Here is a text transcript of DBSA 92. An Interview with Kit Rocha, Moira Rogers, Bree, and Donna, Part I. You can listen to the mp3 here, or you can read on!
This podcast transcript was crafted by hand using traditional techniques by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.
Here are the books we discuss, PLUS you – yes, you – can get one free! Keep reading to find out more!
We also talked about the show Life after People, and about the footage of a drone camera in an abandoned Japanese city, Fukushima Tomioka.
You can see their collection of O'Kane merchandise connected to the book series, includingthe most awesome manicure stickers I saw on Bree.
And most importantly, free book!
If you'd like to read the first book in the Beyond series, Beyond Shame, please visit the Kit Rocha Tomely site, and enter download code SBTB, and then your email address. Bree says that you'll “receive an email with download links for epub and mobi versions. No ads, no registration, no keeping your info.”
Sarah Wendell: Hello, and welcome to another DBSA podcast. I’m Sarah Wendell, and this is podcast number 92! While I was at RT, I was asked by Ms. Bookjunkie to sit down with Bree and Donna, who are better known as Kit Rocha or Moira Rogers or both. In this interview, we talk about writing as a creative pair, how they met, how they came to write together, and why they self published the Beyond series.
Now, a production note: the audio can be a little uneven in terms of volume, and I apologize for that. I’ve worked on it as best I could. A second note: if you are listening to this podcast on a device and you’re not near a computer, please make a mental note: Donna and Bree have given me a download code good for everybody everywhere for you to get the first book in the Beyond series free in your choice of format without DRM. You can visit the podcast entry at Smart Bitches to find out more.
Our podcast sponsor, InterMix, would you like to know about the steamy and brand-new New Adult romance Whisper to Me by Christina Lee.
And now, on with the podcast! We begin by meeting Bree:
Bree: Half of Moira Rogers and Kit Rocha.
Sarah: Do you know which half?
Bree: Umm –
Sarah: Top half, bottom half, front, front back half?
Bree: Left half?
Sarah: Left half.
Donna: Geeky half!
Bree: The sinister half!
Sarah: There you go. And I’m right in the middle of you. This is great. And introduce yourself, please.
Donna: Hi, I’m Donna, I’m the other half. The right half? The –
Sarah: Back half?
Donna: The back half! [Laughs] Yes.
Sarah: I feel like if there’s ever a major costume event, you guys have to go as one of those front end and back end of the horse. [Laughs]
Donna: [Laughs] The horses? Yeah. I’ll just call myself the inappropriate half. That’d be good.
Sarah: [Laughs] One of you is the mouth –
Sarah: – and one of you is the butt, and you work it out –
Donna: We’re like Nancy and Ann Wilson from Heart.
Sarah: Oh, that’s a good comparison, I like that one.
Donna: No, she, I actually saw an interview once with Nancy Wilson where she was talking about how some record producer in the ‘70s was like, honey, you know, Ann’s got the face, and you’ve got the ass –
Sarah: [Horrified gasp]
Donna: – and how that was, like, it, it messed with her for, like, you know, 30 years it took her to get over, you know, being basically told that she was, like, the ugly hot one –
Donna: – you know?
Sarah: That’s so horrible!
Donna: And she was like, that’s not cool! But, like, seriously, no matter which, like, half of that equation you are, I mean, that sucks, man!
Sarah: It’s demeaning.
Donna: It is!
Donna: It’s, it’s completely demoralizing.
Sarah: Isn’t it weird how your brain hits record on things that, like –
Sarah: – that person probably never even thought about what they said, and you’re like –
Sarah: – you just replay it over – I, I think everybody’s brain does that.
Donna: Yeah. I think about that a lot, actually, because, like, I, I think about that when, even when I’m writing, you know, I’m like – [uncertain sound]. The throwaway stuff that, that some people, you know, don’t even think about when they say. And yet it, it just pings with, with another person, and, like, they never forget it.
Sarah: Yeah, Linda Holmes from the NPR pop culture blog calls it pulling somebody’s red handle –
Sarah: – but you don’t know – some people wear their red handle on the outside –
Sarah: – and it’s very obvious, and some people, it’s inside, and you don’t know what you’re saying.
Sarah: So, how many books have you guys written together?
Bree: Oh, no! [Laughs]
Sarah: Do you have an actual number?
Bree: We should have done some prep work.
Sarah: Yeah, well, you know, it’s not even 8 a.m., so I’m making you do math, ‘cause I am a horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE person.
Bree: 40. I’m going to say 40.
