Marissa Meyer: 0:06
there. Hello, friends. And welcome to the happy writer. A podcast. It aims to bring readers more books to enjoy and to help authors find more joy in our writing. I am your host, Marissa Mayer. Thanks so much for joining me. I hope you guys air continuing to stay healthy and safe in this season of Corona virus. Um, I have been getting a lot of questions lately about the intro music on the podcast. Yes, that is me playing my ukulele. Um, I wanted to learn to play an instrument my whole life. I never picked it up on that. A couple years ago, my husband got me Ah, ukulele for Christmas, which I think we can agree is the happiest instrument. So I've been trying to to learn, and and that is me playing at the start. Um, and that is also the thing that is making me happy today. My, my ukulele that I love so much. That note. Um, I'll also go ahead and give a shout out to my ukulele teacher. His name is Alexander Atwood. Um, it gives private lessons. Normally, if you happen to be in the Tacoma area and want to learn Ah, to play ukulele or guitar. Of course not right now, because don't leave your house. Um are if you're interested in learning the bass guitar, you confined him on youtube dot com slash step by step base. The other thing that is making me super happy today is to get to talk to today's guest. He is one of my personal auto by authors. I have loved everything that he has done. His books are quirky and mysterious and bloody and romantic. Ah, and I'm a really, really big fan. Ah, he is the author of the Y a thrillers last seen Leaving White Rabbit and Death Prefers Blondes as well as the upcoming paranormal thriller The Fell of Dark, which I think is coming out this summer. But he can confirm that for us. Um and he's also going to tell us about his newest book, which just came out on April 7th. Aware Wolf in River Dale, Please welcome Kayla Roehrig. Hello And thank you for having me. Thank you for being here. Did I get everything accurate? You did get you trying to research books and book releases. And what exactly is everybody up to right now.
Caleb Roehrig: 2:35
Oh, I know. I know. This is gonna be this. This will be a very busy year for me, So I'm I'm excited.
Marissa Meyer: 2:43
How so? You know, you have two books coming out is what else is happening. I actually
Caleb Roehrig: 2:47
so I actually have three books armed. A short story in an anthology. Um, so my But we're wolf in Riverdale, dropped April 7th. And then, um, next month in May. Uh, I should I should be, like, more specific about the dates since I'm not sure when this is going to air, but in may, I have a short story in the anthology Out now, Queer, We go again. Uh, that is being I know it's being edited by Sandra Mitchell, and it is being published by INC Yard Press and I Oh, my goodness. I wish you I have the date on the top. My head. It's made something. Um, maybe 21st. And then I have the fellow dark, which comes out July 14th and then I have a mystery project which I am finishing up right now. That has not been announced yet, so I don't think I can share details, but that is coming out in October. So October 6th is my third book this year. Oh,
Marissa Meyer: 3:48
Caleb Roehrig: 3:49
I know. Yeah, I'm I'm I'm excited about this one. It's Ah, it is. This is, um it's ah, license property. So it was work for hire, but it's is a property than really excited to be involved with. So I had a lot of fun writing it, and I'm looking forward to having it be out there.
Marissa Meyer: 4:08
That was a really mean teaser. I know. I know. I e no, I wish I could
Caleb Roehrig: 4:13
say Maura, What I can say is that, um uh, is it for the enterprising you can find it because it is. There is a listing for it on Amazon. I don't think it's on good reads yet, but I did have somebody who d m like, literally the second that it appeared on Amazon. I had a reader sent me a direct message and say, Is this you? Did you write this? What's this? Eso
Marissa Meyer: 4:37
Frieder's air. So on top of things, I know they find out about things before we do sometimes know Syria. I had
Caleb Roehrig: 4:46
no idea that it was up on Amazon until I got this message. It was like it was like it was like a with a screen grab of the thing. And I was like, It's
Marissa Meyer: 4:52
out there with a description. Okay? So if anyone wants to be good sleuths, they find it, Um, which I will be doing is serious. We're done with that. I'll email you and gushed all about it. Well, uh, hey, so so that's a lot happening. Uh, let's talk about your next book, though. The one or the one that just came out, um, aware Wolf in Riverdale, which a zai understand is based on the classic Archie Comics. But with this list, tell us around that. Yeah.
