Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié, the authors of the tremendously successful Wicked series of books, are doing it again with a new series about vampires taking over the Earth and those who fight them. The first installment in this series is Crusade. I was lucky enough to get Nancy and Debbie to discuss their new series with me.
What inspired you to write Crusade? And -- why Spain?
- We were inspired by the struggles of those fighting in World War II.
We tend to use settings that one of us has either lived in, visited, or
really wants to visit. Nancy loves Spain and wants to go there.
That, more than anything else, decided the location. In Wicked we
went to France and so we wanted a different European country for this
story. Vampire stories are very passionate and the Spanish are known
for their passion and fire. Spain actually stayed out of World War II
and so we decided to push it to the forefront of this war.
- We also wanted to explore matters of faith and temptation. And
multiculturalism. Spain is so fascinating in all those regards.
There’s something about Spain that draws me. When I was a dancer, I
took an hour of flamenco and an hour of castanets every day. To do our
castanet work, we had to sit right on the edge of our chairs. My back
ached, but I loved the taut, arched postures and intricate rhythms. It
was one of those most intense times of my life, studying flamenco. Even
now, if I listen to flamenco music, I feel a heightened sense of
energy. I loved bringing that into a book about vampires, who are to me
such classical, intense monsters.
The opening made me think of World War Z, in that the whole world is
overrun by monsters -- in this case vampires -- and later episodes in
the book made me think of Interview with a Vampire. Did these or any
other works influence you?
- Two of the big influences for Crusade were Bram Stoker’s Dracula
novel and the history of World War II. We wanted vampires to be evil
and we wanted to show the horror of a global war and the struggles of
these small bands of Resistance fighters.
-Yes, Dracula and WWII. Definitely. Also, in a curious way, Cocteau’s La Belle et la Bete.
The vampire Antonio is a real hottie, and a gem of a conflicted character,
one of the most unique vampires I've ever read. What inspired him?
- ¡Gracias! What I like most about Antonio is that he is really trying
to stick to his principles, and to be sincere and honest. I think of
the people in WWII who could have taken the easy path, and instead
risked everything to save others, and to end the war. The old
miniseries The Thorn BIrds with Richard Chamberlain also stuck with me. Antonio is such a passionate Spaniard, and his vampirism heightens his passion.
- We all struggle with our demons, but for Antonio, this struggle is an
all out battle with other people’s lives hanging in the balance. The
idea of someone striving to be better than their nature is a classic one
and it was fun to play with it.
The book ends with quite a few unanswered questions. For example, who is Father Juan really?
- That’s a secret for a later book
--Yes, a secret!
What will happen with the new vampire locked in the heart of the Academia?
Will Jenn ever find love? How many books will it take to answer these
- The series is a trilogy so answers for most things will come within the next two books.
- Yes! We will answer the questions in the next two books.
You two have written quite a few books together, including the Wicked
series. What led you two to work together? What is your writing process?
How do you manage to write together when you live so far apart?
- We met at the Maui Writers Retreat/Conference which, alas, is no
more. Debbie was in my class and I was her teacher for one week, but
she was my peer in every way. We got along so great and thought alike.
I wanted to write with her and when I got my contract for Wicked, I asked her if she would join me. Luckily she said yes!
We work on the concepts and the outlines and then one of us
starts. Debbie likes to do first drafts and I like to revise. Usually
she writes the first chapter, sends it to me, I edit it and add chapter
two, and send it back to her. And so on. Debbie is good at pacing and I
like the detail work. I usually (but not always) write the first
drafts of the flashbacks. We use email and phone each other. We’re
like regular girlfriends in that we yak on the phone about our lives as
well as our work. We both love theme parks and we love to meet up at
Disney parks to party.
- What Nancy said! i was blown away that I was in her class. I had a
shelf of her books at home already. Working with her has been an
absolute joy and she’s one of my besties (BFF!). There is a great flow
when we work together. One of us has an idea, the other builds on it,
which makes the first person think of something new. It’s constantly
moving, evolving. We email and talk on the phone all the time, even
when we’re not in the middle of a deadline!
The Wicked series is about witches, and there is a witch in Crusade. What
is your connection to witches? How do you feel about the Wiccan
religion? How do Wiccans react to these characters?
- After we wrote Wicked, we couldn’t let witches go. I love the idea of learning to use and
harness magickal energy. Witches to me are sexy and fascinating. You
can do so much with them dramatically. Some Wiccans and pagans will
argue that there’s not “a” Wiccan religion, but many faith traditions
under the umbrella of Wicca. I belonged briefly to a coven. It’s not
true that you have to “only” be a Wiccan and in fact, there were
Christians and Jews in my coven.
The guiding force of Wiccan belief is “an thou harm none, do what thou
wilt.” Creating harmony and seeking goodness are guiding principles.
Wiccans are healers, in my opinion. That is what we were trying to say
at the end of Wicked: Resurrection. Fierce and/or gentle, the ultimate
aim is to repair the world.
- It seemed natural to bring witches into the fight against the Cursed
Ones. That helped us make the decision to bring werewolves in too. We
figured that the other supernatural beings out there would also be
affected by the Cursed Ones going public and taking over the world and
we wanted to see how it impacted these other communities.
The Wicked series is going to be made into a film or series of films. What's the update on that?
- Things are still looking good. We recently sent the producer
pictures of athames and answered some questions for our fantastic
scriptwriter. I’m grateful that we are in the good hands of Gotham Group
- It is a very exciting time and we have high hopes.
Any other comments you want to make?
- Yes! Nancy and I are working on a third series, Wolf Springs
Chronicles. The first book comes out in a little over a year.
- Thanks to everyone who’s read us, and thanks for having us on your blog!