Donna: I think that it might actually be – I mean, Vivian Arendt made me count, and I think it might actually be, if you count short stories and novellas, just projects, like, 50.
Bree: But novels, we have maybe 10 or 12, right?
Donna: Our career qualifies for a senior citizen’s discount some places now.
Donna: That’s awesome! [Laughs]
Sarah: How did you guys meet, and how did you start writing together?
Together: Are we going to tell the real story?
Donna: Yeah, that’s the question.
Sarah: And you’re only just telling the internet. They won’t tell anyone.
Donna: Well, yeah, they won’t tell. Well, it’s their fault.
Bree: The internet was involved.
Donna: It’s their fault, so – we actually met online, God, I guess it was, like, what, almost 15 years ago.
Bree: 2000, I think.
Donna: No, yeah, like, almost 15 years ago. We were writing fanfiction.
Sarah: Okay, which fandom? Which fandom were you writing?
Donna: The, the X-men movies.
Donna: Yeah. Yeah.
Bree: We bonded over Hugh Jackman, basically.
Donna: Yeah, we did!
Sarah: That, that’s a completely legitimate thing to bond over.
Donna: No, I know. We didn’t bond over Hugh Jackman, we bonded over how we only thought Hugh Jackman was hot when he had funky hair and claws coming out of his hands.
Sarah: Also a completely legitimate opinion.
Donna: Yeah, so, that, that was quite a funny series.
Bree: So, and yeah, and then at one point I was living in California, and she was in Alabama, and I lost my dot com job because it was that sort of time –
Bree: – and her family was like, you should just come live with us, and so she came out and put me on a Greyhound bus, and I left everything and just moved to Alabama.
Sarah: Like you do.
Donna: As one does, yeah.
Bree: It seemed reasonable! I was 21.
Sarah: Perfectly, and, and, you know, you should absolutely move in with people you know from the Internet.
Bree: Yeah! That is my life lesson.
Donna: That’s not the way to wind up in pieces in a hefty bag or anything. [Laughs]
Sarah: So, the, so, the moral here is make friends on the Internet, move in with them, have a, have a writing career.
Donna: I think that the moral of the story is probably just, you know, fully stop, the exception proves the rule. [Laughs]
Bree: Yes. Don’t ever do this, but it worked for me.
Bree: I, I will say, my mother’s probably going to listen to this because she loves your blog –
Sarah: Oh, that’s so cool!
Bree: – so I’m going to say that, yes, I called her from Texas and said, I’m moving to Alabama to live with my friend Donna, and she said, what?
Bree: Can we talk about this? And I said, no, we’re –
Sarah: I’m on a bus right now.
Bree: – we’re on a stop on the Greyhound bus.
Sarah: I’m on a bus right now, I’ve been on the bus for four days, mom. Not changing my mind.
Donna: So, I’ll never get on another Greyhound bus, either. That was, like, three days of completely surreal hell, and I will never do it again. ‘Cause you can’t sleep, because creepers.
Sarah: No. I can’t sleep sitting up. Are you kidding?
Donna: Well, you know –
Sarah: You don’t know who’s on the bus with you.
Donna: Well, all right, you’re, like, speaking practically, and I’m going, do you know what kind of people were on that bus? There were, like, scary dudes on that bus.
Bree: They were really high, and they were having those conversations that people have when they’re high and they think they’re smart. You know, what if the universe actually goes in more than two directions? [Laughs]
Donna: Like, guess what, sir, it kind of does? [Laughs] FYI. I know you were probably baked during this day in class, but it does!
Sarah: [Laughs] Actually, sir, we are all two dimensional. You just think we’re three dimensional. We’re all actually flat pieces of paper. [Laughs]
Bree: That really would have cooked his noodle.
Sarah: [Laughs] So, what was the first thing you goes, you guys wrote together?
Bree: The first thing we started was actually Crux, which is the first book in our Southern Arcana series, which actually, the sixth book came out Tuesday. And so –
Bree: Well, thank you! And that was the first project we started together, but it was a novel, and we didn’t really know what we were doing, and so we, we wrote a few short stories while we were working on it, and then we gave that novel to our editor, Anne Scott at Samhain, and she edited a third of it and gave it back to us and said, this is how you write.
Donna: She wrote this very, very, very nice, long email, and I told Bree, and I’m like, basically, it boils down to LOL fix your craft. Anne – [Laughs] – but Anne’s too polite and sweet and nice to ever say that, but that was basically, you know, the, the meaning behind it.
Bree: We love you, Anne! We do, we love you!
Sarah: So what are some of the things that you have learned to do better since you started writing together?