Caleb Roehrig: 5:26
So, um, this is actually it's ah, it's a funny story, but I when the show. So I I grew up reading Archie Comics that Waas, like by my dad, had a lot used to go in a lot of business trips when we were kids. And when he would come home, he would buy Archie comics for us at the airport will bring them home with him. So we grew up kind of immersed in the world of Archie Andrews and Riverdale. So when that when this show came out. I was so excited. I was thrilled that there was the these familiar characters were going to get a new you know, new life breathed into them, find a new audience, and I when I when I learned that. But Riverdale and Archie Comics have had sold their intellectual property rights to Scholastic. I got on the phone of my agent and I said, I want to be a part of this if there is any way, please pitch me to them And she did. And it's sort of like we've received a really nice response. But then that kind of kind of nothing happened. For a while. They'd already hired a writer to do the Riverdale tie in novels, so it was just sort of It was just a nice contact. And
Marissa Meyer: 6:34
then a few
Caleb Roehrig: 6:34
months later, they reached out to me because Archie Comics has a new offshoot called Archie Horror, and they do a series of comics that got Jughead the hunger vamp Aronica afterlife with Archie, I think is one of them. They've got some crossovers. They're they're doing zombies. They're doing where wolves, They're doing vampires. And they were going Teoh. They wanted to hire a writer to do a tie a novel for, um Jug had the hunger and they offered that to me and I jumped at it. I jumped at it. So it's a whole suits of the comic syriza's about Judge had turning into aware Wolf and I got to write. I got to write a book based on that, and it was I mean, it was so it was so ideal. It could not have been more perfect for me. I love these characters my whole life, and I love this. I love this twist, like putting this paranormal horror twist on it. I got to take characters that I grew up with and love, and I got to feed them to monsters on page. It was wonderful. So I had I had such a great time writing this and just like every aspect of it was fun.
Marissa Meyer: 7:42
Was there any part of you that was, um, kind of intimidated or felt pressure taking these very well known, very beloved characters and like now you get control over them like, were you afraid of that at all?
Caleb Roehrig: 7:58
Yes. Oh, yes, Absolutely. I think you know my initial like my very first instinct was I jumped out and I said, This is perfect. I want this so bad. And then as soon as I sat down to write and I thought, Can I actually do this like like it was that that moment where I was like I imposter syndrome was like I did not the way more than I can chew. Like I opened the book with a scene where Dylan Doyley is is walking through a cemetery at night. And I thought I was like, I'm actually putting words in the mouth of built in doily like I threw up Bring like this is somebody like I might like. I remember reading these comics with my parents when I was still learning to read and like seeing these characters. And just now I'm actually like I'm creating characterizations for them, like I'm putting words in their mouths and getting them emotions and background. And so, yeah, it was really intense, but I I also feel like in a way, in a way, I've talked to authors who have done this before, and people felt fall into one of two camps, one being that having having all that groundwork done for you is either liberating or it feels very confining. And I i for me personally, I found that it actually was a little liberating because I didn't have to worry about introducing these characters to the reader. I didn't have to worry about establishing who they are as people because they exist. So I got to just take them like, you know, I'm I'm Somebody handed me a paint set and then said, I don't have to mix the colors. I just get to figure out how I put them on the canvas. Um, in a way, there's there's a different kind of creativity that comes with that. So I ended up having a lot of fun doing this, sort of finding my voice within this world and sort of figuring out how I'm gonna paint with these colors.
Marissa Meyer: 9:41
I love that analogy. It's a little bit like writing fan fiction. Yes, um, which I came from a fan fiction background and as you're describing it, it's like, yeah, you know, you have these characters that you already love and you know, so many of your readers already love on. Do you have that foundation already going into it. But now you can. Now what can we do? Where can my imagination go with that?
