Today, please welcome authors P.B. Azeltine and M.E. Drewry to the blog! They are sharing a bit more about themselves and working together as a team on their new book, 'Monster Night.'
What was the inspiration behind 'Monster Night'?
We were inspired by the Dresden Files books. ME and I are big fans of Jim Butcher and the series and we thought there should be a young adult Dresden running around in books. And that’s how we came up with David Finkleman. But as we brainstormed our story it took on a life of its own and we stopped following the Dresden Files and made it our own.
Which character was your favorite to write?
David is definitely our favorite to write because of his sarcasm and quick wit. Plus he is human (and wizard), makes mistakes, and has flaws. We like to write characters that are real and true to life.
Which scene is your favorite?
PB: I think my favorite scene is at the end of the book when David finds Mr. Otto in the bedroom upstairs and recues him, but takes his time removing the gage from his mouth and the conversation the two of them have. I think David redeems himself in his teacher’s eyes, which gives him great satisfaction.
ME: My favorite scene is where David meets Sabrina for the first time in the coffee shop. He is so awkward with girls, it’s cute. While it’s not a particular scene, I love David’s sarcasm throughout the story.
If you could wake up on day and be endowed with magical powers, would you want them? What would you do with them?
PB: I’m not sure, because it’s a lot of responsibility. But if I did have them, I would want my powers to heal people. I would want to heal the sick and suffering.
ME: Of course I would! I would love to have magical powers. Apart from using magic to keep my plants from dying around my house, I would use my powers to help others, in particular children. Kids deal with so much more nowadays than I ever had to, I would like to help them out more than I can as a teacher.
So, do chupacabras really exist? Inquiring minds want to know!
Of course they do!
In a genre that is filled with stories of wizards and magic, what makes yours stand out? Why should we read it?
We tried to approach our wizard/magic story from a different angle because we knew the market was saturated with them. We feel having David work for the FBI as an undercover agent is a different approach, one not many if any have used, and we are also using mythological creatures from all over the world, different cultures and nationalities, mixed with a little science fiction sprinkled in (just a touch), while at the same time keeping it real with David dealing with his “normal” life as a teenager, i.e., girls, school, older brother, best friend, parents, bullies, teachers, etc. We always add humor to the stories and David grows and learns from his experiences in a positive way. David starts out like the Danny DeVito of the two brothers off the movie, “Twins.” But he grows and learns about the depth of his own character, his own strength within, and becomes the true hero, even though not many will ever know about it. So we think you should read it because it is entertaining and for its underlying message that we all have strength deep inside us, no matter the package shape we come in.
How did the two of you come together to write this book?
Well, I bet you won’t hear this answer from anyone else. ME is my daughter and her husband, Jake, has Cystic Fibrosis, which is a disease of the lungs. In 2011, when the Swine flu was going around the country he ended up getting it and it landed him in the hospital literally on is deathbed. The only way they could save him was if he could get a double lung transplant, which he was going to eventually have to get anyway because of his disease. ME and I started doing fund raisers for this $1.5 million dollar operation, in which insurance (at the time) only paid half of. One of the fund raiser ideas we had was to write an ebook and sell it on Amazon. And that was how Monster Night was born. Since then, Jake has had his operation, it was successful, and he is doing fantastic! It was a real miracle though. The lungs came in an hour before they were sending him home to die. It was a long ordeal that took many months and literally changed all of our lives in so many ways. You can read about it on my web site: www.pbazeltine.com under Charities. In about a month, I will have a new web site with more information.
Do you have any other projects in the works as a team?
We are currently working on the third book in the Monster series called, “Monster Luck.” We actually have two other books in the series fifty-percent completed, but we decided not to put either one of those books next because of where the characters are in those stories.
On what kind of individual projects are you working?
PB: I am in the editing process for the second book in the Jesse Skylock Holmes Mystery series (middle-grade) titled, “A Race Car Named Dangerous,” and I recently got my reversion rights back on my old published romances and I intend to rewrite them and put them out as ebooks under PK Burian, plus I have a number of historical and contemporary romances I plan to publish as an indie writer.
Me: In my copious amount of spare time (insert laugh track here), I am working on a young adult fantasy about a girl who has been chosen to find a mysterious sword to save her world. The story will have a lot of twists and unexpected turns riddled throughout it. Other stories I have in the works stay in the magical realm with witches, wizards, and vampires.
What does each of you bring to the writing table? How do you complement each other?
