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Cardeno C and Mary Calmes Are In Control

Thank you Cardeno C and Mary Calmes for answering some questions for all of us. We are so excited to have you guys here talking about your book together.

Thanks so much!  We answered separately and then pasted onto the same document. That way we didn’t know what the other was saying. It made for some fun answers. 🙂

1. What made you guys decide to write a book together?  How did Control come to be?

Mary:  We had originally decided to write a book together when CC decided to write the ménage that eventually became More Than Anything. But we discovered fairly quickly that I simply do not have the ability to write a believable ménage. The book CC ended up with was wonderful and not something I am capable of doing. But the desire to still do something together remained so I suggested that a shifter book would be the ticket and CC agreed. We both love shifters so it seemed a natural fit.

CC:  I am a huge fan of Mary’s writing, so I asked her if she’d be willing to write a book with me.

2.  How did you decide what to write about? Who’s idea was it to write a shifter book?

Mary:  It was my idea to write about shifters but without the heavy world-building. A lighter version.

CC:  We tossed around a few different story ideas before we landed on one that worked for both of us. I got lucky – co-writing shifters, or any kind of paranormal, with Mary is an incredible honor. I adore her paranormal books.

3.  Why a hawk and a bear as the animals for your shifters?  What attracted you to those particular animals?  Why did you make them different species?  What kind of research did you do on the natural animals for the book?

Mary:  We went through all kinds of animals but finally determined that a bear that was not an animal with a pack, and some kind of predatory bird, was what we wanted. It was important for one of the animals to be free to roam while the other would belong to a specific place. CC has written wolves, me, panthers, so we wanted something neither of us had done before. As far as research, we hit Wikipedia, watched a few videos, and went for it. As the world-building was not heavy, the research aspect did not have to be either.

CC:  We researched the traits for the animals and worked on incorporating them into the characterization.

4.  This book addresses the concept of “destined mates” and the complexity and potential pitfalls of that trope, is this a personal pet peeve for you?

Mary:  That was all CC’s idea so I will shut-up and let CC address that. J

CC:  It’s not a pet peeve for me. I have another shifter series called Mates with destined mates. I write romance and there is something romantic about the idea that the universe created another person just for you. That said, we thought it would be interesting to write a shifter that was so intentionally removed from that part of himself that he couldn’t feel that all-important mating bond. What’s more important, following your gut and destiny or following your head and heart?

5.  As fans of each other’s work, how did you meld your different voices? Enhance each other’s voice?

Mary:  I would write, CC would edit and make suggestions and I would accept them. LOL. I have never written as cleanly in my life as I did when we wrote together. Or as fast I might add.

CC:  I think our styles work well together. Though we have different voices, the heart of our stories is very much the same. For this book, we helped massage each other’s sections so our voices melded along the way.

6.  What is your favorite thing about your co-author?

Mary:  Professionally, CC is always quick to offer to help, there with a kind word, and always, listens no matter what the subject is. Personally, you could not ask for a more loyal friend.

CC:  On a professional level, I admire Mary’s dedication to her craft. She works whenever she has a free moment and has an amazing ability to create varied and interesting worlds and relationships. On a personal level, I admire Mary’s dedication to her family and friends. She’s incredibly loyal, patient, and kind.

7.  Did you guys find yourselves taking on different roles in the partnership (ie. bossy, taskmaster, edit nut, etc.)?  How did you decide who would do what?

Mary:  We wrote together, equally. We each drove the other. We took our friendship into the writing.

CC:  I think we kept each other on task and it made the writing process move quickly and relatively smoothly.

8.  What was your favorite thing about working and writing together? Least favorite?

Mary:  Favorite, is the trust. I never thought, if this blows up, I’m out a friend. That was never a concern. The friendship was always the most important thing. The least, I am a pantser, CC is a plotter. That is not easy to blend.

CC:  I wrote a book with Mary Calmes! That’s favorite enough right there.

