I am excited to share this interview with you today. Thank you to Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers, authors of The Chasing Fire Series. This is one series I highly recommend. So, if you haven’t read it yet, get to it. You will love it! And, you will love Hudson D. Chase as well. (winks) The buy links are located at the end of the post.
My trip to Chicago over the summer was fantastic and one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much was because I got to visit many of the places mentioned in Remind Me, Release Me and the newly released Reclaim Me by Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers. As a reader, I love visiting places my favorite characters have had memorable scenes in. As I explored the city, I thought of some questions for this dynamic writing duo. These questions sparked this interview. Enjoy!
Susi: I immediately noticed Hudson News when I landed at the Chicago O’Hare airport. Of course, I blurted out the name Hudson and my husband told me to be quiet. How did you come up with Hudson as the name for your delicious male protagonist? Chase?
Ann Marie: Choosing a character name is always hard but when you have to factor in two author’s opinions it’s even more difficult. After all, you can’t be writing a steamy scene about a character with the same name as an ex or a family member. We wanted our leading man to have a strong, two syllable first name and when we came across the name Hudson we both just knew it was right.
Amy: It was a while before we landed on a name. So for a while he was called Mr. Enigmatic or Mr. E. Finally, Hudson let us know what his name was and it seemed to fit. However, I do have a thing for strong and unique male names.
Susi: I visited the famous Palmolive Building during one of my walking tours. I stood in the entrance and even took a picture. I would have gone in had it not been for a fussy man at my side. Why did you choose this location as Hudson’s home?
Ann Marie: As the Chicagoan, it fell to me to choose locations for the books. Hudson’s residence was a no brainer. The Palmolive Building is not only one of the few locations in the city where no street address is needed, it was the original home of Playboy Headquarters as well as the location of the very first Playboy Club. When the building converted to residences, the three story penthouse was purchased by actor Vince Vaughn who restored Hugh Hefner’s office to its original condition.
Amy: Ann Marie and I also investigated the building as well. Okay, we may have stalked and tried to bribe our way in by making friends with the doorman. The building seemed perfect from the start. It’s strong, dark, and architecturally beautiful. Kind of starting to sound like our leading man himself.
Susi: Out of all of the cities, why was Chicago selected as the main setting for this series?
Ann Marie: So many books are set in New York, and we wanted to do something different. I started tossing out Chicago settings and Amy was hooked.
Amy: Exactly what Ann Marie said. We wanted a completely different setting. Oh yeah, I love the city!
Susi: Why was the name Alessandra Sinclair chosen? I recall a street named St. Clair near my hotel and wondered if this had anything to do with “Sinclair.”
Ann Marie: Just a coincidence. We mainly wanted a name that could sound slightly pretentious while at the same time offered a nickname that reflected the girl she was with Hudson.
Who was the inspiration for Allie?
For Harper? For Nick?
Amy: We knew what Allie looked and to us she was an older Esti Ginzburg. However many of our readers have suggested Blake Lively. As for Harper, we clearly saw her as a feisty red head so Jane Levy seemed to fit her perfectly. For Nick we have a clear picture, literally, of the model. But we have no idea who he is.
Susi: Psst… I think I may have found Nick. What do you think?
Susi: With so many amazing places to drink and dine, what made Tavern on Rush your location of choice for Allie and Harper to enjoy drink? For the record, I had dinner there and it was a delicious experience.
Ann Marie: I have always loved the bar at Tavern and with the cozy VIP area and the fabulous cocktails, it seemed the perfect location for Allie & Harper’s night out. Side note: The owners of Tavern hosted the REMIND ME launch party in April, even serving mini sucker punches in honor of the event!
Susi: Did you visit all of the places when writing the series? Somehow I can picture Ann Marie jotting down details for the books.
Amy: Ann Marie sent me picture, after picture of every single location we mention in the books, which really gave me a clear picture of the venues. When I went out there after we have finished writing the first book we did what we now call the “Remind Me” Tour and I visited them all. It was a blast. Did I just date myself by using the word blast?
