Thursday, 31 May 2012

Author Spotlight: Cathy Coburn and Duaine Neill

Today, I’m delighted to give a warm Scottish welcome to the mother and son writing partnership of Cathy Coburn and Duaine Neill – two for the price of one, all the way from the USA! And we’re in for a treat with their entertaining answers to my questions. Their series of books is just the kind of mystery I enjoy, especially when it has anything to do with the Bermuda Triangle, and After the Mist has been collecting great reviews.

Here’s a little bit about the first book in the series.

After the Mist

Mike Reynolds always prided himself on being in complete control, and then his world toppled into the unfamiliar. Disturbing dreams plagued him, leaving helplessness in its wake and his control slipping away.

Though adventurous and fearless the young and petite Maggie O'Reilly doesn't recognize the devastating consequences of staring unswervingly into the black piercing eyes of absolute malevolence.

Together, the two team with five others to forge ahead on a perilous mission that becomes a dire adventure beyond anything they could have foreseen or imagined. They find themselves in direct confrontation between life and death, love and something else, an unlikely place for evil to be hiding or should we say, to be waiting.

After the Mist is available in ebook from Champagne Books, Amazon (US) and Amazon (UK)

Thank you for taking time out from busy lives to chat to us, Cathy and Duaine.

A writing partnership is intriguing – how did that come about?

First off I’d like to thank you for inviting us here to vent . . . I mean to speak.

D: What do you mean vent?

C: (Cathy changing subject) Duaine and I are a mother/son writing team. Both, I guess, are compulsive liars who needed an outlet for those lies. I like to call it teasers, or people with vivid imaginations, but with Duaine it goes over the top. Even when he called me to tell me about the planes hitting the twin towers I didn’t believe him.

D: For me I decided to partner up because I already had a very busy life style and needed help to do all the research and fill in all the blanks and I knew with both our crazy creative minds we could make our book a great novel. So I asked her to meet me for lunch to explain my new business opportunity. We have had many in the past that did not work out so well. We have always inspired to start something great but never found the right project until now.

We sat down at our favorite Chinese buffet (good excuse to go there) and I explained the idea of co-writing a new book which had started in one of my movie style dreams. I told her all about my dream. She was very excited and ready to start co-writing our book (which is now After the Mist.)

C: Even way back when, I think Duaine and I were destined to be writers. I use to write stories all the time, even wrote full novels. Then in college I switched my creative gear to wildlife artist, receiving recognition in national and international shows. Then I just stopped, as I don’t think I was fulfilling my true passion.

Duaine, even as a kid, had these weird vivid dreams. I remember him waking from a nightmare about a dream he had, he thought he’d just watched a horror movie. I finally calmed him assuring him no such movie was on. A week later we found that very same movie premiering on TV. Remember that Duaine?

D: Yes. I remember it very well. I tell people about it all the time to try and give them a picture on how real my dreams are. Still not sure if my dreams are a blessing or a curse. I wake up so tired from some of my dreams, they’re so vivid and real sometimes that I feel like I was up all night.

C: Anyway I’ll stop rambling and actually answer your question. As Duaine said we formed a writing team after Duaine had one of those weird vivid dreams. We had lunch together and discussed it and decided to form a partnership. We would talk on the phone daily about the direction our book would go in, both bubbling with enthusiasm with new ideas, and then try and meet once a week. (Sounds great fun!)

Does it bring any particular problems?

C: Getting Duaine to cooperate with me is sometimes challenging, but that’s been going on his entire life. If you read his bio on our website you’ll see what I mean.

D: I think the biggest problem for us is the fact I am really busy with my business and life and I don’t always have the time she’d like to devote to our books. Our goal is a shared one, however, for our books to do well so I can quit the business and start writing full time.

Did you have to do a lot of research for this novel (and the sequels)?

C: Yes we wanted as much realism engulfed into our story as we could find, so months of research went into our book. Every detail was researched from the yacht they traveled on to the jet they flew. Every story they told of the Bermuda Triangle was fact based, even the earth passing through the tail of Hailey’s comet, May 18, 1910 was true.

D: For me not so much, for her most definitely.

What is the most difficult part about starting a new book?

C: I refer back to my answer on question 2 for this one.

D: We found the most difficult part of writing a new book was actually trying to get it published. It can be a very long, frustrating battle to get anyone to pick you up as a first time writer. We constantly had agents tell us it sounds like a great book but we do not have time for a new book or a new client. We thought we had to first find an agent and we couldn’t even get them to read the book. Then we found we could send it directly to a publisher, so we sent it to Champagne Books, they loved it and off we went.

C: Okay that was a much better answer than mine. I’ll give you that one.

Do you think eBooks are the future? Or do you prefer print?

C: Before last Christmas I would have said print, but my husband bought me an iPad for Christmas and I love it. I’ve not picked up a print book since. I think there are still your diehards who like me don’t think they would like reading from an e-reader, but like me I think if they tried it they too would fall in love with it. So as answer to your question, yes I see eBooks taking over.

D: I believe that eBooks are the future, but have found that most of the people I talk to still prefer print.

How do you promote your books and does it work?

C: I am just learning the ropes to the promotion end. I was one of those who thought write a book, everything else will just fall into place . . . not. I’ve had to learn how to blog, tweet, facebook and I’m still learning. Duaine and I also intend on doing the conventions and any book signings we can get once our book (hopefully) releases to print. We both love to travel and that would give us a good excuse.

D: Right now for me it has been mostly sending out email, facebook and telling everyone I meet and know about the book. It is still at present available only on eBooks. When it comes out in print we plan to do book signing and conventions (I agree, any excuse to travel.)