9.  How long did it take from concept to finish to write Control?

Mary:  I believe it was 2 months. CC may correct me.

CC:  That’s a hard question to answer because we kicked the idea around for a very long time before we put fingers to keyboards. Once we had all the groundwork in place, the writing part flew.

10.  There is definitely enough storyline and characters to write more books about these people and their world, do you think you will revisit them and write more stories?

Mary:  No. We made sure the story was wrapped up tight. Robert and Vy are solid and so is everyone else.

CC:  We approached this as a standalone and I think we’re both very happy with the way it turned out.

11. Would you co-write with another author after this experience?

Mary:  I would not. I give so much credit to the on-going partnerships I see as well as the new ones formed. Co-writing is hard. The trust, the give and take, the listening, I am in awe of writers who do it book after book so seamlessly.

CC:  I have never considered writing a book with anybody other than Mary.

12.  How did you guys write? Shared document? Exchange chapters? Each take characters or plot points?

Mary:  We exchanged chapters, each had a character and plot points we addressed. That seemed like the best way for us.

CC:  We had a master document and we traded it back and forth, sometimes multiple times a day.

13.  What is your favorite thing about this book? Least favorite?

Mary:  My favorite thing is that we did what we said and completed what we started. I actually can’t think of anything.

CC:  I’m very pleased with the way our characters grew individually and as a couple in the book. I also love some of the side characters, especially Lou.

14.  When the book was done what did you say to one another?

Mary:  I said, no one will want a sequel. It’s so tightly wrapped up.

CC:  Umm, I think it was something like, “Let’s get the synopsis written and off it goes.”

15.  Who is your favorite character? Favorite scene? Least favorite?

Mary:  Robert is my favorite because he’s just so mellow. I wish I was more like that. And my favorite scene is the one with him and Chris. It’s very touching. My least favorite is the whole fight with the wolves.

CC:  I’d say my favorite scenes are those with the two main characters getting hot and heavy, and the one with Robert talking to a young hawk shifter about what it means to be a man.

16.  You know we all love you both and have been ecstatic about this story, do you think that you guys will collaborate again?

Mary:  I would think so. We would just both need to be passionate about something.

CC:  We don’t have any plans to cowrite a story again, but we often talk about our individual projects and run things by each other. It’s a different collaboration, but a wonderful one.

17.  How was promoting this book different than one of your own books?

Mary:  I am TERRIBLE at promotion and CC is brilliant at it. That’s a huge difference.

CC:  So far, I’ve found the promotion piece to be the same as what I do for my own books.

18.  Your cover is gorgeous. How did that concept come to be?

Mary:  We had agreed early that because of the story, it made sense that Robert would be human on the cover and VY would be shifted. So that part we had down. But it was CC who conveyed to Reese Dante what we wanted and Reese delivered as she always does.

CC:  Thank you! We worked with the always amazing Reese Dante on that cover. I think it does a great job of showing the emotions in the story.

19.  You guys are very good friends, did that help or hurt your process? In what ways?

Mary:  I have never written with anyone else but for me, the friendship piece, the trust, that was paramount. I am always so worried to show anyone what I write especially since I beta read for some of the best in our genre. I worry that my rough draft is just the absolute worst. So for me to write and trust CC to read it and see the good first, not the bad, and to edit and make suggestions, that helped the process immensely. And since CC and I are fans of each other as well as friends, CC could say, this piece sounds similar to something else you wrote, let’s rethink. That was very helpful. I think our editor at DSP was probably ecstatic to get such a clean piece from me.

CC:  I think the friendship helped because I take my writing job very seriously and cowriting means having a partner you trust with your work.

20.  What will you take away from this experience?

Mary:  That when you are friends, anything is possible. 🙂

CC:  I wrote a book with Mary Calmes!

You can buy their book  Control at Dreamspinner Press

You can find Cardeno C online at:  Website , Blog , Twitter , Facebook , Pinterest: Cardeno C

You can find Mary Calmes online at:  Website , Blog , Facebook


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