Caleb Roehrig: 10:04
Yes, I basically tell people it is. It's it's fan fiction, but you're running in a you. It's a horror au with with With were moves and monsters. But it's these characters and I kind of get toe. I am. It is not Archie comics like it's at the original Archie Comics, you know. So there's a different flavor to these characters. It's not Riverdale, the TV show. There's a different flavor. So I get I had some freedom within within the constraints that they put on the project in general, I did have some freedom with how to represent these characters. Uh, and it is actually interesting because, um, the comic, serious drug had the hunger opens with, you know, I was reading and that's training here. I was like, What's my angle? Like, what? What story do I want to tell in this universe? You know, what can I do that won't directly conflict with what's on the page already? And they told me it didn't have to be like I didn't have to make it. Then we're gonna worry so much about me sticking entirely with Cannon. Um and it was a good thing that they said that because it it was certainly. But the comic series it I am digressing, but the comic series it opens with with Exposition Center, you know, previously, um and I was like, Well, what if I take this exposition and I flushed out and I turned it into kind of a prequel. So I'm writing a prequel to judge, have the hunger,
Marissa Meyer: 11:25
Caleb Roehrig: 11:25
did that and I had Teoh. I had to take some creative liberties just to make the story come together and making a cohesive. But as I was writing the book, they continued writing the comic seriously, but he ended up going back and fleshing out that exposition and writing their own version of it. So I think what I wrote cannot be considered cannon with the Siri's. But it is a tie and like it is basically taking place in that same universe. I forget. What
Marissa Meyer: 11:51
was the question? Sorry, I don't remember what the question was either. I didn't ask because as you were talking, I was wondering, Ok, so, like, full disclosure. I have never read an Archie comic. Uh, OK, yeah. So I know I know very little about this this world in these characters, but I was wondering, like when you were writing and when you took on, uh, you know, you're gonna ride a book for this property, but like you mentioned, you get to do kind of a you version of it. Were you writing for Archie lovers? Were you writing for horror lovers or were you not even were you just like writing for yourself or someone else? A little,
Caleb Roehrig: 12:36
You know, a mix of all the above. Um, because for me, I feel like just dipping my toe into these waters And any other time writing for RG lovers like, I kind of feel like this. The target audience for, um, Jug had the hunger for Archie. Horror in general is kind of a mix of horror lovers and Archie comics lovers and I you know, anything that I write, if it's gonna bring me joy, I'm also writing for myself. So it's gotta have my sense of humor is in there my kind of my sense of timing. I something that I said to somebody that felt very liberating about this is that when we talk about the constraints that are put upon you when you're when you're working with characters that already exist in a universe that essentially already exists, Um, something that that is liberating is that I get to bring my style to it. So I take my approach to writing horror, my approach to creating suspense toe writing, you know, friendship, drama and relationship drama and, uh, just like humor and all that stuff. And I get to pour it into this. And so I take, I take what works for me and I It's kind of like a formula, you know, I take what works for me, and then I take these materials and I put them together. So it's kind of like I take my formula and I plugged their data into it. And then what comes out is this book
Marissa Meyer: 13:58
right? Because one of the things that I love about your style and your previous books is the way that you write mystery. Um, and you do really great job of, you know, kind of that Sherlock Holmes e. There's these little clues, but there's also red herrings on and Of course, that's what the mystery genre is is all about, and you just dio wonderful job, and I never know. I mean, I'm always guessing until the very end in the big and which may be says more as much about me as a reader writer. Is there another is? They're a mystery element in this book as well. Ah, there is there, isn't
Caleb Roehrig: 14:41
there isn't. It's sort of like I love Mr. Obviously I love mysteries. I love suspends, and I think that there's and there is kind of fine line between them. I think I think a good mystery has suspense, but a good suspense story doesn't necessarily have to have mystery, or it doesn't need to. It doesn't need to be a mystery for the reader, but it needs to be a mystery for the characters. Um yeah, and one of my favorite authors, Mary Higgins Clark, who recently passed, Um, I I fell in love with She's part of what made me fall in love with writing, and I turned to her. I think about her a lot when I talk about how to craft suspense because she did such a great job of it cause she would have, um it would be, you know, her her books. The point of view would usually shift between, you know, a few characters, and she would do that Is such a master for two Great like t do that to create suspense where you would be inside the characters had up until the point that they learned something crucial and then you would jump out of their heading into somebody else's who would have a different piece of the puzzle. So, as the reader, you know more than the characters dio and it creates attention where you're reading and you're saying, Oh my gosh, no, don't go in there. Don't go in there like because you know what's behind the door But they don't. And I brought some of those lessons into aware Wilson Riverdale, where I have these characters each knowing a separate piece of this puzzle and, um so, for example, you know the reader will know who the where Wolf is, but the characters don't. And so as Benny Eddie Cooper, where Wolf Hunter extraordinaire and I not a spoiler toe to reveal that much as she tries to figure out who amongst her group of friends is the wear wolves you already know and you know more details than she does. And more details and other characters do. So there is a sense of mystery, but it is not. It's not a traditional. It's not like a who done it. Although Teoh, uh, speaking to the whodunit,
Marissa Meyer: 16:48
Caleb Roehrig: 16:48
feel like I I think that, um I think the best mysteries air one where I do think they should keep you guessing. I do think that when when who done it is finally revealed, it shouldn't be like it. It shouldn't be mind blowing like it shouldn't come out of nowhere. You should be able to look at it in stating that makes
Marissa Meyer: 17:04
right right. It's the science teacher that you've never heard of. Yes, exactly. I
Caleb Roehrig: 17:11
feel like, you know, yeah, you want the You wanted to be a surprise that you want there to be an element of surprise to it. But also, I think if it comes out of absolutely nowhere, then you didn't do your job like there should be. You need to establish. You need to establish enough information on the page that the reader, when they find out, they can say, Of course. Of
Marissa Meyer: 17:28
course. Yes. Why? Why didn't I see that coming? Yeah, Um, yeah, but I think I mean, there's value value in both types of stories. The ones where you know it is more of the whodunit, and you have no idea. And you're constantly guessing, um, until the very end. And I love that, and you establish it so well in so many of your books. Um, but I also like, like you were talking about before these books where the characters have the information and, um, as the reader, your you're waiting, It's the suspense isn't so much in figuring out that information. It's in waiting to see what the characters will do when they figure it out. And I really I really love that as well. In writing mysteries, which you've done now, a number of them, like Do you have a process as faras? Do you know the thing? Do you? How do you know about putting in these red herrings in these clues?
