Today I’m happy to welcome F.J.R. Titchenell and Matt Carter to the blog. They’re the author team behind “Splinters” and now “Shards.” Read on for a fun interview between them and their characters, plus a chance to enter a giveaway for an autographed copy of “Shards!”
Book Name: The Prospero Chronicles: Shards
Author Name: F.J.R. Titchenell (Fiona) & Matt Carter
Character Name: Mina Todd & Ben Pastor
Website: www.fjrtitchenell.weebly.com and www.mattcarterauthor.weebly.com
To start us off, can you sum up your novel in a tweet? (140 characters or less)
Fiona: Prospero High crawls with Shards, a more dangerous breed of shapeshifters who mean to destroy Ben and Mina’s friendship. #YA #Horror #SciFi
Matt: It’s got monsters, flamethrowers, high school intrigue & a crazy guy with a hook. What more do we need to say?
Not much! This series is definitely high on my TBR list!
So, Fiona and Mina, how did you two meet and how long ago was it?
Fiona: It feels like Mina’s been around my whole life, but it’s only been a few years. We’ve been through a lot in that time (a full finished manuscript’s worth beyond Splinters and Shards, in fact). I found her digging through the clutter of her desk, looking for some detail of the Splinters’ activities that she couldn’t find in the clutter of her head. I knew I was going to have to drag her outside more than she’d like.
Matt and Ben?
Matt: I’ve always been a sucker for classic adventure and Ben’s about as classical a hero as they come. He’s honest and strong and can be a little sarcastic when he needs to be. I kind of felt bad for the guy when he auditioned for this story because of what we knew we were going to put him through, but he said he was up for anything, and I think he’s delivered.
I think it might just be the role of the author to take perfectly nice people and do terrible things to them… just to see if they hold up!
What was your first impression of each other?
Fiona: I knew she was special. I knew she was a hero who could stand out among interchangeable cyphers.
Mina: I no longer believe in the existence of a merciful creator.
Matt: I thought Ben was honest, handsome and strong. Basically everything I hated in high school, so I knew he’d be a great foil for Mina.
Mina, don’t give up hope! I mean, at least I’m hoping that you’ll be okay at the end of the series…
Fiona and Mina, what’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened between you two?
Fiona: Well, there was that Valentine’s poem we wrote together. Mina doesn’t know I helped her with it, of course. That’s not until Slivers, though. How about that time I had to get her arrested just so she’d sit still for our last character interview?
Matt and Ben?
Matt: Probably that time I had Ben hanging off the edge of a roof while trying to break into a friend’s house on the suspicion that he might be an alien.
Ben: What about the Madison thing?
Matt: We can’t talk about that, because a) it’s a spoiler, and b) it’s more a nightmare experience than embarrassing.
Ben: Speak for yourself.
Bad love poetry … yep, we’re definitely talking about a horror story now! You guys sound like you have a lot of fun together.
Fiona, what do you feel the worst about doing to Mina?
Fiona: Oh, so many choices. Isolating her from sympathetic and responsible adults. Taking so many people she cared about. Giving her brain damage, for the love of god. Designing the villain of Shards, who’s going to do some things even she’s never been prepared for. But the worst is yet to come.
Matt, what do you feel worst about doing to Ben?
Matt: Probably the entirety of Ben’s October from Shards. I really torture the guy. And it may or may not have to do with the alleged “Madison thing” that Ben was referring to in the previous question.
Yep, we authors definitely have in for our characters…
Mina, if you could say just one thing to Fiona, what would it be?
Mina: If there were a being or beings watching over me with the power to alter the course of events, I wouldn’t have much to say to them. I don’t negotiate with genocidal warlords, and I don’t beg.
You sound like my kinda heroine…
Ben, if you could say just one thing to Matt, what would it be?
Ben: Despite all the hell you put me through regularly, I wouldn’t trade my time in Prospero for anything. I’ve made good friends, had some fun (even some of the fighting Splinters time falls under this, believe it or not), and in some crazy way actually hope for a future here.
If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would all of you do?
Fiona: Sleep in, go do something terrible and lazy for breakfast with Matt, either donuts or waffles depending on how long the drive is to whatever we’re doing for the rest of the day. Then it’s Disneyland, or the zoo, or a year-round horror event if we can find one, or even better, a Halloween haunt should it happen to be the season. Or if money is an issue or we’re tired, maybe just stay in all day playing videogames together and order a pizza.
