Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Five Oaks Gazette and a Worthy Cause

Author’s Choose Five Oaks!
By Paige Kenyon

There’s been some strange and exciting goings on in Five Oaks recently—not one, but four authors have based their Christmas stories in our fine town. And to find out just why these ladies selected Five Oaks, today I’m sitting down with two of those authors: Nina Croft and R.M. Gilbert, to ask them what brought them so far from home this Christmas.
Nina and R.M. have also agreed to answer questions submitted by the good people of our community. But first, one from me.
Q: I know you come from all over the world, so can you tell me how you came together to write the anthology?
Nina: We’re all part of a fabulous online critique group, Passionate Critters (PC) , which gave us the name of the anthology: A Passionate Christmas. I’ve been a member for a year now and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made as a writer!
R.M: Ditto.
Q: The next question comes from my editor Larry Follock. He wondered how the idea for this series got started? And when.
R.M: Back in May of this year one of our fellow critters, Stephanie Taylor suggested we get together and write an anthology of Christmas stories.

Nina: We all loved the idea. That was followed by a few weeks of frenzied activity, where lots of us signed up, the town of Five Oaks was born and a whole load of characters and places came to life.
Q: A question from Maddy Glover, who recently returned from the big city.  So what appealed to you about Five Oaks? Why not New York, or Paris or, or well…anywhere?
Nina: Passionate Critters has members from all around the world, England, Germany, Finland, but the majority are American, and so it seemed natural to base Five Oaks in America. Silke came up with the name Five Oaks, also affectionately known as Five Stumps by the locals because… Well you’ll have to read Silke’s story, Smitten, to find out why.
Q: This next question was sent in by our very own Dr. Ash Delaney. He would like to know, at what point during the process did you want to burn the town to the ground?
RM: For me, the second I signed on I was beating my head against the wall. I’m not a short story teller. This book ended at approx. 23k words (though my original submission was only 15). It was the first book I’ve written under 90k. Yikes.
Nina: My urges towards arson didn’t really begin until close to the end of the process. I really enjoyed writing the story.  
Q: What was it like coordinating your stories with women who are in different countries?
RM: Since we couldn’t sit at a table together. Most of it happened within the group forums, e-mail and skype.  It was very difficult. No lie, there were times we were ready to pull our hair out. And each others.
Nina: Yeah—that’s about the time I started dreaming about fires.
Q: Is it safe to say you’re all still friends?
Nina: Definitely still friends!
Q: Our final question was sent in by a reader who asked to be called Dina, (though she looks a lot like Edna Carruthers to me). She wondered how you finished the stories on a time crunch and what’s next?
RM: Love this question. If it hadn’t been for my sister, Rebekah L Purdy taking me away for a few days, I never would have finished. (She too, is a writer and will celebrate her first release with Astraea Press in February).  As for what’s next, we’ll promo together. But I also write young adult fiction and will focus my efforts on submitting my current WIP in the next couple months.
Nina: I think because we were writing an anthology and were all relying on each other to do our bits, we had to just sit down and finish. None of us wanted to let the others down, and that’s a big motivation. As to what’s next—for me lots of witches and warlocks, there’s a werewolf waiting to come out, and of course a few vampires in the mix.
Q: Sounds like you’ll both be busy. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nina: Only that we’ve joined together with Decadent Publishing to support the American Cancer Society in the Relay For Life.
RM: You can find the Decadent Team HERE.
I’ll be sure to check that out and donate. And from the people of Five Oaks I want to thank the ladies for sitting down with me. If anyone would like to know more about Nina and R.M. then pop over to their sites.
Nina Croft         R.M.Gilbert

Find Smitten by: Silke Juppenlatz, Snowy Encounters by: Clarissa Yip, as well as Nina’s and RM’s books at Decadent Publishing!


  1. oh God! I suck at editing please ignore all the white marks, this is mortifying.*covers face in shame*

  2. Hahaha. Still a great interview, even with the white :)

  3. I didn't even notice them. :)

    Great interview.

  4. Great interview. I didn’t even notice any white marks until you mentioned them.

  5. I didn't see the white marks either. And its amazing people can collaberate over great distances and time zones. I have trouble collaberating with myself.

  6. This was a huge project to be pulled together so quickly. Kudos to all of you! And no sweat on the white marks :)

  7. @Candyland, @Kimber Leszczuk,@Angelina Rain: Thanks for coming by and commenting. Happy Christmas!

