Interview with P.C. and Kristin Cast

October, 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!


Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael Mcgee I find that the questions asked and answered are not those of actual readers of the books, considering where the books and their characters have gone i think this was more of a scripted Q&A instead of a reader Q&A


message 2: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Stone So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?


message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Messer I've really enjoyed the HON Series but found myself frustrated with most peoples acceptance of Neferet's lies. Although after thinking on it I realized most people would do what's easy rather than stand out or fight. Not to mention it was also political. Zoey's changes have been up and down but always interesting. Having Darkness and Nyx involved is wonderful, taking it to another level! So looking forward to Revealed!


message 4: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Kay It states that Stark was meant for Stevie Rae


message 5: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Stone Audrey wrote: "It states that Stark was meant for Stevie Rae"

Okay. Thanks. I just couldn't find it


message 6: by Holly (new)

Holly Satterthwaite Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"

Stevie Rae


message 7: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Stone Holly wrote: "Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"

Stevie Rae"

Thanx


message 8: by Holly (new)

Holly Satterthwaite Halfway through it already.... thanks P.C. and Kristin.... great book again... sad it'll be ending next year.. :-( I'll have to find a new series... lol


message 9: by Jade (new)

Jade Edmunds Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"

Stevie Ray


message 10: by Neezy (new)

Neezy Actually Michael this was an interview where the questions were submitted by fans. Goodreads sent out an email asking fans for questions on anything P.C. and Kristin Cast related.

My question is up there, asking about their writing processes, rather than specific HoN characters, because I was interested in novel writing and planning. I didn't want to ask about personal things regarding characters because I'm sure I'll find the answers to them in future books.

Thanks for answering my question P.C!


message 11: by Heather (new)

Heather Dunn I think a better question would have been when the next book will be out. I love these books bit waiting is so hard. :-)


message 12: by Judith (new)

Judith i cant imagine stark and stevie rae together


message 13: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Linkletter I was really looking forward to this interview, it didn't matter whose questions were chosen. But, of the 12 questions printed, only 4 are directly related to the HON series???? What??? I've read all of their other books, those written together and by PC Cast alone. I was really looking forward to learning more about the HON series, not generic questions that have already been asked. Maybe next time Goodreads should poll the fans on WHICH questions they'd most like answered, rather than submitting questions in general...


message 14: by Destiny (new)

Destiny I Love Zoey&Stark Together.! <3 :) I Really Can't Imagine Stevie Rae With Stark At All Though :/


message 15: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"

"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!"

:)


message 16: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Zoey and Stark!! <3
Even though I like Stevie Rae, I don't think she and stark would've been a good couple. (I have a fictional crush on Stark anyways!)


message 17: by Kaylen (new)

Kaylen Maxton I want to know if P.C. Is going to finish the Harlequin series that branched off from the Divine series. I read Brighid's quest and am dying to know what happens next!!


message 18: by Eleftheria (new)

Eleftheria Well, it was pretty surprising to learn that Stark was meant for Stevie Rae. I'm glad Zoey is with Stark thoufg, and i believe Stieve Rae and Raphaim are meant to be together.They are my favourite couple! :) I wonder if Nyx will dump Erebus(he's a pendejo,no offence)and go with Kalona, or maybe Kalona will find someone else....maybe Shaunee, or is it too crazy?It's great that Shaunee found her own personality(she's better that way)and i love Shaylin(with Eric)!She's great.As for Aphrodite and Darius, I have nothing to say. They are at my best couple categorie along with Stevie Rae and Raphaim.Revealed,you're already on the way to my house!(hooray!)I can't wait to read it! :)


message 19: by Amy (new)

Amy Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"

Stevie Rae!


message 20: by Krista (new)

Krista Ray Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"

Stevie Rae! Seriously!


message 21: by Krista (new)

Krista Ray Stephanie wrote: "Zoey and Stark!! <3
Even though I like Stevie Rae, I don't think she and stark would've been a good couple. (I have a fictional crush on Stark anyways!)"


I'm exactly like you
*snarls* Stark is mine!!


message 22: by Nicole the Reading Ninja (last edited Oct 20, 2013 08:33PM) (new)

Nicole the Reading Ninja Michael wrote: "I find that the questions asked and answered are not those of actual readers of the books, considering where the books and their characters have gone i think this was more of a scripted Q&A instead..."

