I’m so looking forward to reading SHARDS, the second book of The Prospero Chronicles by F.J.R. Titchenell and Matt Carter. For those of you who haven’t read or heard about this amazing trilogy, you can read about the first book --Splinters -- here.
And now for my interview with Fiona.
Ben Pastor and Mina Todd fight a new
alien faction, Shards, who are enemies to both sides of Prospero’s precarious treaty, to let the humans live.
When autumn descends on Prospero, Ben Pastor hopes that the normality of the new school year may offer a reprieve from the town’s horrors. Mina Todd knows all too well that there are no reprieves and no normality in Prospero, especially after she starts having crippling, unexplained hallucinations of the dead, but even she couldn’t prepare for what the coming year holds.
On top of the Splinters’ brewing civil war threatening to make humanity its battleground, inside the walls of Prospero High, Ben, Mina, and their expanding Network must face a Splinter campaign to destroy their friendship, a newly human Haley Perkins struggling to readjust to life after the Warehouse, and a Splinter assassin of untold power picking off human rebels.
Ben and Mina’s one hope may rest with a mysterious figure hiding in the woods outside of town, a living legend who may know how to stop this dangerous new breed of Splinter. That is, assuming he doesn’t kill everyone first himself. Ben Pastor and Mina Todd fight a new alien faction,
Shards, who are enemies to both sides of Prospero’s precarious treaty, to let the humans live.
AMM: Welcome Fiona
FJRT: I’m very pleased to be here. Thanks for having me, Ann Marie.
AMM: My pleasure. When you were a child, did you ever dream of being a writer?
FJRT: Not exactly. I dreamed about being an actress, or a mermaid, or Jane Goodall. I just was a writer. Writing was a compulsion long before it was an ambition. I was always writing, diaries, poetry, fanfics, fragments of original ideas, unsent letters, but I wasn't interested in sharing most of it. It felt very personal (and frankly wasn't worth sharing, as anyone who's been through the early years of writing can no doubt imagine). I didn't find the confidence in what I had to say or how well I could say it and set my sights on becoming an author until my mid-teens.
AMM: Well, I’m certainly glad you found the confidence to go after your dream. Tell me, what do you think was your main inspiration for The Prospero Chronicles?
FJRT: Matt and I were looking for a project to do together, and we wanted to bring our adult Horror and Sci-Fi obsessions into a YA story. We wanted to write about a girl and a boy with equal focus, partly because it's something that's not often done and we're both big advocates of equality and breaking down gender barriers, and partly to make the writing easy to share between us. The biggest influences in the beginning were The X-Files, as inspiration for the partnership between Ben and Mina, and The Thing, as inspiration for the Splinters themselves.
AMM: That’s so interesting! I always love to learn what inspires ideas in authors. What’s it like working as a team with your husband?
FJRT: Matt and I are a team even when we're not. We discuss basically everything about our writing and bounce ideas back and forth all the time. When we write together, we hash out a concept and outline over the course of several lunches and evening walks, and then each week we talk out the details of the next two chapters, each write one, and swap them on the weekend and give each other notes so we stay on track with our general idea.
AMM: Love it! Sounds like a true partnership. What are the pros and cons? And do you prefer writing solo or duo?
FJRT: The big pros are that when we pool our efforts into one project, we can finish a manuscript much faster, we both get to throw ourselves completely into the brainstorming process since we're both in the mindset of it being our project, and because our writing strengths are very complementary, it's easier for us to fill out all the important aspects of a story well.
As for cons, of course there's having to agree on a story we're both passionate enough about, and as much as we love each other, our giant artist egos really crave the chance to take sole credit for something every now and then. And sometimes we find ourselves leaning on each other's complementary strengths too much, rather than working on our own weaknesses.
Which I prefer is hard to say. I love working with Matt, and over time we've come to accept (in spite of our egos) that we're probably better at this together than we are apart, and we're planning to keep working together regularly for the rest of our lives, but I know neither of us would want to give up working solo either. It gives us the chance to work on stories the other wouldn't be as interested in and keep our skills fresh across the whole process.
When we work together, I pretty much leave the world building and most of the outline structure to Matt while I focus on the character drama, and I love the freedom of jumping to my favorite part, but it's nice to get to remind myself that I can actually write a whole story rather than just improve on one.
AMM: If you were not a writer, what would be your dream job? And why?
FJRT: I can't imagine myself not being a writer. It's too much of what "myself" is. Like they tell you as a writer, if there's anything else you could see yourself doing, do that. I'm not one of the people who can. Deciding to pursue it professionally came from realizing that I'd never be able to give my all to any other career. If I had to choose, though, I'd go back to that actress dream. I've always wanted to be part of storytelling, one way or another.
AMM: I can so identify with that Fiona. And as you know, I’m a true proponent of following your dreams. Any tips for aspiring writers of paranormal or fantasy?
FFRT: Read, write, repeat! And while there are no entirely new ideas, always make sure you're bringing at least a little something new and you to whatever story type inspires you.
AMM: Great advice. And I’d like to add, go with your passion, not with what you think the world wants to hear about. What are fun facts about you? And your husband?
FJRT: I can't stand licorice, and I never cut my hair. Matt loves '80s pop and doesn't drink, and we met in a community college music theater class and have a pet king snake.
AMM: Fiona, what’s next for you?
I have a solo standalone tentatively titled Some Side Effects May Occur that my agent is currently in the process of shopping around to publishers. It's YA Horror about a teenage actress who volunteers for an experimental treatment intended to replace cosmetic surgery, which slowly takes over her body.
Matt has an NA Sci-Fi solo coming next year with Talos Press, tentatively titled Almost Infamous, about a guy who decides to become a supervillain, gets whisked away to be groomed for the job by the superheroes to keep them relevant, and ends up faced with the opportunity to stop the heroes' evil plot.
Together, we're currently in the drafting process with a joint YA Horror-Comedy we're calling Agent Ingénue Vs. The Lord of Terror, about a duel of wits between a horror-hunter from a secret society of professional final girls and an ancient god of fear she rubs the wrong way.
AMM: And that’s why I’m glad you followed your dream!!!! Can’t wait to hear more about your upcoming books.
F.J.R TITCHENELL and MATT CARTER
met and fell in love in a musical theatre class at
Pasadena City College and have been inseparable
ever since. Though they have both
dreamed of being writers from a very young
age, they both truly hit their stride after they
met, bouncing ideas off of one another, forcing
each other to strive to be better writers, and
mingling Matt’s lifelong love of monsters with
Fiona’s equally disturbing inability to let go of
high school. Titchenell and Carter live in San Gabriel, California.
Click below for more information on Shards.
You can find the authors online here: