May 18th, 2009

Veronica Mars, Kristen Bell, knowing

Interview: Amber Benson

I'm kicking this year's Summer Blog Blast Tour with my friend, the multi-talented Miss Amber Benson.

Once upon a time, I introduced you to author Christopher Golden, and the rest is history. When collaborating with Chris, how do you split up the writing duties?

I like to say that I went to Christopher Golden University and got my degree in creative writing. Literally, all that I know about writing prose, I learned from Chris. When we were working on the Ghosts of Albion book, we would get on the phone and sort of break the story by going back and forth, throwing out ideas, saying yes to some, no to others. Once we'd kind of hammered down the basic storyline and the scene breakdown then one of us would write the first pass at the outline and then that would go back and forth via email until it was to everyone's liking. Finally, we would break the outline down into chapters for each of us to do. For example, I'd do Chapter one and two, send 'em to Chris and he'd do a pass on them then do Chapters three and four. He would send everything back to me, I'd do a pass on three and four and then write five and six. It would go like that until the whole book was done.

Your newest book, Death's Daughter, is your first solo novel. You've said that the main character, Calliope, popped into your brain fully-formed and ready to go. Did she tell you her plans for all three books in the series at once, or did the story arc unfold as you wrote the first book?

I had originally planned one book for Callie. It was actually Ginjer who read the outline and the first ten chapters and said that there was a whole lot more Callie to write about, so we'd better do a trilogy. I was a bit scared by the enormity of writing three books, but I loved the idea. In the end, I decided that it would be kind of cool to model the trilogy on Dante's "Divine Comedy" - not that what I'm writing is literature, per se. It's really more of a fun, fast read. So, the first book takes place in Hell, the second in Purgatory and the third in Heaven.

Though the Calliope books are for adults and your next book, The New Newbridge Academy, is for kids, they loosely tie together: Calliope went to that school! Is this a stand-alone book or a series? Will this be for a YA audience or for the younger crowd, ages 8-12?

Yes, The New Newbridge Academy is loosely connected to the Calliope Reaper-Jones novels. The series takes place where Callie attended boarding school, but the story in this book actually centers around her best friend, Noh, and her first summer at the school. Collapse )

Learn more about Amber Benson at The Essence of Amber website

Visit Calliope Reaper-Jones at

Read my 2005 interview with Amber Benson and Christopher Golden.

Today's SBBT Schedule
Andrew Mueller at Chasing Ray
Kekla Magoon at Fuse #8
Carrie Jones at Writing & Ruminating
Amber Benson at Bildungsroman
Greg van Eekhout at Shaken & Stirred

Learn more about the GuysLitWire Book Fair for Boys.