The idea sort of came to us in pieces. When I was in grad school, some of the characters just popped into my head, along with some of the magical elements (the moths, the coffin, etc), and I immediately started talking to Daniel about it. He had studied Faust and suggested we make it the result of a Faustian bargain (initially Madame Vileroy was just a witch exploiting a group of brilliant, ambitious children). So, we teamed up and started to write! The title was the last thing to come to us.
What books have most influenced your life?
Dina: Growing up, my favorite school books were Lord of the Flies, A Separate Peace, Huck Finn, Gulliver’s Travels, and anything by Jane Austen. Of course, I love all sorts of young adult fantasy as well, Lord of the Rings, Dune, the Narnia books. As far as modern young adult goes, the Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing is amazing! And yes, I’ve read Harry Potter, and Twilight, too. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of books set in India for some reason. I think I’m going through an India phase. Finally, we can’t forget Goethe’s Faust (and Marlowe’s too)!
Daniel: I’ve always been a huge fan of Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones. “The Brothers K” by David James Duncan and U.S.! by Chris Bachelder (possibly the best young American writer?). Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled detective novels. Doug TenNapel’s graphic novels (“Creature Tech” especially). Kiyohiko Azuma, who makes the manga, “Yotsuba&!” Mo Willems is pretty awesome, and he’s come up with the best character name ever, Reginald von Hoobie-Doobie (say it aloud…hehe, love it).
Have you ever noticed any similarities between you and other authors?
For Another Faust, we had to combine both our voices to come up with something entirely new. So it’s hard to pinpoint just one or two authors, since both of our influences are mixed together in this one book. Other people that have read the book have called it “Twilight meets Gossip Girl,” which is true, given the themes and ultra-modern atmosphere, but I think we definitely add a dash of the old-world storytelling to that mix.
How is it working as a brother and sister team? Did your ideas ever clash with one another about the direction of the book? /How did you come to an agreement?
Yeah, we get into a lot of arguments. If you go to our website, you can see a video of a hilarious fight we got into while editing. We usually come to agreement through hours and hours of incessant bickering. It’s sort of your typical brother and sister fighting sequence:
What was the hardest part about writing Another Faust?
See question 4. I think the hardest part was melding two very different styles into something we can both love and be proud of.
I love the cover of Another Faust, who designed it and how did you react to the finished product? We absolutely adore the cover. It’s so eerie, just like our book, and the characters are so perfectly represented. They are attractive, but there is something off about them, something you know is wrong. That’s exactly the feeling we were going for. And of course, the brilliance of the cover is completely the genius of our publisher Candlewick Press, who only ever puts out the highest quality designs.
How many books can we expect in this series?
The series is designed to take place entirely in the elite Marlowe School in NYC. Each book is a modern retelling of an old classic, using the themes of that book to tell an entirely new story. The setting is the same, because we want to show how the same set of students can struggle with these timeless issues in this modern school that brings together characters from across literature. Our second book (Another Pan) is already written and is being edited now! It will be out about a year after Another Faust. We are currently outlining the third book, and after that, we’ll see...
We encourage our readers to go to our website (www.anotherfaust.com) and give their opinion about what classics they would like retold!
Are you working on any other projects?
We each have our own individual books that we’re working on, both for adult and young adult audiences. Together, we’re continuing to work on “Another Series” and are cooking up a few other ideas as well!