Friday, March 7, 2014

Let's Talk About Interlude (and ramble)

So, the brief break hasn't been a result of lacking activity or a general state of doing-nothingness. Nope, far from it. Victoria and I have been writing up a storm on a separate, yet...related, project -- something that we're keeping hush-hush at least for now. Once we move along with Marionettes and Monsters, we may decide to coyly put it out there. It's been an incredible project so far with crazy challenges and a lot of awesome things we've never tackled before.

But, shh, I never said anything about that.

Between scenes and whenever I had a break, I worked on formatting the Interlude paperback. At about 100 pages, it's not as much of a monster as the other books. Formatting those things makes me question everything I used to think was holy.

But whenever we get the first proof in the mail, heck, all that tedious work is so worth it. The Interlude paperback is freaking gorgeous, I can't even believe it. All the colors just made me want to eat it.

Er. Hypothetically, of course. It's a bit too fibrous for my diet.

So, I tweaked with a few things, making sure everything was perfect. Now that it is, the paperback's available through Createspace and Amazon! You can, of course, still get the ebook.

But what is Interlude even about, exactly? What's it's purpose in the series? What's it supposed to do?

(Some spoilers ahead, so make sure you've read at least up two book 2, Fracture the Spider's Web before you continue on!)

Interlude formed in our heads as just a little ha-ha, things we talk about when it sounds like we're gossiping over real people in public. But, this particular part of the story became an interesting piece of the overall puzzle. We had the chance to explore some things that we don't get to in the Marionette's books, and the whole arc of Interlude affected a few particular characters in a way that we didn't expect.

It starts off as a neat little field trip, but then evolves into something deeper, something that moves the characters and reveals them in ways that foreshadows the events in book three, Taste a Thousand Deaths. Not only that, but a Little Something in particular comes back later on.

Is it a critical Little Something necessary to proceed onward without confusion? No. But it's sort of like reading a book, then seeing the movie, and knowing the moment an exact reference is made back to the book, something that might inspire you to elbow your friend over and over and over like, "DID YOU SEE WHAT THEY DID THERE?" To which your friend says, "You need to stop."

What I love most about the Marionettes and Monsters series, unquestionably, is the cast of characters. Each and every one is so beautifully flawed. They make bad decisions, mess up, break down, fall apart, and sometimes come together, whether with another character's help, or on their own. It's probably some fatal flaw how much Victoria and I love these dumb kids.

But, really, the part we hate the most is how we can't explore every single character as much as we want to in the stories.

With Interlude, however, we had a chance to take a few of those kids and explore their perspectives. I mean, really explore their perspectives, from first person point of view. We get to hear their voices unfiltered and understand how those weird cogs tick, and it creates an interesting dynamic compared to the decisions they make in TaTD.

Here's one of my favorite pieces from Interlude, a scene from Jason's perspective as he speaks to Elliot:

I rubbed the side of my face as trees swiveled and leaves scattered. “Why’re you taking me to something that was blessed? I’m supposed to have allergies to that, you know.”
“To gauge how well the land was blessed. It won’t be sacred ground. You might just get some hives.” He smirked at me. “But it’s mostly just a formality. If what we’re after simply tore through the holy protection, I don’t think any sort of exorcism or curse would make a difference.”
Oh, sure. Use me as the test subject.
His mouth held the slight quirk as he looked out to the trees. “What do you think?”
What did I think?
I didn’t know much about the superhuman and supernatural world. I’d done my own research on various species and subspecies so I could dissect and avoid bias from facts, but this didn’t really match up with anything that I’d heard of before.
Ripping open animals and eating them raw? Pilfering mechanics and working in the night? I didn’t know what the heck it could be.
Ave and Elliot had a lot more experience in this field. They knew the weird better than I did.
“I don’t know,” I finally said. “It’s just odd to me that it specifically chose oil country to haunt, you know what I mean? And if it’s pulling apart machines and stealing only pieces, then it’s pretty intelligent. Even if the local pastor came out and tossed holy water onto some trees, it’d be smart enough to dance its way past. And if it’s eating things like deer, then it’s bigger, or at least got a big appetite.”
Elliot hooked his hands into the pockets of his coat and nodded. “What would you have us do next?”
My head swung so I could look at him with whatever my face read. “What—me? Why me? I’m not the captain, Ave is.”
“And if you were captain, what would your next move be?” His pale eyes narrowed on me over the rims of his glasses.

What develops between this little piece of the cast is something that causes me incoherent noises of the super embarrassing kind.

Plus, the place they go to is freaken creepy. I'm not too big on horror, but there's definitely a reason why we made the ebook version of the novella available for Halloween.

So, there's a bit about Interlude and why we love the heck out of it. Also, on top of all that stuff I talked about, there's, well...some hints about the Monsters series in there, too. More on the first book of Monsters (plus the cover) soon.