I got to interview Kim Cresswell in February of 2018. Since publishing Deadly Shadow, Cresswell has teamed up with M.K. Chester to co-write the novel Icehaven. Wanting to learn more about Chester’s background, gain insights into how writers can work together, and Icehaven, I was able to interview Chester and Cresswell for ScifiPulse.
You can learn more about Cresswell by checking out her homepage and following her Twitter at @kimcresswell, and you can learn more about Chester by checking out her homepage and following her on Twitter at @M_K_Chester.
Nicholas Yanes: Kim, last time I talked to you was way back in February. How has life been for you? Have you developed any superpowers yet?
Kim Cresswell: Life has been busy, as usual. Thanks for asking. I haven’t developed any superpowers yet, but I am working on it.
Yanes: M.K. Chester, you are based in Tennessee. What is the writing community like in your area? Are there any events or organizations in The Volunteer State that other writers should know about?
M.K. Chester: The middle Tennessee region is fertile ground for creatives! One familiar event might be the Killer Nashville International Writers’ Conference, which brings more than 300 crime and thriller writers to town every year. We also have a thriving indie book seller in Parnassus Books, which hosts a variety of events throughout the year. I’ve also been a member of RWA’s Music City Chapter, in which I found many helpful friends—meeting in person is a refreshing change to online sometimes.
Yanes: You two co-wrote Icehaven. What was the inspiration for this story?
Cresswell: I’ve always wanted to write a dystopian series and I’m very concerned about global warming. With more and more, extreme weather events unfolding all over the world, I felt the topic was important and would make a challenging backdrop for the story. The global warming experiment used in Icehaven is based on a real experiment that hasn’t happened as of yet. I wanted to explore what could happen if things didn’t go as planned, how the characters would respond, how I might respond under the circumstances.
Yanes: Icehaven involves a global warming experiment gone wrong and an iron-fisted leader. Was this story in anyway inspired by real world politics?
Cresswell and Chester: We don’t think the book was necessarily inspired by any particular political event or personality, but you will be able to see and feel the influence of some post-modern conflicts throughout the story. When the book begins, whether you believe global warming is irrelevant, the notion of holding onto the freedoms that America stood for are discussed as well as the question of how much freedom you are willing to sacrifice for the sake of security?
Yanes: Icehaven has a rich collection of characters. Were any of these characters based on people you know?
Cresswell: We have so many interesting characters in Icehaven. The hero, Brandon Church, isn’t exactly based on M.K. Chester’s son, but when she needs to fill in a blank, she looks to him. He went into the US Marines this year and has just finished with his initial training. She’s been able to learn a lot through his experiences and those of her husband, who is an Army National Guard veteran.
Yanes: On this note, are there any characters that took on a life of their own?
Chester: That would the villain. I’ve never written suspense, where the villain’s point of view could be incorporated. I found it to be a LOT of fun when I got to write from his perspective.
Yanes: Creative people are not known for their ability to compromise. So, how did you two go about crafting Icehaven? Specifically, do you two have any advice for how other co-writers can better work together?
Chester: Logistics have been a challenge. Since we both write in Scrivener, we haven’t (yet) found a way to both access the same document and have it update correctly. That means one of us has the master file while the other has some pieces. We’ve had to work diligently to coordinate the flow of information, so that would be my biggest piece of advice—figure out how it actually works. It’s been a source of frustration for us while we worked it out. As far as the writing goes, we both write all the different characters, although I know some collaborators would have had one author/character, etc. It’s worked well for us.
Yanes: What are the long-term goals for Icehaven? Is there a clear endpoint in mind?
Cresswell: Icehaven is The Day after Tomorrow meets Mad Max, Handmaid’s Tale and The Hunger Games. It’s an enthralling new adult post‑apocalyptic dystopian adventure with a paranormal twist. We don’t have a clear endpoint in mind. Icehaven is the first book in the Sum of all Tears Series set in a vast frozen world where the past world no longer exists. The main characters, August Madison and Brandon Church, are in their early twenties, the terrain is infinite, making the possibilities truly endless. The series will probably be the longest running series we will both write.
Yanes: When people finish reading Icehaven, what do you two hope they take away from the narrative?
Cresswell: As in real life, we are faced with obstacles on a daily basis. Perseverance. Not to give up, no matter what you are dealing with. In Icehaven, when faced with life-threatening obstacles from extreme weather to dealing with an iron-fisted villain who controls the food supply, the main characters must find the strength to push ahead and overcome.
Chester: We hope readers will take away a love for our strong characters. We want them to be invested in the story, the outcome, and what might happen next…because we all need heroes to cheer for.
Yanes: Finally, what else are you two working on that people can look forward to?
Cresswell: In 2019, I’ll be working on Invisible Truth, the second paranormal thriller in The Assassin Chronicles series. We will be also writing the second book in the Sum of all Tears series: Liberty.
M.K Chester mainly writes romance and has two contemporary romances to publish in 2019. She is also working on her angelic urban fantasy series that fans of Icehaven will love!
Icehaven is exclusively available in the Cursed Lands Boxed Set, a limited-time YA/NA Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Dystopian Collection written by twenty-four award-winning and bestselling authors. You can also download the first three chapters of Icehaven for free until December 31st.
Remember, you can learn more about Cresswell by checking out her homepage and following her Twitter at @kimcresswell, and you can learn more about Chester by checking out her homepage and following her on Twitter at @M_K_Chester.