Mallory Reaves is the young writer of (among many things) the new young adult fantasy novels based in a world conceived of by her father, Michael Reaves, himself a novelist and famed animation writer, and author Neil Gaiman. Mallory comes from a writing family; at one time her mother, Brynne Chandler Reaves, was the highest paid female animation writer in Hollywood, and her father was the highest paid male animation writer. Today she talks with the Inkpot about her new collaborative novel with her father and Neil Gaiman.
NH: Can you briefly tell us the story of THE SILVER DREAM?
MR: THE SILVER DREAM continues Joey Harker's adventures from INTERWORLD. He's a little older, a little wiser, and immediately winds up in a lot more trouble. It's not just fate-of-the-world stuff now, it's fate of all worlds—and on top of that, there's a new character and a new faction introduced, though Joey really isn't sure if they're on his side or not.
NH: Can you tell us about the story behind the creation of INTERWORLD and its sequel, THE SILVER DREAM?
MR: I know my father and Neil first started talking about it in the 90's, and they were hoping to do it as a T.V. series. They shopped it around a bit, and I remember them being very excited about it, but it wasn't the kind of concept that was easily explained. They decided to do it as a book, instead.
The book came out, it did well, and some people started asking about a sequel. I know Neil mentioned his son was hoping for one, but Dad and Neil were both very busy, and couldn't get to it for a while. Finally, since I had been present for the evolution of INTERWORLD and was a writer in my own right, Dad asked me to help him get THE SILVER DREAM down on paper. He sent me the emails he'd been exchanging with Neil, and the outline they'd both put together, and I wrote the book from that—along with a few of my own additions.
NH: How did your collaboration work? What excited you most about working with Michael and Neil Gaiman? What surprised you?
MR: When I was brought on to do THE SILVER DREAM, it had mostly been outlined. In some places I stuck to what Dad and Neil had laid out, in others, I veered off into something else entirely, and they were always happy to run with my ideas. I would write a certain amount, then send it to my father, who would add things here and there, write more, then send it back. Once we had a full first draft, we sent it to Neil, who was very happy with it. He suggested a few changes, we implemented them, and we had a book!
They're both such great writers with such a great sense of story, which made things very easy. When talking about THE SILVER DREAM and outlining the third book, we would occasionally stop and say “Wait, when did we decide this should happen?” and the rest of us would go “I don't recall, but hasn't it always been that way?” It would turn out we were all on the same page about major plot twists, even though we hadn't ever said it out loud.
Working with Neil was sort of like “Who was that masked man!?” He would vanish into other projects for weeks on end, then send a long email full of encouragement and a few helpful suggestions before flapping off into the night. I've always also considered my father to be Batman, so while I'm really not cowed by celebrities, it was a little like working with superheroes.
NH: What is your writing process like?
ME: Um. “Oh God, who's driving this thing!?” No, really. I often surprise myself when writing, but it all tends to fall together rather neatly. I'm blessed with the ability to keep track of a lot in my head, so I don't generally have to outline on paper. I keep tabs on where all the characters, widgets, and conflicts are and how they're progressing, and some buried subconscious part of my brain will suddenly pop up and go AH-HA! THAT'S why that was there!
It's a little disconcerting, really. As far as the process itself, well, I just sit down and do it. It's the only way I'm going to get it done. I try to get at least 1k words a day. And four or five levels on Candy Crush Saga.
NH: What else have you worked on, and what are you plans for the future?
MR: I spent four years working for a publishing company that mainly did Japanese comics. My co-worker would translate them, as directly as possible, and I would adapt them. I made sure the character's personalities and dialogue came through, as well as setting the tone in the narration. It was a lot of fun! I did over thirty titles, and one of my series was nominated for an Eisner Award. After that, I did a lot of freelance writing, including game development for a web-based MMO game. I had just finished doing that when my father approached me about THE SILVER DREAM.
As far as the future goes, I had always known I would be a novelist, so I'm throwing myself into that. I've written another book that's had some interest, though it's on hold in favor of the next INTERWORLD book. After that, I plan to keep writing and hope people will keep reading!
NH: Will there be more INTERWORLD novels?
MR: There will be at least one more after THE SILVER DREAM, definitely. Neil and I have talked some about ideas for what would happen after this next book, but it has always been in an “if” capacity. Nothing is solid.