Caleb Roehrig: 18:27
So So yes. Um, actually, you know, it's funny that this is this is another. When I talk about sort of my journey to publication and how I became a writer. This is a story, but I tell I might very first thing that I ever wrote. I was in college and I started. I was writing. I thought it was a short story and then I thought, and there's more to this and they kept writing it and I kept writing it and I kept writing and I got longer and longer, longer things like I'm reading a book
Marissa Meyer: 18:54
and e It was like, I don't believe it. I'm writing a book on
Caleb Roehrig: 18:58
and I I finished a I finished it A came in at 160,000 words and I could not edit to save my life because every word of it was precious. This is my first attempt, and I, you know, I just I was like, How could I possibly cut anything? All of these words are important. Every bit
Marissa Meyer: 19:15
of it. Yeah, and hall 100 and 60,160
Caleb Roehrig: 19:20
1000 words Wish which is basically like, twice a long as my debut last seen leaving and I just but I couldn't I couldn't possibly bear to part with any of it. And part of what got me there was like I said, I started it as a short story and so I didn't really know where I was going with it. I kind of kept thinking, you know, I had, like, the first, maybe the 1st 3rd of it. I had existing really concrete Lee in my head and then the middle section. I kind of had some loose like, I sort of like the big stuff that I wanted to happen. And then I kind of figured out the ending as I went along. And that's how you get to a mystery that is 160,000 words. Because I kept painting myself into corners like I kept thinking, I gotta have a clue. Like I gotta have some some clues and I gotta have some red herrings. And so I kind of like rights. Um in. And then I'd figure out that I made the crime physiologically impossible to have been committed. And you know that I gave all of my suspects airtight alibis because I was trying to make it seem like, really who could possibly be. It couldn't be this person. It couldn't be that person. Suddenly it can't be anybody you know, and then you gotta, like, introduce. So So I figured out the hard way that I need to write from an outline, um, to keep myself honest and so that I don't paint myself into corners. So a book the way of book starts for music will get an idea I usually will spend again afternoon, just kind of introducing myself to the characters. I'll just I'll just have to start typing out the idea. Well, it's just sort of like, um, stream of consciousness. I will just open a word file, and I will just start typing anything that comes to my mind about this story about the characters. But how I want them to interact. Uh, and often I'll change my mind. Or I will come up with some new twists that negates something I put down earlier, and I'll just keep writing. Let's write everything, and then I will sit down and I will outline the story in detail, and my outlines can be anywhere from 10 to. I think my longest was 35 pages, 36 it is you know what if I'm writing a mystery and will think very specifically about the different clues, like I'll think about who the suspects are and how I want to, um, you know, cause I actually need to give. I need to give the the detective character a trail of bread crumbs to follow, and it can't be a straight line or it'll be a little boring. But I have figured out from from another one of my heroes stew graft. And I did figure out that that following a straight line that it doesn't have to be like that can still be compelling. Like you can have a straight line that is compelling. You just have toe. You have to make the journey interesting, like you've got a you have to be able to pick up the crumbs one at a time and have them lead you to the next into the next into the next. So it doesn't have to be complete chaos, but you know, in order toe to make the destination less obvious. You know, you've got I have to think about that, and I've got to think about you know what the breadcrumbs are and how one will lead to the next and how this character is going to put these pieces together. And so I always think about that when I'm doing the outline and then I basically when I sit down to write, I try to follow the outline ISS as faithfully as possible. I will. I will. Every time I will find out that there is something that you know in the process of outlining, I didn't consider how one action or one of them would impact the characters kind of emotions or psychology moving forward, which creates a different you know, it reshapes certain aspects of the story, and sometimes it means things that I wrote into the outlines take place later in the book can no longer really happen the same way. And so I gotta rethink those. Yeah, but yes, I I write from an outline on it and it keeps me honest. I like to say it helps me stay mostly within, like, a reasonable word count less less of me trying toe kind of like, you know, like Wile E Coyote, like a turn like paint the door on the wall so I could, like, escape from the corner that I've
Marissa Meyer: 23:17
no eso. Yeah, I am also an outline writer. Um, I don't know how much it helps me keep. My word counts down. Maybe my outlines air too long. Maybe that's the problem. But somehow my books always end up being enormous, and I don't know how to make that stop happening. Might have gotten longer.
