Until now, every author I’ve interviewed on “The Vigilante Author” has worked alone. I’ve always wondered about collaborative writing partnerships and how they work. I found a most unusual one in the mother-and-daughter team of Rose and Katherine Robbins.
Katherine Robbins is a novelist currently entering her freshman year of high school. She lives in the northwestern United States with her mother and four siblings. The Accidental Dragon, a fantasy tale co-written with her mom, is her first novel. Katherine is creative in other ways, too. She enjoys weaving, working with leather, carving, and cooking. Her long-term plan is to live in Scotland and to continue writing books there, “where it is cool and misty and I can smell the ocean.”
Rose Robbins, Katherine’s mother, is an accomplished songwriter, singer, and musician. She also is the author of nine books, six of them novels that she wrote and published within the past two years. Her “Carlin series” consists of five romantic suspense novels set in the same town. They all explore domestic abuse and its effects on the many people it touches. Rose also heads a mentoring program for former abuse victims and hosts a website that offers resources for victims and mentors alike.
After reading and thoroughly enjoying The Accidental Dragon [which is available as a free ebook download through October 31, 2014], I invited this unusual writing team to be interviewed, and they graciously accepted. I think you’ll be charmed by what they have to say.
THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR: Welcome, ladies. Well, this interview breaks with established tradition here on “The Vigilante Author.” It’s the first time I’ve jointly interviewed two writers; the first time I’ve interviewed authors of a book that is not in the “thriller” genre; the first time I’ve ever interviewed any author under the age of twenty; and the only time I expect to ever interview a mother-and-daughter writing team!
Before we get into your writing backgrounds, let me start by chatting with both of you about your jointly written children’s fantasy novel, The Accidental Dragon—which I thoroughly enjoyed. (Note: For details about the story, see my Amazon review here.) Why don’t you briefly summarize the story?
KATHERINE ROBBINS: Basically, Kit Markham, the main character, sees a dragon, which accidentally pops through the veil of energy between our world and his. She discovers his world with the help of her friend Merlin, and they go on a wonderful adventure there.
KATHERINE ROBBINS: I actually thought I saw a dragon when we were driving home from school one day. But it turned out to be an airplane.
ROSE ROBBINS: So disappointing!
KATHERINE ROBBINS: Yes. But then we thought, wouldn’t it be cool if it really had been one!
ROSE ROBBINS: So we decided to write it.
THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR: Without giving away secrets, what are your favorite parts of the story? And who is your favorite character?
KATHERINE ROBBINS: My favorite character is Kit, and my favorite part of the story is the part with Septimus the Serpent. He was so fun to write!
ROSE ROBBINS: I love the part where Artemis [the goddess of the Outer World] is telling Kit that she should give up, and Kit suddenly has this great moment of maturity . . .
THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR: I have to ask this, Katherine: Based on the similarity of your names and ages, how much of Kit Markham is based on you?
KATHERINE ROBBINS: Um . . . a lot. She is pretty much me, based on personality. Although, sadly, I have never seen a real dragon.
THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR: Both you and your mom are extremely talented, so I imagine each of you brought your own individual creative contributions and strengths to the story. Who invented which characters, and who came up with some of the plot ideas?
KATHERINE ROBBINS: I invented Endymion [a faun]. Oh, and Drudd [a cyclops], and he was pretty fun. Also Septimus. And although Artemis already existed in mythology, it was my idea to use her. And I invented Gol the Gryphon. As far as plot, most of the action parts of the story, the fights and battles, those were all me!
ROSE ROBBINS: Yes, Katherine has such a great touch with the action that I really let her make all those scenes happen. I tried to flesh out the meanings behind things, the reasons why. That sort of thing. I also put in touches of humor, like the baby gryphon trying to sneak into the battle.
THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR: I noticed a number of funny references to C.S. Lewis’s “Narnia” stories in the book. Katherine, was that because you’re a big fan of those tales?