Ladies, what was your inspiration for writing THE RULES?
NANCY: We're always telling each other stories. Debbie told me about an amazing scavenger hunt she went on when she was a teenager. From that we starting thinking about a scavenger hunt gone very, very wrong. We love thriller and horror movies and the pace of SCREAM really impressed us. We watched SCREAM together and separately at least a dozen times.
DEBBIE: Totally! We love those stories where people are getting picked off one by one and not everyone is even aware of what's happening until it's too late. We love trying to guess who the killer is in those types of stories and we wanted to do our own version.
What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?
NANCY: It was really hard to write about some things that happened to the killer. One of the things we talk about between ourselves is why do people do what they do? Why does one person become a killer but another volunteers at an animal shelter?
DEBBIE: This one's hard to answer without spoiling anything! There was one character I found to be particularly unsympathetic and I struggled with trying to give them any redeeming qualities whatsoever. It was important to try and do so, though, because there's a moment where you think that character might be able to save everyone and we needed people to cheer and scream for that character.
What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or vice versa?
NANCY: TEN by Gretchen McNeil. She is of the awesome! Also Agatha Christie's TEN LITTLE INDIANS. But most of all Debbie's Witch Season series.
DEBBIE: My lovely co-author Nancy has a book series called Possessions which does the same great job of inspiring dread and keeping you guessing to the very last page.
How long did you work on THE RULES?
NANCY: About 25 years! LOL. We put everything we have learned about life (and writing!) into each of our books. I honestly don't remember how long THE RULES took, but I finished my part of the last pass literally cocooned for two days in the Yotel (a kind of hotel where the room are as tiny as space capsules!) at Heathrow Airport. The Yotel really was like being inside a spaceship and I had absolutely no idea what time of day--or night--it was while I was working.
DEBBIE: The planning and writing took almost a year. The longest part, honestly, was the planning because we had to be crystal clear where every character was at every moment of the book. We also had to put a ton of effort into each character's own personal story, their mythology so to speak. What rules does every character live by? And, in some cases, what rules do they die by?
What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
NANCY: That we remain champion plotters. And that we are very, very twisted people. And that it is wise to fear Debbie Viguié.
DEBBIE: We are champion plotters! :) Also, that oftentimes survival isn't an accident or luck so much as it is a choice.
What do you hope readers will take away from THE RULES?
NANCY: That even in the darkest place, there is hope. That there's something deep inside you that you can use to save your life...and make a life. Dig in, hang on, and use it.
DEBBIE: We say this about all the books we write together, and it's true. The darker things are, the harder you might have to search for it, but it's always there.
How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
NANCY: Debbie and I have written literally dozens of novels. I believe this was our eleventh together. In my life I've written maybe three novels that haven't been published and never will be because they SUCK.
DEBBIE: Haha! This is actually our twelfth novel together!!! Nancy has something like 5 billion published novels. (Okay, I think it's probably closer to 80) and I'm coming up on half that. I, too, have three completed novels that will never see the light of day unless my husband publishes them after I die. :)
Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?
NANCY: I joined a professional writing group. I was the only unpublished writer in it and I had six months to get published or I would get booted. I brought in a manuscript and began reading when it was my turn. One by one the other writers told me that there was no conflict. My main character had no problem to solve. That really hit home. I reworked the entire manuscript and then I sold it! AND many years later, I hooked up with one of the other writers in the group and now we're sweeties!
DEBBIE: I met Nancy at a writing conference. She was actually my famous, celebrity instructor (and I was totally in awe and still am). She sat me down and told me that I was there, I was ready. I was good enough to be published and I just had to believe in myself and keep submitting.
What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
NANCY: I can write anywhere and I do. I used to write at Disneyland a lot but I've been traveling all over the place and I miss my happy place! I always have to have coffee in the morning and I often make playlists but I can't listen to lyrics.
DEBBIE: I make playlists for every book that captures the tone I'm going for. I drink a lot of Coca Cola. I, too, can write anywhere. I've been known to plot out books on paper tablecloths at restaurants and then have to take the entire thing home with me.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
NANCY: READ. The first thing to go when you get busy (besides going to the gym) is reading. I teach in a Masters of Fine Arts program and a lot of newer writers start telling me stories that I've read before...lots of times. At their heart, all our stories are old, but they need to be told in a fresh way to engage readers.
DEBBIE: Get a thick skin! Learn to review rejection as just a thing, nothing to get upset about. 90% of the time it doesn't even have anything to do with you or your story.
What are you working on now?
NANCY: I just turned in a movie novelization for a movie that I am sooo excited about. I can't talk about it yet but it's KILLER. Wahahaha. And of course we're planning our next book for Delacorte!
DEBBIE: The first book in my Robin Hood Demon's Bane trilogy is out in August and I'm currently working on book 2. I feel a little like I'm cheating on Nancy saying that because I'm writing the series with a different writer. He does have the last name of Tuck, though, and he used to be a youth minister so I tell people I'm writing a supernatural Robin Hood series with Friar Tuck. :) How can you say no to that?
Delacorte Press Released
Narrated by alternating unreliable narrators, this dark thriller will have readers on the edge of their seats. No one is safe and everyone is a suspect. It's Saw meets I Know What You Did Last Summer.
Junior Robin Brisset has no idea what she's in for when she accepts an invitation to one of Callabrese High's most exclusive parties. And when the trademark scavenger hunt begins, Robin must go against every rule she's lived by to survive.
Purchase The Rules at Amazon
Purchase The Rules at IndieBound
View The Rules on Goodreads
ABOUT THE AUTHORSNancy Holder is a multiple award-winning, New York Times bestselling author (the Wicked Series). Her two new dark young adult dark fantasy series are Crusade and Wolf Springs Chronicles. She has won five Bram Stoker Awards from the Horror Writers Association, as well as a Scribe Award for Best Novel (Saving Grace: Tough Love.) Nancy has sold over eighty novels one hundred short stories, many of them based on such shows as Highlander, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and others. She lives in San Diego with her daughter, Belle, two corgis, and three cats. You can visit Nancy online at www.nancyholder.com
Debbie Viguié is the New York Times Bestselling author of over a dozen novels including the Wicked series and the new Crusade series co-authored with Nancy Holder. Much of Debbie’s writing has a dark edge to it, including her retold fairy tales, her latest being Violet Eyes, a retelling of The Princess and the Pea. In addition to her epic dark fantasy work Debbie also writes thrillers including The Psalm 23 Mysteries and the upcoming Kiss trilogy. When Debbie isn’t busy writing she enjoys spending time with her husband, Scott, visiting theme parks. They live in Florida with their cat, Schrödinger.
What did you think of our interview with Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie, authors of THE RULES? Do they seem as wicked as their horror stories? ;)
Let us know in the comments!
Lindsey, Martina, Sam, Jocelyn, Erin, Lisa, Shelly, Susan, Kristin, Jen, Sandra, and Anisaa