Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

Weston Ochse & Yvonne Navarro Interview

I met the amazing, talented, witty and adorable Weston Ochse at CopperCon 2010. We were on several panels together and because I was so worried about how to pronounce his last name (it’s pronounced “Oaks”, btw), that I messed up his first name and introduced him as Winston. I think it’s because I’m a huge Winston Churchill fan and there are several qualities Wes shares with the late, great leader. So, Winston it was, became, and is. His wife, the Lovely Miss Yvonne (as in awesome author Yvonne Navarro), agreed that it was fitting, so it’s his nickname for life now for me and several of Team Gini.

Having read my Winston’s excellent zombie novel, “Empire of Salt”, and loving as I do to pimp the authors I adore, I finagled an interview. But before we get to it, here are some key facts about Winston you need to know:

Weston is the author of five novels and a slew of short stories and non-fiction articles that have appeared in comic books, professional writing guides, magazines and anthologies. He won the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in First Novel in 2005 and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for Short Fiction in 2003. He also won the Buffalo Screams International Film Festival Award for Original Screenplay in 2010. He lives in Southern Arizona with his wife, Yvonne Navarro, and Great Danes, Pester Ghost Palm Eater, Goblin Monster Dog and Ghoulie Mad Dog Sonar Brain. For entertainment he races tarantula wasps, wrestles rattlesnakes, watches Border Patrol Death Race 2000 and bakes in the noonday sun.

Sufficiently impressed? Yeah, me too. No worries, though. Winston’s a hoot and a half. And now, without further ado…Winston, my good man, great of you to join us today!

Q: What prompted you to become a writer? Was it voices in your head, a burning desire to tell a story, or just too creative for your own bad self?

A: I always wanted to be a writer. Since I first began to read I wanted to write. I was one of those people who was able to create universes, populate them with interesting characters, and put them in dire situations; dire enough so that even at a young age I was in fear for their very lives. But then as I grew older, I forgot that desire for awhile. I forgot that I wanted to create. It wasn't until I turned 30 years old that I was able to look back and remember that I'd never accomplished what once I had most desired to do.

Q: What was the first book or piece that you wrote and why? Is it published, being shopped, on the shelf waiting for you to get back to it, or in a heap of ashes at the bottom of the fireplace?

A: In third grade I wrote a story for the school newspaper called ‘What Became of Charlie.’ It was a morality tale. It was graphic. It was a story of a young boy named Charlie who decided to take a different way to school, against his mother's wishes, and was eaten by a bear. This was my first step into the publishing industry. The story was published in the newspaper and when parents read my story in the newspaper, the newspaper was recalled. Students were ordered to return all copies of the newspaper to the school because my story was too graphic for their little minds. Never mind that it was my mind the came up with it and I was their same age. But there you go. The very first thing I ever wrote was banned. Definitely a harbinger of what was to come.

Q: I love it! What was the first piece of yours published? I mean other than your first foray into the world of censorship. When? What did you do when you found out it was going to be published?

A: After the story Charlie, which would've been published around 1972-73, it would be 25 more years before I had a story published. I began writing seriously and in 1997 I decided that the measure of my success would be publication in a paying print market. So I wrote and submitted. When I receive a rejection, I would edit and submit it elsewhere. I had a set of spreadsheets that would make a Wall Street financier jealous, but which was necessary for me to keep track of all the markets, the different metrics of the markets, where my stories were going, where they had been, and where they were. Eventually my work evolved into the sort of quality for which people were willing to pay me real money. My first story was published in MindMares, a print magazine out of Kansas City and I was paid two cents a word. It was pretty awesome. Because I had so many stories making the rounds, I had 18 more sales within the next four months. When I hit, I hit.

Q: I’m envious! What stories interest you the most and compel you to write?