Donna: I think – not relying so much on external conflict, I think.
Sarah: Hmm. That’s a good thing to know.
Donna: It’s, it’s, it’s a big thing, you know, because it, it’s, it’s, it’s tempting to just boil everything, like, set up this relationship where everything is just, you know, other stuff keeping people apart so that you don’t really have to worry about kind of riding that fine line between conflict and people who are just total buttfaces to each other, you know –
Donna: – and don’t really belong together? So, you’ve got to take a chance with, you know, the really meaty internal conflict, I think.
Sarah: What about you, Bree?
Bree: Ah, that, I had an even bigger problem. I came to romance later in life, and I will admit that I used to think that, like, the internal conflict books were, like, you know, I was like, what is going on? There’s nothing going on!
Bree: And then I, like, tried to take apart an internal conflict, and I was like, wow, this is literally the hardest thing you can do is to write two people who need to end up together but have things, reasons they can’t, without them being ridiculous, and I think that so many people who, you know, give contemporary romance, like, you know, a bad rap, but like, they don’t understand that that is literally one of the hardest things to do authentically, and I, it is my biggest struggle, because I, I love, you know, it’s so easy if you can just say, well, then something blows up.
Bree: You know?
Donna: Well, you know, that has its place too.
Bree: Yes! And I love blowing things up.
Donna: That has its place too. I like, I, yeah, absolutely.
Sarah: So internal and external explosions are crucial to good fiction success.
Donna: Exactly, yes.
Sarah: Not like someone’s coling, colon exploded, but like –
Donna: That would be bad.
Sarah: That would be bad.
Bree: That would be extremely terrible.
Sarah: So how did you guys come to write the Kit Roe-kha? Is it Roe-ka?
Sarah: Rocha. All right, well, I’m Jewish, so it’s Roe-kha.
Donna: I hear you.
Sarah: It’s Roe-khha, and [accent of her people] you’re all adorable, and I love your stories, so how did it come to happen?
Bree: You know, we, we were having one of those months where, you know, this, this business is up and down –
Sarah: You don’t say.
Bree: – and we had been up pretty high, and this was the first time we were sort of coming down. Paranormal was waning a little bit, and – Not for everyone, but, you know, we were having less – we, we did some weird things.
Bree: We said, let’s write about post-apocalyptic truckers fighting demons, and everyone was like, what?
Donna: I can’t go there with you, I’m sorry. Yeah, that’s what everybody said.
Sarah: Was it the truckers, the demons, or the apocalypse, or all three?
Donna: I think it was all of it together.
Sarah: That was just too much?
Donna: I think it was just there was too much, and we really should have kind of maybe, you know, just said, hey, post-apocalyptic truckers and left it at that. Let them discover the rest of it? But, you know.
Sarah: I have to confess the one area of paranormal that I could really not get into was demons. I don’t know why that is. I had a problem with demons, and I had a problem with succubi. I was like, okay, if your intrinsic nature is to draw something out of someone else, you’re not going to be able to, like, undo that.
Sarah: And, and I don’t like people who do that to me in real life.
Sarah: Like, you know, those psychic vampires, where you’re like –
Donna: Right, yeah.
Sarah: – I’m being drained by sitting with you. Can you, can you go away now? Help. Help! Help!
Sarah: Yeah, I, I always, I had a really hard time connecting with those in fiction.
Donna: Well, these demons were always really like, you know, more like angels, so – but, but again, marketing snafu there.
Donna: Bad marketing.
Bree: You know, that sometimes, sometimes it’s really –
Sarah: That happens.
Bree: And so we were feeling bummed out, and we said, let’s just go write something crazy and not think about anything except for what we want to write.
Sarah: It’s kind of like the George R. R. Martin technique, right? Like, I’m going to write some shit, no one’s ever going to put this on film. This shit is crazy. And then HBO is like, George, come here.
Donna: Let’s have a chat.
Donna: No, yeah, we were like, let’s turn off our filters. Let’s just write something. Let’s write the craziest thing we can think of. Let’s have fun. And it was fun, it was lots of fun.
Sarah: So, Bree, what came first in the, in the, in the Kit Rocha world? Was it the, the gang or the apocalypse or was it like, ‘kay this is the part of this series that I loved. Let’s do it again in a different way?
Bree: We had, it, it was a lot of different ideas. We have had, like, tons of different things, like, you know, the tattoos were something that we had played with in different settings and had never really found the right thing, and so that was definitely the start, and we love apocalyptic stuff.
