Interview with Marie Sexton and Cari Z, Authors of The Lost Ship of the Tucker Rebellion
27 Oct 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, The Lost Ship of the Tucker Rebellion?
Marie: Way back in about 2016, Cari and I were chatting. She said something about how she loves plotting, but sometimes gets annoyed dealing with characters. I said I could play with characters all day, but plot is my weak point. The obvious solution was to team up and write something together.
We actually finished the first draft of this book back in about January of 2017, but then Cari had a baby (babies take a lot of work!) and we both abandoned the book and did other things for a while. Then sometime around January of this year, I was between projects and decided to dig it back out and see if we could pull it together and publish it. It took some work, but it’s finally done, and we’re really excited to finally be able to release it.
Cari: This book has been literal YEARS in the making, since I started it pre-baby and then, well, the baby came along and everything else ground to a halt for a while. When my coauthor reached out to me about getting it ready for publication, I was excited to pick it up again.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
Marie: Nobody, really. I never planned to become an author. It just kind of happened. I had quit my day job – this was back in 2009 – and I suddenly had an idea. I started writing, although I felt like a fraud. After all, I’d never written a book before. But I kept going and that idea turned into a book. It was accepted by a publisher and… suddenly I was an author.
Cari: I think authors are, firstly, readers. People who read great books and then thing to themselves “I want to do something like this, but with—” are nascent authors. That’s how it worked for me, at least. Doing the actual writing bit is a lot harder, but I got there eventually.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
Marie: Xenocide, by Orson Scott Card – I know, nobody’s supposed to admit to reading him these days. But I read these books decades ago, before people decided it wasn’t allowed. Ender’s Game gets all the attention, but for my money, Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide are the best books of the series. (Not the same series, but Songmaster is also amazing.)
The Virtu, by Sarah Monette – I adore Mildmay and Felix. They’re so messed up and yet they can always depend on each other. I had them in mind as I wrote Denver and Laramie in Lost Ship of the Tucker Rebellion. In fact, Cari had to rein me in a few times and make sure I didn’t make them too much like Felix and Mildmay.
Dune, by Frank Herbert – It’s been quite a few years since I read these, but seriously, Herbert was a genius.
Kids of Appetite, by David Arnold — David Arnold is so damned talented, he makes me feel like a fraud for daring to call myself a writer. If you enjoyed The Outsiders, you should definitely read this book. (All of his books are good, but this one is by far my favorite.)
Curse of the Were-weiner, by Ursula Vernon – Okay, maybe it shouldn’t be in my top 5, but honestly, my kid and I enjoyed the hell out of this series when she was younger. These are the types of books I wish I could write,
Cari: How dare you ask me this favorite-child type question? I will not let my love of books be pigeonholed! Although I will say I’ve been adoring every single Naomi Novik book I can find lately.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
Marie: Do they have to still be living? Or is this a “living or dead” thing? I would love to talk to Tom Piccirilli. He was an absolutely brilliant author, and it kills me that he lived just up the road from me, but we never met. I’d love to ask Frank Herbert what was going to happen next. And I bet Mark Twain was a lot of fun.
Cari: I’d bring on Steven King and ask him to talk about his work ethic as a writer, then ask him to sit down some of his contemporaries and MAKE THEM FINISH THEIR DAMN SERIES!
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Marie: I can go on vacation any time I want! Nobody counts how many days per year I take off.
Cari: Finally exorcising an idea from my brain in a way that readers enjoy.
What is a typical day like for you?
Marie: Well, pre-Covid, a typical day was like this: Hubby goes to work. My teenage daughter goes to school. I take my dog for a walk, and then I have the whole day to work (or not) as I see fit. These days, of course, things aren’t so simple. Our school district has been 100% remote up until this week. Now they’ll be hybrid, so two days at the school and three days remote. Which means my kid is still home more often than not. I don’t really have a typical day. I just sort of wing it, one day at a time.
Cari: With kid or without? With kid–play play play, keep her from causing egregious damage to herself or others, put her down for a nap and write, wake up and play play play, make sure she’s fed and clean and loved on, put her down for bed and then write like the wind. Without kid–write, edit, take the dog for a walk, write some more.
What scene from The Lost Ship of the Tucker Rebellion was your favorite to write?
Marie: Every scene that involves Denver and Laramie making up after a fight. I loved playing with their connection, seeing how co-dependent I could make them.
Cari: Everything with OPAL. She takes comic relief to a whole new level. I also liked Gru’s introductory scene, with fungi and fire.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
Marie: Mind your own business, and don’t be a dick.
Cari: GET BACK TO WORK! No, I’m kidding. It’s more like “Be there. Be there for my kid, my husband, my work, but most of all for myself, whether I’m feeling up or down or somewhere in-between. Be there, work it out, make the most of it.”
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