1. On a scale of one to ten, rank your current level of insanity–where ten is belongs-in-lunatic-asylums insane–and tell us why.
Steph: I think I’m at the point where the insanity is so bad it actually feels normal and calm. Oh look, men in white coats…
Larissa: I’m far, far beyond the men in white coats. I’m already making myself comfortable in the padded room.
2. Is it a plus, a minus or both that the two of you have very different methods of writing?
Steph: I really had fun bringing Larissa over to the dark side of non-plotting and writing out of order. And let’s not forget, she was the one who corrupted me…I wrote sweet stories before her. *glances at Larissa wonders if anyone’s going to buy that*
Larissa: No one is going to buy that. No one. If anything, SHE corrupted ME. Really, I think that our very different writing methods are a plus. Her non-plotting drove me batty at first, but once I started looking at it from a real-life standpoint, as in, when two strangers meet, they don’t plot out their lives…I realized that by playing a little more loosely with the plot, our characters were reacting like real people…mine had no idea what hers were going to do, and vice versa. It keeps a sense of excitement going for us when we write. Of course, I’m sure my seriously picky tendency to go over EVERYTHING with a fine-toothed comb a dozen times makes Steph insane. She humors me well, though.
Steph: I thoroughly appreciate her attention to detail. Really. And I thoroughly appreciate her not strangling me for not having that same attention to detail.
3. You were critique partners before you started writing together. I’m making the assumption that both of you had other critique partners when you started writing together, so why each other?
Larissa: She’s the only one that would put up with me. No doubt the opposite is also true…
Steph: No one else could put up with either of us. Trust me. But Larissa and I have the same…I don’t know what to call it – it’s not sense of humor, although we do share that. We’re opposite in a lot of our likes / dislikes in reading and TV…but somehow we like to write the same things together. It makes no sense, I know.
4. Do you think there’ll be readers who’ll be uncomfortable or even be put off by the m/m scene in Riding The Storm?
Larissa: Maybe, but why close the bedroom door on that scene when we leave it so wide open for the other scenes? There was never any question that Dev is a very sexual person, and he’s equal-opportunity when it comes to pleasure. And the ACRO world is full of extremes, but it’s also a place where the inhabitants are encouraged to be who they are and to be comfortable with what they are. Just for fun, I asked a conservative male friend of mine to read Riding The Storm, and I didn’t tell him about the one brief m/m scene. Later, he said that while he wasn’t thrilled to read it, he felt like he had to because the other sex scenes in the book contained valuable information and were important to the plot. So he “suffered through it.” And he’s still looking forward to the next book.
Steph: The thing about any of the sex scenes in Syd is that, even thought they’re plentiful, they aren’t gratuitous. When we were creating Dev, I just knew instinctively that he was in love with another man even though he is bisexual. It wasn’t a big deal – so I really hope that readers see the scene as Dev trying to deal with his feelings for Oz. What Larissa’s friend said about not being able to skip that scene, even though he wanted to, because of all the information he’d found in the sex scenes was the hugest compliment. And I think that love is love, and I can’t apologize for trying to show that.
5. Are collaborations the next hot thing? There’s Jennifer Crusie and her various collaborators, and I’ve been seeing a growing number of unpubbeds doing collaborations as well.
Steph: I honestly have no idea – I’m pretty much head in the sand with this stuff. Of course, I knew about Crusie/Mayer, but that’s about the extent of it.
Larissa: I’m with Steph—I have no idea. I hear so many people say they have tried and failed—and I’ve tried and failed with other people myself. I also hear people say that they could never do it because they can’t give up control. But the thing is, with the right partner, it isn’t about control. It’s about putting together the best book you can and using each of your individual strengths to enhance the collaboration.
6. What insanity drove both of you to conspire with Alison Kent, Jo Leigh and HelenKay Dimon to start 70 Days of Sweat? The same insanity that drove a pantzer and a plotter to write together? (No, Steph, I’ve not forgiven you for threatening to sign me up if I didn’t do it on my own)
Steph: I couldn’t help it, May – misery loves company and all. I was reminded of the SEAL motto: Don’t bother running, you’ll just die tired…well, insert write instead of die.
Larissa: Steph pretty much covered that one. Every once in a while she knows what she’s talking about…
Sydney Croft‘s debut release, Riding The Storm, is just out, to be followed by Unleashing The Storm (March ’08), Seduced By The Storm (August ’08) and Shadow Play in the Hot Nights Dark Desires anthology (August ’08).