Bree: We’ve done it a few different times, you know, with varying success, and that was something where we wanted to, you know, sort of do the, the dystopian with the apocalypse, the, you know –
Sarah: Right. So you have societal breakdown with gangs and –
Sarah: – and, and the thing about motorcycle gangs, it is a very perfect fit for romance, because it is, it, it is an alpha collection, and it’s morally ambiguous –
Donna: I know.
Sarah: – and it’s a secret society –
Donna: Are we going to, are we going to, are we going to spill Viv’s, like, key to the whole thing? Her key to the whole thing?
Bree: Oh, the, the, yeah, they’re the new werewolves!
Sarah: They totally are! I completely agree!
Bree: Billionaires are the new vampires, and I think, what, we thought maybe –
Sarah: Motorcycle gangs are the new werewolves.
Bree: Maybe rock stars are the new demons.
Sarah: You – I think – is this Viv, is this Viv Arend?
Donna: Yes. Yes, Viv Arend, she’s, she’s brilliant. She’s a brilliant lady.
Sarah: She’s very right about that. That’s actually completely true. Now, I just realized, we’ve been talking about this series as if, like, everyone knows about it, because I just presume –
Sarah: – very solipsistically that if I know about something, of course everyone knows about something, and that’s actually a very dangerous thing, cause I learn about a lot of shit way early, and then I’m like, wait, you didn’t know that? Oops! Sorry! So could you backtrack just for a minute, Donna, and introduce the, the Rocha world and what it is.
Donna: Basically, the, the basis of the world is it’s set in, I guess I’d call it relatively near future, and the apocalypse is definitely not one of the, you know, we’re going to wipe out the entire population of the world. You know, people died, but mostly what happened was that there were solar flares that pretty much fried everything that was on the electrical grid, but there was this city that was basically, you know, hippy, crunchy-granola kind of, you know, clean city of the future that had been built but not really kind of brought on line yet, so it didn’t get, like, burnt out or whatever. So, basically, some, there were like some powerful people were like, this is the perfect place to kind of, you now, start over –
Sarah: Start society.
Donna: – and, you know, we can have it exactly the way we want it. And the way they want it is very, you know, not, not exactly like, I, I wouldn’t really call it a religious society because they’re kind of, like, rigidly moralistic without –
Sarah: The god element.
Donna: – yeah, without bringing religion into it.
Sarah: So it’s a rigid morality without a theology informing it.
Donna: And the rigid morality doesn’t work for everyone.
Sarah: You don’t say.
Donna: So, basically, outside the confines of the, of the city, there are sectors surrounding it, different sectors, and different people have basically risen to power within these sectors, and they have agreements to sometimes work together, sometimes not, but basically respect each other’s territory and stay out of each other’s way, and our series focuses around sector four, which is lead, protected, and sort of owned by a man named Dallas O’Kane. And Bree needs to talk about Dallas.
Sarah: All right, Bree.
Sarah: Is he like Wolverine?
Donna: No. [Laughs] No.
Sarah: Is this just really elaborate post, post-apocalyptic fanfiction about Wolverine?
Bree: No, but now I want to write that.
Donna: Yeah, now I want to do it.
Bree: Dallas O’Kane is a bootlegger. He was born on a ranch in Texas to a woman who was, who was very young when all the lights went out, and she was tough, and she raised him to be tough and to fight for what he wanted.
Sarah: Badass matriarchal figures, by the way, we need more of those.
Bree: That is a big thing in this series, too.
Sarah: Badass matriarchs?
Bree: Because, because Dallas, fast forward, he, he was fairly ruthless, as people who grab at power and build empires [laughs] are wont to be. He met a woman named Lex who has been his – at the start of the series, she’s, they’re not together, but she is the woman who has come into his life in the past and challenged him, and we don’t have, we have a fairly, you know, tough world for women in this series, and she’s the person who came into his life and challenged his assumptions about if women should be able to belong to the gang, if women should be able to do anything other than, you know, the things that he assumed that should be, you know, the jobs that they would want to do, and so he, he might have been a little bit of a benevolent chauvinist, but he was one.
Donna: [Laughs] What a jerkface.
Bree: We are not kind to the assholes, even when we write them.
Sarah: You benevolent ass-monkey.
Bree: Basically. And so a lot of the series, they, they are the central, they’re book is the second one –
Bree: – but they are the central core of the series. People who read the books will notice that they appear the most, and we actually, you know, we do points of view from people who aren’t the main characters –
Bree: – scattered out, and so they’re usually around, and they are the, the matriarch and the patriarch, even before they are a couple, and Lex is definitely just as important to shaping the culture and what it’s becoming in this sector, because she’s changing things.