Do you have a favorite writing place?

C: At my desk, with dead silence, other than my own voice. I find I talk to myself all the time, both at my desk and in my car. I guess I have to hear myself think. So I go back to my first answer and now wonder if I was trying to find an outlet for my lies or my insanity.

D: No not really, as my dreams (day or night) pop into my head I just find a place to sit and write them down. Unlike my mother, who likes the silence, I prefer to have background noise, mostly the radio. For me the silence lets my mind wander too much, (don’t want to start talking to myself.)

Do you find time for hobbies?
C: Not as much as I would like. I love scuba diving and would like to do much more than I get to. My husband and I try and plan all our vacations around diving, even if we’re on a cruise ship, we get off at every port to dive. We call it our perfect live-aboard dive trip.

D: Yes I always try and make time for my hobbies. I learned a long time ago that if you do not make time you will never have time. My vacation and hobbies are very important to me.

What are your current writing plans? Will you write separate books?

C: We are working on book two which we at present call Within the Mist and have plotted book three. I have personally submitted another book I wrote alone, but mostly we enjoy writing together. We find we feed off each other’s ideas and it makes things flow perfectly.

D: The plan right now is to finish writing two more books in the series and quite possible a 4th on how Luke came to be on Lived Island. I may write separately in the future, but I really enjoy writing as a team. I believe it is the combination of our creative minds that make our books so much better.

Any tips for new writers?

C: Write what you’re passionate about and don’t let anyone discourage you.

D: Write what you love, let your mind flow and be patient. It is a very long process, and does not happen overnight. But can be very rewarding in the end.

C: Thank you so much for this interview Rosemary, it’s been most enjoyable.

You’re very welcome – it’s been a joy to talk to you both. Good luck with all your books!

You can find out more about Cathy and Duaine on their website.

Cathy Coburn: A San Diego, CA native who now resides in Phoenix, AZ. Cathy's passion beyond making up whopping big stories is traveling. She has a real sense of adventure which includes scuba diving, off roading on quads, Zip lining in Belize and Costa Rica and any high adrenaline adventure. Her down time passion is sitting on the balcony of a cruise ship with a good book.

Duaine Neill: Duaine is also a native of San Diego, CA who now resides in Pheonix, AZ. It’s hard to grow up in San Diego and not hear the ocean calling you. So every vacation, Duaine takes is always near the ocean. Duaine loves to travel and seeks adventure. His friends refer to him as ‘Insane Duaine’ as he’s often found doing stunts most would never consider. His sense of adventure goes beyond reality and into his dreams, then out of those dreams come amazing stories.


Joanna said...

What a lovely, interesting interview and the book sounds so absorbing and rich with mystery.
It's fascinating to think of two people writing together. I can't imagine doing that with anyone I know! It must be very satisfying and exciting to share the process, especially when it's going well. But I guess you need exactly the right person. It sounds as if you manage it beautifully.

Thank you, Rosemary, and thank you to Cathy and Duaine for being so entertaining.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I can't image a writing partnership, but yours seems ideal. Blessings.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Joanne - thanks again for your great support. Like you, I can't imagine writing fiction with anyone else, but Cathy and Duaine make it sound fun!

Hello Julie - thanks for coming over and leaving a comment!

Cathy Coburn said...

Thank you so much Rosemary for haveing us here today. And thank you Joanna and Julie for joining us and for acually liking the interview ;-)

Dan AZ said...

Thankyou Rosemary for having us and to everyone who reads this. Hope you all enjoy the book, the books to come and hopefully someday soon the movies. Duaine Neill

Jude Johnson said...

Cathy & Duane, you guys rock! I've downloaded After The Mist and hope to get to it soon--sneaking a couple of pages in, I'm really intrigued. Love your banter! My son also strings me along with elaborate lies and a wicked sense of humor so that I can't believe much of what he says--and he's a journalism major now. (Though he prefers writing elaborate lies, I'm thinking.) You two make me wonder if we could collaborate on a book sometime...
Great interview, Rosemary!


Allison said...

Great interview. It's always so much fun learning about other authors and how they work.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hello Cathy and Duaine - you're both very welcome and it's fun getting to know a bit more about you!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Jude - many thanks for coming over to comment!

Hello Allison - good to see you here. Thanks for coming over!

Sara Bain said...

That's a fascinating concept - a mother and son writing team. I think that my son would rather eat his own XBox than collaborate with me on a book! Do they sit down together and one types while the other dictates or do they bash out the story verbally and then one writes it down? It would be interesting to hear the process. After the Mist sounds like my kind of book, so I'm going to check it out. Another fine interview Rosemary. Is there no end to your talents?

Cathy Coburn said...

Hey Jude, I like that I’m not alone with all the wicked lies, LOL

Allison, I agree it’s fun learning about other authors. We have such vast differences with a common dominator.

Sara, here’s how it goes for us, we sit and talk about how our story should go, either on phone or in person. Then I sit in front of my computer alone (talking to myself) type and forward to Duaine what I wrote and we discuss it again, (That is when I can get him to cooperate with me ;-)

Cathy Coburn said...

Thanks again Rosemary!!!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Hi Sara - great to see you! It's well seen you're a professional journalist, as I forgot to ask that interesting question!

Cathy - thanks for the good explanation!

Myra Duffy said...

What a brave way to write!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for visiting, Myra!

Sara Bain said...

Wow, Cathy, son and co-operate in the same sentence! In my house,that's an oxymoron ; )