First ladies, we want to thank you for the incredible honor of interviewing you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Your new book, Thicker Than Blood, has had us talking for weeks!
M – Thank you! So glad you enjoyed the read!
C – Awesome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it.
How did you meet? How did Thicker Than Blood come to be?
M – Claire and I met through Facebook, both fans of one another’s work. Though I can’t remember who messaged who first… Anyways, we would talk every so often about the industry and then one day Claire asked me if I’d like to co-author a book with her, help her realize an idea that had been nagging her for a while. I absolutely loved the concept and we set to work on it immediately. Lo and behold, ‘Thicker Than Blood’ was born.
What was it like to write as a team? Did either of you assume the writing for certain parts of the book? What was your process?
M – At first I was skeptical of co-writing, having never done it before. I tend to need to be in complete control of my stories. Though, after setting out to do this project I found out how actually nice it is to write WITH someone else. Not only do you have someone constantly pushing you to write, but you have a cheerleader every step of the way. All in all, writing as a team was a terrific experience. As for our process, we each wrote a specific character, yet the entire book was a joint effort, each character, each scene, shaped by both Claire and I. I would never take full credit for any one part of the book, Claire and I created every aspect of these characters and this world as a team.
C – Madeline nailed it again! I loved writing this book, not only the story, but having a writing partner who is easy to work with. I don’t remember any part of this book that we didn’t completely agree on. Sure, there were times where she would tell me an idea she had and I’d be unsure, and vice versa, but we encouraged each other to write that particular scene and see how it felt. Writing can get pretty lonely at times, and this was an amazing experience because of the ‘lack of loneliness’ if that makes sense.
What inspired Lei and Eve’s characters?
M – Claire and I wanted both women to be as relatable as possible to real women. We took aspects of ourselves, of people we know, from everywhere and anywhere, to create Leisel and Evelyn.
C – Yes, and they were pretty organic characters too, in that we knew what we wanted them to be like, and they grew into these beautiful, strong but also fragile women that anyone can recognize. What can we expect from this series? How many books are you anticipating?
M – You can expect that no two books are going to be the same, that no two stories are going to be similar. Each book will be about a different character, but one that you’ve already been introduced to. And, at this time I don’t think we have a set about of books planned. We’re just writing where the wind blows us.
C – I don’t like to plan how many books are to be in a series. I find it very restricting, and there’s nothing worse for stifling inspiration and creativity than feeling restricted. But we both have ideas on characters that we want to build on and I want to see where each book takes us. Each book will be a journey, and one I’m excited to write.
I was thrilled to discover that Eagle would be getting a book. Can you give us any hints of what’s to come?
M – Without spoiling anything, I can say that it will be one wild ride. And that you may think you know Eagle, but I can promise you, you don’t.
C – *Evil grin* I love E. And I hate him. But, ohhhhh, how much I love him. This man just burst from the page when writing ‘Thicker Than Blood’ demanding his own book and who are we to say no to him? As to what his story will consist of, I’m not saying anything. He’d get mad and yell at me, and I don’t want to piss him off.
One of the things we really loved in the book was the world building. Each new, let’s call them “resting places”, held a different surprise. Where did you come up with the ideas behind each location?
M – Early on in the planning stages for the story Claire and I discussed what kind of obstacles we wanted Leisel and Evelyn to endure and overcome. Each “resting place” was something we felt was a realistic outcome after what had happened to the world in the wake of the infection. And each one was also a necessary step towards character building, either woman growing stronger or weaker as a result.
C – As we outlined and discussed ‘where’ they would stop, and our motives for making them stop in such a place, we never actually discussed ‘exactly’ what would happen. Waking up each morning and opening my email was like getting an early birthday present! I was SO excited to see where Mad had taken the story, and where she had left it for me.
Have you guys learned anything that will help you write the next book?
M – I’ve learned to never argue with Claire! LOL.
C – Bahahaha!!! Damn straight! Compromise, has been a big concession for both of us. We’re both very head strong women, and are used to getting our own way. I’ve actually learnt a lot from writing this book and working with Madeline.
Was there one character that either or both of you felt the most connected to?
M – I feel connected to each and every character.
C – Ditto. Even the characters I disliked.
Did you ever find yourself reading what you wrote and thinking about what you would have done if you were Lei and Eve?
M – I think if I had to choose which character I most identify with, it would be Evelyn. I don’t think I would have made all of the same decisions she did, but who really knows what someone will do when faced with such a world?
C – Yes, and I tried to not have the characters curse as much as I would! Lol.
Can we expect to see either of you at an author event this year?
M – I’ll be in Vegas for ‘A Beautiful Wedding’ Author Event at the end of this month, and in April Claire and I will be attending ‘The London Book Affair’ together in the UK. This summer, I’ll be in Vegas again at the Love N. Vegas Book Event, and in Texas this fall at ‘The Traveling Bookshelf’ and lastly, at the end of fall I’ll be in Melbourne Australia.
C – You’re such a traveler, Madeline! I’ll be in London in April, where Madeline and I will be sharing a table! Fans of the book will be able to get it signed by both of us. I’m also in Birmingham, UK in July! I couldn’t commit to traveling any further this year, as I have three children under the age of ten, but next year I’d love to get over to the States for a signing.
M – Besides working on this series with Claire, I’m currently writing the fifth book in my UnDeniable Series and the final book in my Holy Trinity Series.
C – Other than this series, I’m currently working on Odium III, the third and final book in my Obsession Series (Limerence), and I just started a new apocalyptic romance series called ‘At Death We Must Part.’
What are your favorite books? (Meanest question ever for a book lover!)
M – I have so many! But my all times favorites are:
• Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
• Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning
• Anna Karenina and War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy
• …and anything Penelope Fletcher has ever written
C – Pretty much anything written by A. Meredith Walters or Eli constant. And I love Robin Hobb.
Desert Island time! Here’s a list of items you are allowed to have with you if you were trapped on a desert island:
1. Any author (past or present) to keep you company- who would it be?
M – Ernest Hemingway. He just seems like he would have been a damn good time.
C – Snap! That’s who I’d pick!
2. Any type of liquor – which would you choose?
M – Vodka. The cheap stuff. Cleans wounds AND gets you drunk. Can also be used as a weapon if thrown in someone eyes.
C – Tequila baby!!
3. Any three books – which ones would you choose?
M – I think I’ll only need one. The SAS Survival Handbook: The Guide to Surviving Anywhere by John Wiseman.
C – The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…Even an apocalypse.
There are friends… And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.
Unbeautifully (Undeniable Book 2)
Unattainable (Undeniable Book 3)
Unbeloved (Undeniable Book 4)
The Soul Mate (The Holy Trinity Book 1)
My Soul To Take (The Holy Trinity Book 2)
The Lost Souls: A Novella (The Holy Trinity Book 3)
More books from Claire C. Riley
Odium (Dead Saga Book 1)
Odium II: The Dead Saga
Odium Origins. A Dead Saga Novella. Part One.
Odium Origins A Dead Saga Novella Part Two
Limerence (The Obsession Series Book 1)
Limerence 2 (The Obsession Series)
Dark Carnival: An Anthology of Horror
State of Horror: Illinois