Bree: And he’s changing things for her, because, you know, she won’t take less!
Sarah: Of course. So you self publish this series.
Sarah: What led to that decision?
Donna: It actually was the control factor. We wanted to have absolute, complete control over it, and I was actually talking about this with some people last night, but at that time that we were working on the first book, on Beyond Shame, there were a lot of people who were, who were self publishing things, and at that point, there really, I don’t know if maybe there weren’t enough freelancers out or there, there was a big, like, do-it-yourself vibe at that point, and people were kind of, you know, as long as they had a good story, they were sort of, you know, putting stuff out, and so it was making some people, you know, very leery of trying self published work. So from the outset, we were like, okay, well we want to do this, but what we want to do is we want to do it the way we would if we were publishing it with a publisher. We want to hire an editor who also works for a publisher. You know, we want to make sure that everything, while we’re controlling it, is still, goes through the same process, the same production process it would with, you know, a publisher. And now, that is extremely common. You know, people do that all the time, you know, I mean, they take it very seriously now. You know, you’ve got to have your stuff edited. You’ve got to, like, make sure the formatting is clean. You’ve got to make sure that, you know, everything is top notch, but at the time, it was really something where people were like, who cares, you know? I mean, you know, people will buy it even if it’s not super well edited, but we were like, okay –
Sarah: That’s not how you wanted to do it.
Donna: No. That’s, that’s not how we wanted to do it. And I’m so happy that people are, like, you know, kind of moving away from that, because it’s just, I, I really hated having to, like, read reviews for books where people had to point out, you know, I love this series, I love this author, but the editing needs to happen. You know, I mean, and it made me so sad, it was like, because I felt like it gave people this viewpoint, or maybe this sense that the things that they were finding that were self published were self published because they weren’t good enough to be published elsewhere, or in other ways, and that is not true.
Donna: You know, there are people every day who make this conscious decision that they’re going to do something themselves, and for a myriad number of reasons. Ours was that we wanted to be able to control everything, because there were marketing things we wanted to try that we would probably not have been able to do.
Sarah: What are some examples of the marketing? ‘Cause I also want to talk to you about the, the way in which you’ve incorporated, I don’t want to say merchandise, ‘cause that sounds really, like –
Donna: It, it’s merchandise, I mean it’s –
Sarah: It is merchandise, it’s not swag, it’s a whole merchandise tie-in of –
Donna: It’s both. Yeah, lots of swag, lots of merchandise, because they’re, the biggest thing about the merchandise is, is not even that it is necessarily, like, a money-making venture; it’s really not.
Sarah: It’s a community-making venture.
Donna: It, it is, because there are a lot of things that people want to be able to have that we really can’t, we don’t have the, the time, we don’t have the space, and, you know, the money to spend, you know, to, to –
Sarah: Developing lines of product, yeah.
Bree: – yeah, that maybe five or ten people want.
Sarah: But now you can –
Sarah: – ‘cause you can print on demand. Remember when print on demand was, like, the most dirty thing ever, like – [horrified gasp] – you print on demand!
Someone: I remember POD. Oh, no!
Sarah: Oh, it’s so gross! And I’ve always thought that part of the allure of paranormal romance was the existence of this secret world that the reader was part of because they knew about the secret world, and with the merchandise that you have, you are creating a reader society that knows about your books and is talking about your books, plus you have really good graphical design. Was that you, Bree?
Donna: That’s Bree!
Bree: That is me. I have a, my degree is actually in computer science, and so I was a database programmer, and you know, I did a lot of web design.
Sarah: Mmm, databases.
Bree: I would organize, I organize us to the point of Donna crying sometimes.
Donna: I gotta be free!
Sarah: So what are some of the merchandise that you’ve designed?
Bree: We have done a lot of stuff. I mean, Zazzle lets us basically, I mean, they will let you make anything. My nails.
Sarah: Oh, my gosh. Okay, so what you basically have there is –
Bree: We have the logo.
Sarah: – is a French manicure done in black and white nail stickers with the, with the skull O’Kane logo as the predominant – Oh, holy shit.
Sarah: Bree, that’s completely fuckin’ rad! Oh, my God!
Bree: So, yeah.
Sarah: So you basically got a badass book promo French manicure.
Bree: And, and that’s the fun thing Zazzle, like, they put out new stuff every day. Now they’re selling flasks. We used to have to order our flasks in bulk –
Someone: Oh, yeah.