I think this was mix of questions asked by readers from over the years. Or if they were new, they selected ones that they've already answered before. Literally every Q&A with them is almost exactly like this. But, then again most people ask about specific events in the books and if they answered, then someone new to the series would have it spoiled for them.


message 23: by Sara (new)

Sara This Q&A was not scripted! I asked the question about writing the characters; the one where she said Stark was originally intended for Stevie Rae!
I received a message asking if I'd like to ask PC Cast a question so I did. Not thinking that they'd ever include mine. I fumbled around with my words, but I'm happy she answered! That's all.


message 24: by Anne (new)

Anne Michael wrote: "I find that the questions asked and answered are not those of actual readers of the books, considering where the books and their characters have gone i think this was more of a scripted Q&A instead..."

i agree.


message 25: by Patty (new)

Patty Doster I think your series should be the next movie!!!


message 26: by Eden (new)

Eden Decastro Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"

stevie rae


message 27: by Eden (new)

Eden Decastro id loooove to see the series as a movie it would be cool


message 28: by Brittnay (new)

Brittnay Murray I would live to see HON ON the big screen I know I heard that y'all was working on it or thinking ab it!! Please make thin into movies


message 29: by Dalaina (new)

Dalaina Powers I love reading these series they are very moving there is a lot of drama in that makes it move forward and wanting you to read more.


message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan I love her books. Esp the Divine series. I would love more of those and hope we don't have to wait so long for the next one. We live in Tulsa and I love it being based in a real city I know. Does anyone else love and laugh with the books about the cats? I love the personality she give them!!


message 31: by Chelsea (new)

Chelsea Linkletter Sara wrote: "This Q&A was not scripted! I asked the question about writing the characters; the one where she said Stark was originally intended for Stevie Rae!
I received a message asking if I'd like to ask PC..."


At least your question related directly to the HON series and although I've seen the question asked before, this was the first time I'd heard that Stark was meant for Stevie Rae. So I'm glad you asked it again, Sara!


message 32: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I got an email asking if I had a question. I already knew the series was supposed to be 12 books, and Revealed is book #11. I figured the series would end in one more book and HOPEFULLY all the crazy loose ends would tie up nicely and everyone could be happy and semicarefree at the end of a book! (The series can't go on forever, there has to be an end eventually, right?)

I was one of the people who asked about the Goddess Summoning series. I HEART those books, and HON got me totes into PC and everything she has written. I know there has to be more to the Harlequin teen series "Divine by Blood" which ended with "Brighid's Quest"-also an awesome (I think 5) books to read-and definately left off with the promise of more...

So, maybe we can stop getting our panties in a bunch. People are bound to ask the same questions over and over, I've never seen a Q&A they have done before. And why would they give away specific plot points? "For goodNESS sake! Y'all would be more upset than a dust storm over the ocean if they did" as Stevie Rae would say.


message 33: by Ana (new)

Ana Okay obvious it been along time for me and I stopped reading over personal reasons... what happened Between Stevie ray and Rapham? And I know Dallas and one of the twin got together...


message 34: by Robert (new)

Robert Michael wrote: "I find that the questions asked and answered are not those of actual readers of the books, considering where the books and their characters have gone i think this was more of a scripted Q&A instead..."
Agreed!!


message 35: by Robert (new)

Robert Ana wrote: "Okay obvious it been along time for me and I stopped reading over personal reasons... what happened Between Stevie ray and Rapham? And I know Dallas and one of the twin got together..."Unless your "personal reasons" are something really awful or traumatic that would stop you HoN at all, I'd say go back and read it yourself....

Suffice it to say, Dallas DID pair off with one twin, bu is still a corrupt, twisted little asshole and will very shortly get his, as will the other remaining Red Fledgling who's name I can't remember(before you ask, not Nicole - this one's a guy....)


message 36: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Bitsche Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"
I want to know this as well.


message 37: by Sam (new)

Sam I was really wanting to know why there hasn't been a movie series, like a movie for each book or so ? I'd like to know please I am almost done with your series I read about 8 books in less then two weeks please let me know if you've ever thought of some type of movie-ish way. Thanks!


message 38: by Karla (new)

Karla Avila Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"

Eileen wrote: "So, who was the girl Stark was really meant for?"Didn't you read the questions. She said Stevie Ray.


message 39: by Karla (new)

Karla Avila Robert wrote: "Michael wrote: "I find that the questions asked and answered are not those of actual readers of the books, considering where the books and their characters have gone i think this was more of a scri..."I think the questions and answers were just great. Cause if you're reading the books you shouldn't have too many other questions. These were great. To get to know the authors better. Love all their books. Very empowering. Thank you P.C Cast and Kristin Cast.


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