Matt: What Fiona said. That’s actually a pretty perfect answer for us.
Mina: This is extremely hypothetical. As long as there are Splinters, protecting humanity will be my constant responsibility. In an alternate, Splinterless world, I’d have to ask Ben or Haley for suggestions, assuming they’d even be talking to me in that alternate world. They’re far more qualified for the mission of fun than I am, which is part of why I like having them around.
Ben: Spend a day with friends, Haley, Kevin, Mina (of course) and maybe even Aldo. Try to get Mina to live a little. Maybe stifle a laugh or two at her resistance to trying to get her to live a little, since she can be really good at digging in her heels.
Sounds like fun… especially the donuts for breakfast!
Mina & Ben, what’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone? Why?
Mina: I killed my boyfriend with a bottle of lighter fluid and a match. It was complicated.
Ben: I’ve been fortunate enough not to ever have to do anything really bad to anyone, but I get the impression that the longer I stay in Prospero, the more likely I’ll have to compromise on that.
Note to self: don’t cross Mina. Ever.
Fiona, what are you working on at the moment? And does Mina figure in it?
I’m far from finished with Mina. Shards is the second of five installments in The Prospero Chronicles, but Matt and I are taking a break between parts three and four, so no, apart from a recent teaser short story on my blog, she hasn’t been involved in my recent work. Right now, Matt and I are wrapping up the first draft of a YA Horror-Comedy duel of wits between a professional final girl and an ancient god of fear called Agent Ingénue Vs The Lord of Terror. Like Mina, Agent Virginia Pierce is serious about protecting humanity, but she could certainly teach Mina a thing or two about having fun.
Matt, what are you working on at the moment? And does Ben figure in it?
Ben’s on the sidelines for now, as Fi and I have been working on Agent Ingenue Vs. The Lord of Terror, a very, very strange horror-comedy/love letter to horror movies that we’re very excited about. I’m also in the planning stages for my next solo novel, a less common take on a classic alien invasion that I think might be a fun read.
I’m intrigued! Sounds like a fun project, and I definitely understand the need to change up the projects you’re working on now and then.
Fiona & Matt, what have you read in the last few months that you really enjoyed?
Fiona: Most of the novels I’ve read so far this year have been ones from existing favorite authors that I knew I was going to enjoy, but one really pleasant surprise I picked up was the first collection of the new Ms. Marvel comics, No Normal. Kamala Khan has me hooked.
Matt: I’ve been making my way through the A Song of Ice & Fire series very slowly and having fun most of the time, and reading a lot of comics (Kingdom Come may be one of my favorite superhero stories of all time, not sure). Right now reading an oral history of the TV show Survivor by one of the show’s biggest fan writers, When It Was Worth Playing For, that’s as funny as it is insightful.
I so need to get my hands on the Ms. Marvel comics!
Thanks for a wonderful interview! I really enjoyed it.
If you’d like to find out more about Shards, and enter the giveaway, read on!
When autumn descends on Prospero, Ben Pastor hopes that the normality of the new school year may offer a reprieve from the town’s horrors. Mina Todd knows all too well that there are no reprieves and no normality in Prospero, especially after she starts having crippling, unexplained hallucinations of the dead, but even she couldn’t prepare for what the coming year holds.
On top of the Splinters’ brewing civil war threatening to make humanity its battleground, inside the walls of Prospero High, Ben, Mina, and their expanding Network must face a Splinter campaign to destroy their friendship, a newly human Haley Perkins struggling to readjust to life after the Warehouse, and a Splinter assassin of untold power picking off human rebels.
Ben and Mina’s one hope may rest with a mysterious figure hiding in the woods outside of town, a living legend who may know how to stop this dangerous new breed of Splinter. That is, assuming he doesn’t kill everyone first himself.
“A snapping, crackling, popping homage to classic horror that alludes to no optimistic resolution—all the more reason for a series.” —Kirkus Reviews on Splinters
F.J.R TITCHENELL and MATT CARTER met and fell in love in a musical theatre class at Pasadena City College and have been insep- arable ever since. Though they have both dreamed of being writers from a very young age, they both truly hit their stride after they met, bouncing ideas off of one another, forcing each other to strive to be better writers, and mingling Matt’s lifelong love of monsters with Fiona’s equally disturbing inability to let go of high school. Titchenell and Carter live in San Gabriel, California.
And now for the giveaway…