C. A. Kunz is the mother/son writing team behind The Childe series, a MG/YA crossover fantasy. When I first met the duo, I was intrigued by their partnership. I figured it must be pretty cool to be able to write with your mom. I
interrogated interviewed them about their process, their series and more. Check back tomorrow for the first glimpse anywhere of their upcoming release Wicked Darlings.
First of all we’d like to thank L.M. Davis for having us on her blog and allowing us to talk about our writing experience. We met her at the 1st ever UTopYA Convention in Nashville this July and it was a truly wonderful experience.
Tell us something about yourself. When did you start writing and why YA?
Carol: I’m married and have two grown children and three four-legged children (dogs). I was born in England. My mum is English and my dad is American. I’ve traveled all my life except for the last 13 years, of which I’ve lived in Florida. Over three years ago, my son Adam came to me to ask me to write a book with him. I jumped at the chance since writing a book was on my bucket list. Little did I know that it wasn’t just one book, but a series, and since then we’ve started another series as well. We didn’t have to really discuss what genre we wanted to write in since we saw there was a need for more books geared to middle school and high school readers. Our ultimate goal is to get more young people reading. Adam and I share a love of the paranormal, so it was a no brainer that our books would be in that genre.
Adam: I’m 27 and live in Orlando, Florida. I graduated from the University of Tampa with a degree in forensic science, but instead of getting a job in the field, I decided I’d follow a passion of mine. That passion led me to a job in the Art and Design department at Universal Studios Orlando, Florida. I’m a décor consultant for the department and help decorate for all of the parks seasonal events like Halloween Horror Nights, Mardi Gras, Grinchmas, and several others. I also worked on the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was an amazing experience for me. Now, I’m also following another passion of mine with mom, and that would be writing. Like she said before, we began writing over three years ago and haven’t looked back since, hahaha! We LOVE Young Adult literature and feel that our “voice” is perfect for the genre. Will we ever write anything else? Of course, but when you’re having so much fun writing in a particular genre, why switch? Also, another reason I love Young Adult/Middle Grade literature is because J.K. Rowling single handedly reinvigorated my love for reading with her Harry Potter series. And after reading that series, I knew I wanted to write books!
You are a mother/son writing team: How does having a partner help the creative process? Are there ways that having a partner makes the writing process more challenging?
Carol: On the positive side it’s wonderful to be able to bounce ideas off each other and have someone else share the responsibilities of doing the hard work that goes into writing and publishing a book. There are several challenges though with the first being we’re a male and female, and the second would be our age gap. So we have to work really hard to make our story sound like one person wrote it and not two.
Adam: Like my mom said, it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off of each other, and sometimes having that other person motivating you can help you get through writer’s block. Also, the story stays fresh, because even if we have an outline, one person might change something for the better and it will surprise the other one when they read it and maybe get inspired to write something new into their chapter. We usually trade off every two chapters and it’s been working quite well up to this point, though we might switch to a new tactic soon with our new series that we’re working on. I’d say that a big challenge we face is not only the age and gender differences, but writing styles and voice consistency. That’s what made writing our first book so hard because we constantly had to change things since the voice didn’t match. You could chalk that up to age and gender too, but I also think we just came in with completely different writing styles and you could tell, hahaha!
How did you come up with the idea for The Childe series?
Carol: I’ll let Adam tell you how The Childe came about.
Adam: Back in my senior year of High School (almost 8 years ago), my AP English teacher, Mrs. Powers, had us brainstorm a list of ideas for future writing projects as a creative writing exercise. Three years ago I was digging through a box labeled “OLD
SCHOOL STUFF” that my mom had collected over the years. Inside I found the notebook containing those ideas from class. One of them really struck me as I perused the pages, and that idea eventually became the plot line for our series, The Childe. Since the idea was right up our alley in terms of favorite genre (to read/write), my mom was sold on it immediately. Obviously it has been fleshed out considerably, and has changed quite a bit from its original version, but it was a great place to start from though.
The world that you create has a host of colorful characters–particularly at the high school. Was your high school experience like that?
Carol: My high school experience was a little outside of the norm. My dad was stationed in England and the base didn’t have a high school. So early every Monday morning I was bussed two hours away and stayed at boarding school until Friday afternoon when I was bussed home. So writing about Astoria High was enjoyable because it’s how I wanted my high school experience to be. Also, Cat and her friends have been together since they were in diapers, and I never had that chance with moving so much. Our characters are people who I have come across in my life and one of my favorite characters is the nosey next door neighbor who I fashioned after the Bewitched character, Gladys Cravitz. I love writing about people I know.
Adam: I had a pretty good high school experience. I was involved in a lot of organizations and had a good number of friends from all of the “groups”. I was kind of a floater and never swore allegiance to just one group because I tend to just like people in general and don’t care who they are or what background they come from. A lot of the characters in The Childe are fashioned after friends I had in high school and in college. Miss Amaya for instance is fashioned after my AP English teacher, Mrs. Powers, who just so happens to be the same person I have to thank for allowing me to write about the idea, that eventually evolved into The Childe, while in her class for a project. Cat’s friends were all inspired by some of the closest friends I’ve ever had and those friends have even called me up after reading the book and asked if they were that character, hahaha!
What project are you working on now?
Carol and Adam: We’re currently working on the first book in our new series called The Modified series. It’s a futuristic paranormal young adult series. We hope to release book one, The Modified, by the end of September. We’re also working on the third book in The Childe Series which is called, Wicked Darlings. It should be out by the end of December or the beginning of January.
6. Any last words?
Carol: I’m in my fifties and I waited so long to pursue a dream that I thought would never happen. My advice is if you want to write, do it! If there is something else you dream of doing, do it when you’re young and don’t procrastinate like I did. I’m so happy to be able to hold the two books that we’ve finished in my hands and feel a satisfaction that words can’t describe. The other joy I receive is when our readers enjoy what we have written and ask for more. Life is good!
Adam: NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS! I can’t stress that enough. Most people ask me if I have any advice or helpful insight about becoming an author and I always say, if it is a dream of yours, never give up on it. Follow through with it and you will never look back. The only thing standing in your way is you, so why not just give it a try instead of doubting yourself? Oh, and speaking of doubting yourself, why not try and BELIEVE IN YOURSELF while you’re at it! Life’s too short not to believe in yourself and what you can achieve. I know all of this sounds cliché, but it’s true. Everyone has the potential to do great things, just remember that.