Hello my Freaky Darlings,
S.L. Grey is actually the combined intellect of two spectacular talents, Sarah Lotz and Louis Greenberg. They are also the authors of The Mall, which has just been released in the UK, South Africa, and the common wealth. And today they pay us a visit! So without any further ado I’ll hand you over to them. Don’t worry they don’t bite … hard … but if they do, you’ll like it …
We’re always being asked about how our hive-mind collaboration works. For example, do we lock ourselves in a sealed room so that we can keep an eye on each other and make sure the other one isn’t playing Spider Solitaire or trawling for internet porn instead of writing? As we live in different cities (Louis in Joburg, Sarah in Cape Town) this would have been tricksy and with the air fares alone, prohibitively expensive (although, like most writers, we’re capable of being champion procrastinators wherever we happen to be).
The Mall was written entirely by email, and we’ve kept most of our correspondence (not for egotistical reasons, but because Sarah is far too lazy to clear out her gmail inbox).
Below is a snapshot of how we worked together, a series of emails sparked off by a picture of a Rat King on BoingBoing (http://boingboing.net/2008/02/07/rat-kings.html), as well as musings on what we were actually supposed to be doing.
From: Louis Greenberg
To: Sarah Lotz
Date: Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 11:36 AM
Subject: Rat kings
You seriously think rat kings don’t exist? I was hoaxed, I must admit.
I’m sure if you breed like 1000 baby rats in a small box that could happen.
I’m going to let my simple credulity work in our favour… describe it like they can naturally occur… scuttle scuttle scuttle
From: Sarah Lotz
To: Louis Greenberg
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2009 at 1:32 PM
Subject: Re: Rat kings
They really don’t exist – the theory is that the tails knit together, but that’s like putting a bunch of babies in one cot squashed together and their limbs entwining (ugh! Baby kings!).
I’m going to send you my chapter just now – but had unfortunate incident last night when my horses went on stealth mode, broke out of the paddock and set off every house alarm on the street and trashed designer gardens. I threatened them with the glue factory, but it didn’t help. I don’t like my chapter by the way, but will send details just now.
On Friday, Oct 9, 2009 at 1:43 PM, Louis Greenberg wrote:
Oh, Jesus, sorry about the horse trashing. I hope things will be okay with the neighbours. And that you and the horse are fine. Where did he/she want to go?
I had my own neighbour incident this morning. This kid was screaming – long and hard, like in real terror. This is at the slum house across the road, so I had images of this kid being beaten or molested. And all the men and women were just drifting around in the yard nonchalantly. I called the cops then spoke to one of the women who told me his mother wasn’t there and he was probably just having a fight with his brother who is 25. I said I’ve called the cops, and she said whatever. The cops came pretty quickly and checked things out and the boy looked okay. I would’ve called them any time again, but I’ve never had the best relationship with those neighbours and now they’re thinking I’m the cop-calling bastard (which I am of course).
ANYWAY… I look forward to reading your chapter. I won’t let our writing-doom get contagious. My rewrite’s sounding a lot better, even though it’s been hard to get myself to actually start doing it. I’m glad I’ll have 7 so that I can ponder 8 over the weekend.
I’m sure if you put 100 embryos in a cot and grew them up somehow without moving them out of the cot they would make a baby-king. Just in theory.
On Friday, October 9, 2009 at 1:54 PM, Sarah Lotz wrote:
Oh no, Louis! It was very funny. The horses periodically escape and trash the neighbourhood and then slink home. They’re just after better grass (aren’t we all).
Good on you for calling the cops – not enough people can be arsed to get involved, I think it’s brave of you. Stupid fucking neighbours of bad parentage. Makes me angry.
Embryos, possibly, but not babies. (but then, multiple births never end in Baby King births – ugh! That’s quite a gruesome idea for a short story, maybe SL Grey should expand his/her repertoire). I’ve always like the theory that left-handed people are so because they ate their twin in the womb (Sav’s left-handed and it freaks her out). But then, I convinced her that the world was black and white before 1940, so much fun. Bad, bad mother.
