A unique and awesome idea by Author Kristie Cook has exploded onto the book scene in the last few months. A novella series called Havenwood Falls and a spin-off series called Havenwood Falls High. Both take place in a magical town called Havenwood Falls. Filled with magical and mystical creatures of every shape and kind. Some I didn't even know existed. I have been enjoying reading them as they are published and wanted to delve deeper into how this venture came about. Please keep reading for my interview with Kristie.
1.) How did Havenwood Falls come to be? Several years ago, I started thinking about how fun it would be to “play” with my author friends in one world. A small town setting where we each wrote about different characters in the town, but they showed up in each other’s books. When the idea wouldn’t go away, I mentioned it to my agent at the time and was told it would be a copyright nightmare and not to go there. So I tried to put the idea aside. But it wouldn’t stay silent. Then more and more authors were talking about wanting to collaborate on projects, Kindle Worlds was growing in popularity, and a few other (though smaller) shared worlds were popping up. I thought there had to be a way to make this work. So I began speaking to intellectual property (IP) attorneys about it. I went through a few who all thought it was a great idea, but didn’t want to handle the contract, until I found one who understood what I was trying to accomplish. She made it work. From there, it was just a matter of deciding where the small town was (I had a strong instinct that waterfalls were a big part of the town), its name, and how it came to be. I bounced ideas off some of my close author friends and my street team, and they gave me great feedback. Then with a contract and a basic idea, I started approaching my author friends to invite them to play. I was blown away at the response.
2.) What was the process like to map out all of the characters? How do you keep them all straight? It’s an on-going process, actually. One of the first things I ask an author to do after signing the contract is to add their characters (and their businesses, if they own/work somewhere) to our world bible so the rest of us can use them. Our bible is where we track as many of the details as we can, from characters to businesses to the school’s bell schedule. Each time something new pops up, it gets added to the bible, so we’re constantly updating it. Then I, as editor, and Liz, our proofreader, double-checks everything as we’re going through the editing process to ensure we don’t have inconsistencies.
3.) Is the town, or aspects of the town, based off of a real place? If so, where? Havenwood Falls is loosely structured off of Telluride, CO. They’re both situated in a box canyon, in approximately the same geographical area. HF is about twice the size both geographically and population-wise as Telluride, and there are other differences – for one, I don’t think Telluride has a supernatural population, though I could be wrong on that. ;-) But whenever we need specific answers for the area, such as weather and foliage, or even the schools (school calendar, what classes they offer, etc.), we refer to Telluride.
4.) Are any of your characters based off of real people? Sort of, maybe. Some of the humans with small parts in different books might be a composite of people we’ve known throughout life. I, personally, will use names sometimes and maybe a quirk or hobby. I think all authors bring in different aspects of real people in their lives to their characters.
5.) You have a co-author for Forget You Not. How did that writing process go? Actually, I wrote Forget You Not (and its sequel coming in January) on my own. I did co-author The Winged & the Wicked, though, with my aunt. She’s a lifelong creative, with visual art more her thing, but she’s always enjoyed playing with the written word. So when I started telling her about Havenwood Falls, she became involved in some of the very early planning and decided she wanted to write something in it. At first it was for fun, but then we were brainstorming ideas together and before we knew it, she had a basic story. I helped her in fleshing it out, giving it more structure, and writing missing pieces. I don’t think it’s the typical co-authoring process, but it was fun and interesting. Her writing style is very different from mine, so I stretched my wings (hehe, see what I did there) and tried something new.
6.) Do you invite authors to participate or do they come to you? Any specific criteria? I invited most of the authors, but more and more are coming to me, wanting to be a part of the world. I started by invite-only because I wanted to know who I was working with. I wanted to be sure they were dedicated to their craft as well as to the business side. And most importantly, I wanted to know they played well with others. Our author group is a family, and while every family has “that one” member (you know who I’m talking about – the insane, narcissistic, demanding diva – we all have one), we just can’t have that in ours. The project won’t work without total trust, collaboration, support, and willingness to go above and beyond what a normal writing project takes. I never got through my invite list, though, before we filled up on contracts through 2018 for all three series (I still have a fourth one to add in late 2018). So for those who wonder why I didn’t invite them, that’s probably why – we filled up faster than I expected. I’ll be opening up for 2019 contracts probably after the holidays.
7.) Do you have any creative control over the books that are being included? As far as ensuring the plot and characters work with the town and premise, I do. Authors submit a proposal for their story and we do some brainstorming to ensure it will work for what’s already been set up for the town and what I know is coming from other authors. The brainstorming with the authors is one of my favorite parts of the project. They’re so creative and enthusiastic, and our energies just feed off each other. It’s exciting! I also do the structural editing, which allows me to provide ideas for bringing in more crossover from other books.
8.) Havenwood Falls High just launched. Any other spin-offs planned for the future? Legends of Havenwood Falls launches in June 2018. This series is historical fantasy, telling the histories of our town and/or its inhabitants. Then later in 2018, we’ll be launching Havenwood Falls Sin & Silk, an erotic romance line that shows a different type of naughty in Havenwood Falls. ☺
9.) What does the release calendar look like for the coming year? Each series has a new release every month. So we’ll have two releases a month up until June, then we’ll have three releases a month until Sin & Silk launches, then we’ll basically have a new release every week. But each series targets a different type of reader. While some readers might want to read them all, the idea is to offer something for everyone who loves fantasy and paranormal. Even books in the various series might target a slightly different audience – we have romance, but we also have cozy mysteries, suspense, thrillers, horror, and we’ll be adding steampunk to the mix, too. So really, something for everyone. Amy Hale, Lila Felix, Michele G. Miller, and R.K. Ryals finish up our 2017 releases. Authors coming up in 2018 include Cameo Renae, Heather Hildenbrand, Randi Cooley Wilson, Belinda Boring, E.J. Fechenda, Susan Burdorf, Kristen Yard, Amy Hale, AnnaLisa Grant, Eric Asher, Tish Thawer, Morgan Wylie, Amy Miles, Katie John, Brynn Myers, Kallie Ross, Michele G. Miller, Daniele Lanzarotta, Stacey Rourke, Danielle Bannister, J.L. Weil, Rose Garcia, and more from me. We’re looking at doing some short-story anthologies, as well, but they haven’t been officially added to the calendar yet.
10.) Will you have any repeat authors or is it just one shot? We have several authors writing more than one story. That’s partly how the release calendar filled up so fast. Some authors have a sequel to their first book while others wanted to tell another character’s story. We all love writing in the town so much that we keep coming up with new stories to tell.
11.) Is there an end game or you hope this will go on forever? I don’t expect (or probably even want) it to go on forever, but as long as there are readers to read and authors to write, we’ll keep publishing books. I do know the final end game, though – zombies. ☺
12.) What is in store for Ang'dora Productions Inc. aside from Havenwood Falls? Ang’dora Productions and Red Coat PR have teamed up to form AfterWords, which delivers training seminars to authors throughout the country. Once we work out all the kinks for Havenwood Falls and it becomes a well-oiled machine, I’d like to create another shared world, but in a different genre. We’re in plans for other offerings as well, but I have to keep them secret for now. ☺ There are some amazing opportunities for Ang’dora and its authors in the coming years. It’s so exciting.
As you can see Kristie has been a busy beaver this past year! I am so proud of her! Books are available on all major platforms. After Forget You Not (the introduction), the books can be read in any order.
I hope that you will take a chance with one or both of these series. They are novellas so a uick read will tell you if Havenwood Falls is the place for you. I'm willing to bet it is!