Bree: – and now they have them, and that’s so much fun, because, you know –
Sarah: Oh, it’s totally awesome.
Donna: We can do, if someone wants a character flask, a character-themed flask –
Sarah: You can do it.
Donna: You know, they can, they can have one.
Bree: And we do take requests. If people ask us and they say, we want this on this product, you know –
Sarah: You can make that happen.
Bree: I have the graphics, and so I can usually get it up pretty fast, and so I try to, you know, get people what they want, and actually, one of the smartest things – Angela James said this to me on Twitter really early on, and I took it to heart – we might put URLs or something on stuff that we’re giving away for free, but none of the merchandise has it, because –
Bree: – if she’s going to buy something, she gets to buy a product, not promotion –
Donna: Yeah, yeah, right, right.
Bree: – you know, and I think that that was –
Sarah: Yes. And if someone asks, then that’s promotion.
Bree: Yeah. You know, that’s, but if they’re going to pay for it –
Donna: But that’s them, you know?
Sarah: I have had that experience, too, because the predominant image of my site, the, the four ladies, that’s actually an, a vintage advertisement from the ‘50s for American Optical. When I use that image, people know that’s the site, and half of the stuff that I have made has the URL on it or the name of the site, and half of it doesn’t, because if you know what that is, then you know what, what, you know what that refers to, and that’s about someone else’s connection to –
Sarah: – the community on the site. That’s not about promoting, like, my name or the URL or anything. It depends on the item, what I’m doing with it, whether or not it has the actual address on it.
Sarah: It’s a really smart decision, too, especially –
Bree: And I have to thank Angie for that, because that was, you know –
Donna: That was key.
Bree: And she was just saying, do you, she asked me if I had one without the URL, and I thought, you know, yeah, if she’s going to buy this, she should get a product that is a product, not a promotional tool.
Sarah: Right, and the only words I’ve seen, and I’ve seen O’Kane for Life –
Sarah: – and there’s another one, but it –
Bree: We have It’s an O’Kane Thing, which was a quote from the fourth book. So we, we started putting those on there because people liked that one.
Sarah: That’s cool!
Bree: They, they liked, they made graphics, actually, some of our readers made the It’s an O’Kane Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand graphics.
Sarah: Isn’t it amazing when people create in response to what you create?
Bree: Oh, my gosh.
Sarah: Ev-, every time that happens, I think it’s just so cool.
Bree: It is the coolest thing. Very good.
Sarah: All right, so this question is from Ms. Bookjunkie, and I’m just going to read the whole thing, but then we’ll address the, the specific issues in the question.
Someone: [Laughs] There are issues.
Sarah: Dear Sarah:
Please, please, please interview Moira Rogers/Kit Rocha/Donna and Bree at RT. They hardly ever go to cons. This is the perfect chance to catch them. They write some of my favorite series with rich worldbuilding and politics, not to mention romance and hot sex, such as the Southern Arcana series as Moira Rogers and the Beyond series as Kit Rocha. They’ve written for digital publishers like Samhain and are self publishing, and they write together. I would be so interested in hearing about their process, the way they experiment with series and worldbuilding, and whatever else you can think to ask them. Also, they don’t always, hardly ever, enjoy the same books when they read for fun, so please ask them about that too.
All right, so let’s talk about your process and how you guys work together, and then I want to hear about how you disagree about books, because that, I mean, I might have to set up, like, a referee area for that.
Sarah: It’s like, it’s a good thing that when Jane and I do the podcast and we disagree about something, we’re, like, five or ten states away from each other. ‘Cause I’d be like, it is so on right now.
Sarah: Shit is about to go down.
Donna: I cannot believe you just said that!
Sarah: You are so wrong!
Sarah: So, Donna, what is your process like?
Donna: Usually what we do is, if we have –
Sarah: After you’ve fucked around on Twitter and, you know, read stuff online and made some .gifs, what do you do next?
Donna: Here’s the thing, is, when we’re talking about, like, from a worldbuilding standpoint, when we take kind of this, you know, nebulous idea, it always starts with kind of a like a what if, and then we kind of toss it back and forth. It’s sort of like if we’re kneading pizza dough –
Donna: – together –
Donna: – we literally will, like, you know, toss it around and then throw it to the other person and then, you know, back and forth, so, you know, eventually it gets kind of, you know, formed. From there, once we have, you know, the world, and we know what we want to do, it’s time for the characters, and so usually what we’ll do is we will kind of pick from this sort of, you know, stable of characters. Like, I want to be responsible for this person’s development and backstory, and so we handle that, and so we get very proprietary about the different characters because we, you know, individually, you know, I created this backstory, I formed this character. Bree created this backstory and formed this character. So we get really possessive.