A: I read about characters. Characters are foremost in anything I write. Like many people I collect characters. When I see one on the street I file it. When I see one on television, I file it. When an object inspires the possibility of a character, I file it. Living along the Mexican-American border is an amazing setting within which I can insert virtually any character. Many times I don't know what this character will do. But with the setting, and the possibility of conflict, and the vicarious possibilities within the character, the end result is most often more than I expect.

Q: What’s your most and least favorite things about being an author?

A: The most favorite thing when I write is when I reach that moment where disparate plot lines magically come together without me knowing it. It shows my brain knows what's going on deep inside a lot more that I know on the surface. It gives me a confidence that even though it seems like I don't know what I'm doing. I must know what I'm doing because it will come together in the end. My least favorite thing about being an author is the fact that I don't have enough time to write. I want more time. I want more self-discipline.

Q: Writing styles -- outline or wing it, music (and what kind) or silence, chaos or serenity, novels or other lengths as well?

A: With regards to writing styles, when writing a short story I wing it. When writing a novel I wing the first three chapters, then outline. I have to outline the novel. I have too many things going on and too many characters to keep track of. I most often write with music blasting. I've been known to write with music playing, the television blasting, and a video on one of my monitors playing, yet it doesn't bother me. I've always needed sensory input. The more the better. I'm not one of those people who needs a perfectly arranged desk or the complete and utter silence of the Byzantine monastery.

Q: I knew we had a lot in common! Other than the outlining part. So, why zombies? Why the Inland Empire (so inaptly named) as a setting? Why a British press? Why zombies?

A: That's easy. I was at the Book Expo of America a few years ago in Los Angeles and I met the editor of Abaddon Books. We’d corresponded previously when I had pitched him for some other work. Although my previous pitch didn't make it, he did like my ideas and my writing. So when we met he mentioned that he was looking for zombie novels and gave me the impression that if I was to pitch him, I had a more than average chance of succeeding. I've never before thought I would ever write a zombie novel, but given the opportunity of mass-market publication in at least three continents I'd have been a fool not to try. I'd wanted to set something in the Salton Sea for a long time and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So with the Salton Sea setting and a menagerie of colorful characters I pitched the zombie novel, he liked it, he published it, and he paid me in English pounds. Now Empire of Salt is available on three continents, sold out in the US in record time, and is pretty much a shit-hot awesome example of a zombie novel.

Q: Can we have an excerpt?

A: Sure you can.

The dog was diabolical. Abigail Ogletree had finally managed to pull in her favorite soap opera from a Mexican television station – it was an American soap opera, rebroadcast with Spanish voice-overs and English subtitles – and the dog wanted to steal her attention. God forbid she sit for a few quiet hours and watch the grainy lives of happier people with more interesting lives played out in her all-but-useless television. Trudie, her sassy miniature poodle, just wasn’t having it.

Abigail muted the television and jerked her head towards the
kitchen. “Shush!”

The dog stopped barking and Abigail returned her attention t
o the television. And for the ten thousandth time she cursed her husband, Roger, for dying and leaving her in this backwater cesspool. Her television was ten years past its prime and the cable companies had long ago moved on. She was relegated to using an old antenna that kept shifting in the wind – always, it seemed, at the most inopportune times.

She could just make out a man and a woman through the ever-present snow on the television. The man was Charles Hargrove and had just recovered fro
m a traffic accident. He had amnesia; Abigail counted that it was the third time he’d lost his memory in eleven years. The girl was Genevieve. She was his best friend’s daughter, but was pretending to have been a long time mistress, acting on a crush she’d had on Charles since she was a child.

Abigail couldn’t wait to see what would happen when Charles finally remembered who he was. Would he burn so many bridges he’d never be able to return to a normal life? Would he consummate his relationship with Genevieve, thus destroying his lifelong friendship with his best friend? Would she succeed in trying to convince him
that he’d asked her to marry him, and elope to Cabo San Lucas?

Abigail had long ago given up trying to guess what would happen on the show. The story writers were too good and always kept her guessing. She shivered in anticipation, leaning forward to make out what was happening.