Caleb Roehrig: 23:36
You know what's so funny? Cause my money, that's the last thing leaving was around 90,000 words in them. White Rabbit, I think was around 94 or 96 and then ducked. Prefers blondes was 100 and 20. Um, and I fell a dark is about as like, 104. I think I think aware wolf in Riverdale is is much shorter. It's only about 60,000 words. Um, yeah, definitely.
Marissa Meyer: 24:01
Whatever the book means. You know, different books need different lengths, different levels of complexity. So So, yeah, it's not. We don't always have to end it ourselves just for the sake of editing ourselves. But yeah, I I struggle. I struggle to keep my word count low sometimes. Um, you mentioned the fell of dark, uh, which I I saw on your website. But there was very little information, so I don't know anything about it eyes the sale of dark. So
Caleb Roehrig: 24:34
the felt dark is, um it is a paranormal thriller. It is a a an apocalyptic vampire adventures.
Marissa Meyer: 24:42
No. Yeah, fine. Yeah,
Caleb Roehrig: 24:46
it's sort of Ah. So I I another one of my big storytelling influences, this Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And a 10 years ago, I tried to write a vampire story because they were all the rage. But, you know, I was one of millions people who were trying to write vampire stories. And I have since learned that if you can identify a trend, it's too late. Yeah, right. Yeah. So But
Marissa Meyer: 25:09
it was good
Caleb Roehrig: 25:10
practice on. I really got Teoh.
Marissa Meyer: 25:13
Caleb Roehrig: 25:13
said, I Buffy was such a big influence on me as a storyteller that it was really exciting for me. Toe. Get my hands on those tropes make these very familiar tropes. You know, vampires were kind of over for a season, but I had this. I had come up with a very complex universe. I had written what I intended to be the first of five books, and I had kind of thumbnail sketched all the different plots And how these characters you know how things were developed for them. And, uh, last year when Sandra Mitchell approached me about contributing to out now I
Marissa Meyer: 25:57
Caleb Roehrig: 25:57
struggle to come up with a story that I wanted to tell and eventually was like, You know what? I'm right. I want to read about vampires was like I still I was like, I
Marissa Meyer: 26:05
Caleb Roehrig: 26:05
to write about that. And, um
Marissa Meyer: 26:09
so I did.
Caleb Roehrig: 26:09
I just read. It's a little short story. I loved it. It's about this short story. It's called What Happens in the Closet? And it's about two boys hiding from the vampire invasion at their homecoming dance. And I I just had so much fun with it. And I thought I was like, I don't want to let this universe go. And it was right around the same time that I was writing that that, um, Renee idea announced the beautiful trilogy she was introducing. Ah, world of vampires with people of color and, uh, Zoraida Cordova announced, um, was that vampires never die an anthem that anthology Vampires never get old. That's what It's OK. And I had I had so much fun writing that short story I immediately had actually already outlined, Um, another book and I scrapped it, and I I had outlined it. I had started writing. I've written the first like 500 words, and I scrapped it on. I wrote my editor on, you know, and I just said I was like, I want to write a book about vampires And here is my Here's my idea. And it was basically I kind of took the book that I had written 10 years ago, and I updated it, and I changed what felt like it needed changing. But I wanted I was like, I was like, I'm to take that story and I'm gonna turn it into one book that has just packed with all the rip roaring adventure that I intended to be over five books, and I'm gonna just pick my favorite parts and I'm gonna put them together into this one story. I'm going to tell my vampire story now, when vampires air untrained again before the late I want to get my vampire story out there and she said yes, she was She was thrilled with that. And then I Then I picked up that book that 10 years ago I was like Oh, wow. This is terrible.
