Please give a big welcome to Larissa Ione and Stephanie Tyler, co-authors who write books under the pen name, Sydney Croft.
Yesterday, I spotlighted one of their books and today they are here for an interview…
Please tell us about your books.
We’ve always called the ACRO series “Erotica meets the X-Men” — it’s a combination of paranormal romance, romantic suspense and erotica — definitely erotica. ACRO is the name of an agency filled with rare and covert operatives, men and women who might never have felt at ease with their powers in the outside world until they discovered that there were others like them.
There’s a dark side to some of their powers. For example, the hero in the first book could control the weather — it’s an awesome power, and a destructive one if the hero decided to use it for evil.
“Riding the Storm,” “Unleashing the Storm,” and “Seduced by the Storm” [July 29, 2008] are connected by a running “storm” subplot that can spell the end of the world!
What inspired the stories?
Larissa: Well, when they started, I don’t think Steph was intending for the first book, Riding The Storm, to be as paranormal as it turned out. It wasn’t until she kicked the first scene to me and told me to write the next one, that things took a science fiction/paranormal turn. We took a hero who was a draw for weather, which is one of my big loves, and incorporated my weather background – as we hashed out the plot, we realized we could really have fun and create a big paranormal agency full of people with amazing powers like Remy had.
How many books are there in the series? Should they be read in order?
The first three ACRO books – the Storm series – is a trilogy that includes Riding The Storm, Unleashing The Storm and Seduced By The Storm. The main plots are all stand-alones, but the subplots are continuities. So while they can be read out of order, reading them in order would probably work best. The next three books are based in the ACRO world but they will all be stand-alones.
What’s next for Sydney Croft?
Right now, we’re working on ACRO book 4 – the hero is Trance, an excedo who’s mentioned in Unleashing and who you’ll meet in Seduced. We’re trying to think up titles as we write up this interview – so far, he’s slated for early summer 2009.
Where did the pen name, Sydney Croft, come from?
We started thinking, if we were ACRO agents, what would we want our name to be? Larissa actually came up with the name – it’s a cross between Sydney Bristow and Lara Croft 🙂 It’s perfect for the series – strong and kick-ass.
Whose idea was it to collaborate on the books?
Steph: Larissa forced me into it.
Larissa: Stephanie is lying. Okay, maybe not. Well, no, she is. See, it was my idea to write together, a long time ago. And she was all, you’re insane. But then she goes and sends me a scene and tells me to write the next one, so really…who’s the insane one? (The answer to that is Stephanie.)
How does your collaboration work?
We rely on emails (and phone calls if needed) – but typically, we’re passing the manuscript scenes back and forth. We try to plan ahead, like, for instance this May is supposed to be a Sydney month for us – and the writing really does go fast because we’re constantly playing off each other’s scenes, brainstorming new what ifs and generally having a blast. Oh, and we write by POV, not chapter (typically it’s Larissa for the heroine’s and Steph for the hero’s and we mix it up for the subplot characters. For Dev and Oz, we actually write them together for the most part) So yes, no real rhyme or reason – we write all over the place and out of order too and somehow, it works perfectly.
You also write as individuals. What is the biggest difference between working solo versus working together?
Steph: It’s SO much easier with the Syd stuff – first off all, we’re each writing half the book and there’s so much excitement in the writing – I’m always dying to see Larissa’s next scene – to see what she’s done and how I can play off of it. Writing alone is necessary for me too, though, because it strengthens my skills for when we come together as Sydney.
Larissa: What Steph said. And I write MUCH faster when writing as Sydney. On my own, I’m pretty slow…I think it’s because plotting is harder when you only have one brain working on it.
Describe one another with one word.
Steph: Moron. It’s our pet name for each other.
Larissa: Oh, you probably don’t mean words that we call each other…so in that case, I’d have to go with amazing. Seriously, I’m in awe of what she’s accomplished. She deals with so much on a daily basis, and yet, she writes twice as fast as me and makes it look so easy.
Steph: I wanted to use amazing for you – not fair! How about…brilliant? Because, well, you are.
What is your favorite part of working with each other? Least favorite?
Larissa: My favorite part is having someone to share the work with! Least favorite? Being at the mercy of outside elements that sometimes make it hard to write. Email and internet problems, for example. They always seem to happen at crucial moments, like at the very end of a deadline when I need to get a scene to Stephanie but can’t get it to send. That can be SO frustrating!
Steph: *see the moron comment above* Oh, and you wanted the least favorite too, right? Hmmm, I guess it’s when we’re crunched for time and can’t work on the Sydney stuff – I do like working on it side by side with my own stuff because somehow the energy we create really helps me in my own writing…but lately our individual deadlines / copy edits / promotion have stopped that for now.
What have you learned about yourself since starting this collaboration?
Steph: That Larissa is the only person on earth I can do this with.
Larissa: That I can write faster than I thought I could, and *gasp* I can write out of order.
If any actress could play you in the story of your life, who would you choose and why?
Larissa: Sandra Bullock. Because she’s pretty and looks nothing like me.
Steph: Oh, I love her! And her husband has all those tattoos!!! Stop stealing all the good answers.
Which of your characters is most like you?
Larissa: Kira shares my extreme love of animals, but I’m not as easygoing and lively as she is. So I’d probably have to say Haley, who not only shares my Air Force and weather background, but is also sort of intense when it comes to the job and life.
Steph: Hmmm, I’d say…probably Creed, because he’s both laid back and intense. And Kira too because of her connection to animals.
What makes you smile?
Larissa: Lots of things! Baby animals, my son, seeing the first final copy of my books, when Steph calls me a moron…
Steph: Oh, books on the shelves, spending the day with my family, having my dream career. And I do always smile when Larissa calls me a moron.
Any questions for readers?
Hmmm, well, who’s your favorite ACRO character and why? And if you haven’t read any ACRO books yet, we’ll have to send Ender out after you…
Thank you so much Larissa and Stephanie for that fabulous interview.
You are always so much fun!
I still find it very interesting how you work together to write a book.
Readers, you can learn more about Sydney Croft as well as the ACRO books, world, and characters at http://www.sydneycroft.com
And don’t forget to check in tomorrow as I welcome two more very special guests 😉
I am very excited about it…