Charles and Genevieve were close enough to be kissing, but the distortion of the television made it questionable. She had to pay careful attention to try and discern what they were actually doing. Pl
us, in addition to the fact that the actors and actresses were always in a blizzard of electric snow, the soap opera had Spanish voice-overs, with English closed captioning amidst the snow which always seemed thickest at the bottom of the screen.

Trudie started to growl, deep throated and low.


Suddenly, on the television, a door opened and a
man entered the picture.

Abigail covered her mouth and inhaled deeply. It was Genevieve’s father.

Charles held the girl tighter, not recognizing the man.


Trudie’s growl turned into a bark.


Abigail turned her head towards the sound for a m
oment, but the snowy soap stars drew her attention back to the television. But whatever had happened, she’d missed. She didn’t speak Spanish, and the text was already past. Now all she saw was a jumble of three figures wrestling in a winter storm.

Damn that dog!


She threw her remote control down on the couch hard
enough that it bounced. She pushed herself to a standing position using the arm rest and slid her feet into her slippers.

“What is it, Trudie?” She shook her head and heade
d towards the barking dog. “Why is it that whenever I sit down to enjoy myself and leave you alone, you find it necessary to –”

The white and gray poodle barked louder now that s
he was in the kitchen. A man’s hand gripped her hind leg. He’d tried to crawl through the doggy door, but become wedged. At first fear leaped into her chest, but then she remembered the Klosterman Kid, who’d stayed the same four year old he was thirty years ago. More than a little slow, his grandparents kept him out back with a catcher’s mask on his face so he wouldn’t chew anything and boxing gloves on his hands so he couldn’t grab anything. It wouldn’t be the first time he got loose. But it would be the first time he tried to break into her house... or for that matter, try and get her dog.

Abigail grabbed the broom from where it leaned a
gainst the wall between the doorjamb and the refrigerator.

“Let her go you –” She refused to use the word “retard,” and instead shouted “– bastard!” She swung the broom, hitting the man in the back of his head.

The dog barked and snarled at the hand that was around her leg. She reached out to bite, but couldn’t bring herself to actually do it.

Abigail switched her grip and began to poke the Klo
sterman Kid on the side of the neck.

“Get out! Get out! Get out!” she screamed over and over,
each time shoving the rounded wooden end into tender flesh.

Trudie broke loose and dodged behind Abigail, and took up barking even louder.


The man’s hands moved to follow, and as it did, Abigail caught a glimpse of the face. It was not the Klosterman Kid. This man, whoever he was, had a much older face, skin wrinkled and gray and green.


A hand grabbed at her foot. She stepped back, but lost her slipper in the process. He pulled it to his mouth and began to chew
savagely at the furry purple and orange fabric.

Abigail broke the broom over the man’s head.


He began to hyperventilate, wheezing coming from somewhere
deep in his chest.

She reached atop the refrigerator and grabbed a heavy lead crystal bowl that she’d once used for fresh fruit, when there’d been fresh fruit to be had. Sh
e brought it down on the man’s head as hard as her brittle old fingers could propel it.

The head made a hollow squishing sound, and blood oozed out of the left ear as the bowl rolled to a stop in front of the sto
ve, none the worse for wear. The dog suddenly stopped barking.

Abigail took a step back.


And was glad she did, for the man lunged forward, hands encircling the spot where her legs had just been. She let out a little scream, terror blossoming inside her.

The creature on the floor, for it was no longer hum
an to her, nor could it be human, gazed at her through unholy yellow eyes. Saliva that reminded her of the frothy green pollution lining the edge of the sea fell from its lips and down its chin.

She lifted the broken broom handle. Its sharp, brok
en end could easily pierce those eyes. Then it began wheezing louder, the sound coming faster and faster, until the sound filled the trailer. It lunged forward, pulling itself farther into the house.

Abigail lost all sense of courage. She turned and ran to the back of the trailer. Thank god Trudi
e was close behind because if she hadn’t come, Abigail was doubtful she’d have gone back for her precious poodle.

