Guns & Smoke Blog Tour: Christine Young (Interview)
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How did you come up with ideas for your books?
-Guns & Smoke began almost as a joke. One night, we decided to write a short story and it exploded into an entire world. Our work is very character driven. Once we had the two main characters and began to explore further, we realized that there was so much more to the world than the simple short story. We intend on exploring many aspects of this world from many different viewpoints, including characters that you see in Guns & Smoke, but don’t necessarily see their perspective in this book. 2. What expertise did you bring to your writing?
-We think what makes co-authoring such a unique and fulfilling experience is that we both have strengths and weaknesses that we’re able to balance out when writing, editing, and marketing our work. Abbie, for example, is very good at very technical things such as: graphic design, website design, html, proofreading, and so much more. Meanwhile Lauren is a great Developmental Editor and is very in touch with how to connect story and audience through marketing campaigns, theme development, and demographic research. While Abbie tends to be more organized, Lauren is able to shake up the structure of things enough to keep them interesting and the creativity flowing. It’s a marriage of opposites that surprisingly works really well. 3. What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?
-We’ve literally known each other since we were four years old. Part of why we think it’s so easy for us to work together is that we’ve been in each other’s lives since we could remember. We’re able to predict each other’s moods and basically read each other’s minds at this point. LOL! We didn’t start writing together until high school, when we dove into the world of Harry Potter fanfiction (Marauder’s Era, naturally). We learned pretty quickly how much we loved creating complex stories driven by sympathetic (or unsympathetic) characters. While Guns & Smoke was the first manuscript we completed together, back in 2012, we’ve written and will continue to write several series crossing genres and audiences in the years to come. 4. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
-We have a long list of novels and novellas planned in The Fool’s Adventure series together that fall under the Dystopian Western Romance genre. We have at least two more worlds in which we plan to have series, one Dark Fantasy Romance and another in a Paranormal Romance. Additionally, both of us have our solo works. Lauren published Songs of Autumn in November of 2020, which is the first novel in her YA Fantasy series, Songs. Abbie has not yet published any of her solo works, but is working in the Fantasy Romance and Paranormal Romance genres. 5. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
-Abbie: There’s a character coming in Guns & Smoke’s sequel, Leather & Lace, that I absolutely adore named Savannah. She’s snarky and doesn’t take crap from anybody. She is fiercely loyal and when she loves, she loves hard. I’m excited for the world to get to meet her.
-Lauren: *snort* Bonnie, of course. I love how strong she is. In fact, there are definitely times I wish I had half her bravado. She knows who she is, what she wants, and she’s not afraid to go after it. Those are qualities I admire so much about her. She doesn’t care if she’s liked, she doesn’t need to be liked. She just needs to be heard. She also has this tender, motherly, affectionate side that I feel reflected in myself. In short, she’s awesome, and I wish I could be just like her. Although, I don’t envy her tragic past. I could definitely do without that. 6. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
-Originally Guns & Smoke was supposed to be a YA Dystopian novel and was written as such. Of course, it was originally written in 2012 at the height of the Hunger Games era. In fact, neither of us had ever even dabbled in Adult fiction at that point. It went through several iterations to get to this point. After a nearly four year hiatus (where the manuscript sat unfinished in a computer file gathering dust) Lauren wasn’t able to let the story go. She drafted a proposal, reviewed it from a Developmental Editing standpoint, detailed all the ways it needed to change, and sent it to Abbie praying that she would accept the suggestions and salvage the book. Spoiler Alert: Abbie thought all her suggestions were amazing. Exactly what was needed to take this story from gathering dust to being on shelves. The major change was the genre, going from YA Dystopian to Adult Dystopian/Western Romance. But once Lauren discovered the heart of the story, it was just a process of showing that heart on the page. 7. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
-We typically create a loose outline based on the three act structure! Abbie prefers to have a little more structure, so she tends to create a loose chapter by chapter outline, with the understanding that things can(and usually will) change along the way. We’ll have specific plot points that need to be addressed, but we usually leave enough room for discovery writing as well as changing major plot points as we see need. Lauren also loves throwing plot twists in randomly, just to keep things interesting 8. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you’ve gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
-Lauren: So, fun fact, I rode horses growing up. In fact, I had a horse named ‘Goldie’ for many years and even participated in a rodeo. As one of three girls, my father did all the typical ‘little boy’ things with us. Fishing, Camping, Hiking, Shooting. So a lot of the content of the book comes from personal experience. At least when it comes to the parts where they’re ‘roughing it’.
