Blurb: Vy Aleknos is the leader of a hawk shifter flock. Openly gay since he was a teen, Vy is proud and self-assured on the outside, while secretly worrying he’ll be forced to spend his life alone because two males can’t be mates. When bear shifter Robert Cimino appears in Vy’s small town, Vy realizes his concerns were unfounded — he has a male mate, and a sexy, dominant one to boot.
Robert is a bear shifter who refuses to shift. Immediately attracted to Vy, he deviates from his normal pattern and seeks more than a one off with the powerful, bristly hawk. But Robert’s affections are rooted in his human form, and when Vy discovers Robert doesn’t recognize him as his mate, he pulls away. If Robert wants to stay with Vy, he must convince a man deeply ruled by his animal instincts to give their relationship as humans a chance.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication Date:April, 17, 2014
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Page Count: about 220 pgs
My review of Control: Click HERE
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this live interview. I’m going to interview Mary later and it’s gonna be interesting to find out how each of you experienced this collaboration! 😉
This shifter story seems quite different from what I’m used from you. How did you guys get the idea to write ‘Control’?
I had been wanting to write a book with the wonderful Mary Calmes so I approached her about it (a nice way of saying begged). She agreed but we needed to come up with the right book. We considered a few choices and finally settled on shifters. After that, it was a matter of coming up with shifters neither of us had done and that we both found interesting.
Well, when I read the book it felt very fresh. I love shifters that don’t get a lot of attention. The are so many shifter books, but most seem to focus on a few animals like wolves. What was it about a bear and a hawk that intrigued you?
Thank you! I have written wolves and Mary has written felines so we wanted to branch out of that. We also wanted the juxtaposition and we wanted animals that fit the characteristics we wanted in our characters.
So you first created the characters you wanted to write about and looked for animals that matched them. How much did the animals you chose influence the characters later on? It felt like you did a lot of research to get the animal behaviors right! How much did what you learned about the animals influence the humans they share a body with?
Those things worked well together. We outlined the story together and we researched the characteristics of the animals to work with the men.
Did you consciously set out to turn a few cliches on their head? The book felt very different than a lot of shifter books not just because of the animals you chose but because the roles, dynamic and mythology felt new and exciting.
We wanted to write something different. I love the idea of fated mates and have a whole series based on it. But it’s nice to branch out and explore different aspects to the shifter mating concept.
Fated mates are a very interesting topic. My favorite among your books is actually ‘Where He Ends And I Begin‘. While it’s not a shifter story, the idea of soul mates dominates the story in the most romantic way. Yet when a character wants to take charge of their own fate, make choices, I can understand that as well. Would you rather magically recognize that someone is your soulmate or find a suitable partner yourself and when did you know that “Control” would be such an important theme in the book for both main characters?
I’ll answer your last question first because it’s easiest. We outlined the book at the beginning of the writing process and decided at that point to weave in the theme of Control for both characters in various ways.
As far as would you rather, I think there are wonderful elements of both the idea of fated mates and the idea of complete personal choice. That was what made writing this particular book about the tug between the two so much fun!
And, yes, Where He Ends, while a contemporary, is probably the most soul-mates type story I’ve written. Jake and Nate are incredibly and unabashedly intertwined. Cradle to the grave.
They are my favorite couple in M/M fiction. Period. I get asked that question a lot and they have been my answer for quite a while. There is something magical in a connection that is so strong and deep.
That makes me so happy! Thank you. That was the first book I wrote and I lived with it inside for a very long time.
When reading ‘Control’, I could kind of see both point of views, so I was just glad to see them work it out in the end. And I loved that the alpha of the Ket submitted so beautifully to his bear 🙂 I think the letting go of control was just as important a theme as control in the book. Do you think they would have found each other if not for the delicious smell of mates?
Well, that is a great question! The romantic in me says definitely yes.
Well, I certainly hope so! They obviously do belong together and have great chemistry! I must say I personally loved that the most powerful shifter, the big, bad bear… was a very gentle giant and a vegetarian (like me ). You played a lot with oppositions. Which one was the most interesting to write?
We split up the characters so I have to say I enjoyed writing mine best of all!
Well, don’t leave us hanging, which one was yours? 😉 This is very interesting, I’ve never interviewed collaborating authors who split the characters up!
I wrote Robert the bear.
So how does that work, splitting characters up? I assume you brainstormed together, wrote and outlined and then split the characters up. Did you know what the other character was going to say, how he was going to act or did you have to react to it like the character you wrote would have had to? Did you edit the final product, including each others characters together?
We outlined the story and the characters’ personalities and then each of us wrote the chapter from that character’s point of view.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing Robert?
I really enjoyed writing Robert. He was a great character with internal struggle, but a good heart and soul.
Since we were talking about your Home series before and I listened to the whole series back-to-back as audiobooks – Do you know if there’s already an audio version of ‘Control’ planned and are you considering a sequel for this novel?
I don’t know about the audio because Dreamspinner makes that decision, but I hope so!
Mary and I wrote Control as a standalone so there won’t be a sequel for it.
Now that you have co-written a book with Mary, do you think there will ever be another project for you two and who is next on your most-wanted-co-writer list?
Mary is the only person I have ever considered cowriting with and that is still true. I admire her work immensely and I adore her personally. And we went into this project with a one time only cowriting expectation, so I’m pleased we were able to write a book I’m proud of with that one shot.
I’m a big fan of both of your work, so it was very interesting to see you both tackle this project. I’ve always felt like Mary had found a perfect character mixture that worked for her and readers and you seemed to like to switch it up with every story and use completely different characters for a very different story. Was it difficult to fuse both of your styles into one book?
Writing the book with two distinct points of view was a great way to meld our styles and give each character an authentically different personality.
About the Author:
“Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “”awwws”” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.
Cardeno’s Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, “”You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day.””
You can learn more about Cardeno’s writing at www.cardenoc.com.”