Co-writing The Apocalypse Tour by Suki Michelle


Suki Michelle talks about CO-WRITING THE APOCALYPSE GENE, the new YA Urban Fantasy coming out today!

Co-writing The Apocalypse Gene was an intense and ultimately fabulous experience. Carlyle and I have weirdly compatible skill sets. He has a great feel for unwinding a plot and choreographing fight scenes. I love to follow characters in real-time, establish voice, and create settings. We’re both relentless tweakers and our own toughest critics. Like in a courtroom, every concept, every phrase was sentenced (pun intended) to life or death. If undecided, we sent the text to hard labor to see if it would earn the right to live on our pages. During the writing process, we both came up with bizarre ideas and scared each other badly, but we never argued (cough).
When Carlyle wrote scenes with Olivya, a 15-year-old psychic girl with aura-sight and sweet dreads, he made her a bit too aggressive, and I had to remind him she’s not a dude. When I wrote scenes with Mikah, our male protagonist, I made him sweet and sensitive, and Carlyle would scoff and “man him up”.
My day job is in medical transcription. For hours on end, I type reports about disease, disaster, and death - not only depressing but monotonous, so I entertain myself with the what-if game. One day I got an idea for a story but had no clue where to start, so I approached Carlyle.

“Hey Carlyle,” I say, “can you help me write a story?”
“Maybe. What’s it about?”
“The world’s population is dying off from an incurable pandemic. Its origin is linked to vampires.”
“Vampires? Nah. The undead have done to death,” he says. “Think of something else.”
“You’re right. Okay. No vamps. A new kind of Immortal.”
“Cool,” he says and gives me the patented Carlyle-intense-look. “Go on.”
My noggin churns. My brow furrows. “Hmmmm. Let’s think about the Immortals later. First we need characters. How about a boy who feels everything that everyone else feels? His hair is all shiny, and he looks super-hot in a tight black T-shirt.”
Carlyle laughs. “Does he like girls?”
“Yes. No. Maybe. I don’t know.”
“Decisive as always, Suki. How about you think up a love interest while I get a snack.” He leaves for the kitchen and returns with a plate of potato chips and hot salsa.
I grimace at his choice of dipping sauce and say, “Okay, I got it. The boy meets this girl in virtual school. She’s amazing, psychic, sees auras.”
“Why virtual school?”
“Duh! They’re rockin’ the apocalypse, remember? The streets are overrun by gangs who worship chaos. Dangerous. Everyone goes to school online.”
Carlyle gets a pensive look as he munches. “It has potential,” he says, then his face breaks out in a huge grin. “Let’s do this!”

For the next three years, we discussed, bantered, and argued until The Apocalypse Gene was complete, a true collaboration that could not have been written by either of us alone. The experience was harrowing, hilarious, and unbelievably fun . . . and we still love each other.

The Apocalypse Gene is available on 10/17/2011. Learn more about the debut Giveaway at

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