Title: The Shadow Revolution (Crown & Key #1)
Authors: Clay and Susan Griffith
Publisher: Del Rey (Penguin Random House)
Release Date: June 2, 2015
They are the realm’s last, best defense against supernatural evil. But they’re going to need a lot more silver.
As fog descends, obscuring the gas lamps of Victorian London, werewolves prowl the shadows of back alleys. But they have infiltrated the inner circles of upper-crust society as well. Only a handful of specially gifted practitioners are equipped to battle the beasts. Among them are the roguish Simon Archer, who conceals his powers as a spell-casting scribe behind the smooth veneer of a dashing playboy; his layabout mentor, Nick Barker, who prefers a good pub to thrilling heroics; and the self-possessed alchemist Kate Anstruther, who is equally at home in a ballroom as she is on a battlefield.
After a lycanthrope targets Kate’s vulnerable younger sister, the three join forces with fierce Scottish monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane—but quickly discover they’re dealing with a threat far greater than anything they ever imagined.
Amber: How does the writing process go for your writing duo - do you each take a scene, chapter or character or is it a complete collaboration?
Clay and Susan: We start with a very thorough outline, detailing the plot down to the chapters. From there we each take a couple of chapters and start writing, making sure we don’t ever write too far ahead of the other, because sometimes inspiration occurs and we may need to make changes to the plot we’ve already drafted. Throughout the process, we hand the written chapters back and forth to be edited by the other so our two distinct voices become something new.
Amber: What draws you to the steampunk genre?
Clay and Susan: The alternate history aspect to be sure! Clay is a historian and there is something fun and almost diabolical in saying “what if.” We’re fascinated by the history and love the adventure stories of the Victorian Era. We both read the pioneers of Victorian science fiction like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and adventures writers like H. Rider Haggard and Robert Louis Stevenson. More recently, television shows like Wild Wild West that gave us fantastic vision of what steampunk could be, even before “steampunk” was a term. We’re delighted to be able to play in such a fun genre.
Amber: I have read that you two met via comic books (in particular the X-Men), so what is each of your favorites (whether it be series, writer, artist, trade, issue, etc.)?
Susan: Back in the day, it was X-Men. Those mutants and their problems were infectious. The Chris Claremont run cemented my love of character. He was a writer that could do broad sweeping stories but still keep the focus on the relationships of the characters. Something that gets too easily lost. Today, my two favorite comics are Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples and Five Ghosts by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham.
Clay: Almost too many to list. I grew up in the 1960s with an intense love for Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. The Kirby-Lee run on Fantastic Four is still the greatest superhero epic ever. I loved Marv Wolfman/Gene Colan/Tom Palmer’s Tomb of Dracula in the 1970s. And anything Alan Moore wrote in the 1980s, particularly Swamp Thing, was jaw-dropping amazing for this hopeful young writer.
Amber: The first three books in Crown & Key will be released in quick succession. Have these books been in the works for a while or did you have a huge burst of inspiration?
Clay and Susan: The basic concept for these books came to us from Del Rey in 2012. We took their general ideas and made them our own, drafting the full trilogy. We’ve been hard at work getting all three books done so that they could be released close together.
Amber: What are the best and worst things you have experienced as writers (either as a married couple, through the publishing experience or experiences with your fans)?
Clay and Susan: The best is the camaraderie we’ve experienced with fans, fellow authors, and our editors, especially while we are at conventions. That sense of belonging is addictive. Clay once compared it to the Bullpen sessions that famously existed in Marvel Comics in the old days, where creative people are brought together to share inspirations and problems, and you feel really strong bonds of family. Those are once in a lifetime moments. We wouldn’t trade them for the world.
The worst is always when we as authors disagree on something. We try to discuss divergences politely, but there are days when it doesn’t always work and we have to shout to make ourselves heard. Collaboration isn’t pretty or easy, but we love what we create, so it’s worth it. Just don’t mind the facial ticks we may acquire.
Amber: Thanks again for allowing Bibliophilia, Please to interview you both!
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About the Authors
Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith met at a bookstore thanks to The Uncanny X-Men #201. They had to get married because of a love of adventure stories with heroes who save the day and fall in love. Soon they were writing stories together, including The Shadow Revolution and the Vampire Empire series. After years of comics, short stories, and novels, they remain happily married. When not writing or talking about writing, the couple watch classic movies, play Warcraft, and struggle to entertain their cat. They still have that copy of The Uncanny X-Men #201.
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