Bree: Yeah, we, it’s very – there’s no –
Sarah: Is that true, Bree?
Bree: Yeah, there’s no disagreement. You know, you know, Donna doesn’t say, no, this person would do that. Either she gets to say it, or I get to say it –
Bree: – and sometimes we’ll disagree, you know, over how that’s going to break a scene if this person does something –
Bree: – but there’s definitely, you know, she would never say about my, one of my characters, no, I don’t think they’d do that.
Bree: It’s, you know, we – and it makes it very surprising sometimes, because we don’t always tell each other everything, and I don’t know if that – sometimes it’s on purpose, sometimes not, you know.
Bree: We have these, like, huge backstories in our heads, and I’m sure I’ve imagined stuff that I haven’t even told her about characters.
Sarah: But that takes a good amount of trust in the person you’re working with.
Donna and Bree: Oh, yeah.
Sarah: Are there particular rules that you have about writing together? Are there things that you do or do not do or that, that you’ve sort of identified in the, in the process of working together that define your, sort of, your limits? Or do you just sort of go, ehhh! See what happens.
Donna: Hmm. I guess it’s maybe sometimes we, we do that. It depends on how, how much we need to rein in, kind of, what’s about to go down – [laughs] – I guess. If we, if we need it to –
Sarah: I’m sorry, no, the robot army is just a little too much. I’m sorry.
Donna: We –
Sarah: Wait, they look like Hugh Jackman? Let’s keep them in!
Donna: [Laughs] No robot army! Actually, that would be really cool.
Donna: Eden does have drones in the Beyond series that we haven’t really gotten into yet.
Sarah: Oooh, drones.
Donna: They’ve got, you know, they’ve got drones. They’re mostly, like, the flying surveillance type, but who knows? Yeah. So thanks for that.
Sarah: I saw the most – You’re welcome.
Sarah: I saw the most interesting drone footage online. It was this guy who took a drone with a camera, and it was sort of like a remote-controlled, like, large, well, small plane, and there’s abandoned cities near the Japanese nuclear plant, and they just, they’re just, like, people just got up and left, ‘cause, you know, nuclear –
Sarah: – and so he takes his drone from where he’s allowed to get as close as possible and then he flies the plane over buildings and up to apartments –
Bree: Oh, wow.
Donna: Neat idea.
Sarah: – and then ov-, and the, the, it’s eerie, because everyone just sort of got up and left –
Sarah: – and there’s big signs, but the trees are blooming, things are growing, and it’s the train station that really wigs you out, because the train station just looks like there’s nobody in the train station, until you look down and there’s grass covering the tracks, and you can barely see the tracks anymore – and it’s, it’s really eerie. And then you realize that the person who’s flying the drone, who’s controlling it, is in danger just from where they are, but if a person was where the drone is, they would be in significant danger, ‘cause there’s still a lot of radioactivity in that area. It’s fascinating.
Donna: That’s one of my favorite things, actually. Urban images –
Sarah: Oh, yeah.
Donna: – where, where things are being sort of reclaimed –
Donna: – by nature. I love it. There was this, someone, some artist did a series of, like, dioramas or something –
Donna: – that was, like, different well-known urban settings, how they might appear, you know –
Sarah: If they were abandoned?
Donna: – fifty years after being, you know, sort of reclaimed. They were, like, the metropolitan library with a big tree growing through it or something.
Sarah: There is a whole series of images of all of the old Jewish resorts from the Catskills, like, where Dirty Dancing took place?
Donna: I’ve seen those, yes!
Sarah: They’re all, like, the Nevele and everything there, they’re all still there. There’s just grass growing everywhere –
Sarah: You know, it looks like people just sort of, like, all right, we’re done now, we’re going to leave!
Sarah: There’s stuff all over the floor, and there’s, like, animals in trees, and there’s just –
Someone: Oh, yeah.
Sarah: It’s a really weird thing because that whole area used to be so opulent, and that was a really, really upscale playground for people in the summer.
Sarah: It was summer camp for grownups. You’d, like, go to camp with your whole family and get drunk all summer and, you know, dance with Patrick Swayze, ‘cause –
Sarah: – who doesn’t want to –
Someone: Nice Jewish boy, you know!
Sarah: Yeah, right, sure.
Sarah: So, the, the abandoned images of those places are so eerie because you know from, even just from Dirty Dancing, what they looked like when people were in them, and that’s really a scary image for people.
