Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Interviewing Angelica Hart & Zi

Tami: Welcome, Welcome! Grab a seat and let's chat! Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to come over to the blog and chat a while. How are you two doing today?

Angelica & Zi:
A: Hi Tami, fortunate is the word I choose to describe how I'm doing, fortunate to be here with you, Zi and all Champagne's readers.

Z: How apt of you to use the word fortunate. To steal from an old philosopher, "Fortune is a god..." Angelica and I have been granted an absolute privilege to be able to channel our creativity, draw upon a life of experiences, and some writing skill, all with a purpose of entertaining. "Industry is fortune's right hand, and fragility her left." is an old proverb. So, to answer your question, Tami, I am doing fabulous!

A: I thought we agreed we were going to have just one sentence as a greeting?

Z: Remove the periods then it's a run on sentence.

A: Hi Tami.

Z: Hi Readers.

Tami: How long have the two of you been writing together? Is this your first time with Champagne? Tell us how such great chemistry brought together this mighty duo.

Angelica & Zi:
Z: Three questions, gotcha: 1) We have been writing for what seems to be a lifetime together, separately. There have been many titles published since 1996. B) KILLER DOLLS will be our first with Champagne, and SNAKE DANCE our second. This will be at least our eighteenth collaboration. Finally) Well, great third question. As a chemistry major in college, I figured it out early that the most entertaining of all experiments were the ones that were the most reactive. So, some days I'm the catalyst and others Angelica is.

A: Zi answered the first two, and I never did pass chemistry, so my response is, we can be combustible when we write together, just playing off each other until we believe we found the right formula that will tease emotion out of our readers.

Z: Angelica as a once Philly girl has an edge that bites but never cuts clean. Couple that with my analytical proclivity and we've a formula for sparks.

A: Sparks... sometimes outright infernos. If you'd always do what I said things would be smoother.

Z: Yes they would... but far less entertaining.

A: You got a point.

A: Zi?

Z: Yes.

A: You think she was just asking about how we got together?

Z: Naw, and if she was, it's a secret.

Tami: Well I'm glad that you two could make it. Now I know that I shouldn't come out in public and make such a big fuss and all, but your new book has me wanting to hide under the sheets a little. What can you tell me about Killer Dolls? Tell me something that is going to bring me out from under the covers. Give me just a little bit of dirt.

Angelica & Zi:
A: Thank you for foreshadowing our tale of romance complicated by terrorism. We don't want you to come out from under the covers. We want you to take a flashlight in there with you and quake and quiver as you read. Zi, where are you?

Z: Be right there. Have to put away my chainsaw.

A: Forgive him, he's been multi-tasking this morning. Sorry for the delay. He's coming. Zi! Answer this question.

Z: Why are you whispering? Ah, great question. In the possible contemporary style of Lisa Scottoline (Philadelphia area) or Patricia Cornwell, we tried to construct a suspenseful piece, and at the same time, respect the genre of romance. Without getting too maudlin, we live in a world that is haunted daily by an underlying fear of terrorism. I hate that. My life was personally altered by 9/11. Now, having said that, life goes on, love goes on, and if lucky and or good, sex goes on and on and on.

A: Did you actually say that?

Z: Yes, I do hate terrorism.

A: Subterfuge. Subterfuge. Subterfuge. It never ends... The piece is geographically set in Delaware, and we use our personal knowledge of that Diamond State to enhance the color of the tale. So here's a little slice of dirt that I'm going to share with you. I wrote the first draft from the male point of view and Zi accepted the challenge of the female. We then fought for seven weeks. It was the greatest seven weeks.

Z: Take that back. FTI. You can't tell them that!

A: Yes I can, and did.

Z: Where's the frackin' delete?

Tami: You don’t watch Battlestar Gallactica do you? Hold on, that’s another conversation for another day. Now what about Snake Dance? You had to create another world with that one. I am not sure that I could sit down with a member of the opposite sex and create a world that we would both have to live in for a while. How did it happen and how did the characters like what you came up with?

Angelica & Zi:
Z: The creative meeting we had brainstorming this fantasy for SNAKE DANCE was an epic adventure in compromising our lack of a willingness to compromise. The world ultimately became a huge extension of Angelica's imagination. The trade-off was that the characters and the conflict reflected mine. Ahhhhh, if it was only that easy. Whereas, the story unfolded naturally and with simplicity, since we both found a remarkable fascination in the iconic tale. But the color, the facade, the tone and texture were occasionally a confounding task. We literally wallpapered our office with page after page after page of ideas and as we constructed Starling we drew from what seemed to be an endless reservoir of cognitive subtext.

A: Did you tell them that we fought... and fought?

Z: Immmpliiiied.

A: Tami, you raise a point of sexism. The most beautiful component of this Angelica Hart and Zi collaboration is that we have a profoundly deep honor and respect for both sexes, and their place in the natural coexistence of relating. Yes, we see the differences, and adore them. We see the formidable instinctual tugs, and enhance them. So, I think I'm comfortable in saying that it's not the negative we feel but the awesome positive nature of a man and woman creating, they believing, truly believing that the world and the love in it have endless possibilities.

Z: One of the most important points of view I maintain is that every female protagonist is complex, strong, has heroine qualities, and can be the every woman. Mind you, this is hard in fantasy but the template is always in place. I will never agree to a mindless female. Furthermore, Angelica and I have agreed that the principle characters must, and I shall repeat, must have a reason to feel love before they do the horizontal snake dance.