Marissa Meyer: 27:57
I thought we might get to that moment. Yeah, exactly. I think this
Caleb Roehrig: 28:01
was not nearly as good as I thought it was. And I have grown a lot of the writer, So, uh, so think of this. So I basically I scrapped everything about it. Except for one twist. There was one twist that I I intended to take place over the course of I think, two or three books. And instead it now takes place in one book. But I have just 11 of that twist. I wanted to get that twist out there. So So, basically, it is the story of Auggie Pfeiffer, who is a, um, sarcastic art nerd who lives in a dick hang suburb of Chicago. Uh, and it also happens to lie adding excessively lines and from people who don't know what a lines are. Um, jeez, I don't even have to find
Marissa Meyer: 28:47
them there. Yeah, like, yeah, lines of supernatural enter energy. Exactly.
Caleb Roehrig: 28:54
Yeah, but basically, the theory goes that there are certain mystic sites that pepper the earth and that when they are in a line that they creates Yeah, like a like a line of energy. And so Fulton Heights, Illinois, lies at the intersection of two of these ley lines. And the vibration of this nexus draws paranormal activity. So vampires, which everybody knows about. It's sort of like I took a little bit of a true blood, kind of a flavor there where everybody vampires air a known entity.
Marissa Meyer: 29:26
Okay, Yeah, and they're a
Caleb Roehrig: 29:29
nuisance, But they're not. You know, it's sort of like in in Fulton Heights. Maybe three people die from exsanguination a year. So because it is in vampires best interests not to kill their victims. Because then people get all torches and pitchforks
Marissa Meyer: 29:44
so glad they've learned exactly.
Caleb Roehrig: 29:47
Yeah, so they're unknown entity in there. They're annoying. But they're not. It's not. Ah, you know, it's not a national emergency, but everybody in town takes the necessary precautions. But anyway, one day, Auggie is approached by a vampire who tells him that the world as we know it is coming to an end and that Augie might be the only one who can stop that from happening. So it's a little bit of my my take on the chosen one. Um, it's a little bit like basically, I say it's Simon Spear, the Vampire Slayer. Eso So if you had this kind of, um, neurotic art nerd kid who suddenly has Teoh saved the day and that is that's sort of the concept behind the story. So there are. There's vampires and there's witches. There's magic and mayhem make outs, and it's It's all the stuff that I love
Marissa Meyer: 30:43
a lot of stuff that I love. Teoh really, really fine. Uh, is it just gonna be the one book now, down from 5 to 1, or is there any more? I definitely
Caleb Roehrig: 30:55
There is room in this universe for more. So if there is a good response, I had absolutely continue adventures either with these characters or I could write about that I have. I populated this with a lot of characters that feel very vibrant to me and to have more stories in them than just this one. So I could always jump into the head of a different character until their story or tell tell the origin story of some of the vampires that appear in the book because that also would be a lot of fun. Get sort of some historical fiction in there as Well, this and this book does have There are little vignettes that take place throughout history going back in time. So there's I say, there there cameo appearances from some very recognizable on names from history, including, um, including the the Scottish Noble who inspired Shakespeare's tragedy of MK both.
Marissa Meyer: 31:54
How interesting. Yeah, yeah. Um, well, I love that story. I mean, I feel like so many of us have, you know, books or stories that we, you know, started. Or maybe we wrote a complete draft of maybe we tried to get it published years and years ago. Um, and I feel like, more often than not, those just kind of disappear into the other, and we never go back to them. Um, you know, and they live on in our drawers or the depths of our computers never to see the light of day. Um, so I like hearing another perspective that you actually went back and you still had something that you loved about it, Um, and were ableto actually do something with it. I feel like that's an unusual but cool story. Yeah,
Caleb Roehrig: 32:42
and this is actually it's my second time because death prefers bones. Was a similar project. Really? Yeah, I had. And that's a That's a much longer and more complicated story. But I had it was an idea that I came up with when I was 17 18 19 something like I was a teenager. Wow. Yeah, when I first came up with the I mean, when I say the first version of that idea was very simple, it was just I had this idea for a book about an heiress named Margot who, who all I knew about her is that she drove a cool car and she hated her dad. And I didn't know why. And I over time I flushed that out over time. I mean, over the course of maybe a decade, I kind of fleshed out a story, and I finally I wrote it as a screenplay. Qusai. That's what I thought I was. I I remember watching the Charlie's Angels movie the 2000 remake
Marissa Meyer: 33:33
Love, Love His Angels. Yeah, and
Caleb Roehrig: 33:36
I remember thinking this this is the vibe that I want for that story like this is this is the vibe I want from Argos story. Yeah, yeah. Bright colors, Lots of like like music, color mint like the motifs. Just this sort of over the top heightened reality. Um, s So I thought I was writing an action movie, and he did. But I don't know how to write movies, so it was terrible. But again, again, sometimes when you have these ideas and then you kind of shelled them, they they become more attractive in your memory. Then
Marissa Meyer: 34:10
they were Yeah,
Caleb Roehrig: 34:12
sort of like you look back and with rose colored glasses. And when I was trying to figure out what would follow my debut, I sent in email to my editor, and I said, You know, I have completed a mystery called White Rabbit on and, you know, before you're reading enjoyment, here is a sample. Um, but if you don't like it, here are some other ideas that I have And one of them waas, The book that would become deaf, prefers blondes, which at the time I was calling my original draft is called Mad Margot. And then I changed it to bitter business, which is a quote from Hamlet, cause Hamlet inspired the story.
