Earlier today my first part of the blog tour for Vampires of Moscow came online (my review). I also had the treat of interviewing the author duo Caedis Knight. They were really kind to take some time and answer some questions for their readers. So if you want to know a little more about them and the book, keep on reading!
About the Authors
If you don’t already know, Caedis Knight is an author duo. Jacqueline Silvester and N.J Simmonds teamed up together to bring us the Blood Web Chronicles.
What inspired you to start writing?
NJS: I have been writing since I could pick up a pencil. I wrote lots of stories as a child and teen, then stopped in my 20s. Having kids and being up at crazy hours of the night had me plotting my first novel which became my fantasy debut THE PATH KEEPER.
JS: I won a poetry contest in 6th grade and got kind of addicted to the praise of it all. Just kept churning out poems after that. I wrote my debut novel WUNDERKIDS at 22 and have been writing ever since.
What is your all time favorite book? Why?
NJS: THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger. It has it all. Originality, that angsty sexy fate-filled pull between two star-crossed lovers, tears and a clever multi-layered plot.
JS: Ooooof the dreaded question. I associate books with periods in my life. I stood in line at midnight for Twilight, and Hunger Games, Divergent, and later Mortal Instruments. They are a part of me but I am no longer that person. I have books I value for escapism (I will auto buy S.J Maas) and I love the Wicked King by Holly Black. Leigh Bardugo is an auto buy for me as well, and Sophie Kinsella. Rick Riordian books and Artemis Fowl are the favourites I never grew out of. The books that completely changed my life forever are The Art of Seduction, Rich Dad Poor Dad, Big Magic, and Detach Now. Long answer but I don’t have a firm favourite.
What recent books do you think everyone needs to read?
NJS: I absolutely loved DAISY JONES & THE SIX and WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING this year – which are totally not the genre I write. Both so magical and original, with amazing female protagonists.
JS: The Folk of Air trilogy by Holly Black, last book that made me read through the night.
Besides writing, what are other hobbies you have?
NJS: I love to read, obviously, and draw and paint. I’m very arty, so you’ll find me sketching or making stuff on my sewing machine.
JS: Psychology, doesn’t sound like a hobby but I spend a lot of my time reading about psychology. I like thrifting, making comedy videos and traveling.
Not everyone may know that Caedis Knight is made up of two authors, but I find that really interesting. How is your writing process different from when writing by yourselves? Is it easier or harder?
NJs: Some aspects are easier. It takes less time because you are writing one chapter, then your partner writes the next one, which leaves you time to work on other books and projects. And it’s way more fun as you aren’t the only one with an entire world in your head, you get to share your creations and fangirl over characters together. Also it’s great to work to one another’s strengths, I like writing action scenes and lots of narrative – Jacky is great at dialogue and humour, plus we shared the marketing and promo side of things too. But editing is harder apart as we live in different countries, and lots of what we discuss on the phone would be a lot easier if we worked in the same office all day. But no arguments so far. We are great friends!
JS: I love working together. Writing alone all these years I struggled with isolation a lot, and constantly felt alone both physically and mentally within my projects. It can be difficult to have zero co-workers, no office, and your entire line of work is in your head. Turning this into a partnership has helped me prioritise, feel momentum, feel less alone. Plus Natali laughs at my jokes and strokes my ego more than my desk lamp ever did so there’s that. We are also friends so we laugh a lot and encourage and lift each other up. In short, I’ve found it a lot easier.
We just got Vampires of Moscow and Sirens of Los Angeles, but I have to ask. Are there any future writing plans you can tell us about?
NJs: Absolutely! The Blood Web Chonicles series is made up of two novellas and six books. Each book focuses on a different paranormal crime in a different European city (all of which Jacky and I have lived in. We’ve lived in 9 countries between us and speak 5 languages fluently, so a lot of what we write is own voice – which is important to us. Then after this series we plan to have many others. We’ll see what our readers love first!
JS: If you read the first two books you can tell that there is a lot more paranormal goodness coming your way. We’ve only scratched the surface with Vampires and Sirens and we’ve already revealed that this world has Shifters, Fae, Werewolves and loads loads more.
About the Book
Describe your book in five words or less.
NJS: VAMPIRES OF MOSCOW in four words – True Blood in Europe
JS: Sex, crimes and paranormal shenanigans
What inspired Vampires of Moscow?
NJS: Jacky and I love vampires, and we were discussing the idea of setting them in Moscow where her family if from. We loved the idea of a paranormal strip club run by vamp mafia bosses set across a snowy Christmas Russia. We thought the imagery would be really evocative and the perfect Halloween to Christmas read. As for the plot, personally I was really drawn to the idea of vampire brothers being completely different but both of them needing to satisfy regrets from their past.
JS: Growing up Russian I rarely saw interesting portrayals of Russia or of Russians in Western media. With the cold and little sun I think Vampires would be naturally drawn to Moscow, add a dose of Moscow depravity and the undercurrent of lawlessness that still exists there today and it’s the perfect setting for a Vampire novel. I also wanted to paint a real picture of the city, I didn’t want Vampires chasing each other through the Red Square and soaking with Borat accents as if someone who only knew the travel agent edition of Russia had written this. Natali indulged me, and without giving anything away Natali gets to be indulged in the same way in a future book.
When you wrote Vampires of Moscow did you have it all mapped out or did you let Saskia take you along for the ride?
NJS: When you write as a team you can’t make it up as you go along as you need to both be clear on the direction of the novel from the onset. In fact we have planned the entire series across 6 books an 2 novellas. Although within each plot point and chapter Saskia did surprise us here and there.
JS: There were some fun surprises and the absolute best feeling ever is waking up to a new chapter of your book written by your partner and you get to read it and see where your story went overnight.
If you were to put yourself into this story, what kind of character would you be?
NJs: I would either be a vampire of a powerful shifter. Probably vampire, as I like the idea of being young forever!
SJ: I have a weakness for Fae, as I feel like they have all the advantages without any of disadvantages the Vampires face. And they get to live forever. Otherwise I would pick Vampire. Shifter, witch, and Ware sound cool but there’s that pesky lack of immortality that Natali brought up.
What is your favorite quote from Vampires of Moscow?
NJs: That’s a great question! Probably something Lukka says.
“Like you, little Witch, I’ve seen a lot of the truth. Too much.” He smiles, revealing pearly-white fangs laced with gold. “The lie is always sweeter.”
JS: Apologies but this will forever be my favourite line- “Lucky for her they were all out of ‘My sister got finger-banged at the Bolshoi and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’ options.”
What is one thing you hope readers remember after reading this book?
NJS: That genre fiction can be both fun and multilayered. That just because a book has sexy vampires and crazy crime-solving adventures, it can still have poignancy, deep characterization and an accurate, diverse cast and setting. There’s nothing simple about this series.
JS: I second what Natali said. Escapism is beautiful and needed (especially now) and it can still be poignant and deep and make you forget about the world outside nonetheless. (Hopefully we’ve achiever this to some degree.)
I had so much fun reading the answers to these questions. It’s really interesting to get to know the authors behind the books you read and love. I know I’ll be keeping an eye on this series. If you haven’t decided if you should pick up Vampires of Moscow, definitely do! I can tell you it’s worth the time!