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Today I have something a little different for you. I’m interviewing two authors – John Dolan and Fiona Quinn – who have just published a suspense novel, ‘Chaos Is Come Again’. Now you might well ask, “What’s so different about that? People co-author novels all the time.” True, but John and Fiona have never met. Now THAT is different.

CF: Welcome, John and Fiona. So how did you two get to know each other? 141022 10632716_285420251659964_4594236147606256880_n

JD: We first encountered each other on Twitter. Back in April 2013, I was working in Dubai, and happened to go online when Fiona was talking to someone else about reading my first novel, ‘Everyone Burns’. It all started there.

FQ: Yes, it was a completely chance encounter. I live in Virginia, and the odds of our tripping over each other must have been very small indeed. But it happened.

CF: Do your spouses know?

JD: Know what? About the cyber sex, you mean?

FQ: Shut up!

CF: About the book.

FQ: God, no. They think we’ve been doing online creative writing courses.

JD: Yup. We keep them in the dark. That’s why we only do interviews on blogs like yours, Christophe, that nobody reads.

CF: Thanks for that morale-booster, John. So how did the idea of you two writing come together?

FQ: That was John’s idea. He is entirely to blame. 141022 1554370_10202560417883748_1215837740_n

JD: I was sure it was Fiona’s idea, but she showed me a copy of the Twitter conversation where the subject first came up. She’s pretty anally-retentive about keeping stuff like that, so there’s no arguing with her. Although in my own defence, you can’t tell from a printout whether I was joking or not.

FQ: We had been playing ‘Twitter Chess’, a game we made up. The idea of the game is that between us we make up a story 140 characters at a time. We wondered whether it would be possible to write a full-length novel that way.

CF: ‘Twitter Chess’ shows up in the book too, if I remember correctly?

FQ: It does, yes.

CF: But you didn’t write a whole novel that way, surely?

JD: No. We started Skyping and throwing around ideas. We set up a document on the Cloud to keep notes, which we could both update during the Skype calls or separately offline. We agreed a colour-coding system. It was all terribly obsessive, now I think about it.

FQ: Our notes were very detailed: characters, plot, jokes. By the time we were done, the document was over 25,000 words. That’s almost a third of a novel in its own right. ???????????????

JD: We then had a hiatus. I was writing the third novel in my “Time, Blood and Karma” series, and Fiona had lots of stuff on her plate too. So we didn’t actually start writing the manuscript of “Chaos” until after “A Poison Tree” was published in May of this year.

CF: How did the writing work? Did you write separate pieces or correct each other’s writing?

FQ: John introduced me to the delights of spreadsheets. We planned out each chapter in detail, then chopped up the work 50/50 and got started…

JD: The actual writing was surprisingly easy. We’d already spent so much time jointly developing characters and storylines that we both knew what needed to be done. The first draft was completed in three months. We both had a go at editing, and we also used an independent editor. So anything that’s wrong is her fault.

FQ: Or yours.

JD: Or mine.

CF: Do you still speak to each other or have you come to hate each other?

FQ: No, the whole project has been a very happy experience. I think it’s a book that neither of us could have written on our own. And of course we still speak to each other.

JD: When we have to.

FQ: When we have to.

JD: But only when we have to.

FQ: Right. 141106 Chaos-3D-Book (1)

CF: Besides the humour in “Chaos”, I also really enjoyed the character development. Is that part of a deliberate message within the book, to show where you think characters should end up? 

JD: The book is character-driven, so unless there is character development there is no plot.

FQ: We didn’t set out to have a ‘deliberate message’ as such. As to whether the characters get what they deserve, well, that’s up to the reader to decide.

CF: Parts of the story are quite “out there”. Now I know you as tolerant and kind people – but are you worried you will be misunderstood?

JD: You’re talking about all the non-PC humour and the blasphemous bits, right?

CF: Right.

FQ: We’ve tried to put out a “health warning” in all the book blurb and publicity. This is a book for broad-minded people who like their jokes to be dark and their characters to be shades of grey, rather than black and white.

JD: But not Fifty Shades of Grey.

CF: On a scale from one to ten, how “blasphemous” would you pitch the book?

FQ: Ten.

JD: Eight.

FQ: Nine?

JD: Eight and a half?

(Pause)

JD & FQ: Eight and a half.

CF: You two sound like a married couple sometimes. Are you SURE you haven’t met?

JD & FQ: We’re sure. Even though we sometimes say exactly the same thing at the same time.

CF: Haha. There is something so relieving about a joke that isn’t politically correct. Do you find/ think that your readers get the difference between humour and ‘attack’?

JD: We don’t care as long as they buy the book.

FQ: We think our readers will be sophisticated enough to distinguish satire from criticism of religious beliefs.

JD: Yeah. What she said.

CF: Will there be a sequel?

FQ: It’s too early to say. But we certainly would welcome the opportunity to work together again.

JD: Yeah. What she said. Just so long as we don’t have to meet each other. Don’t you think the divorce rate would plummet if husbands and wives never had to talk?

CF: You guys are crazy.

JD & FQ: Yes. We get that a lot.

John Dolan

Twitter @JohnDolanAuthor https://twitter.com/JohnDolanAuthor

Website http://johndaviddolan.wix.com/johndolanauthor

Fiona Quinn

Twitter @FionaQuinnBooks https://twitter.com/FionaQuinnBooks

Website http://www.fionaquinnbooks.com/

Buy Links on Amazon

USA 

UK 

My opinion on the book:

The book was one of the most enjoyable reading experiences for me this year. Full of great humour it throws us readers into the world of publishing where Avery gets landed with the ‘client from hell’ , Travis, a difficult and also blasphemous author whom she is supposed to woo.

Her home life is nothing short of chaotic, too, with an increasingly demented mother to look after and other family commitments that take their toll. On twitter she connects with Sean, unhappy with his kinky and fame hungry girlfriend. And the Angel serial murderer is on the loose. Written with a great blend of understated humour and great storylines the book was impossible to put down for me. I loved the way each character was portrayed with empathy and depth while providing light-hearted and un-pc jokes. I enjoyed the twitter conversations between Avery and Sean in particular, but the interactions and dialogues between all the ‘players’ in this book were incredibly well done. The writing was at times off the wall like a Tom Sharpe novel, at others more thoughtful and primarily character driven. The murder plot seemed almost secondary, even though the suspense provided yet another excellent interest and source of power to push the events along. I already was a fan of John Dolan for his amazing “Time, Blood and Karma Series” and he has proven with this masterpiece that he is not a one-trick-pony, but has a lot more up his sleeve. An enthusiastic 5 stars.

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John Dolan

Twitter @JohnDolanAuthor https://twitter.com/JohnDolanAuthor

Website http://johndaviddolan.wix.com/johndolanauthor

Fiona Quinn

Twitter @FionaQuinnBooks https://twitter.com/FionaQuinnBooks

Website http://www.fionaquinnbooks.com/

Buy Links on Amazon

USA http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Come-Again-John-Dolan-ebook/dp/B00OSP0AGW/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415588084&sr=8-1&keywords=chaos+is+come+again

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chaos-Come-Again-John-Dolan-ebook/dp/B00OSP0AGW/ref=sr_1_1_twi_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1415588208&sr=1-1&keywords=chaos+is+come+again

 

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