Marissa Meyer: 34:48
How I didn't know that. Yeah,
Caleb Roehrig: 34:50
Yeah, it's I tell people it is an action adventure retelling of Hamlet, about a rebel heiress and four kickboxing Brad Queens, who perform a series of art and jewel heists across the city of Los Angeles and eventually run afoul of a deadly international conspiracy.
Marissa Meyer: 35:05
Because that was like a lot for listeners to take in. Yeah, yeah,
Caleb Roehrig: 35:14
so when I sat, too, so I pulled up. What was the script? And I just thought I was like, Oh, this will be, you know, a walk in the park I'll just I'll have to Do is adapt from a screenplay to a book except that the screenplay was real bad was really bad. I didn't even realize that I had named Margot's father, Hugo, it seems, between Margot and Hugo
Marissa Meyer: 35:30
and I was like, What is this like, what looks like thinking s so I
Caleb Roehrig: 35:36
I changed a lot of names. I flushed out a lot of characters. It was just some of it. Waas. It's a lot of concept, and this is why it is also my longest work to date because all of this concept needed Teoh. It needed to be given, you know, depth and context, and I needed toe. I needed to update it. I needed to make it more sophisticated. I needed to give the characters, like, more realistic motivations. Um, so yes, so I But it's basically the same story. It's just more just better. So, yes, I That is a story that, um that I had I sort of, like repurpose something that I done earlier. And it's much more so that than the fellow dark, which is just sort of, ah, general concept that I I revisited death prefers blondes was a complete story that I retold.
Marissa Meyer: 36:32
I see. Yeah. So they they were in your head. Still, they hadn't let go yet. Yes. Um, well, I love death. Prefer blonde prefers blondes. Um, I'm a sucker for high stories in generals. Um, and and you did just such a fun, fun twist on the high story, you know, with the the rich heiress, debutante Andre, fat queen, friends. And I mean just so over the top. Uh, a really great cinema. Graphic way. So yeah, highly recommend readers. Check it out. Um, all right, we're gonna end Wrap this up with a quick, happy writer. Lightning round. Excellent. Got excited. That's all these. Some of the people have been interviewing your like panic at the lightning, so I'm glad you're on board. Um, all right. First up, what book makes you happy?
Caleb Roehrig: 37:31
Okay, the first thing that comes to mind is F s for Fugitive by Sue Grafton. Because because I was just talking about this book. Um, uh, it is my favorite of her. Hurt the alphabet. Siri's Sue Grafton made me want to write mysteries like she made me want to be a writer and efforts for Fugitive Is is the perfect. It is my favorite of her books. I mean, maybe, maybe, actually t is for trespass is my favorite, but efforts for fugitive was for such a long time. Like I just I love it. It's funny, It's engaging. It is smart, It's suspenseful. The mystery is great. It's just it's it's her it at the top of her game. So
Marissa Meyer: 38:12
all the things, Yeah. Ah, what do you do to celebrate an accomplishment?
Caleb Roehrig: 38:17
Oh, my gosh, um, to celebrate an accomplishment. Usually buy champagne. You know, it's like it's like it's a very obvious choice, but it's also just kind of like I do think it's really important to celebrate your accomplishments, and I feel like That's a That is a It's simple. It's within grasp. There is a really nice locally owned wine shop that is a block away from where we live. So we support local business, and we celebrate.
