Title: Grace Under Fire
Author: Frog and Esther Jones
Series: The Gift of Grace
Pages: Approx. 240
Publication: October 2012
It's the 21st Century, and magic users are outlaws. The public considers summoners evil and in league with the Devil. So when someone or something wipes out the entire Spokane Grove, police are baffled and wary. After all, what is more powerful than a group of summoners?
Grace Moore is a foodie--and a mid-level Seattle summoner--sent to investigate the murders. Robert is a love-sick teenager who accidentally discovers his talent for summoning. The Demon that's been unleashed upon Spokane targets Robert as its next meal.
Grace must save Robert, then train him to fight at her side if she has a hope of living through this. The only problem? Robert may not want anything to do with Grace or his new powers.
Q & A with Frog and Esther Jones
Q: When and why did you two decide to start writing together? Have either of you written/published anything on your own?
A: Frog and I have always been scribblers. He published several short stories and articles while he was in school, and since he works as an attorney during the day, he does legal writing everyday.
I was published in several poetry anthologies during school, and more recently won the 2011 SpoCon League of Extraordinary Writers Short Fiction contest. Frog helped me create the world for that story, and it eventually became the world for Grace Under Fire.
We really started writing together because we had such a long commute to work each day. We’d create worlds and stories to fill the time. From there it snowballed from a short story, into a novel, and finally to a trilogy.
Q: Do you think it is more challenging writing as a team?
A: Yes and no. So far, we’ve really used the “Divide and Conquer,” approach, so in that respect I think it makes writing easier. I write one POV and Frog writes the other. That means we each write half the novel, and it's done twice as fast!
On the other hand, you do have to coordinate with the other person extensively to make sure everything lines up for the finished work. When talking to other authors, it sounds like we plan more of our novel before we even sit down than most folks.
For example, someone working by themselves might just wing it and end up in an entirely different place than they originally thought. While that creative process still happens within a chapter, Frog and I both know we have to start our chapter at point A and end it at point B in order to fit it in with everything else we’ve planned. We’re usually writing at least two chapters at once, so if one of us veered off to do something completely different, it would cause the other person to have to re-write whatever came after that point.
Q: Where did you come up with the idea behind Grace Under Fire?
A: This is a tough one. We originally came up with the idea of summoning because of a funny question posed by our friend’s kids. From there though, the magic system, and the underground magic scene were really created during Frog and I’s daily work commutes. We basically brainstormed on what the world would look like if it contained these people who were literally able to bring any object they wanted to their fingertips. Not create the object-- just pull something to them from anywhere in the world. What would the consequences really be? And what would the reactions from world leaders be like?
To me, that's where the idea really started coming together.
Q: Tell us a little about your lead characters.
A: Grace is a mid-rank summoner from Seattle. She loves food & bright colors and has a tendency to be a little obsessive about both. When asked to describe herself, she would say she’s a number cruncher or a researcher-type. She has an extensive knowledge of runes (which form the basis of our summoning system), and she’s worked very hard to get that knowledge. She’s also impulsive, and as a consequence, gets herself into more trouble than a normal person on a regular basis. Even though she would deny it, I see her as a bit of an adrenaline junkie.
Robert is a foster kid who’s had a hard time in the system, and as a result, has difficulty trusting people. That said, he loves very deeply and has a strong sense of loyalty and justice. He’s smart, but has a tendency to let his temper and impatience override his better judgment in a pinch. He loves music, especially Jazz, and he usually has some kind of soundtrack running through his head. He also has the potential to become a very powerful summoner, but believes (along with the rest of the world) that the very act of summoning makes you evil and corrupt.
Q: Do you see yourself in your characters and if so, what qualities?
A: There’s definitely a lot of us in these characters, but we borrowed a lot as well.
Grace has our love of amazing food, taken to a bit of an extreme.
Robert has our love of Jazz, and many of our insecurities from being a high school student. I don’t think anyone can get out of high school without feeling completely alone at some point.
Q: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
A: We generally do most of our writing on the weekend, since we both work eight to five jobs Monday through Friday. During the week, we discuss certain scenes or things we would like to set up for the next book. Saturday and Sunday turns into a writing spree, and we usually write somewhere around 3,000-4,000 words each.
Q: What do you see as the influences on your writing?
A: We’re fantasy and scifi fans first, and so I think that has had a huge impact on our writing. The authors who have had the most influence on our writing have to be Jim Butcher, Robin Hobb, and George RR Martin.
Q: What do you do to keep busy when you're not writing?
A: I’m not sure we know what it’s like to have spare time anymore! Seriously though, mostly we read other fantasy and scifi books, or watch TV shows like Castle, How I Met Your Mother, and Warehouse 13.
About the Authors:
Frog and Esther Jones are a husband and wife fantasy writing team who live in Eastern Washington. They currently have a short story entitled The Curse of Khenti-Amentiu included in the Zombiefied! Anthology by Sky Warrior Books, and expect to have several more short stories coming out in the next year.
The Gift of Grace, their first modern fantasy novels, is also being published by Sky Warrior Books.
Frog on Twitter
Esther on Twitter