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Monday, May 9, 2011

Author Interview & “Phoenix Rising” Giveaway w/ Pip Ballentine & Tee Morris!

29 Lovely Comments!


tee morris pip ballantine_thumb[4]


> *When did you first start writing?*

Pip Ballantine: I've been writing since I was 13, though I seriously started working on a writing career in 1998.

Tee Morris: I’ve been writing stories since Elementary school. Did my first public reading in Fifth Grade with “The First light of Alpha One” and was given kudos by the teacher and classmates.

> *Did you start writing individually or as a pair right away? *

Pip: We both wrote things on our own first. I was published early on with Weaver’s Web a few years before Chasing the Bard came out in 2005 with Dragon Moon Press.

Tee: My own career started with a short story competition where I made the anthology, and then MOREVI came out with Dragon Moon in 2002. I first came across Pip’s writing in 2005 when I picked up a copy of Bard. Pip wanted me to collaborate with her, but I was reluctant as my previous writing partner and I had a bad split. Writing with Pip has been a delight.

> *Have you always enjoyed Fantasy?*

P: I have loved fantasy from the first time I was read Lord of the Rings as a bedtime story. It was love at first listen, and then even more addicting when I started writing it.

T: Actually, I was writing Science Fiction to start, but when I picked up Terry Brooks’ Sword of Shannara I found myself more and more attracted to Fantasy.

> *What is it about Steam punk that attracted you both?*

P: I love the possibilities of it. The optimisim and the look of it, but most especially how it allows you to play with history and historic figures.

T: One of my favorite shows as a kid were reruns of The Wild, Wild West. Steampunk is that taken to the next level, and I eat it up. It’s so much fun, and a real treat for the imagination.

> *Were there any Books, Movies or Writers that have inspired you?

P: I have always loved and admired the works of CJ Cherryh, David
Gemmell and Elizabeth Moon

T: Movies that inspired me were Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang, Star Wars (as in JUST Star Wars, not “Episode IV”), and Disney’s adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Books, there’s the original Shannara series from Terry Brooks. Really, really enjoyed those.


> *Favorite Paranormal or Steam Punk themed Movie?*

P: The Prestige is a great, fun, romp that keeps you thinking long after it is over. It also includes Tesla, who is a big steampunk hero, and a fascinating character.

T: I’m also partial to The Prestige as a steampunk favorite, but the recent film Sucker Punch worked for me. I even gave it a review here — http://teemorris.com/2011/04/01/sucker-punch-review/ .

> *Favorite Paranormal **or Steam Punk themed TV Show?*

P: I am addicted to True Blood- I think it is the Southern accents and the vampires.

T: I don’t know if you could call Eureka steampunk-themed, but it has its moments when you see these geniuses throwing spare parts together to fix a rip in the space-time continuum; but I do love that show.

> *Favorite Paranormal **or Steam Punk themed Book?*

P: I really enjoyed Cherie Priest's Dreadnought.

T: I’m a sucker for the Girl Genius romps.

> *Favorite Author?*

P: I love the work of CJ Cherryh. She's a heroine of mine.

T: I would say the same for Terry Brooks. I met him at a signing in 2005, and then hosted an interview with him when he was the premiere Guest of Honor at RavenCon. Could not be a nicer guy.

> *Favorite Fantasy **or Steam Punk Author?*

P: Just recently I really enjoyed reading The Native Star by MK Hobson. It's set in roughly the same period as Phoenix Rising but with magic being part of the world in some really neat ways.

T: Well, not too sound too meta, I just finished Geist. Reading this was a real delight as I had read the rough draft, loved it, and then watched it evolve into a ripping good read. I am quite lucky in that respect — I am a fan of my co-author. Right now, I’m trying to get caught up on some authors and their works, Neil Gaiman topping that list as I was a huge fan of the Sandman comics and adored the film adaptation of Stardust.

> *Favorite Genre that is NOT your own?*

P: I really enjoy a big, hefty historical novel- one I can disappear
into for days.

T: Thrillers are fun. I had a blast with The DaVinci Code.

> *Who is your favorite of your own characters?

P: I have an affinity for villains, so Sophia in Phoenix Rising is a lot
of fun to write. Villains have the advantage of being free of societal norms, and can say and do whatever they like.

T: All of the characters in Phoenix Rising have been a real treat to work with. It reminds me of when I was acting and you get in one of those shows where the cast just clicks. For me, that is this cast. They are all just so much fun to work with, and in Of Cogs & Corsets (the second Ministry novel) they are still as much fun as the first go-round.

