And a big, warm welcome to Honor and Perdita Cargill! I’ve loved both Waiting For Callback and the brand new Waiting For Callback-Take Two, so it’s fabulous to have them here to find out about how they approach their writing.
Elektra, the main character in both books, is such an entertaining and enchanting personality that her hilariously eventful life has had me in fits of laughter (and tears too!). So, I’m really excited to be able to pick the brains of this fabulous writing duo!
By the way, I’ve noticed that biscuits feature strongly in these books, so make yourself a cuppa, grab a biccie, gather round and enjoy!
Welcome Honor and Perdita! Tell us about Elektra and how you came up with her as a character.
First the basics: we stole her name from a family friend and from the outset she had to be about fifteen because we knew we were writing for readers up to about that age. Now for the mystical stuff. This is going to sound annoying, but Elektra very quickly became real to us, we talked about her lots before we ever started writing. We put her into situations – in part drawn from what we knew about the mad world of child acting, more on that below – and then almost ‘watched’ to see what she would do and say. It was important to us that even though Elektra has (more than) her share of awkward moments she’s quite resilient and can laugh at herself.
What drew you towards the world of drama and showbiz for your story?
Hon had experienced it (she did a little bit of professional acting) and it is a weird world with lots of material for humour. Lots of kids are into drama but we wanted to write a book that showed that it wasn’t easy. There’s lots of failure and we wanted to be funny about that; it’s rarely the end of the world however cringe at the time. And when Elektra gets some success we wanted to show that that was maybe less glamorous than you’d imagine too.
In Take Two Elektra spends a lot of time on a film set: how did you go about researching that world?
Hon (and P as chaperone!) had been on film sets and e.g. at costume fittings but not on a big studio set. Thank God for the internet because studio sets (most film sets) are closed sets for obvious reasons. We spent hours/days (possibly more than we had an excuse for) on the internet watching behind the scenes footage and trawling the studio websites for images and maps. It was fun!
How do you and Honor collaborate? Did anything change with the second book?
We’ve always collaborated best at arm’s length – that’s probably got something to do with the mum/daughter dynamic… We gossip out the plot together and then work on scenes separately and email them to each other and then brutally criticise them (but it doesn’t feel personal or mean). So, it hasn’t made much difference that Hon is at Uni. We work super hard during the holidays but even during term times we mail each other ideas and scenes and meet for fun plotting sessions.
Is it easier or scarier writing the sequel?
Both! It’s easier because you know your characters and their world so well but it’s harder because you have less time (a lot less time) and it’s scarier because you don’t want to disappoint your readers (or your editor, eeeek)!
How do you manage to inject so much humour throughout the whole story?
It’s such a relief that you think we do! It’s quite scary writing ‘funny’ because it’s so subjective and you have to keep it consistent. It probably helps having two of us because we’ve both got to think something’s funny for it to survive our drafts. And it’s great making each other laugh. That’s a big driver for us on this whole collaboration.
I thought the endings of both books were just perfect. How do you go about plotting your books?
Thank you! That’s so good to hear. We’re very ‘free’ plotters… We gossip our way through our books – we get enough of an idea to get started but then we do change direction a lot – we’re probably not a good model to follow! But there are always some fixed points – we had the ending on Take Two before we started and didn’t change a word.
What are you writing at the moment? And what’s next for Elektra?
The third book in this series! And we can’t possibly tell you what’s next for Elektra because…spoilers!
Sorry, folks, I tried! But in the meantime here’s Honor telling us a bit more about Take Two!
Many thanks indeed to Honor and Perdita for finding the time to do this interview. I’m really looking forward to the next book already (and I hope all the good things come to Elektra!)
You can find out more about their books at waitingforcallback.com
Perdita is on twitter as @perditact and Honor on Instagram.
Happy reading and writing!
27th February 2017