-Abbie: Really one of the only hobbies I have is reading and books! I definitely write my characters in order to experience things I never have. 9. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
–Yes, Guns & Smoke’s sequel, Leather & Lace, has already had its “zero” draft done. We anticipate releasing it in 2022. Lauren is in the process of releasing book number two in the Songs series. Abbie is currently working vigilantly on editing a fantasy romance novel she wrote during NaNoWriMo in 2020. 10. Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
-The Black Moment in Guns & Smoke is when one of the main characters almost loses the other. They’ve spent all of this time together, braving the elements, escaping from murderous henchmen, and trying to battle their own trauma. When they’re finally at that point that they both realize they want to be with each other, one of them comes very close to being lost. We spent a lot of time developing this moment–as we call it the “cliff” moment. You’ll understand what we mean when you read it. 11. Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to write a series.
-This is such a great question. Considering that when we started Guns & Smoke, it was supposed to be a short story, so we didn’t do a lot of building up front. As we’ve explored the characters and expanded the initial story, we realized that there was so much more we could do in this world. Initially, we saw The Fools Adventure series as a trilogy, with the first book establishing the world, the second establishing the enemies, and the third bringing the series to a close. Lauren is an amazing developmental editor, so she looked at the overall story arc and was able to determine that the series should actually be expanded into four books. Writing a series may seem daunting, but really, because we love this world so much, it’s easy. In fact, we keep coming up with ideas for other stories that we can tell in this world. Abbie loves writing series. She has a hard time limiting herself to stand alone stories because she falls in love with the characters and wants to explore them all fully. One of our strengths is being co-writers. So when one of us can’t figure something else out, we have someone to bounce ideas off of and usually those ideas spiral into other ideas. The possibilities truly are endless!
In a world where safety is a luxury and honor is found only among outlaws, two people attempt to outrun danger lurking around each corner and the tragedies that define them.
Bonnie is an outlaw on the run. Beautiful but dangerous; her dark past stalks her like the crater beasts that roam the desert. As the notoriously cruel outlaw Jones sends his henchmen to track her down and retrieve the gun she stole from him, Bonnie hopes she can stay one step ahead. Because if he catches her, a fate worse than death awaits.
Jesse always dreamed of leaving the farm to explore the ruins of the big cities. He just never imagined he’d be forced to flee after strange men burned down his rural mountain town and murdered everyone he loved. Responsible for his kid brother and searching for an uncle he’s never met before, he isn’t sure he can navigate the perils of life among con artists and thieves long enough to find him.
Their two paths collide as they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of a lifetime.
Together, they may just discover that life is about more than just surviving.
One small change in position and now each of my soft curves was pressed intimately against the tall, hard length of his unyielding body. His blue eyes blazed in the dim light of the alley, reading something on my face that urged him on. This was supposed to be my trap.
His hands were buried in my hair now, a thumb tracing over my cheek to land on my bottom lip. I knew what he wanted. Parting my mouth, I wrapped my lips around the pad of his thumb, my tongue flicking against it before sucking softly. A deep thunderous sound rumbled through his chest to shake me down to my bones. His hand in my hair slid to the back of my head, pulling my mouth closer to his. He wanted me to kiss him. He wanted this to be more than a transaction. He wanted me to want him back.
I brushed my nose against his, and he stilled. All other motion and sensation forgotten as his eyes landed on my mouth, inching closer to his. I drank in the taste of his breath, a faint echo of the taste of his lips from before. My head tilted to the side, and he brushed the hair away from my face to see me more clearly as I angled toward him. He swallowed down whatever desperate words were on the tip of his tongue, and I took his chin in my hand, mouths open and millimeters apart.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Lauren Sevier & A. Smith are long time friends and co-authors from southern Louisiana. Guns & Smoke, their first joint publication, began as a “short” story after having too much wine on girl’s night. Nine years later it is now the first novel in a Dystopian/Western Romance series. The duo has plans to publish several series together in the future. A. Smith spends her time with her two rescue dogs and rescue cat surrounding herself with books and Labyrinth paraphernalia. Lauren Sevier collects antique tea cups and tries to stay sane, though as the mother of a toddler she fails brilliantly most days. She also has a growing collection of crowns and tiaras and likes to act silly on TikTok. Look for more thrilling novels from The Fools Adventure series in the future!