Marissa Meyer: 38:47
Bonus. Now, I think that there is a reason that champagne business looks pretty. Drink? I'm a fan of the champagne as well. Yeah. Uh, how do you feel? The creative. Well,
Caleb Roehrig: 38:59
you know what I exercise? I, um I always I always feel like I sound so, so impossible when I want to give this answer. Like like,
Marissa Meyer: 39:07
uh what? Yeah, one of those people I
Caleb Roehrig: 39:11
run. I find that for me, running is a me. I told me what's because of my whole body for a period of time? Usually about 45 minutes. My entire body is occupied in a single activity, which is I call it Don't die. So, you know, I just keep moving. I I'm trying to breathe. I'm trying to just My whole body needs to engage with this, which frees my mind to just think. Yeah, I don't get that. I find I don't get it when I like on an exercise bike or you know stuff like that. I just for whatever reason, they don't get the same release. But when I run it, absolutely. There's something about there's something about the changing environment. Something about the what? Little you know, I the processes that might that occupy my body in my brain allows my creativity to flow. And I work through all of my trickiest plot points when I'm running.
Marissa Meyer: 40:07
When you and I were on book tour together, we were on one of the fierce reads tours. I don't know how many, like, three or four years ago, maybe even longer than that. Um, And you gave that answer? What? No. 2016 2016. So, four years ago, um, and I remember you talking about running and how it helped you creatively. And I was totally one of the people on the panel that was rolling my eyes running. Since that, I've actually taken up a running habit myself. It's great. Thank you. Yeah, um, accepted. Not lately, cause quarantine, but, um, yeah, but and so I kind of get it now. And I'm sorry for mocking you. No, no, no. I
Caleb Roehrig: 40:49
know, cause I totally get it. I feel like Ah ah, I It's because I think because it works for me, it doesn't necessarily work for everybody, but I also I feel like it's like I just don't want to do. One of those people has, like, was like,
Marissa Meyer: 41:02
Come on, kids get, Let's get out there Pinkel Day and you know some fresh things. We do need a cheerleader. What are you reading now or what is next on your TV? Are
Caleb Roehrig: 41:14
I actually So I just finished Half Life by Lillian Clark, and that comes out May that comes out next month or June. I think it comes out in June and it's great. That's great. It's a it's it's It's Judy Blume. It's Black Mirror. It is about, Yeah, it's about a girl. William Clark. Her debut in Moral Code is fantastic. It is also I always I recommend it to people who, like death, prefers blondes cause it's another. It's a heist story about a group of friends like this close networker friends who tried to perform this heist together. Half life is about a girl named Lucille who is an overachiever and a perfectionist when her life is falling apart and she gets this offer from a Scientific, an independent scientific outfit called Mike Squared. And they tell her that she can take part in this experiment to be cloned, and they will. There will be two of her, and she sees it is the perfect solution to fix all the things that are wrong with her life. But of course, it does not go the way that she expects it to, and it's It's just a blooming. Clark writes prickly girls so well, Um, and I find I think that that I I think that's a really it's like a really cool because there's always this question likability women when it comes to female characters. And she does such a great job of writing these prickly characters who you love, um, and who defy these sort of this conventional, sort of outdated belief that girls have to behave a very specific kind of way to be sympathetic. And, um, she doesn't interpersonal relationships so well. So anyway, it's a great book. And then I just picked up what goes up by Katie Kennedy.
Marissa Meyer: 43:02
But, well, that was not very lightning roundish, but I always appreciate the recommended story. Obsessed even like rounds, click to ramble. Very last question. Where can people find you? Oh,
Caleb Roehrig: 43:16
okay. So please look for me on Twitter. My handle is Micaela Eric and I k a l e b r o e h r i g on instagram. I am Caleb. Rare ago. One word C a l e b r o e h r i g And my website is Talavera Duck.
Marissa Meyer: 43:35
Awesome. Thank you so much for joining me today. K live. It was so much fun to talk to you. Yeah. Thank you for having me. This was really fun of my pleasure. Any time you want to. Come on. Um, would be happy to chat on. And you have so many things coming out. So we'll have to do this again. Definitely. Um, Raiders definitely. Check out Caleb's newest of where will in Riverdale, which is out now. Or you can pre order the fell of dark on. Of course, we always encourage you supporting your local indie bookstore. If you can please make sure to subscribe to this podcast. Um or you can follow me on Instagram at Marisa Meyer. Author. Ah, you can also email me at my website, marissa Mayer dot com and let me know what author you would most like me to talk to in a future episode. Thanks so much for listening until next time. I hope you guys air staying healthy. Ah, stay cozy in your bunkers and please try your best to make someone else's day a little bit.