MWU: Let me start by saying thank you for agreeing to let Mystery Writers Unite interview you both. Now on to the good stuff (she says smiling)...aside from the main character in THE DEVIL’S GAME, who is your favorite and why?
S.L. Pierce: My favorite is Patient X. Why is harder to explain. I think it's because this is the character that keeps you guessing throughout the book. Who is Patient X? What is Patient X's past? What part is Patient X playing in the unfolding drama? All slowly revealed throughout the story.
Maren Kaye: During the process I became overly attached to Carl, the building manager. I could see him so clearly with all his crazy antics and bazaar behavior. I felt like his character took on a life of its own. Even as the author, I wasn’t sure what he was going to do next.
MWU: If one of your characters could step out of THE DEVIL’S GAME, which one would it be and what do you think would be the most pressing thing they would want to tell you?
S.L. Pierce: I think it would be Rachel and she would tell us to stop torturing her (LOL). This is a tough question!
Maren Kaye: I feel for Rachel’s mother. Being a mother myself, I was often compelled to send out a warning to her, begging her to get that girl home safe and sound.
MWU: What is one of your favorite chapters or scenes from THE DEVIL’S GAME and why is it your favorite?
S.L. Pierce: My favorite is the first Chapter because that is what started it all. I was actually sitting in a coffee shop trying to think of something to write about. I saw a couple and just started describing them and what was going on between them. Then I thought, what if someone was really watching them? What if a stalker actually had a stalker. And that was the beginning.
Maren Kaye: I love the chapters with the therapist and the patient. They are so meaty and intense that it’s impossible not to become drawn into the story.
MWU: Is there a character from THE DEVIL’S GAME that you feel like you could explore further and may like to go back to at another time and write about them again?
S.L. Pierce: I would love to know more about the therapist, Dr. Gloria Pike. She's complicated and obviously has issues. It would be really fun to go back into her past and explore what happened there. Maren and I have even toyed with the idea of writing a short story about her.
Maren Kaye: Rachel’s family seems like it could do with some flushing out. There are certainly a few skeletons hiding out in those closets.
MWU: How do you “stay in character” when writing?
S.L. Pierce: I have to have absolute quiet, first of all. Then I just sit and think about what is supposed to happen in the scene. Then I go through, like a movie in my head, how my character responds and what they would say.
Maren Kaye: Music plays an important part in my writing. I love to choose music that speaks to the era and personality of my characters.
MWU: Are any of the characters in THE DEVIL’S GAME based on you or someone you know?
S.L. Pierce: No, not for me, but I know Maren will have a different answer.
Maren Kaye: All the characters reflect on people I’ve known in my life, but I think Rachel is a mixture of my own naivety as a young adult and the strength of my own daughters.
MWU: How did you choose the title for THE DEVIL’S GAME? Did you decide on it right away or do you let the story brew for a bit and then choose?
S.L. Pierce: We chose the title after the book was finished, and it was a process. I can't even remember how many possibilities we went through. It was almost as hard as agreeing on the cover (LOL). What we finally did was write down some central ideas of the story and made lists of synonyms to get the ideas flowing.
Maren Kaye: It was a fun process. S.L. had come up with GAME. We were talking back and forth on the phone with different ideas. I have a clear memory of calling her from the checkout lane at the grocery store with DEVIL and I think at that moment we both knew we had a winner.
MWU: If you had less than a minute to tell a perspective reader what they could expect from THE DEVIL’S GAME (you are at a trade show and someone has stopped by your booth) what would you tell them? Go….
S.L. Pierce: What if a stalker had a stalker?
Maren Kaye: If you love books with unexpected twists and turns that keep you up until the wee hours of the night, this is that book.
MWU: I ask this question to every author I interview. Do either of you ever experience writer’s block? If so, how do you cope with it?
S.L. Pierce: Absolutely. I'm going through a pretty bad spell right now. Unfortunately it is hitting at a very busy time so it's harder to just make myself sit and write, which is what I usually do. I also have a writing prompt app on my phone that works sometimes.
Maren Kaye: I’ve found the best cure for writers block is to get out of the house. Netbooks are great for taking to the park or the nearest coffee shop or museum. Every person you see has a story to tell and it’s just a matter of getting that initial spark.
MWU: I always ask a published author what advice they would give to those of us still working away at their first novel, first draft?
S.L. Pierce: My advice is to just keep going. It might seem like it is taking forever but it will get done if you just keep going. I would also tell them to ignore that voice inside that says 'this is terrible and you will never be a writer'.
Maren Kaye: Don’t let too many people read it before you get to the end. It’s easy to get derailed with well meaning, but often misguided criticism. Listen to your own instincts and you’re sure to have something that you can feel proud of in the end.
MWU: What have you learned about writing and self-publishing and what advice would you give to someone just entering the self-publishing arena?
S.L. Pierce: I have learned it's not as easy as it looks. You thought writing was the hard part. Wait until your sales are terrible or you get a bad review. But you just have to keep going, keep writing, keep promoting. It will payoff in the long run! If you think you're going to push that publish button and the money will start rolling in, you should just stop now.
Maren Kaye: Be patient and don’t get discouraged. Self-publishing is a new arena and it’s going to take a while for people to recognize it’s value.
MWU: Is there anything you would like to say to new writers, new readers or current fans of your work?
S.L. Pierce: I would say, in this order, keep writing, try a sample – they're free, and thanks for the support. Every nice word is incredibly motivating.
Maren Kaye: We have been blessed with really wonderful feedback and reviews. I would like to personally thank all our readers, especially those who took the time to write down their own thoughts about our book.
Synopsis for THE DEVIL'S GAME
Is a stranger who stalks your stalker a friend or your worst enemy?
Rachel Pendelton is determined to break from her small town past and stake out a new life for herself with a dream job in the big city. But hard work and determination are no match for whoever is working against her. When anonymous gifts show up, she’s flattered. When they appear in her locked apartment, she starts worrying. What can she do when everyone she turns to for help looks suspicious?
What she doesn’t know is that a game has begun. A game with rules as baffling as they are deadly. A game that will pit her against the criminally insane. And only one can finish alive.
This post is part of a DECEMBER BOOK LAUNCH EVENT ---->> Join S.L. PIERCE AND MAREN KAYE and 9 of their author friends at WoMen's Literary Cafe's Mystery Book Launch, December 13-15. Ten authors will discount their eBooks to just 99 cents. Buy 3 get 1 FREE!