Susi: Now for some questions on the writing process. Had you written before, solo or as duo?
How do the two of you write? I imagine lots of back and forth via email. Did you outline the story first or just write?
Ann Marie: Amy and I spend a lot of time on the phone talking through ideas and brainstorming. When we write it’s in google docs so we can make changes and leave comments. Since we divide up the chapters, me writing Allie’s and Amy writing Hudson’s, we need to outline so we both know where the story is going…but don’t even get Amy started on my excel spreadsheets! haha.
Susi: What obstacles did you encounter when writing this series?
Amy: For me the biggest challenge was time. I don’t think I’m alone with many authors who juggle careers (day jobs), family, kids and life.
Susi: Did you ever imagine the series would be such a success?
Ann Marie: We have been overwhelmed by the response to Hudson and Allie’s story. From the tweets and facebook posts from all over the world, to the role play accounts and the fan sites, to the amazing support of bloggers like yourself, we are unbelievably grateful.
Susi: When did you decide to become writers?
Ann Marie: I’ve always loved writing and worked for a newspaper a lifetime ago, but the idea to write a novel took root about seven years ago.
Amy: I’ve been writing since I was a kid, then even as an adult working on my craft as a screenwriter. I didn’t seriously consider writing a novel until Ann Marie said ‘Hey, let’s write a book.’ and I said ‘Okay.’
Susi: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Ann Marie: I’m more of a binge writer. Some authors can divide up their day but for me it’s more “all or nothing”.
Amy: For me it’s when I can, so many weekends I spend at my computer. And I’m much more of a method writer, I let the characters talk to me and guide me.
Susi: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Ann Marie: Not really. I’m not much of a “sprinter”. I tend to write and edit as I go so while my daily word count might be low by some standards, it rarely requires a second pass.
Amy: I’m a write and don’t look back type. I let what’s happening in the scene/chapter guide me.
Susi: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Ann Marie: Interruptions of daily life. Once I get into a groove, I hate being pulled out of it for laundry or cooking. Let’s just say that deadlines mean take out menus and dirty socks.
Amy: Interruptions of just life in general, especially when you’ve hit a wicked awesome groove.
Susi: What is the easiest thing about writing?
Ann Marie: Plotting, at least with Amy. We love to play “what if” with our characters, especially over lemon drop martinis.
Amy:Plotting by far is the easiest. Ann Marie and I get going and it’s game on.
Susi: How long did it take you to write each book?
Ann Marie:We wrote the first book at a slower pace but after the series sold we had delivery deadlines so book 2 & 3 were written in about 3 months each.
Susi: Who are your favorite authors?
Ann Marie: Sylvia Day. Not only for her writing but for her overall career as well as the support she gives other authors and the way she interacts with her fans.
Amy: J.R. Ward “The Warden”. Her characters are magnificently developed, each with their own personality, even down to her “evil” characters. However, besides her writing she really takes the time to connect with her readers on a daily basis. And Like Ann Marie, I’m also an admirer of Sylvia Day.
Susi: What book/s are you reading at present?
Ann Marie: I hate to admit it but I haven’t read a book in months! My kindle is packed with fabulous books but between the writing deadlines and launching 3 books in 6 months there hasn’t been much time.
Amy: Likewise, I haven’t read in way too long. My kindle is jammed with a TBR pile, but there hasn’t been much time.
Susi: Is there another series in the works?
Ann Marie: We just might have a few surprises up our sleeves…stay tuned 🙂
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule ladies for this blog interview.
I am certainly looking forward to reading more of your writing in the future.
~Susi – Reading and Writing Between the Wines Blog @read_wine_blog
About the Authors
Though thousands of miles apart, Ann Marie Walker and Amy K. Rogers are in constant contact, plotting story lines and chatting about their love of alpha males, lemon drop martinis and British supermodel, David Gandy. You can find them on twitter as @AnnMarie_Walker and @Amy_KRogers.
Amy K. Rogers
Ann Marie Walker
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