She hit the door to her bedroom, running as fast as
her legs could carry her. It slammed open, then shut. It was on a spring hinge and more substantial than the rest of the trailer. Her Roger – before he’d died, God rest his soul – had spent a small fortune disaster-proofing the bedroom. Not in case of hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or anything like that; Roger’s greatest fear had been illegal aliens surging across the Mexican Border. So he’d built a room lined with metal, a door made of steel, and put enough weapons inside of it to obliterate Kansas.

Just as Abigail snapped the lock into place she heard a wrenching sound followed by an explosion of wood. Then the wheezing came toward the
bedroom like a muffled freight train, accompanied by the pounding of the creature’s feet.

It hit the door with a clang and began to beat upon it.

Abigail found a 45 caliber pistol and crawled onto the bed. She clawed for her husband’s pillow which she’d kept in the bed ever since he’d passed and hugged it to her chest. Trudie followed and curled up in her
lap. She eyed the door, her tail hugging her belly, too afraid to bark. Abigail was afraid to move.

And she’d stay that way a very long time.


Q: Can we even find “Empire of Salt” in the States any more? The Alien Collective is a worldwide membership, so where in the world can we find your book?

A: Sadly there are not enough copies of Empire of Salt to populate every bookshelf in every store but they do have some copies in the distribution centers. What Abaddon decided to do in lieu of doing a second run at this time is to physically ship books from England and Europe to the United States. So there are books that can be had at bookstores but you might have to special order them. They are absolutely available online. I know that Mysterious Galaxy (San Diego), the Poisoned Pen (Phoenix) and Book Soup (Los Angeles) are three physical bookstores that have copies in stock, which can be bought from their stores either in person or online. As far as the alien collector’s worldwide membership, even as far as the Yukon they should be able to find a copy of the store. I hear there was a brisk run in the Amazon Rain Forests back in November.

Q: As you made clear to me and Nicole (who is still not my daughter), it’s “clandestine ops” when you do it, not “covert ops”. Why? What can you tell us about that which won’t require you to kill us after?

A: The difference between the definitions of clandestine and covert are this: clandestine refers to intelligence, and covert refers to operations. The former deals with speaking and listening, the latter deals with shooting and killing. An important difference, I think.

Q: What’s one fact about you that someone who didn’t know you well or hasn’t read this blog wouldn’t know? Make it juicy -- my readers expect.

A: I have webbed toes. They make me swim faster. I'm banned from Olympic competition because my mutation gives me an added advantage. I think it's sad that someone who's 6 foot 5 doesn't get banned but a regular sized guy like me who happens to have little extra skin between his toes gets banned. I call that discrimination and I wish there was some international organization of webbed-toe people who could act on my behalf.

Q: OMG! You’re a mutant! You’re one of the X-Men! *does the Happy Dance* I knew it! I knew it! *cough* Okay…back to the seriousness of the interviewer’s microphone. What’s coming up next for you? What titles of yours should we be eagerly hunting down, preordering, or searching the bookstores for?


A: In late March or mid April I have a new book coming out called Multiplex Fandango. It is my first ever solo short story collection. It has my best work from the last 12 years, in addition to 30,000 words of never before seen original work. The book is introduced by Joe Lansdale, who is just about one of the most awesome short story writers of all-time. I dedicate the collection to him and Ray Bradbury. The cover art was created by Vincent Chong, a three-time British Fantasy Award-winning artist who creates works of art that look less like paintings and more like pictures. Dark Regions Press is publishing the collection and has so far done a wonderful job. This is something I've been waiting to do for over a decade. There's something special about short story collections. You can come back to them, you can return to them without losing anything. Unlike a novel, short story collections give you the opportunity to experience an author’s offerings in short bursts. The good authors make the short bursts as monumental and as exceptional as a novel. I think I've managed to do this.

Sounds great, cannot wait to get my paws on a copy!