> *Which was the hardest to write? Why?*

P: In the Geist universe sometimes Merrick was hard. It wasn't that he wasn't fun, it was just sometimes finding a way to portray a more laid-back character without making him look weak was tough.

T: For me, the toughest character was Lord Bartholomew Devane and his wife, Lady Olivia. In many of our reviews, people talk about a “sudden darkness” and I think part of that darkness is Lord Devane. I was digging deep, trying to think of the worst things to have him say and have him do. Harder still was writing Olivia who just takes his venom from beginning to end. I found that couple difficult because once I got to writing for them, I slipped into a groove…and that creeped me out a little.

> *What would you be if not a writer? Why?*

P: I would go back to being a librarian, I just enjoyed working with
people and sorting out their informational needs. Also the smell of old books.

T: I’d go back to acting. I could probably still return to acting at any time, but writing takes up a lot of time. It’s similar to acting (as you heard me talk about earlier) so I had to make the tough call on where my time and energies were best spent, and I’ve found a lot of satisfaction in writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

> *If you Could be a Paranormal Being, Who would you be?*

P: I'd love to be a were creature. Who hasn't wanted to run with the wolves or tigers. Also I could find out what my cats were thinking.

T: I think, hard of a lifestyle as it would be, I would want to be an immortal. But romantic as both Lambert and Paul made the lifestyle look, it would also be tragic. Particularly if I were alone. I suppose that is the lure of being a vampire or a lycan — the ability to simply surrender to that primal side…but it all comes with a cost.

> *If you could meet any Fantasy **or Steam Punk **Character out there, Who would you like to meet?*

P: Personally it would be Gandalf. I always thought he'd be fun to hang about with, and hear stories. I hear he has a lot of gossip about dwarves, elves and those charming hobbits.

T: I’d love to enjoy a night out with Tony Stark. The guy has a stripper pole built into his corporate jet. I mean, come on….


> *Now or Then?*

P: Now. Even though Then would be fun to visit it'd be pretty
uncomfortable for women I think.

T: Now. I love my Apple tech far too much.

> *Reading or Writing?*

P: Right now...writing.

T: Writing. I love telling stories.

> *Print or eBook?*

P: At the moment, ebook since I am so busy. But when I can take a breath the feel of paper is still pretty cool.

T: A print book takes me away from the computer, is just as portable, and not as much of a stress if I misplace it. That being said, I love the experience of reading on my iPad.

> *Hardback or Paperback?*

P: Paperback. I can slip it into my purse.

T: Paperback. More portable. More affordable.

> *YA novels or Adult novels?*

P: Can't call this one. I find wonderful things in both genres and I
think the cross-over is very easy to do.

T: In the past few years, there’s little difference between them.

> *Library or Bookstore?

P: Bookstore...for now. Libraries will be a treat later.

T: Bookstores. Particularly, ones with a PROPER café attached to them. (A bookstore that does this right is
Borderlands Books in San Francisco, California.)

> *Summer or Winter?

P: Summer. Hitting the pool and walking the beach.

T: Summer. I love swimming, and I’m a beach comber as well.

> *The Movie or The Book?

P: Book.

T: Tough call.

> *PNR or UF?*



> *What is your favorite part of the writing process?*

P: Getting the box of books.

T: Signing the book for someone.

> *What is your least favorite part?*

P: Deadlines!

T: Having the idea, writing it down, but finding no time to get to it there and then.

> *The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Series in your own words? *

P: A fun steampunk romp, with characters you'll enjoy the ride with

T: Part Avengers, Part X-Files, All Steampunk

> *Any plans for more Books in the series?*

P: The second book is nearly done.

T: With a third and fourth idea down on paper.

> *What is coming up next for you?*

P: After sending of the second book of the Ministry, I will dive into writing the third book for Ace in the Geist series, called Wrayth.

T: I am looking at my first book now — Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana — and thinking it is a good time to return to that story and give it a reboot. A steampunk reboot. I want to make my first book truly mine, and I think the reboot will be a challenge for me.

> *What are you working on right now?*

P: Promoting, writing and generally trying not to fall off this crazy wave of writing.

T: What Pip said.

> *Do you have any advice or tip to those that want to become a
published Author someday?*

P: As long as you keep at it, don't give up, then eventually you will
succeed. You keep getting better as long as you keep moving forward.

T: Don’t think that first book is going to be a runaway smash. Sure, it could be, but you can’t count on that. Keep a day job close on hand, learn to juggle your time, and when you do get published, plan ahead. The best advice I ever got was from award-winning powerhouse Robert J. Sawyer: “Look at your advance. That is your promotional budget. That includes any travel you want to do.”

> * Thank you so much for being here!*

P & T: Our pleasure!