PB: I bring twenty-two years of writing experience, the motivation and determination to start and finish the books. I belong to many writing groups and take classes throughout the year, study other writers, research, and work with the editor, cover artist, format the books and put them online. It has been a real learning curve for me this past year with ebooks!
ME: While I don’t have the years of experience in writing, I bring creative ideas and humor to the books. Also I am computer savvy, so I help in that capacity a lot. PB is the real driving force behind the books. Her dedication and persistence in her writing is very inspiring to me.
We attend conferences together and share writing tips and information. We feed off of one another when we brainstorm for story ideas. This is where we complement one another the most.
What are the pros and cons to working as a team on a book?
Pros: Having more than one person’s ideas to add to the book. Like the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one!”
Cons: Finding the time to get together! We both work full-time jobs that take a tremendous amount of our time, so we have to use the computer and cell phone texting to communicate our ideas much of the time.
What is something readers may be surprised to learn?
That originally David’s father and brother had magical powers, but we changed that and decided not to give them any powers because it would create more of a conflict between David’s grandfather and his father on several emotional levels, and it gave David and his brother, Henry more of a conflict on different levels.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
We would like to thank you for selecting us to interview. We appreciate your interest in us and you taking the time review our work. We hope you and your viewers have as much fun reading it as we had writing it.
PB Azeltine and ME Drewry
You're welcome! Thank you so much for your time!
P.B. Azeltine has been writing for many years. She is a Land Surveyor Instrument woman by day and a writer at lunch time, traveling in the car time, any spare moment time, days off time, and evenings. She loves writing young adult, middle-grade, historical romance, and contemporary romance. She tries to put humor in all her writing. She has learned that as she goes through life, humor can make it much easier to get through. She lives in Olympia, Washington (U.S.A.) with her husband, two daughters, son in-law, future son in-law, two dogs, one cat, and one lovebird.
Visit her website: www.pbazeltine.com
M.E. Drewry is a teacher and writer. An avid fan and reader of fantasy, she decided to co-write her own fantasy story for young adult. She lives in Rochester, Washington (U.S.A.) with her husband, Jacob and her overly pampered black lab Shadow.
Find her on Facebook.
Young Adult Fantasy
Date Published: November 2012
When a drug surfaces in town that turns teens into the mythological creature of the chupacabra, David Copperfield Finkleman is called in to help. Why? Because David possesses a rare gift. He is a true blue, magic out of the fingertips, potions and spells, wizard. Well, that and because his grandfather is the lead investigator on the case and the drug is circulating in David's own high school. David is thrust into a world of danger and monsters he never knew existed, all the while living his normal daily life. He learns that he will have to save the very bullies who torment him in school and the chemistry teacher who wants nothing more than to flunk him. Adding to his problems, he deals with girl troubles, a boss who doesn't appreciate his sarcasm, and saving an agent's life before it's too late...no pressure!
Read an excerpt:
"That crazy creature they had in the book?" I asked. I'd never heard of anything like this before. “Wow!” I ran my hand through my hair and stared wide-eyed at my grandfather. “I don’t think I’m in Kansas anymore, Toto.”**My thoughts**
"And this isn’t the Land of Oz,” Gramps said. “This is my world and now yours, where magic comes to life and threatens people and their lives. As wizards it’s our duty to protect the average person from bad magic. That’s why I need your help. I can’t do this in the condition I’m in.” He patted his heart. “My ticker’s left me weak, which weakens my powers. You’ve got to take my place, David. You’re the only who can. I don’t know anyone else who has the power you do and could take on someone like this.”
“Gramps, I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll help you. Keep reporting to me. Now, Tom had a lead on the man who brought the drug into the country. He'd come to the Northwest, because he thought the area would keep him hidden."
This book is definitely different from other paranormal, supernatural, fantasy YA out there. One thing that stood out is that David is already fully aware that he has powers. He has grown up in a magical family and is just learning more about how to use them as a part of the agency while he tries to save his high school and town from the chupacabras and drugs.
Another thing that stands out is the mix of different creatures from all around the world, such as the chupacabra, that don't often find their way into this genre of books right now.
David is a typical sarcastic teenage boy, whose mouth can easily get him into trouble. Gramps is one of those fun characters who likes to egg on his grandson and embraces him for who he is. He also helps to get him both in and out of trouble throughout the story. It is a quick and fun read that even some middle grade kids will enjoy.