Author(s): FJR Titchenell & Matt Carter
Series: The Prospero Chronicles
Number in Series: 2
Series: The Prospero Chronicles
Number in Series: 2
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Genre: Fantasy/Horror/Science Fiction/Young Adult
Synopsis from FJR Titchenell
With a strong Lovecraftian bent, this is the continuing saga of ordinary human resistors who must sacrifice their normal lives in favor of fighting for all humankind
When autumn descends on Prospero, California, Ben Pastor hopes that the normality of the new school year may offer a reprieve from the town’s recent paranormal horrors. Mina Todd, however, knows all too well that there are no reprieves and no normality in this town, especially after she starts having crippling, unexplained hallucinations of the dead. But even she can’t prepare for what the coming year holds. On top of a brewing civil war that threatens all of humanity, inside the walls of Prospero High, Ben, Mina and their expanding network face a sinister campaign that aims to destroy their friendship, a newly human Haley Perkin struggling to readjust to life, and an assassin of untold power who is 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 supernatural foe. That is, assuming the figure doesn’t first kill everyone himself.
On Writing a Partnership
Matt and I get a lot of questions about how we manage to write books as partners. Not so much about how we manage to write books about partners. The two go pretty beautifully together to make the stories we tackle together different from what one of us could do alone.
The majority of YA books follow a single perspective. The majority of fiction in general has a single, easily identifiable protagonist, even if other characters are heard from. There's nothing at all wrong with that, and Matt and I both love telling stories that way on our own, but The Prospero Chronicles takes a different technique.
This series is about Ben and Mina. Mina and Ben. They're partners, friends, and opposites in many ways. They get equal time to tell things from their sides, and they both do it as earnestly as if they were the only hero to hear from. Making a male and female character literally equal protagonists is an example we really like encouraging, but there's more to it than that. As a pair, they're able to add complexity to a lot of elements of the story compared with what we'd be able to see through one of them alone.
We get to see what it's like in Mina's head, with all her neurological abnormalities and all the terrible things she's been through, sympathize with her, and then be reminded from Ben's side how almost inexcusably awful she can sometimes be to the people close to her. We get her hardened, pragmatic view of the invading Splinters and what should be done about them, and then Ben reminds us to shake off the jaded blinders, and see what's being done to the people of Prospero with fresh eyes.
Having two real life minds working on the story makes a huge difference in giving honesty to the two minds on the page. It helps develop separate, distinct voices, of course, but it also allows Matt and me to immerse ourselves even deeper in a character's feelings and worldview than we could if we were solely in charge of a rounded story, because we can count on each other to put things back in perspective when necessary.
Sometimes we take it a little far. We've actually had real life arguments that boiled down to both of us still being in character while trying to discuss an issue from one of our books and clashing exactly the way our characters are set up to do. Of course once we realize what we're doing, we laugh, take a step back and talk about what's best for the story from the outside, which usually means harnessing the conflict we just discovered.
The real life dichotomy fuels the fictional one wonderfully for us, but whether writing with a real life partner or tackling two protagonist psyches at once by yourself, I'm sure the principles are much the same. Namely, contrast and balance.
Contrast, because if partners don't bring differences, there's no point in having two of them. There always has to be the humanist versus the absolutist, or logic versus feeling, innocence versus world-weariness, chaos versus order, etc. Any number of varying contrasts, preferably several rolled together. Each side needs to bring a different form of perspective, or you've just got a hero talking himself/herself in two voices.
Balance because otherwise you don't have partners or co-protagonists, you have a protagonist and a sidekick, or worse, a protagonist and a straw man. Both characters need things to do that the other can't do for them. They both need their own instances of those pivotal, plot-determining decisions that a protagonist makes. They both need to be right sometimes, and wrong sometimes, and be changed by their relationship with each other.
Matt and I have a fantastic time with the Ben and Mina dynamic, their problems, their friendship, and the way they force each other to grow, and we hope the readers enjoy them too.
Our next pair of co-protagonists in our current work in progress, Agent Ingénue Versus The Lord of Terror, are going to be adversaries rather than partners, but the principles are turning out to be surprisingly similar. We can't wait to share them with everyone as well.
About FJR Titchenell & Matt Carter
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