26th, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal
Adam and Christy have been best friends since kindergarten. Always the perpetual outsiders in their small town in Texas, they’ve always had to deal with nasty comments from their classmates. Adam is called “gay” while Christy is called “witch.”
On both counts the bullies are right.
Their junior year in high school seems destined to be the same old same old until Christy decides to cast a love spell for Adam atthe midnight hour. The next day an alluring and mysterious new boy enrolls at school and sets hearts a flutter, including Adam’s. Meanwhile, Christy’s mad crush on the handsome Ian seems to be going nowhere fast. Struggling to capture the heart of Ian while trying to come into her full witch powers is tough enough, but when a great evil arrives in town that threatens everything they hold dear, she realizes that finding a boyfriend is the least of her and Adam’s worries.
Soon Adam, Christy, their potential love interests, and their good friends Drifter and Olivia, will have to battle a force of darkness that has killed in their town before and will again.
Rhiannon: Kody told me he wanted to write a YA vampire story, but didn’t have a plot idea. So while I was cooking dinner one night, we brainstormed together. I don’t remember how we decided to collaborate actually. I have always been adamantly against co-authoring. Maybe he drugged me.
Kody: Possibly, yes (but I will never tell.) I’ve never been one for the co-writing process either. The few times I’ve done it (which, up to this point, have been three, Midnight Spell included) have been miserable. One of them actually resulted in my work getting plagiarized, so I wasn’t too eager. With Rhiannon though, it was much easier, especially since we’re face-to-face friends and know each other personally.
Rhiannon: I think the fact that we are close friends and know each other’s quirks was a help. We knew what we were getting into. I knew at some point we’d be yelling at each other, but that was fine. We’d eat cookies afterward and all would be good.
2) How was the 'joint' writing process? Did each of you write one character? Did the writing go faster with two people?
Rhiannon: I wrote Christy and Kody wrote for Adam. That seemed to be the easiest way to do it. We’d sometimes tweak things in each other’s chapters when it came to character voice or actions, but not very often. We had created a character bible before writing and knew what we wanted each of the characters to be like. We did alter Drifter a little bit during writing, but we were basically on the same page.
Kody: I think the writing went faster, yes. Rhiannon and I are naturally fast writers anyway, so it didn’t take more than a month of actually writing time to do it. The actual time that passed from start of idea to end of writing was over a year, but that was only because we had other things in our careers come up.
Rhiannon: Plus, we fed off each other’s writing, too. I would read his scenes and pick up the threads and keep going. Plus, we often sat across from each other at my dining room table with our laptops open writing away on Google Docs at the same time. It was a very dynamic experience.
Kody: Plus, having two people writing on the same story helps prevent writer’s block. If one person can’t figure something out, they can just turn to the other and see if they’re missing something. We both helped each other through spots by doing this.
3) Do you have a favorite part you wrote and why?
Rhiannon: I really enjoyed writing the scene where the friends attend a party at the popular boy’s house. Just the awkwardness of the situation was great fodder. Plus, Christy tries so hard to impress Ian, the boy of her endless crush, and just blows it epically. The awkwardness of being a teen is fun to play off of.
Kody: My favorite is the ending. I won’t say much about it, but the whole novel basically builds up to this point. It’s usually the hardest point for the writer because it all falls down to this ‘one point,’ but for me, things just seemed to come together. That, and I also liked the parts where Rhiannon and I got to be sadists, but we’re good at that, hehehe...
4) Why did you both settle on YA fantasy? What do you like about this genre?
Rhiannon: I’m not sure why we decided to do a YA fantasy. LOL. It just happened organically. I wasn’t even reading YA at the time, so it was definitely a challenge. I made it a point to read a lot of YA before jumping into The Midnight Spell and knew what I liked and didn’t like. My challenge was to make the teens seem like real teens. Three of my nieces and nephews are teens right now and observing them helped a lot! Being the aunt means I get to see a bit more into their lives than maybe their parents do to some extent. Teens do live secret lives that parents don’t understand fully. I don’t have kids, so my nieces and nephews tend to open up to me. I think Christy inherited some of their angst over love relationships, that’s for sure. Every time my niece breaks up with a guy she’s dating it’s the most epic tragedy of all time. I get very dramatic text messages about it. So I infused Christy with a lot of the insecurity of being a teenage girl.
Kody: Like Rhiannon said, the setting fell into place naturally. It was about teenagers, so we wanted our protagonists to have realistic problems. This usually includes high school, friends, dating, love, parents, that sort of thing. The thing I like about the YA genre is its willingness for exploration. The problem is, after a while, I got tired of seeing the same thing over and over again and got a bit jaded (I can count the number of YA books I’ve read in three years on one hand.) The main thing we wanted to go for with this world was scary, yet fun (like Buffy in the later seasons.) The humor/quirk-factor was supposed to be strong, yet not overshadow the scary stuff while it was happening.
Rhiannon: We definitely wanted it to have scary parts, but be infused with the humor that exists between me and Kody naturally. We laugh a lot while around each other.
