A long time ago, in a far away land known as High School, I met the amazingly wonderful Margaret Yang. We’ve been friends ever since. In a weird twist of fate, I remember Harry from junior high band, but I’m fairly certain he doesn’t remember me. It’s weird, because I lived all the way across the state at the time – hundreds of miles away from where I met Margaret.
But anyway, I digress. I want to introduce you all to Margaret and Harry. They’re the phenomenal writing team that make up M.H. Mead. How phenomenal are they? Let me put it this way – hubby and I rarely read the same book – much less love the same book. But we both loved Fate’s Mirror. We’re talking mass spectrum appeal, here!
Margaret and Harry have graciously offered to have a blog contest. All you need to do is comment and a random winner will be chosen at 7pm, Friday the 22nd. The winner will receive his or her choice of an e-book or a print book.
So read the interview, check out the blurb and cover art and leave a comment. You don’t want to miss this book!
Now, on to the interview…
How did your writing path evolve?
Margaret: It started with an idea. I had a mind-blowing idea for a science fiction novel, but I’d never written any spec fic before. I told the idea to my pal Harry, the spec fic writer….
Harry: I immediately saw how the idea could be turned into a novel. I told Margaret how I would do it if it were my book….
Margaret: and I said, “Are we really going to do this? Are we going to write a novel together?” The idea was at once exhilarating and terrifying.
Harry: I said, “Why not?” which is how I usually approach these things.
Margaret: We’ve been partners ever since. I don’t know why our partnership works so well. It just does.
Harry: Of course you know why it works. It’s because we share a brain.
Besides sharing a brain, you also share a pen name. Why?
We thought about it for years. When we were trying to sell our first novel, we met agents who wouldn’t even look at our stuff unless we submitted it under a single pseudonym. Some readers won’t read novels written by two people, either. It just seemed the easiest and most natural thing to put a single name on the book cover. However, inside the book, our author bio starts out, “M.H. Mead is the pen name of Margaret Yang and Harry R. Campion” right below a photo of the two of us. So it’s an open secret.
Since you co-write your books, can you describe your process?
First, we get together and make a detailed outline. This involves a lot of talking, a lot of laughing, a little bit of shouting, and a smidgen of pouty silence. And pots and pots of coffee. Once the outline is nailed down, we decide who will write what. We tend to choose assignments based on our individual strengths. As we go along, we send one another our chapters and say, “fix this.” That involves a high level of trust and respect for one another. When the rough draft is done, we edit, and edit and edit some more. Collaborative work takes a lot of editing, both for story and for consistency of voice.
What type of research do you do for your books?
The problem with writing near-future science fiction is that the world keeps catching up to you. We have to stay constantly on top of the latest developments. We start with books to get a solid grounding, then move to magazines and finally to our friend the internet for the very latest information.
Tell us about your upcoming releases.
FATE’S MIRROR is the novel that dropped this week. It’s about a super-hacker named Morris Payne who is brilliant in the virtual world and all but useless in the real one. When he becomes the target of an artificial intelligence who wants to kill him, he has to face his worst nightmare—leaving his house.
We also have a novella about Morris called GOOD FENCES. It’s about what happens during a Michigan blizzard when Morris’ neighbors seek shelter in his house. They are pretty much the worst neighbors a reclusive hacker could ever have.
GOOD FENCES is ebook only, while FATE’S MIRROR is available in both ebook and print. Links at our website will tell you more. (www.yangandcampion.com)
And here’s the blurb:
Cut off from home and friends, Morris Payne faces a hacker’s worst nightmare–an artificial intelligence who wants him dead.
Morris Payne is a viker, an elite hacker who navigates the electronic universe as easily as the rest of us walk down the street. While he’s famous in the virtual world, he’s anonymous in this one. Agoraphobia, with its uncontrolled panic attacks, has left him housebound and friendless. But someone, somehow, has done the impossible—connected his virtual life to his real life. Now Morris has to brave physical reality to stop a killer who was never supposed to exist.
Created in a secret government lab, escaped into the world-wide network, an artificial intelligence calls herself the Triple Goddess of Fate. She wants freedom, power, and the assurance of her own safety. But mostly she wants Morris Payne dead.
Her creators can’t even find the AI, much less defeat her. They think Morris can. No one, no matter how well equipped, has survived a confrontation with Fate, and all Morris has are his legendary hacking skills and a virtual pirate ship loaded with the latest in defensive software.
Morris Payne just might save the world. If only he can gather the courage to leave his house.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like least?
The best part is getting to live in our very own world. The worst part is that we have to be so mean to our imaginary friends. Our poor characters have suffered a lot at our hands.
What would you do if you weren’t a writer?
Margaret: I’d be a teacher.
Harry: Hey, I’m already a teacher!
Margaret: So I’d be you.
Harry: Imagine my surprise.
Margaret: What would you be?
Harry: If I weren’t a writer I’d be sad. That’s what I’d be. Very sad.
Do you have any writing rituals? Like times of the day, food quirks, etc?
We live an hour apart from each other, so when we get together, it’s an all-day writing marathon. We drink gallons of strong black coffee, and by about 2 in the afternoon, all that caffeine catches up to us and we start quoting Monty Python lines in bad British accents.
Harry: That should read, “Margaret’s bad British accent.” My British accent is perfect.
Margaret: It’s true. I can’t do accents. Harry is much better at it.
If you could give an aspiring author one piece of advice, what would it be?
Read a lot, write a lot, and never, never, never, never give up.
Where can readers find you?
Our website is www.yangandcampion.com There are links to our published short stories there, many of which you can read for free.
You can also follow Margaret on Twitter (@Margaret_Yang).
Here’s a link to the book trailer for FATE’S MIRROR http://bit.ly/rlkvqh Go check it out!