Today, I’m a host on the Novel Publicity Blog Tour for A Line in the Ice, a Paranormal/Sci-Fi Romance novel published by Carina Press. See my review below, along with a chat I had with the Jamie Craig writing team. After that, comment for a chance to win a copy of the book.
STORYLINE: Six soldiers are stationed in Antarctica in close proximity to a rift from which monsters are appearing. A man emerges from said rift claiming he’s from a place called Illyria. His forefather fought in World War I and disappeared along with his squadron, after doing battle with Aquorian monsters.
Captain Charlie Weller is attracted to the stranger, Lysander, who is determined to return to Illyria and defeat the enemy who has wiped out his countrymen. It’s hard for the soldiers to believe his story and harder still to make a decision to venture into Illyria and run the risk of leaving the world they know behind.
PLAYERS: Lysander Davis - makes it through the rift, crawls on to the ice on the Antarctic side and collapses. Steady and determined, are words I’d use to describe this character. He’s single-minded in his quest to return to his homeland and save whoever might be left after the takeover by the Aquorians.
Capt. Charlie Weller - is a tough-as-nails soldier, no-nonsense on the job and very good at what she does. In terms of disposition, she contrasts with Lysander who is gentle by nature and likes Shakespeare. Though she comes across as a hard-ass - and she has to be to survive harsh working conditions – her softer side shines through in the way she looks out for Lysander and how she operates within the ‘family’ structure of the team-of-six soldiers.
I LIKED: the fact that the book starts mid-action. I wanted to read this novel, having seen the excerpt from the first chapter. The pacing is good, along with the storyline, so that I finished reading this 96,000 word adventure in no time. The novel is written in such a way that the rift doesn’t seem far-fetched. It is clear that times have changed and the rift between worlds is just another fact of life. The six soldiers represent different countries and are assembled to protect the world from marauding monsters.
I COULD HAVE LIVED WITHOUT: the gore that came with getting up close and personal with the Aquorians. Lysander loses it in one segment and really does a job on a prisoner – a pulverized alien is not a pretty picture by any means. That said, I understand him taking out his fury on a member of the race that was in the process of destroying his world.
The attraction between the two develops quickly, which is okay, given the extreme situation and that fact that time is precious as Lysander is dead set on crossing the rift into Illyria.
The love scenes are steamy, but a tad bit jarring as they probably slip into erotica. I thought that yeah, Charlie would probably refer to her body parts in blunt language, being a both-foot-on-the-ground kinda girl, but somehow, I built an image of Lysander that didn’t allow me to see him using the same kind of earthy language.
OVERALL COMMENTS: A Line in the Ice is an absorbing read, even for those like myself who don’t regularly read Paranormal and Sci-Fi books. The explanation of technologically advanced equipment is credible and easily understood. There are no way-out names to confuse me, as sometimes happens with the Paranormal & Sci-Fi genre. The world, both on this side and in Illyria, is familiar but diverse enough to still be interesting. The Aquorians and how they controlled the Leviathan is another cool angle. Clearly, this two-woman team of writers is big on imagination.
RATING: A Line in the Ice is a truly awesome read.
Looking at the book covers on your website ‘prolific’ is the first word that comes to mind. Did you anticipate producing as many books as you have and how did know you could succeed at writing jointly?
Vivien: The only thing I anticipated when Pepper and I started was the fun we were having continuing. Our collaboration started as a means to just keep writing together, rather than anything fiscal or professionally based. All we wanted was to write. The fact that it happened to come quickly for us was a bonus.
Pepper: I'm not really surprised because we're both fast writers, and when we're working together that just seems to accelerate the process. On the other hand, neither one of us ever made any plans beyond finishing the current book.
I’ve tried writing with other people on a couple of occasions and it didn’t work. How easy has it been to collaborate since you live in different states?
Vivien: Fairly easy, for the most part. We're only an hour apart, and I had a very flexible schedule, so we were able to coordinate being on at the same times to work back and forth while we were online. That's grown to be more difficult as my family's demands have grown and Pepper's schedule has changed, though.
Pepper: Writers are always fascinated by our collaboration. And I understand why. Writing is intensely personal and it can be maddening enough just arguing with yourself. But our books are just that--ours. They wouldn't exist without both of us contributing. You have to be willing and ready to not just give up partial ownership of a project, but all ownership.
How long does it take you on average (if any such thing exists) to produce a book – from brainstorming to final edit?
Vivien: I think it depends on the book. When we're in the zone - meaning one of us has mentioned an idea, the other has loved it, and our schedules have been on our side - we've managed to get a novel done in less than two months. When the words come, they come fast, lol. Shorter works take less time.
Pepper: Don't forget deadlines. It's amazing how hard we can work with a deadline looming!
How did you deal with the characters in A Line in the Ice? Did you each focus on one main character or was it a combined effort?
Vivien: For the vast majority of our stories, we've divvied up characters. Each of us takes a principal and controls him/her. In the case of A Line in the Ice, I had Charlie and Pepper had Lysander, then we shared the minor characters (though after a while, one of us often develops an affinity for specific characters so the other will concede control).
Pepper: Vivien selected the names and photos of each of the team members (I was responsible for Lysander). Their names helped us select their origins and backstory, and from there we just let them grow from scene to scene. We also do spend a lot of time chatting about their backstories and imagining who they were before these scenes and who they might be some day.
The cast in the book are a specialized group of army experts. Did either of you provide any background knowledge or did the storyline require hours of research?
Vivien: For me, it's research, research, research, lol.
Pepper: Vivien researched lol. I looked up a few things here and there, but I'll let her carry the water.
Do most of your books feature paranormal and/or sci-fi aspects?
Vivien: We've written a wide variety, but yes, there's a lot of paranormal in our work. I grew up loving fantasy, sci-fi, horror and the like, and it's been only natural that a lot of that has found a place in what I write.
Pepper: I'm a big fan of horror as well, though I didn't read too much fantasy or sci-fi before now. Actually, I have very few solo paranormals, I tend to prefer contemporaries. But Vivien's enthusiasm always makes me forget that fact and I get swept up in the new, exciting world.
What strengths do you each bring to your writing partnership?
Vivien: I tend to be the organizer of things. Probably because I'm a mom, lol. Writing-wise, my strengths rest in action sequences and dialogue.
Pepper: I write romances because I'm secretly a huge sentimental softy--so I'm always waiting for the action sequences to end so we can get to the romance. That's why I need Vivien to remind me of little things like structuring a plot.
Please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official Line in the Ice blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.
Learn more about this author duo by visiting their website, blog, Facebook or GoodReads pages or by connecting with them on Twitter.
For a chance to win a copy of A Line in the Ice, please leave a comment and/or question for the authors. For extra entries you may tweet to help spread the word. Just leave me the link. The draw will be done this Friday, August 19, 2011. I'd really appreciate it if you take a moment to also vote in the poll above. Thanks!