Today I am honoured to have not just one but TWO authors on my blog, Heide Goody & Iain Grant, the wonderful writing partnership that brought us the Clovenhoof series.
Heide inflicts unsuitable content upon the world by whatever devious means she can find. Technical documents in her day job have been found to contain coded messages if you read them backwards.
She is, with Iain Grant, co-author of Clovenhoof, the Satan-in-suburbia comic novel. There have been several more instalments in the same world: Pigeonwings, Godsquad and Satan’s Shorts.
Her first solo novel, Million Dollar Dress, is also published by Pigeon Park Press.
Heide lives in North Warwickshire, England with her husband and children.
Iain Grant is an author of short stories and novels, ranging from contemporary literature to fantasy and horror. His short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies.
He is perhaps best known for the comic novel, ‘Clovenhoof’, co-written with Heide Goody. The follow-up novel, ‘Pigeonwings’, (which follows the continuing adventures of the earthbound Satan and Archangel Michael) was published in August 2013.
Iain’s solo work includes children’s books, thrillers and an on-going series of steampunk “chapbooks” which begins with “The Angels of the Abyss”.
Welcome Heide and Iain and many thanks for agreeing to join me on my blog. Firstly I’m sure a question that many of us readers would love to know is how did your writing partnership transpire?
Heide: We are both members of Birmingham Writers Group, and that is where we met. There were a couple of trigger events that led to us deciding to write together. The first was when someone had a guess at who had written what (a popular pastime, as we often review manuscripts anonymously in the group) and got the two of us the wrong way round. A little while after that, we had a workshop about collaborative writing and out of everyone who took part, the two of us seemed to be the keenest to try a writing partnership. It still took a while before I asked Iain if he wanted to try writing a short story together. He persuaded me that a novel would be better and so we started work on Clovenhoof.
In the time you have been writing together have you had many disagreements and how do you resolve any differences?
Iain: I’d love to say we’ve had serious disagreements about things and had to slug it out but our working relationship has been a fairly harmonious one. We write through a process in which we plot chapters for the other one to write and then edit each other’s chapters. The one rule we hold to is that if one of us removes something or crosses a line out, the other doesn’t try to reinsert it. Writing together really removes ego from the equation. We can’t be precious about anything. Interview us again in five years and maybe we’ll have some horror stories to tell.
You both have books which you have published separately, can you give us a brief insight into your own books?
Iain: Yeah, our own books (certainly mine) are nothing like the books we write together. To use a dubious metaphor, our own books are perhaps extensions of our selves but our co-written novels are like children we’ve had together. Just as children aren’t quite like their parents and are a unique mixture of all that their parents represent, so it is with our co-written stuff. Neither of us would be able to write the Clovenhoof books alone. It just wouldn’t work. I received a delightful one-star review on Amazon the other month from a reader who was annoyed that my solo books weren’t Clovenhoof.
You recently held a writing event in a phone box! Can you tell us how the event came about and how did it go?
Heide: We can proudly say that we are writers in residence of a delightful vintage phone box, which can be found in the village of Baxterley in North Warwickshire. We achieved that status by asking the Parish Council, who were initially puzzled by the request but were supportive of our efforts to gain publicity for our books. We hosted a writing event in the phone box in April. We invited other writers to join us in a writing tag team (we took it in turns to sit in the phone box) and we invited passers-by to contribute ideas. We ended up being joined by some enthusiastic locals who gave us enough material for a couple of novels!
Clovenhoof is a wonderful series, are any of the characters or events based on yourselves or people that you know?
Iain: Yes, but only with some of the less central characters. The prior of St Cadfan’s monastery, Brother Manfred, who appears in Pigeonwings and Hellzapoppin’ (to be published October 2015) is a hotelier Heide and I met on the Llyn Peninsula when we were doing research for Pigeonwings.
Have you considered adapting the series for Television?
Iain: That’s definitely a big one on our future wish list. We think that the characters and situations in the Clovenhoof books would be great for a TV or radio sitcom. One day, we’ll meet a producer who just gets Clovenhoof and wants to take our vision onto the screen or the airwaves.
Do you each have your own personal favourite character from the series?
Iain: The simple and obvious answer would be Jeremy Clovenhoof himself. He’s so much fun to work with he writes his own lines. But I also have a huge soft spot for the characters in Heaven and Hell. They’re all flawed and foolish and flawed, foolish people say the funniest things.
Heide: We can act out all kinds of appalling things with several of our characters. It’s wonderful to be able to do those things in life that are frowned upon, so the really extreme characters are a lot of fun. I do have a huge fondness for Nerys though. She is probably my overall favourite.
Finally have we seen the last of the Clovenhoof characters or can your readers look forward to seeing more of them in the future?
Iain: We’re so bound up in the writing of our books that we sometimes forget where our readers are. Currently, there are three novels and a short story collection out there. But the fourth novel, Hellzapoppin’, is written, edited and is waiting to be printed right now. That one will be available to buy in October 2015. And we’re over halfway through writing the fifth novel, in which (some readers will be delighted to hear) Jeremy Clovenhoof is fully centre stage once more in all his wicked glory. If we’re lucky, that one might be published at the very end of this year. And the plot for the sixth novel… it’s already taking shape.
More information about the authors and the Clovenhoof series can be found on their Facebook page by clicking here.