Donna: It is! I, I think it evokes something very visceral –
Donna: – because all of this, you know, civilization – you can’t see my air quotes – all of this civilization –
Sarah: She used air quotes when she said civilization, just so you know.
Donna: Not ironically!
Donna: Oh, that’s some hipster bullshit.
Donna: Yeah, I think it’s very –
Sarah: This has been Hipster Bullshit with Kit Rocha. Thank you for tuning in. [Laughs]
Donna: I think it is a very, it evokes a very visceral reaction, because all of this civilization, these are things we put here –
Donna: – and such a vivid reminder that like that [snaps fingers] –
Sarah: Yeah. Everything could go to pieces.
Donna: – you know, we could be forgotten and gone and, and nothing will stop, sort of, like, you know, the turning of the tide. I think it is, it is very scary for people.
Sarah: And nature will take over.
Donna: Right, exactly.
Bree: Have you seen that, I think it’s a docu-, or, like, not, like, a documentary, ‘cause it’s not, you know, a science movie, what is it called, like, Life After People?
Donna: Life After People, I think.
Bree: And they, you know –
Sarah: Oh, that’s giving me the jibblies right now.
Bree: Oh, they, they totally show everything, like, how the world would break down if people were gone, you know.
Donna: I love it.
Bree: How long it would take everything to fall apart and what would stay together, and –
Donna: It’s like a documentary about the set dressing for, like, you know, I Am Legend or something.
Donna: Gazelles running through Central Park.
Sarah: And that is all for this week’s podcast. Next week, the other half. One of the questions that Ms. Bookjunkie asked was about what they read and why they don’t agree, so in that part of the podcast, we talk about what they like, what they haven’t liked, what books they love, which books they disagree on, which is most of them – this feels very familiar to me; I’m not sure why – but that will be the next half of the interview.
Coming up in future weeks, I have an interview with Farrah Rochon about diversity in romances and the challenges that she has faced in her career, and then Jane will be back, and I will quiz her, and it will be merciless.
This week’s music was provided by Sassy Outwater. This track is called “Dragons.” It’s by a Parisian group called Caravan Palace. You can find their album online at iTunes, and you can find their band page on MySpace and on their website and on Facebook, because, you know, that’s where everyone is.
If you like the podcast, you can subscribe to our feed or you can subscribe at iTunes or PodcastPickle (still I have no idea who names these things), but we have a new subscription option this week I wanted to tell you about. A couple of weeks ago, I was a guest on a podcast called The Black Guy Who Tips, and it’s hosted by a gentleman named Rod and his wife. His wife is on Twitter @SayDatAgain, and she asked if I was on Stitcher. I had no idea what Stitcher was, so I registered for Stitcher; it’s actually kind of cool. It’s a huge podcast compendium service, and you can register and subscribe to different channels, or you can subscribe to individual podcasts. Since I added DBSA to Stitcher, @SayDatAgain has said, yay, this is awesome! So if you want to try it out, there’s a link in the podcast entry as well where you can find the whole podcast plus individual episodes, and then there’s links where you can tweet or post the individual episodes, so you can tell all your friends, dude, you need to listen to this because Sarah is completely awesome and Jane is always wrong! Right? That’s what you’re going to say, right? Somewhere Jane is twitching, and she doesn’t know why. If you do try out the Stitcher service, please let me know what you think of it, because we’ve just started using it, and I want to know what you think.
If you have suggestions or questions or ideas or you want me to go track somebody down at RWA and interview them, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can leave us a Google voice message at 1-201-371-DBSA. Please don’t forget to give us the name and where you’re calling from, or any name. You can, like, name, you know, this is your dog calling; I don’t care. But just give us a name, any name, and where you’re calling from, and we’ll include your message in an upcoming podcast.
This podcast is brought to you by InterMix, and they would like you to know about the steamy and brand-new New Adult romance Whisper to Me by Christina Lee. This book is on sale now wherever eBooks are sold.
And finally, I mentioned this in the beginning, but I don’t want to miss an opportunity to mention at the end, if you go to the podcast entry, Bree and Donna have provided a download option for you to get a free copy of Beyond Shame, the first book in their Beyond series writing as Kit Rocha. I also have links to the store that they have created with all of their merchandise, to the documentary that they mention, to the drone footage that I talked about, all kinds of stuff going on in this entry. Plus, there’s pictures of the manicure, and the manicure is pretty rad. So don’t forget to go and get your free copy, because free copies are awesome!
And, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, Bree and Donna and Jane and I all wish you the very best of reading. Thank you for listening.