We, at Oh My Shelves would like to give a warm Valentine’s Day welcome to authors Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell, who have co-written a fun, romantic and smoking hot story about finding love online and moving it into the realness of daily life.
They have gratuitously answered a few of our questions and are offering a wonderful prize for a giveaway.
OMS: How did the two of you “meet” and how did the idea of the book come about?
Megan: I’m not sure exactly how we met. I think we started creeping into each other social circles. He’d read my books, then I read his, and I think we were fans of each other’s work first, which is a great foundation to have if you plan to co-write.
Santino: Wow, I actually don’t remember either. I know for sure it was after last year’s RT Convention, though. The idea for the book came about after Megan mentioned Twitch to me, which she’d been discussing with her husband. It went from her writing a book about female gamers who use Twitch, to me saying “well if you don’t, I will!” to us going “let’s do write it together!”
OMS: Did you each write a character??? We think we may know who wrote whom but…
Megan: I mostly wrote Kai, and Santino mostly wrote Garrett, but we hopped into each character a lot. And the characterizations were definitely a collaboration.
Santino: Yeah, basically if there is a scene in Garrett POV I was writing both Kai and Garrett (and side characters), and she’d write Garrett if the scene was in Kai POV. It worked out really well, honestly.
OMS: The chat conversations felt so real between Garrett and Kai, they read as if we were online with a friend for the first time getting to know one another. Were those actual chats between the two of you doing a sort of role play as the characters?
Megan: Actually no, we didn’t converse back and forth writing those. I wrote some conversations and Santino wrote others. We’d often go in later and tweak word usage or reaction to fit the characters a bit better.
Santino: Role playing that is my worst nightmare. LOL. But, I think just the fact that we’re people who converse primarily via chat and who have made friends online really allowed for a sort of ease in demonstrating how people can connect.
OMS: With both MC’s being a level of introvert, the characters read as if you both got it, and not just from a research aspect so we’re curious, which of the characters do you identify with? Kai or Garrett?
Megan: I’m not an introvert. I think I’m more of an ambivert? I get really energized around people, and I enjoy being social, but then I need to hermit up for days afterward. I related to Kai in the sense that he could control his life online more than he could in the “real world.” He could shut off the computer when things got to be too much. His retreat skills are excellent.
Santino: I relate to Garrett in the sense that most people piss me off. They don’t make me uncomfortable, and I don’t have social anxiety, but I’m super grumpy and like my alone time. In other ways, I related to Kai in the way people sometimes latch onto me online or say inappropriate things without necessarily thinking of how Santino the Human Being may think or feel about it because they’re used to Santino the Author who CAN’T always react to certain things because my social media presence is part of my job.
OMS: The insecurity about meeting someone “live” after having a long, intimate online relationship was again, spot on. We’d like to think we wouldn’t react the way Kai did with the first physical meeting, but, you know? ☺ Has that happened to either of you and if so, what resulted when finally meeting face to face?
Megan: Well I first met my husband online. We talked for several months, and we became very close friends. When I finally met him in person, he would barely say three words to me. He was shy, and it’s kind of a head trip to now speak in person when you’ve spoken through a computer for so long. We used to message each other rather than meet in person until gradually we both thawed a little.
Santino: Well, most of my online meetings have stemmed from online dating sites or hookup apps. Yeah, I’m that guy. For the most part, those meetings are pretty straight forward if you catch my drift, although there have been occasions where I wound up befriending a person who was initially just supposed to be a hookup. The guy I’m hanging out with now is one of those people.
OMS: Megan, how does the experience of co-writing compare to that of going at it solo now that you have done both?
Megan:Well I’m trying to write a book now by myself and I’m having a tough time, haha. I got so used to brainstorming with Santino, I’m so sad I have to do everything on my own again!
OMS: Santino, as you have co-written before with Ais, and the ICoS series, which do you prefer or how does having a co-author benefit or hinder your writing?
Santino: They’re both good experiences, but I think it’s a lot swifter to share characters like Megan and I did instead of writing in shifts/having to be in a Google Doc at the same time like I did with Ais. Whenever me and Ais work on ICoS again, I may suggest we try this out. And honestly, having a co-writer is GREAT. I get so much more work done.
OMS: The blurb for the next book in the Cyberlove series has us ridiculously excited and we can’t wait for that boy to fall head over heels for a guy! Is there a set number of books in the series or will it just continue if y’all have more ideas/stories?
Megan: There isn’t a set number at this time. We have maybe.. one or two more ideas? All around the idea of finding love online. If the ideas keep coming, who knows!
Santino: What she said. 🙂 There’s plenty of room for more and if people are interested, and make that known, we will definitely see what happens in the future.
We’d like to thank you both, so much for your time and for giving us a wonderful story.
The authors are generously hosting a giveaway for a Kindle Fire.
Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
Release Date: February 15, 2016
Pages: 212 • Format: eARC
Published By: Megtino Press
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