    @Stephen Tremp: I think we all have difficulties collaborating with ourselves. *smiles. No, seriously though, there were times it was difficult to catch one another. I would be in a chat with the ladies at 3am when I needed to wake up a 5am. (Though that was mostly during edits). Thanks for stopping in.

    @Carol Kilgore: It was a big project Carol. In the end, the results were great!! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  8. Hi All - definitely a big project - but we survived - just - and Five Oaks hasn't been completely burned to the ground (just bits of it).

    And yes, it's fantastic that we can get together from all over the world and collaborate on this sort of project - I love the internet!

  9. I had to go back and find them so they aren't that noticeable. Good interview!

  10. Great interview! I'm really impressed by the scale of collaboration. It just shows one more way in which the internet has influenced writing.

  11. Amazing. Our world has become so small over the years. Having blog friends all over the globe adds to the excitement of writer collaborating form other countries.

    Now on a different subject. Joanna? Did you start your first Harry Potter novel yet? I hope you had fun with my blogfest. I announce the winner on Saturday....


  12. I want to move to Five Oaks now (before it gets burned down of course!).What a great idea for a series - and great to know the writers are all still friends!!

    thanks for a really unique interview and intro to this series Joanna St James!

    Take care

  13. Wonderful interview! I thought the white marks were supposed to be there:).

  14. How fun it must have been to write together from all over the world! Sounds like a great collection!

  15. Awesome interview, girls! I'm glad Maddy stopped in there to ask a question. lol.

  16. Thanks for talking about our wonderful Decadent project, A Passionate Christmas! We are so proud of these ladies, their ideas and efforts. They have been great to work with, and their eagerness to tie their book in with our Read For a Cure project with Decadent Publishing made us so proud to know them.

    Heather Bennett
    Executive Editor
    Decadent Publishing

  17. @Chris Phillips: Thanks Chris, Happy Christmas!

    @Rula Sinara: You're absolutely right Rula, the internet has influenced our society greatly. Personally, it has opened up a world of wonderful friends! Thanks for commenting.

    @Madeleine: Thanks Madeleine! Happy Holidays!

    @gideon 86: So true, gideon "Michael" it was very exciting working with woman from Spain and the UK and Hawaii...made me feel a little 'less' exotic though--being that I'm from Michigan. ;)

  18. Thanks everyone!
    Gideon - it is great to have friends all over the globe - it's especially good for me because I live in a really isolated area so it's brilliant to still be able to connect with other writers and readers.
    And kitty - get on over here to Five Oaks - there's plenty of room!

  19. What an ingenious way to write. Being such a loner I can't imagine doing it this way! You and your white marks Joanna.

    Hope you are well!

  20. Awesome interview. It was great reading about this authors. Thanks Joanna.

  21. @Old Kitty: We'd love to have you in Five Oaks. Happy Christmas!

    @Maria McKenzie: Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful holiday!

    @Sondrae Bennett: Fun and tiring. But well worth the lack of sleep. The collection is fantastic, we hope everyone enjoys it!

    @Clarissa Yip: Thanks hun.

    @Decadent Publishing: Heather, Decadent Publishing has been fabulous to work with as well. And we are all proud to be a part of such a wonderful cause. Thank you for the opportunity!

  22. @L'Aussie: I'm of the opinion that when it comes to the writing of a book a lot of authors are a bit of a loner. I think that may be what the attraction is for readers and other writers to the Five Oaks, it's a set of stories written by several woman that intertwine town and characters. Also, I think you might surprise yourself as a writer with what you're capable of. There were definitely times we weren't sure we'd make it...but in the end we pulled together. Happy Christmas!

    @Nas Dean: Thanks so much for dropping by, so glad you enjoyed the interview.

  23. Joanna,

    Nina and I want to thank you. We had a fabulous time putting this together and are thankful to you for having us on. Your site is lovely. Your blog friends are supportive and wonderful.

    We appreciate you showcasing this interview,

  24. au contraire ladies! the pleasure was all mine, may the sales gods smile upon you.

  25. L'Aussie - I'm a bit of a loner too - actually a lot of a loner - I think that's what makes this sort of collaboration so good for me - I have to interact!
    Thanks for the comment, Nas!
    And another big thanks for having us, Joanna!

  26. Great interview! Now that's collaboration!


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