A: Tami, what a great question about how do our characters feel about what we have created for them. Well, when they're lonely, they hate us. When they're being chased by the bad guys, they hate us. When we poke fun at them, they hate us. But when we arrange in the finale for them to requite the honest pursuit of love in that very special way, they put us on their Christmas card list.

Z: The depth and complexity of both the world and the conflict we placed in that world is the greatest gift we give each other as writers, for from that aforementioned depth, the characters can often and quickly reveal themselves more richly.

A: And occasionally more naughty.

Z: Duh! Why else the complexity.

Tami: Now let's say that there are some more questions that I want to ask you guys. Who do I ask? Angelica or Zi? And to which address do I send it to?

Angelica & Zi:
A: We love to interact. As we have said so many times, we write specifically for the readers, therefore, their point of view is important.

Tami: I would like to know release dates on all your upcoming books and anything else you might have up your sleeves. Come on, you can tell me, I promise not to tell anyone.

Angelica & Zi:
A: KILLER DOLLS - September 2009
SNAKE DANCE - February 2010

Z: We just finished a sequel to KILLER DOLLS, the working title is LOVE LETTERS. The hero is the quintessential statement of imperfect perfection, and the heroine is the simple epitome of the concept of coloring outside of the lines. The conflict is terrorism. The form fire. The location the beautiful state of Delaware. And the three people, other than us, who have advanced read the manuscript have cried.

A: I cried.

Z: Saw you.


Z: Don't tell them that.

A: Zi did not cry... out loud... though he was red-eyed.

Z: On a monthly basis, we are still writing our book review column. For any who have not read it, it is written with humor and a love for our industry. It can be found on Champagne Books' My Space, the Newsletter, and blog. Each month we follow the adventures of Tattle and Wrye as they leap into the words of Champagne authors. The following is its title:


Tami: Who has inspired you guys as writers? I know you both have TBR piles, who's on them and how many book are on the piles?

Angelica & Zi:
A. In truth, Zi has been a great inspiration to me, and a procurer of seeing the truth behind the words, never compromising that truth, even in fantasy worlds there is a logic and theme that has to be recognized and respected. I owe this revelation to him, taming my creative frenzy when it becomes outlandish. As for our TBR pile it is too high to list every title and author, but we'll give you a short list from Champagne authors at the end.

Z: Just read what you wrote... my response is... poppycock... it was not two days ago that you told me I couldn't spell hero if spotted H E R. No one believe her, she is spinning a tale. I work with her. I know her. She's evil in ways you don't understand. Having said that, I feel very fortunate to share writing with her. Thomas Fuller wrote, "When Fortune smiles, embrace her." Thomas must have met Angelica Hart.

A: You're so full of ca-ca.

Z: That's my story and I'm sticking to it. When the corn is ripe, pick it.
Angelica's TBR pile majorly condensed!

A Ghost Story by Keith Latch
Blade Dancer by K. M. Tolan
Invisible by Kimber Chin
Kisses of Fire by Phyllis Campbell
Investment of the Heart by Linda LaRoque

Tami: Well you guys have now officially worn me out and made my sides hurt from laughter! Thanks so much for stopping by, I can’t wait to have you again and hear you on Champagne’s upcoming podcast!

Angelica & Zi:
Z: Thank you for your generous words. As one armadillo said to the other while standing on the side of the road, "Be careful the walk across could get you tired." It is always my pleasure to try to entertain.

A: You actually used an armadillo reference? Have you no shame? The banter that we share is quite typical to our days. Besides my love for writing, this arena from where I write is just so fun. I consider myself privileged to have talent enough and more so opportunity to share my love of writing. Of course, I thank you, Tami, for this opportunity, but mostly I thank anyone who has ever read anything that we wrote. We write for you.

Angelica Hart and Zi
Killer Dolls ~ September 2009
Snake Dance ~ February 2010
Champagne Books

Tami: Now, y'all need to come back here next week when my southern roots start showin' and we bring Ed Williams in to talk about his new book ChristmaSin'. See ya then!


  1. OMG, you guys did the impossible! I laughed before I had my coffee! *gasp* I didn't think that was possible! Outstanding interview!


  2. What a wonderful and kind comment, thank you so much, Val. You can quite imagine our day, for we interact like this all the time.

  3. You guys are a hoot! Loved the interview and your banter. I want to know, do you actually sit down and work in the same office? Or do you colaberate over the web?

    Thanks for an entertaining time. And, BTW, I love your TBR pile. :-)


  4. Linda, Your comments, as always, are so wonderful and generous. Yes, we do work in the same office, and often banter throughout the day... some might call it battling... but, yes, after proper consideration to keeping peace, banter is the better word. Early morning, late at night, and on the weekends, we work in our own home offices. No matter where we work, though, entertaining is certainly our pleasure.

  5. BTW, Val, it is a shame you didn't have your coffee while reading. Spitting out distance is a great way to measure just how funny we were. No spit... a bare grin. A dribble... we got a chuckle. Full out and out screen splatter... means we were funny!

  6. OK, hold on while I scroll to the top while drinking a cup of coffee ........................................................................................

    OK, I am sending you the dry cleaning bill! HILARIOUS!