I am delighted to be joined today by Caedis Knight, the author duo behind the brilliant Blood Web Chronicles. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me ladies, and a very happy birthday to you, Jacqueline.
First off, how did the idea of forming a writing duo come about? Whose idea was it and how did you know that you would be a good fit working together?
N J Simmonds: We’ve known one another since 2017 when we met at YALC. Jacky and I became good friends and spoke on the phone often. Then one day she told me about her idea to write a paranormal romance together and when she explained roughly what it would be about I couldn’t say YES fast enough!
Jacqueline Silvester: I’ve wanted to write about vampires, witches, werewolves and shifters for a long time – and I love discovering stuff about tech and the dark web – but the book ideas I had for such a long series were too intimidating to tackle alone. It wasn’t until I got to know Natali and her writing better that I thought about us possibly working together.
Can you tell us about your writing process? It must be tricky living so far apart and not being able to travel very much to meet up at the moment.
JS: I live in Berlin and Natali lives in Delft, Netherlands, so sadly we can’t meet up every day and write. That would be so much fun!
NJS: Although we’d probably get no work done, we’d laugh too much.
JS: True. I did manage to make it to her house in September for ten days of edits and that was brilliant. We worked from 8am until midnight non stop and although exhausting we got a lot done!
NJS: In general we speak every day on the phone and chat on FB messenger. We already planned and plotted the full six book and accompanying novella series last year, so our meetings are about the plot of each book and structure issues. We also add things to our World Lore shared doc like photos and character details so we’re literally on the same page. Then we write a paragraph per chapter and add it to a Word doc, then pass it back and forth writing a chapter at a time. We keep editing one another’s words until it all sounds like Caedis and not us, and when the first draft is done we then copy it on to a Google shared doc for structural edits which we go through together, and the rest we do over email. We have got into a great rhythm. No issues yet.
So far, we have visited Los Angeles and Moscow, and I know there are some beautiful locations still to come. How did you go about choosing the locations, and were there any you wished you could have included that just wouldn’t have worked?
NJS: Jacky has lived in 6 countries and I have lived in 4, she speaks 5 languages and I speak 2, and between us we have visited every continent and about 50 countries…so we have plenty of location ideas to work with. We decided to set all the novels only in the cities we have lived, all in Europe (bar LA) and all cool but gritty places. So we know exactly what we have coming up.
JS: Although we MAY write the odd novella or spin-off series based somewhere hot and exotic. Somewhere we HAVE to go to and research some day…
NJS: Count me in!
Having had the pleasure of seeing just a few of the photographs that inspired some of the characters that we have met so far, I can imagine that you enjoy this particular part of the writing process. Have you had any disagreements about who to base any characters on, or which characters are going to be the good guys and bad guys?
JS: Well we have slightly different tastes in guys, so sometimes I’ll say ‘yeah, I wouldn’t fancy him though’ and Natali will say ‘It doesn’t matter, the readers will!’ Although luckily we do agree on which girls we want to include pretty easily.
NJS: Jacky likes to send me ‘research’ Tik Toks and photos and I rarely disagree. I insisted on making Jackson English…like a hot, buff, black James Bond, luckily Jacky liked that too. To be honest I wasn’t visually excited about Lukka until we started writing him, then we both fell in love with the wild boy.
JS: He was based on Russian rapper Eldzhey. I’ve always liked him and I was adamant he was making an appearance.
NJS: To be honest most characters derive from the city the book is based in, that influences their looks, ethnicity and personalities somewhat, but we have a World Lore shared document where all the photos of each character go in plus Pinterest boards for each book. We do spend a lot of time looking up hot gorgeous people and sharing photos back and forth haha.
Let’s talk about Jackson – just how long are you going to make us wait to find out more about this particular para?
NJS: Oh, Jackson is a slow burn. You’ll get more and more of him as the series progresses. By the end you’ll know ALL about him…and so will Saskia.
JS: Yep, we have big plans for Jackson.
Do you have a release date for the next instalment yet? Can you share anything about it, or is it all top secret?
JS: We’ve just revealed the cover and title of the second book in the series. WITCHES OF BARCELONA is out 31st March 2021. We chose the week after Women’s day on purpose as it’s a hugely feminist/matriarchal book. Saskia is bisexual, so this time you get to meet some very hot girls too – plus you get an insight into the Mage Association as well as meet her mother, who we saw briefly in SIRENS OF LOS ANGELES.
NJS: I’m very excited about this book as I was raised in Barcelona and my family is Catalan. Expect lots of dark, gritty, witchy fun.
JS: And more crazy shifters!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Caedis Knight is the pen name of two established fantasy authors, Jacqueline Silvester and N J Simmonds.
Silvester began her career in screenwriting and lived all over the world before going on to pen her highly successful YA series, Wunderkids.
Spanish Londoner Simmonds’ background was originally in marketing before writing her fantasy series The Indigo Chronicles, along with various Manga stories and writing collaborations.
Together, they created Blood Web Chronicles – their first paranormal romance series set in Europe. Great friends and avid travellers, you can find them whizzing between one another’s homes in Germany and the Netherlands, or having Zoom calls to excitedly plot Saskia’s next humorous sexy adventure.
For more information on the Blood Web Chronicles, check out my reviews of VAMPIRES OF MOSCOW and SIRENS OF LOS ANGELES – both books are on sale now, and the next book in the series, WITCHES OF BARCELONA is available for pre-order now. I will be reviewing this book just as soon as I can get my hands on it in 2021, so keep your eyes peeled!