Now, y’all may be more familiar with Winston’s better half, the Lovely Miss Yvonne, aka Yvonne Navarro. Not only is she an awesome author, but she’s also a fun, funny, truly nice person. And she and Winston rescue Great Danes in distress, so you know the Canine Death Squad think they’re Da Bomb and think the Lovely Miss Yvonne is a saint. She’s graciously agreed to take time out from her writing, book touring, and doggy momming to join us as well, but first, let’s catch up the few who don’t know about her:

Yvonne Navarro lives in southern Arizona, where by day she works on historic Fort Huachuca and by night she chops her time into little pieces, dividing it among writing, art, college, dogs, birds and family (not necessarily in that order). She's written nine solo novels about topics ranging from vampires (AfterAge) to the end of the world (Final Impact and Red Shadows). She's also the author of a number of film tie-ins, including the novelization of Ultraviolet, Elektra, Hellboy, and seven novels five of them originals in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. Her work has won the HWA's Bram Stoker plus a number of other writing awards. Her latest novel is Highborn (October 2010), the first book in the Dark Redemption Series. The second, Concrete Savior, is scheduled for June 2011. She's married to author Weston Ochse and has a menagerie of animals that include three rescue Great Danes and two attention-greedy parakeets.

Awesome, isn’t it? Yeah, there’s a reason they’re called a “power couple” in writing circles. So, without further ado, Yvonne, welcome to the Blah, Blah, Blah Blog!

Q: What prompted you to become a writer? Was it voices in your head, a burning desire to tell a story, or just too creative for your own bad self?

A: Let's just be honest about it: I've always had voices in my head. If any writer tells you they don't, they're lying. They hear characters-- the ones that were, the ones that are, and the ones that will be-- all the time. Little snippets of scenes, big chunks of action; something's always going on in there. I watch what's going on in the scenes taking place in my head and I describe them. (This is especially fun when I'm thinking about a novel-in-process while I'm driving.) When there's a big, blank nothing, you know you're in trouble.

I blame it all on my mother. I always thought I'd be an artist when I grew up (I still think that), but my Mom and I were always voracious readers. In the early nineties, I loaned her my favorite book by Robert McCammon, They Thirst. After she was finished with it, she told me, "You could do this." I thought she was full of... well, you know. But the seed had been planted.

Q: Awesome, and yeah, I’m with you. The Voices are there, why deny it? So, what was the first book or piece that you wrote and why? Is it published, being shopped, on the shelf waiting for you to get back to it, or in a heap of ashes at the bottom of the fireplace?

A: If I think back, my true first piece was a front-page newspaper layout I wrote and illustrated when I was about five years old. The main headline read "Dr. Suess Dies in Fire!" I remember my Mom suggesting I come up with something a little more on the positive side but I didn't want to. Even back then, my future was set.

There are various stories still sitting around. The first "grown-up" story I wrote was finished on April 28, 1983 (yes, I am so anal-retentive I actually know the date). It was a ridiculous thing called "For Decoration Only," and I hope to God I've destroyed every copy of it. I wrote six more stories (and because I wouldn't give up, eventually sold three of those) before I wrote anything of length, which was a novella that I naively thought was a novel. That one is still sitting in the closet. I'm going to go back and rewrite it someday. No, really.

Q: Yeah, I have those, too. One day, right? So, what was the first piece of yours published? When? What did you do when you found out it was going to be published?

A: It was a short-short called "Surprise Fall," picked up by The Horror Show magazine. Dave Silva, the editor, actually sent me a check for $1.50. This was only two and a half months after I'd started my writing "career" and I was pretty psyched. Of course, it was five years to the month before I sold another story. I guess what they say about babies born under the Taurus sign being stubborn is more true than people realize.

Q: Hey, a buck-fifty is a buck-fifty! What stories interest you the most and compel you to write?

A: Like Stephen King says (paraphrased), I like the stories where you put the character "in the cooker" and see what happens. Blood and gore mean nothing if don't feel something for the person who's enduring it. And all my novels have a dose of romance because if the characters don't care about one another, why should you?