5) Who are some of your favorite writers? Favorite books?
Rhiannon: Of the YA genre I have a fondness for Susan Kaye Quinn of the Mindjack trilogy, Denise Grover Swank of The Otherside Series, Ally Condie of the Match series, and Suzanne Collins who wrote The Hunger Games.
Kody: A lot of my YA choices would lie more in the fantasy/historical-fiction genre. Tamora Pierce (who’s written several quartets) is a huge favorite, as is Garth Nix (author of The Abhorsen Trilogy.) Kenneth Thomasmas, whom I read growing up, wrote many Native American novels for young adults. And I do have a fondness for The Hunger Games as well.
6) When did the writing bug hit you?
Rhiannon: I was telling stories as soon as I learned to talk and tried to write them down as soon as I learned how to write.
Kody: I was seven. It faded out a little while after that until my early teens and I haven’t stopped since.
7) Do either of you have playlists for The Midnight Spell?
Rhiannon: The Vampire Diaries soundtrack, PJ Harvey, Placebo, AFI, Poe, some Katy Perry, and the Sucker Punch soundtrack were what I listened to.
Kody: I like listening to very surreal music when writing. My main picks were Lana Del Rey and Bjork, but I also listened to Marilyn Manson’s THE HIGH END OF LOW album as well as Florence and the Machine.
8) Which attribute did you just have to give Adam and Christy? Anything close to you or an experience find its way into the story?
Rhiannon: Well, we definitely had to make Adam gay. LOL. Kody is my gay boyfriend, so we wanted Adam and Christy to mirror us to some degree in that regard. There is a special kind of dynamic between gay guys and their female best friends. Christy had to be awkward, slightly overweight, and a social outcast. I was so tired of perfectly beautiful heroines. Christy lives in the shadow of the perfect girls and it does affect her self-image, but at the same time she’s comfortable in her hoodies and mismatched clothes.
Kody: When Rhiannon asked me what Adam looked like, I had two answers: short and with red hair. I saw a picture-perfect image of Seth Green in my head and it just stuck. The thing with writing Adam was that I couldn’t put a lot of personal experience into him because he and I are polar opposites. I did not have a good group of friends as a teenager, and I especially didn’t have the sort of ‘normalcy’ that Adam had (which even then isn’t even normal.) Once I disconnected from that, though, it was easier to write, so I fed Adam a bit of my snarky and inappropriate humor. That’s the least I gave him.
Rhiannon: I was hopelessly in love with a blond haired, green-eyed boy from around 3rd grade to junior high. I never spoke to him. Not once. I admired from afar. I once tried to work up the nerve to talk to him, but freaked out seconds before I got close to him. I gave Christy that same sort of crazy, awkward crush.
9) Is this a series? What are you both working on now?
Rhiannon: We could see it developing into a series, but we’ll have to see how the first book does. We know we broke a lot of the YA rules writing this book. The main relationship in the book is a friendship (which doesn’t develop into a romance). Though Adam and Christy both have love interests, at the heart of the story is their lifelong friendship. I think one of my favorite scenes is where they are lying side by side in Christy’s backyard. There is such a peaceful quality to their relationship. You know they love each other and they will always be there for one another.
I’m presently working on the last short story collection in the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES series and then I’ll be writing PRETTY WHEN SHE DESTROYS, the last book in the PRETTY WHEN SHE DIES trilogy.
Kody: I agree with Rhiannon. There’s potential for a sequel there, but at the current point in time, it’s left where it can end without a sequel.
As to what I’m working on, I'm still slaving away at my dark fantasy stuff. After that, I’ll be working on more horror-esque stuff. I will get back into writing longer dark fantasy after that, but it’s so time-consuming. It takes up a lot of energy.
10) Would you write together again?
Rhiannon: We didn’t kill each other the first time and we still like each other, so absolutely.
Kody: Only if there is cake.
About the authors:
Rhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of the As the World Dies trilogy (The First Days, Fighting to Survive, Siege,) and the author of three other books: the vampire novels Pretty When She Dies and The Tale of the Vampire Bride and the young-adult zombie novel TheLiving Dead Boy and the Zombie Hunters. Inspired to independently produce her work from the urging of her fans, she published The First Days in late 2008 and quickly gathered a cult following. She won the Dead Letter Award back-to-back for both The First Days and Fighting to Survive, the former of which the Harrisburg Book Examiner called ‘one of the best zombie books of the decade.’ Rhiannon is currently represented by Hannah Gordon of the Foundry + Literary Media agency. You may contact her by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kody Boye was born and raised in Southeastern Idaho. Since his initial publication in the Yellow Mama Webzine in 2007, he has gone on to sell nearly three-dozen stories to various markets. He is the author of the short story collection Amorous Things, the novella The Diary of Dakota Hammell, the zombie novel Sunrise and the dark fantasy novel Blood. His fiction has been described as ‘Surreal, beautiful and harrowing’ (Fantastic Horror,) while he himself has been heralded as a writer beyond his years (Bitten by Books.) He currently lives and writes in the Austin, Texas area.
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