Find Tee & Pip Online:

Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences

Tee’s Website | Pip's Website

Buy Phoenix Rising:

Amazon.com | Book Depot | Barnes and Noble

Check Out:

My Review of Phoenix Rising!


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29 Responses so far.

  1. RKooyer says:

    I knew that the second book was turned in but it's good to hear that there is a third and fourth book at least scribbled out somewhere.

    I have to believe that your current run with the publisher means that the second will be a success and the next two will be equally as exciting.

  2. I enjoyed the interview. I'm looking forward to checking out Phoenix Rising. I must say, I think Steampunk is a fabulous genre and I've loved everything I've had a chance to read so far, and I hope there are many more great stories to enjoy that have Steampunk elements.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com
    +5 GFC follower
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    Total:= 8

  3. Vivien says:

    I adore historical novels as well. There's nothing better than getting a touch of fact thrown into your fiction.

    +5 GFC follower as Vivien
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    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com
    +2 goodreads friend as Vivien
    +1 total=14 (including 1 for comment)

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  4. Steampunk, awesome. I've never read any and am dying to try. I'm with Tee and Pip on summer, I hate the cold.

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  5. Tore says:

    I love historical novels also. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read the series. Tore923@aol.com

  6. I'm off topic but... I love that you change your header but don't do a full over haul. Fab!

  7. Shout out to Terry Brooks's Shannara books! I loved them all too.
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  8. lingeorge says:

    Phoenix Rising intrigues me. I will have to have it in my TBR pile.
    +5 - GFC as lingeorge
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    14 entries
    troublelore at gmail dot com

  9. Blodeuedd says:

    Oh this book just seems to be made of steampunk awesomness! :D

  10. I love that Pip loves the smell of old books. People think i'm crazy cuz I love it!

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  11. This looks interesting, I would love to snag a copy.


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  12. Great interview! I love love love Lord of the Rings and so I agree with meeting Gandalf!

    +5 GFC follower (Rachel Leigh)
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  13. mendy says:

    Yay steampunk! I love reading books with kick ass characters :)

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  14. Denise says:

    Wow this certainly sounds like a good read. Thank you for the interview. I found it interesting that both authors started writing so young. I remember when I was young I would write really interesting stories and now I really appreciate the blood, sweat, tears that go into this process. Kudos to Pip and Tee for not giving up and sharing their efforts with us readaholics. Be well / Denise
    Following on;
    GFC + 5
    Sub email +5
    GR + 2
    FB + 2
    add +1
    = 15


  15. I love when two people come together to write a book, especially a guy and girl team. I love the whole steampunk fell going on right now. I also liked the look of the movie Suckerpunch, I just didn't like the ending. I have this story on my wish list.

  16. Alyssa says:

    Having listened to the podcasted stories of both authors, I'm super excited to see them teamed up for a paper book. Loved the down-to-earth quality of the interview, and it's good to know that plans are already in place for sequels!

  17. I enjoy books stores too. They have a great atmosphere.

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  18. Ash says:

    Yay for more steampunk! And I loved the interview. Can't wait to read/see what those two have come up with in this book, they seem like a great match-up of authors.

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  19. Very cool interview. I definitely want to read this book... and maybe see Eureka and Sucker Punch. :)

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  20. Jodie says:

    I also love the smell of old books...or anybooks for that matter.

    Pimping this out for you at:


  21. Laura H. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! This is a new series for me but I love the premise and the cover and have a lot of the same interests as the authors so I'm thinkin' I'm going to love this book/series!

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  22. Laura says:

    ohh! cool book cover! i haven't really read anything of this genre, it should be interesting.

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  23. Julie says:

    I agree totally with Pip: If I could be any paranormal being, I would be a werecreature! Preferably a panther or something sexy like that!

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  24. Emily H. says:

    Great advice to up-and-coming authors!

    treerose AT yahoo DOT com

  25. Brandy says:

    I can certainly see Eureka as a kind of steampunk influenced show. But, no one mentioned Warehouse 13! (Which is has many a reference to Tesla.)
    Glad to know there will be a second book and ideas are there for a 3rd and 4th.

    brandyj1181 at yahoo dot com

  26. Kelly S says:

    I love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I'm curious how it provided Tee inspiration.

    k2sattlers at comcast dot net or on twitter at ksattler

  27. hotcha12 says:


    TOTAL 15

  28. Jen B. says:

    I love steampunk. My favorite is also my first. I love The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. I've only just found this blog so I only get one entry but I really wanted to comment. I'll add the book to my wish list. I am always looking for new steampunk!

  29. I love steampunk! Thank you for asking them about their favorite steampunk books, now I have some more to check out!

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