Q: What’s your most and least favorite things about being an author?

A: First most favorite thing: Having the story just flow out of me so fast that my fingers can't keep up with the voices in my head... and I type 114 words a minute! Second most favorite thing: Having everything annoying done and out of the way so I can write.

Least favorite thing: That people don't consider writing work. Therefore they think you should give your writing away for free (i.e., contributor's copies). I'll be happy to do this when I can send a contributor's copy to my mortgage company instead of a house payment. Second least favorite thing is that because people still don't think you're working, so that when you do manage to scrounge up some writing time, there's a general belief that you can be interrupted at any time with phone calls, to "go shopping with me," etc.

Q: Writing styles -- outline or wing it, music (and what kind) or silence, chaos or serenity, only novels or other lengths as well?

A: Definitely outline. After once getting stuck 80% of the way through a 190,000 word novel (Final Impact) and not knowing what the heck to do next, Wes is lucky I don't outline how to do the laundry and walk the dogs. I generally prefer quiet, although I can listen to instrumental music. If the songs have words, I want to sing along. This is a no-no as it generally results in cracked windows and broken mirrors. And I am precisely one of those people Wes is making fun of-- I like my desk to be neat and orderly.

Q: LOL, I should have asked how you two manage not to kill each other when you’re both writing, but we’ll save that for another time. Your latest release, “Highborn”, is the first in The Dark Redemption Series. “Highborn” (which is a totally cool book, I have to mention) deals with Brynna, a fallen angel, and what she has to go through for a hope of redemption. First off, what’s it all about?

A: Artist Wayne Barlowe painted a picture of a angel-demon in Hell contemplating a white feather, and that was literally the inspiration for the novel. "Highborn" is what happens when a demon like that-- a fallen angel-- decides that she's going to do whatever it takes to try to regain her true angel status. That means escaping from Hell and seeking forgiveness on Earth among the humans. But Hell doesn't relinquish its denizens easily, and the road to redemption isn't paved with daisies. For eons Brynna, as the demon Astarte, has tormented and despised mankind. She's going to have to dig deeper into herself than she ever imagined if she has any hope of doing the opposite and ultimately saving herself.

(Want more? Hit Yvonne’s website and check out the excerpt of “Highborn” that’s up -- careful, though, ‘cause you’re gonna get hooked! http://www.yvonnenavarro.com/)

Q: Awesome! Now, I know the next book in the series, “Concrete Savior”, comes out in June. What’s the scoop on that?


A: In "Highborn" Brynna discovers that saving nephilim, children born of human mothers and angel fathers, is the first step in her search for forgiveness. In "Concrete Savior," she needs to take this further and learn to understand, and perhaps even empathize with, human beings themselves.

Q: Sounds totally great, I can’t wait! You’ve done a lot of tie-in work, all of it on totally cool series like “Buffy, The Vampire Slayer” and “Hellboy” (yeah, I’m totally jealous). How is that different from writing your own series, like Dark Redemption?

A: You're working in someone else's universe and playing-- writing-- by someone else's rules. You're also bound by whatever happened in the movie (whatever's written in the script) and any movies or books that have come before the one you're working on. The more there are, the more complicated it can be. I've been told things like
"Buffy would never wear a gold sweater." And things can get tricky when someone who's checking your work doesn't actually know something you do, a scenario I ran into while writing "Paleo." I was given a reason for Buffy's behavior, but the reason was incorrect-- I knew this because I had written the basis for that behavior in a different book!

Q: Your Great Danes are bigger than you. I know, I’ve seen you and them in person. Why Great Danes? How does having dogs with special needs affect your writing and personal appearances?