On Friday, Oct 9, 2009 at 2:03 PM, Louis Greenberg wrote:
Well, there are conjoined twins…. and if kids had tails I bet they’d get tangled up more often. And baby rats are more like embryos than baby humans when they pop out cos there are like a million of them in there. They have to come out earlier. I’m still not going to quit believing. I am a man of faith.
Oh, then I’m glad the horsecapade was fun.
Ha ha – I used to piss off my mom by asking her “In your day were things black and white?” Hilarious.
On Friday, October 09, 2009 at 2:10 PM, Sarah Lotz wrote:
Oh yes, I forgot about conjoined twins. BUT that is different. I think we should do an experiment and make our own rat kings. At your house, of course.
I also told Sav that the head rest button in my ancient merc was actually an ejector seat for the back. Worked a treat on long journeys – if they were naughty I’d just let my finger hover above it… One day I did actually press it and she went hysterical. Sav’s never forgiven me for that.
On Friday, Oct 9, 2009 at 2:15 PM, Louis Greenberg wrote:
You sure you don’t want to experiment with baby-kings? There would be more coverage if successful.
On Friday, October 09 at 2009 3:14 PM, Sarah Lotz wrote:
Baby kings would be cool, let me know how you get on.
Have just sent ramblings of incoherence to you. Gawd. Probably we need to speak over the phone to discuss further developments, I struggled with my chapter.
On Friday, Oct 9, 2009 at 3:22 PM, Louis Greenberg wrote:
The ramblings haven’t reached me yet but I’m sure they will soon.
I’m setting up skype this weekend (I have an editing client in Portugal!).
Are you on skype? Even if not I think you can phone landlines for very cheap. Then we can natter even when the free minutes run out.
Sorry it was a struggle – we will find the momentum again – just a bit of planning needed. And when we get a bit of a change of scene too (like I’m looking forward to getting into the dark side and back into the light side and slaughtering Josie). I’ll let you have my rewrite soon – may also get us back on course.
I have less of the pally nonsense and more of this:
What did she know about me? I got up and went back into the restaurant. I needed to piss, and right now if I had a choice between sitting next to that putrid freak and a hand-to-hand battle with the fucking elephant thing with my dick hanging out, I’d choose the latter.
On Friday, October 09, 2009 at 3:41 PM, Sarah Lotz wrote:
Awesome! I like that. I’ve kind of got them a bit pally. But easy to fix with the magic-of-words. (Sigh). By the way, I have no problem if we need to cut out/rewrite anything, even from scratch.
I’m not on skype but my folks are. Anyway, have 2000 minutes accrued and have to use them up (well, I don’t have to, but probably should).
On Friday, Oct 9, 2009 at 3:55 PM, Louis Greenberg wrote:
Ja, but as we said originally they do need to learn to cooperate too, they can’t be at each others’ throats all the time…. Even though they do hate each other. But I did get the attraction thing all wrong. His version of attraction is perving at a distance, not actually having a chat to a woman. He’s quite a psycho actually – he hates the women he comes across, whether he’s fighting them or perving over them.
Your chapter hasn’t come through yet… I’ll wait a bit, and will let you know when it does.
On Friday, October 09, 2009 at 4:00 PM, Sarah Lotz wrote:
Oh yes, totally agree – but have written notes about this in chapter email – suggesting that maybe we make them a tad more likeable. Why hasn’t it arrived? Naughty gmail. It says it has in the <sent> box thingy. Maybe gmail has the capacity to bullshit.
On Friday, Oct 9, 2009 at 4:03 PM, Louis Greenberg wrote:
Haha – it was in my junk folder… everyone’s a fucking critic
On Friday, Oct 9, 2009 at 4:05 PM, Sarah Lotz wrote:
Leave it there. It will fit in with the Nigerian scam artists and penis enlargers.
Now, that was entertaining! Thanks meat sacks, it was wonderful having you here!