P.C. and Kristin Cast

Posted by Goodreads on October 15, 2013
P.C. Cast
Kristin Cast and her mother, P.C. Cast, have forever transformed the innocent city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, into a hotbed of vampiric intrigue. Their best-selling House of Night series has followed teen fledgling Zoey Redbird through her tumultuous change from human to something much more powerful, and Goodreads members have loved every moment. This month their penultimate book, Revealed, comes out.

Join us as the duo answers your questions about the ins and outs of their familial partnership, the literary and literal fuel for their work, and the girl Stark was originally meant for!

P.C. and pets.
Rachael: With the popularity of vampires in young adult literature in recent years, how important do you think it is to step away from the traditional or stereotypical vampire and create more unique vampire characters for your books?

P.C.: Even though I sold the first three books of the HON series to St. Martin's Press in the spring of 2005 (prior to the release of Twilight), I wanted to create a unique take on the already-rich vampire mythos. So I simply grounded the HON world in what has always been important to me in my writing: I believe in giving a matriarchal slant to otherwise patriarchal archetypes; I have an educational foundation that leans toward biology—and a father who taught biology (and various science classes) for more than 40 years. I drew on his expertise mixed with the little knowledge I already had and created a matriarchal society of biologically-based vampires.

Josie Tolton: It seems like you [initially] set up the possibility of darkness standing for good rather than standing for evil as is stereotypically presented. What made you change your mind for later HON books, bringing out the old tropes of light being good and dark being bad?

P.C.: In Marked, when Nyx told Zoey that light isn't always good and dark isn't always bad, she wasn't speaking of literal light and dark. She was speaking metaphorically and trying to impart the knowledge that just because something or someone seems one way on the surface, that doesn't mean their true nature and/or motives are being revealed. I haven't deviated from that: i.e., Neferet's minions/threads of Darkness are black because they've adapted to hiding in the night—not because they are evil. Neferet herself is preternaturally beautiful, but that beauty is the facade of a broken woman who has become a monster.

Rhiannon Venable: As a mother-daughter team, do things ever get awkward? Because I can see a couple of parts where it could have gotten very awkward for you!

P.C.: People have been asking us this question for years, but I'm still surprised by it. It all comes back to the relationship Kristin and I had before we teamed up on the HON. We were always close. For most of her life I've been a single parent. I put myself though college when she was two to six years old—she went with me to class! It was us against the world; we've always had each other's backs, and we always will. Kristin and I have always had a close relationship, and to us that means that we communicate well with each other. There are no issues in our books that we haven't already discussed, but if there were, we'd just talk about it!

Demi: Do you ever disagree on something? If so, who usually gets their way?

P.C.: One important thing I have learned from working with Kristin for more than eight years is that she has an excellent editorial instinct, and I need to get my ego out of the way and listen to her. So if I disagree with one of her editorial comments, I usually take her advice anyway. I know after 12 books and three novellas that she's right!

Pegah: How do you divide the writing process without affecting the flow of the story?

P.C.: This was tough at first, but pretty quickly we found a system that works. I do all the writing—I rarely even share my outlines with Kristin. Her editorial eye works better when she has no idea what's going to happen. When I've finished a manuscript (which means I've completed it and rewritten it several times), I send it to Kristin. She goes through it, filling in any pop culture reference blanks I've left (or fixing them when I've messed them up!) and making editorial comments. Then she returns the manuscript to me and I rewrite again according to her notes. Only then do I turn the manuscript in to our publisher.

Jessica Cavin: I've always been curious how the names for some of the characters were thought up. Especially Dragon Lankford. My maiden name is Lankford, and I'd like to know if we are related.

P.C.: Some names (like Dragon Lankford!) are based on real people, and some are totally made up. You may be related to Bryan "Dragon" Lankford! Way back in early 2005, when I was writing Marked I was asked to be a guest author at a pagan spiritual gathering in Texas. As part of the event I agreed to auction off a fictional spot in my new series to the highest bidder, and Bryan won! I promptly wrote him and his lovely wife, Anastasia, into my manuscript. "Dragon" Lankford has become a friend. He sometimes even makes an appearance, tattoos and all, at my book signings!

Sara: Every character in the HON series has a very distinct personality and his or her own way of speaking. Other than the twins, each person has a unique tone. Who was the hardest character to write for and capture without the character coming off fake or cheesy? Did it take a while for you to find that particular voice?

P.C.: Once I create a character, his or her voice usually comes easily to me. If it doesn't, I know I have more character development to do. Once actualized, my characters tend to have minds of their own. They do things I definitely don't plan. For instance, I meant Stark to be Stevie Rae's boyfriend. Stark had other plans! The most difficult part of that is to remember to listen to my instincts and not try to force a character to do something he or she seems to be fighting against.

Anthony: What methods or procedures did you both use to plan the HON series? Did you both have a guideline that you followed or did the story shape as you were both writing it?

P.C.'s office, where countless vampires have been created!
P.C.: Again, it's just me writing the stories, so what I do is the same and yet different for each book. I brainstorm—usually with a friend and editor who is very creative. Then I write a detailed outline from brainstorming sessions. When I actually begin writing, I use the outline as a rough blueprint. I do allow my characters and plots to be organic. They definitely change as I write, though major plot points remain the same. How I get to them may differ from my original plan.

Mandy Chaney: Which author or authors helped inspire you to become writers?

P.C.: The great Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Walter Farley, the Brontë sisters, Shakespeare, Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell, John Jakes, James Clavell…the list goes on and on.

Kristin: My mom, of course! Also, Richard Preston, Scott Sigler, and Karen Rose, to name a few. These are each amazingly talented authors. I love how they can terrify and excite, and their gruesome imagery sticks with the audience and becomes the backdrop for nightmares. Muahahaha—evil laugh.

A lot of readers wondered whether you, P.C., would be continuing the Goddess Summoning series. Animetears42 also asks, "Your Goddess series is based on beloved fairy tales, like Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid, with a little twist. Out of all the fairy tales you have used, which is your favorite?"

P.C.: I love the Goddess Summoning books! I have at least two more outlined and would love, love, love, to continue the series. My favorite fairy tale has long been Beauty and the Beast, which is why Goddess of the Rose is my favorite book in that series.

Synne: Do you have any foods that you like to eat when writing? Any extra inspirational food types?

P.C.: I've recently completed 40 days of the Master Cleanse, and then totally changed my diet to a whole-foods, plant-based lifestyle. Basically I'm vegan. Right now I'm snacking on a big bowl of long-grained brown rice, red lentils, and a mound of fresh veggies! I do consistently drink organic herbal tea while I write—and lots of water.

Kristin: While I write I only drink water and chew gum. I'm sure it's obnoxious and I look like a crazy gum addict. It's hard for me to eat and write because it pulls me out of the world I'm creating.

Audrianna: Kristin, do you plan on writing a book/series by yourself?

Kristin: Right now I'm focused on my first solo series. It intertwines ancient Greek mythology with present-day romantic suspense. I think it's fantastic, and after reading it, I hope you'll agree!


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