A: My Mom put the first Great Dane into my life when I was in the sixth or seventh grade, and I've loved them ever since. I like a dog you can wrestle with and not squash if you step on it. The special needs Danes just happened by accident, back in 2002 when I first saw a picture of our now-gone deaf Dane, Lily. Our most recent girl is blind, which is more of an issue than we realized because she's cautious and doesn't make friends as easily as our other two Danes. She doesn't board well in a kennel and avoids strangers. Still, I think that as she gets older and calmer, and therefore more confident, things
will get a little easier. She's also very demanding of attention, and extremely vocal when she doesn't get it. "Rah rah rah rahrahrah!!!"

Q: Big Baby has no special needs, but he’s the same way. The hubs says that it shows brain damage, but I think he just likes to share.
But, onward! What’s one fact about you that someone who didn’t know you well or hasn’t read this blog wouldn’t know? Make it juicy -- my readers expect.

A: I lost one of my ears in a bicycling accident when I was a kid and now I have a prosthetic. I have to be careful about wearing earrings t
hat are too heavy, and once when Weston and I were dancing in a bar in Mexico, he twirled me around too fast and my ear went flying off and landed in a stranger's margarita. Since we both work for the government, it could have been an international incident but what happens in a Mexican bar stays in a Mexican bar. No, really.

Q: OMG, you ROCK! Other than “Highborn”, which everyone should race out and get right now, and “Concrete Savior”, which everyone should race out and preorder right now, what’s coming next for you that we should be hunting, stalking or preordering?

A: Of course I'm hoping for more books in the Dark Redemption series, but I'm still waiting to hear about that. I also have another series planned as well as a thriller I'm working on. There's the unwritten time-travel novel, the unwritten sequel to AfterAge (vampire novel), the two theme story collections, and more. So many
ideas, not enough me.

Super! Now, we have the bonus questions that are directed to both of you at the same time.



Q: What’s it like living with another successful author?

W: Pretty awesome. There is no competition between us. Instead there is a great amount of mutual appreciation. Yvonne definitely understands what it takes to be an author and knows that a lot of that is dependent on private personal time. I think this is a harder thing when you have one spouse who is an author and one who is not.

Y: I hate to admit it but I agree with Wes. A lot of the time we get home, take care of house, dogs and other general stuff, then go our separate ways for literally hours at a time. My office is on the second floor, his is the cave in the basement. It keeps things nice and quiet that way.

Q: Is there a level of competition between you two and, if there is, do you think it helps you write better, faster, etc.?

W: I write using bigger words but Yvonne writes using more violence. I actually just made that up. There is no competition between us.

Y: Weston uses more commas than I do. I did not make that up.

Q: If your spouse had to give up everything they do right now for a living and start a brand new career, what would you want them to do?

W: I'd like Yvonne to be a forensic scientist of some sort. Whether it's digging up old bones, digging up old facts, digging through old things, it's the re-creation of what once was and what could have been which is most exciting to her.

Y: I'd like Wes to be a scriptwriter. I've always wanted to sit back with a big bag of hot buttered popcorn and watch a movie based on something created by one of my friends. How much cooler would it be if that movie was done by your spouse?

Q: What’s the best part of having another successful author not only sharing the same house but sharing the same bed?

W: The fact that she's really hot helps.

Y: He's a great foot-warmer.

Q: What’s your fave book that your spouse wrote? Not the one he/she likes the best, or the one that’s done the best, or gotten the best reviews, but the one YOU like the best. Why?

W: That's a hard one and I really hate you at this moment for putting me on the spot (but it is hate in a good way). Her novel titled Mirror Me is an excellent demonstration of an author's skill. I think it's masterfully written and thoroughly engaging. I just love it. It's only been published as a limited edition hardback and I ache for the day that it gets paperback treatment so that everybody can see what I've seen all along.

Y: I'd have to go for Empire of Salt. It's the zombies and the horror and the Salton Sea. I went there with him when he researched the area, and it's just so cool to see him put it all into words so well. Plus he's so great at building characters and their histories. He rocks.

Let’s face it -- you BOTH rock, and rock hard! Thanks so much for being here today at the Blah, Blah, Blah Blog. Thanks for letting my readers get to know two of my favorite authors!

