Thursday, 14 June 2012

Author Interview: Neil McGarry & Daniel Ravipinto

Neil McGarry & Daniel Ravipinto have written The Duchess Of The Shallows.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
We're Neil McGarry and Dan Ravipinto and we currently reside in Philadelphia.

2. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
Our most recent book - the first we've written together - is entitled "The Duchess of the Shallows". It's about a young woman who is invited to join a secret society of spies and rumormongers known as the Grey.

3. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes to both! We're currently hard at work on the sequel to Duchess, entitled The Fall of Ventaris.

4. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
Actually, a game inspired us to write Duchess' adventures. She started as a character in a role-playing game and as we went along, we became more and more interested in her and the world she inhabited: the fog-shrouded, rumor-haunted city of Rodaas.

The stories we told through the game eventually led us to the tales that we tell in the novels. Both of us have been writing and telling stories since we were small, so it was a natural progression.

5. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
The cover was designed by the amazingly talented Amy Houser, who's both an artist and a toy designer. We approached her with the idea of doing a cover and she came up with the great image of Duchess and the "P" coin - the part of the plot that kicks off Duchess' interactions with the Grey - standing with the city rising from the fog behind her. She also drew a beautiful city map for the inside of the book.

6. Is there anything you would change about your book covers?
Amy actually submitted four initial sketches for the covers and we wish we could have used them all!

7. How did you come up with the title for your book?
All of the books in the series have a double meaning. The Duchess of the Shallows is our main character - her name is Duchess and the area of the city she lives in is known as "The Shallows" - but more importantly, it describes the position she aspires to: something of a minor powerbroker amongst the city's lowest.

8. Is there anything you would change about your book? And why?
You can always look back at what you've done and see the shortcomings. We could have endlessly tinkered and changed and revised, but there comes a point where you have to call your work done and move on. Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good.

9. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
We don't have a trailer, but we DO have a dorky introductory video to the books and ourselves ( As with any promotional material, the value of book trailers lies in letting readers understand what they're in for and how the story feels.

10. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
Neil: Dan has long read e-books, but I'm a recent convert. But I'm making up for lost time!

11. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
We are. We did all of the editing and layout ourselves, and reached out to Amy Houser to help us with the cover. Both of us are really excited about the technology that's made self-publishing possible. Only a few years ago, what we're doing - the sheer number of people we're able to reach - would've been impossible.

12. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
Dozens between us.

Neil: Watership Down. Many, many times.
Dan: I've re-read and enjoyed R.A. MacAvoy's books (Damiano, Tea with the Black Dragon, etc) since I was a child. More recently, it seems I pick up and re-read David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest every couple of years.

13. Have you ever read a book just based on its cover?
Neil: I bought George R.R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" based solely on the back-cover blurb.
Dan: I ended up reading L.E. Modesitt, Jr's "Of Tangible Ghosts" just because I found the cover image so intriguing.

14. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
Neil: I'm currently reading Jenna Moran's "Fable of the Swan" in Kindle format.
Dan: I just finished Lev Grossman's "The Magicians" in paperback.

15. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Neil: My advice to other writers: Never think that writing isn't hard work. 
Dan: One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from my friend Dave, back in college. I had a tendency to try to cram all of my world-building into my stories right up front. Dave told me to think of my world as a beach that my reader had to walk across. All I needed to describe was the sand beneath their feet.

16. Where can your readers follow you?

Goodreads author page:

We have a page for Duchess at Peccable Productions:

Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

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