Thank you both for doing this interview for Great Minds, the first question that I have, is what was the driving force behind "The Thirteen Hallows" and how did the idea come about?

Michael -I was introduced to the Hallows more than two decade ago when I started to research the character of Dr John Dee (1527-1608), for a horror novel. (Image, published by Warner Books in 1991). My researches into myth and legend had brought me in contact with the legend of the thirteen hallows. There are “hallowed” legends all across the Celtic lands – blessed, sacred or cursed objects. Traditionally, stories talk about the hallowed objects being used for good, but myth and legend tell us that the opposite was often the case. So, like all novels, it began with the question: what if someone were collecting the thirteen hallows of Britain intending to use them to unleash the ultimate evil.

I love the fact that this book is a high adventure, fantasy type novel for adults. If either of you had to choose a favorite character from the book who would it be and why?

Colette -Sarah. I love strong women. Sarah is a fascinating character because she is unaware of how much inner strength she possesses. And while the sword helps ignite her self-confidence and assuredness, she discovers that she truly had it all along. She’s a terrific heroine and easily identifiable to women. I also love Robert Elliot because, in my opinion, there is no one more dangerous than an intellectual and wealthy thug.

Michael –Mine would be the mysterious character (whom I cannot reveal for spoilers sake), whose identity you discover quite late in the text.

Tell us more about the writing process how did you both collaborate on the novel?

The first step was to create a very detailed synopsis, a chapter by chapter breakdown of the entire book. Initially, Michael flew to LA and spent some weeks working with Colette, and then later, she flew to London.

We live thousands of miles away from each other, in different time zones and we make this time difference work in our favor. Colette writes a chapter and emails it to Michael before he wakes up. Michael then tweaks it, doctors it, embellishes it and writes the next chapter which he sends to Colette. She does the same with his chapters and they go back and we go back and forth until the book is complete.

We then Skype almost every day, working through the plot points. Skype, and shared Google docs really helped make this book happen.

I know a lot of authors love the idea of their books being made into a movie, what do you both think about "The Thirteen Hallows" being made into a movie?

Colette –I’m excited about the possibilities. There has been a lot of interest and we’ve taken a bunch of meetings. We’ll see … but it would translate nicely to the screen.

Michael –I am always very cautious about seeing my work translated to the screen. I suppose I’ve sat through far too many movies which simply did not resemble the book I’d read. However, when it’s done well, a good movie really does enhance the book and a knowledge of the book improves the movie experience. The Harry Potter movies and the LOTR are perfect examples of this.

As Colette said, there has been a lot of interest in The Thirteen Hallows, and one of the factors which is exciting producers at the moment is that it is so very visual, so the translation from page to screen should be fairly straightforward.

This question is for Colette, I read that you are a playwright, actually an award-winning, internationally produced playwright. Was writing this novel much different for you from writing plays?

Colette-Much different! Plays are character and dialogue driven. Because they are so intimate, plays have the luxury of being set in a single location with a few actors who basically talk…quite a lot. Sure, there’s story and plot and action; however, it’s secondary to the motivations, which drive the characters. In a play, there are generally at least two people in a room, usually with opposing wants; thus, the conflict is built within the dialogue. In a book…the conflict must be plotted out quite precisely: In a novel, the possibilities are endless, and the story must be the priority. It has to be researched, properly structured and fleshed out. A play averages 75 pages, while our book pushes 400… so there is also a lot more to write.

Michael you are the fantastic author of "The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series" which I have read and loved, what was it like for you writing a novel that is geared more toward adults?

I have always written for adults and my work has always been split 50/50 between adult and young adult, though in the United States, I am more recognized as a YA author. I published my first book in 1982 and wrote my first horror novel in 1990. I first tackled the legend of the Hallows in a novel of the same name back in 1995.

I specialize in myth and legend and so much of that material absolutely lends itself to the horror genre. If you think back to some of the great myths and legends you grew up with, you will see that all of them had a strong horror thread running through them.

The earliest stories, the oldest myths, are about monsters and those things which haunt the dark. I am sure that when the first humans huddled in caves there was someone there telling a ghost story, making those gathered around the fire glance nervously out into the night.

All of the Hallows in the story are drawn from myth and legend and each one had a wonderfully dark legend attached to it. So, it made perfect sense to mix the two genres.

The difference between writing for the two age groups is principally one of language and themes.

Do you both have plans to write more novels together, perhaps turn this book into a series?

Colette –absolutely. This has been an amazing collaboration and I’ve learned a great deal. We’re currently working on the sequel to The Thirteen Hallows and we have a few more projects we’re currently collaborating on.

Do either of you have any 'pearls of wisdom' you'd like to share with other aspiring authors?

Michael –if you want to be a writer, the first (and probably the most important) rule is: READ. Read everything. In every genre – do not limit yourself. And then write.

Colette –Splurge on a really comfortable chair. You’re going to be using it a lot.

Thank you both so much for the honor and opportunity to interview you. I greatly appreciate the time you took for our literary community and I cannot wait for the next installment of "The Thirteen Hallows"! Keep a watch for my review coming later tonight!

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