And now, gang, here’s the best part! Yes, you know it -- a chance to win FREE BOOKS! So, Yvonne, Winston, what do you have for our lucky winners?

YN: Sure, let's give away a signed copy of Highborn! Go on my website at www.yvonnenavarro.com and leave a comment under the entry pointing back here to Gini's blog. Also, if you sign up to follow me on Twitter (twitter.com/YvonneNavarro), you'll get an extra entry, and the same goes for if you send me a friend request on Facebook (www.facebook.com/yvonne.navarro.001). After five days, I'll do a random pick out of all the comments and entries and list the winner's name. If there are mucho comments, I might even give away two copies. The winner will have to email me the mailing info. My email address is under the Contact Info link on my website.

WO: And I’ll give away a signed copy of Empire of Salt. Here’s the rub. You have to go to my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/people/Weston-Ochse/593942624) and post a picture of you doing something with salt. There will be one winner randomly drawn from the first six pictures. If there’s someone who posts a picture that is just so awesome to stand, and that person didn’t get the random draw, then I’ll give away another copy.

Is that all? I’ll wager the Alien Collective can handle that. Good luck everyone, and if you have questions or comments for Winston or the Lovely Miss Yvonne, just ask!

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16 Comments:

Blogger Jessica Subject said...

What a great interview! Must be nice living with someone who shares your passion for writing. :) Now I have more books to add to my TBR list.

February 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Lisa (Who REALLY wants to win BOTH books) said...

Great interview. I love the Q and A's of both of them together. I'm with Yvonne -- husbands make great feet warmers! :)

February 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Amber Scott said...

What an amazing interview! I love the idea of Highborn and Empire of Salt's cover is just WOW!
Webbed feet and a fake ear? Sounds like you are meant for each other to me!

February 9, 2011 at 11:37 AM  
Blogger Weston Ochse said...

I love her fake ears, but I have to be careful.

Thanks for all the kudos. You all are too nice.

February 9, 2011 at 12:16 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

Great interview :)You both have some awesome sounding books.

February 9, 2011 at 2:15 PM  
Blogger Lisa Dovichi said...

Hooray. I've entered into both their contests. Becky's probably going to win, she always does. *sigh* But I'm giving her a run for her money!

I'm currently stalking Yvonne on all her listings and I drew my picture for "Winston's".

February 9, 2011 at 3:40 PM  
Blogger by Yvonne Navarro said...

Hey, thanks for all the comments! I'm tracking everything, so get over and make a comment or something. And I have a question for Gini: Why the heck does Winston get to be on top??! ::hee::

February 9, 2011 at 5:32 PM  
Blogger Gini Koch said...

Yvonne - because I'm an old fashioned girl and in favor of the missionary position. ;-D

February 9, 2011 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger Lisa Dovichi said...

*snicker* Gini said she was OLD!

February 10, 2011 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger by Yvonne Navarro said...

Who's old? Me? Or Gini? I thought that was Winston...

February 10, 2011 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Weston Ochse said...

Lots of laughs ladies. Go ahead and pick on this old soldier. I just want to point out that the lasting legacy of men of god who went out to save the souls of the godless is to have a sexual position named after them. How proud they must be. :)

February 11, 2011 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger by Yvonne Navarro said...

I am **SO** not touching him when he gets struck by holy lightning or something...

February 11, 2011 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger Gini Koch said...

I'm with the Lovely Miss Yvonne...Winston's heading for some righteous wrath from some supernatural source.

February 12, 2011 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Weston Ochse said...

The only thing supernatural is my wife's SUPERNATURAL ability to know when I'm screwing off. :) I could be halfway around the world and get a call, "Wes, what are you doing?"

My normal savvy response is, "Er, Nothing honey."

February 13, 2011 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger Gini Koch said...

You are SO smooth, Winston. Truly. SO smooth...

February 14, 2011 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

Great interview and loved those pretty shiny covers :)

February 15, 2011 at 7:19 AM  

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