Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interview with Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz

I would like to welcome best friends and writing partners Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz. They have been best friends for 15 years and writing partners for 10 of those years. Currently Laura and Melinda are promoting Crave a love story between a terminally ill girl and a vampire. Only don’t expect this vampire story to be like anything you have ever read. Laura and Melinda are also writing the sequel to Crave which will be titled Arise. Both authors were kind enough to answer a few questions for the blog:

How did you come up with the idea?

Ahh. That's always a hard question. We were looking for a new way into a vampire love story, and somehow we started speculating on what it would be like for a human to get an injection of vampire blood. That "somehow" is difficult to recapture. When we start on a project, we tend to talk and talk and talk and talk, bringing up other books and movies and our own lives (you know, the vampires we have known and whatnot), and eventually we hit something that sparks our interest and imagination.

What is your favorite part of the book?

We really like the part where Shay is going to school and receiving blood transfusions. She sees visions of a vampire’s life, but she doesn’t think they’re real. At the same time, she has all this energy she’s never had before—and she uses it to act very recklessly. It’s something that we think speaks to who Shay is as a character. She’s a normal girl who has never been able to live a normal life. So now she can act the way she wants, and that means making mistakes. She’s not perfect. She’s learning who she is the same way everyone else learns—by trial and error.

How long did it take you to write this book?

Well, that depends on when you start counting. We wrote the original proposal for CRAVE about five years ago, and then we just didn’t really send it out to publishers for a long time. But once Simon & Schuster bought the project, we wrote it very quickly. Probably about 3-4 months from start to finish, which is very fast. Luckily, we had the outline mostly worked out in the proposal.

How different is it working on a group project vs an individual project?

Frankly, it’s easier working together! Obviously if one of us were writing something very personal—an individual passion project, or a memoir, or a story that touched on an important life issue—it would not be a book we’d do together. But when it’s an idea that we’ve come up with jointly, it’s much easier to plot the book when you have somebody else to help! And when it’s time to write, we can do it faster because while one is writing the first half, the other is writing the second half. Then we flip it around and each edit the half we didn't write.

How do you work together on a book?

We generally spend a huge amount of time just talking—we brainstorm the initial idea until we’ve developed it into a plot that we like. Then we figure out who the characters are, what their backstory is like, who their friends and family are, what their voice sounds like, all that fun stuff! Eventually we tackle the outline. We start with the story arc—beginning, middle, and end. Then we go chapter by chapter, working out each scene. Once we’ve got all that, we usually split the outline in half and one of us writes the first half while the other writes the second half. Afterwards, we put it all together and take turns editing it. By the time we’re done, we can hardly remember who wrote what!

What is your writing space like?

Melinda: These days, we live on opposite coasts, so we have completely different writing spaces. Laura has sort of a garret—the upstairs of the house has only one room, and that’s her office. It’s yellow and sunny, which is nice except for the glare on the computer screen! Also, the dogs are allowed on the couch up there, so they spend the whole day in the office, snoring, which is comforting but makes it hard to stay awake and write.

Laura:  Melinda's dog is in the rambunctious puppy stage, and wants to play, play, play instead of snoring. Melinda either works at the dining room table or escapes to Starbucks and drinks an insane amount of iced green tea.

What is your next group or individual project?

We’re working on a book proposal for a fairy tale retelling, and we love it.

What is the one thing you Crave?

World peace. And Kit Kats (Laura) and Coconut M&Ms (Melinda).

Thank you Laura and Melinda I’m now craving Kit Kats and M&Ms! Crave is in stores now so get your copies today and come back tomorrow for my review of Crave! 

To read a sample chapter visit: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Crave/Laura-J-Burns/9781442408166/excerpt

For more on Laura and Melinda visit:


  1. This is such a great interview :)

    I actually quite enjoy the sound of this book. I'm not a fan of vamps, but I like this concept!

  2. FAB interview. I'm on a vamp diet but, I really must look in to this book.

  3. So excited for this book! Great interview! I like how you focused on the joint aspect of the project. I've always wondered how people manage it. It sounds like they have a great system!