Who is A. E. Lowan?
A. E. Lowan is the pseudonym for the three authors of the dark urban fantasy series, The Books of Binding.
Kristin Vinck is our unrepentant dreamer who started weaving words into fantasy worlds before she could hold a pencil. Kristin was a student of creative writing and medieval studies. When she is not playing in the world of The Books of Binding, Kristin reads widely, preferring character driven stories. She is an online gamer, enjoys creating historical costumes, and is a soundtrack junkie.
Jennifer Vinck is our puppeteer whose favorite part of the creative process is figuring out how to make our characters dance. Jennifer was a card-carrying member of the Major-of-the-Month Club and has studied fields from linguistics to classical languages and literature and from elementary education to computer programming. She enjoys sharpening her puppeteering skills by leading her guild mates into battle in online games. She also enjoys reading thrillers, performing musicals, and has a movie obsession that probably needs medication.
Jessica Smith is our organizational powerhouse. A college student with a focus in allied health, she is an avid consumer of all things storytelling – from novels to games to manga. Jessica throws herself headfirst into creative outlets, blending her scientific mind with her unstoppable world building. She is the most likely of us to forgo sleep for a week to give us an encyclopedia of the preternatural.
What’s With the Quills?
Each of us has a quill that you will see from time to time. The three quill colors each represent one of us. The thing is, we’re not going to tell you which one. We use them because some readers are curious about who writes what in our posts and comments. The quills are a way that we can interact individually and each show our own personality here, but we are a writing team. You’ll never see a lone quill on our stories. They are from and by all of us.
How Do We Collaborate?
The first question we get asked when we tell people that A. E. Lowan is a three-person writing team is: How does that work? Each of our team brings a specialty to the party. We won’t spoil the magic trick by telling you who is who, but here is a bit about our process:
We get an idea
After the question, “How does three authors work,” the next most common question we are asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” The honest answer is from everywhere. Authors look at the world as an endless playground of inspiration. We find sparks in what we read, what we watch, what we listen to, what we play, and what we study. Billboards, fads, jingles, and random shoes left by the side of the road can all spawn stories. And our guilty secret is that, like most authors, some of our best ideas come from dreams or show up while we’re singing in the shower.
We play with it
This is the fun part, also the most dangerous, as we are method writers and in the development stage, we become our characters and slip into their skin. This process is fraught with peril. We love discovering who our cast are together so much that at times we get so caught up in living their story that we forget to write it down. We spend a lot of time, more than we want to admit, trying to remember all the little details from our interactions.
We find the story
We sift through the mountain of development and decide what part of our cast’s story to tell. We know so many more of their stories than we could ever share. In this phase, we narrow down to the most compelling of their stories and generate a detailed outline.
We act it out
We take the outline and, scene by scene, work out details like blocking, dialog, and point of view. In this step we create a play by play for the draft.
We give it life
Here is where things get different in collaborations. For The Books of Binding, we are always working on more than one section of the series at a time. One of us is always working on drafting the current story while the other two are simultaneously rewriting the previous story and developing the next one.
We tinker with it
Once we have a finished draft, the story leaves the loving hands that gave it breath and begins the harrowing process of being dissected by the revisers. In this phase we wrangle unruly plot bunnies, we tumble the dialog smooth, we giggle at the absurdities that appear in rough drafts. We make sure that our characters don’t have extra hands, don’t have chameleon eyes, and have the same birthday they had last year.
We hold our breath
We take our shiny new story and ship it overseas to our alpha reader. He goes over it with a magnifying glass and sends us emails full of laughter and red ink as he corrects everything from our typos to the fact that someone still has two left hands.
We experience Déjà vu
We go back through the revision process, much pinker from our alpha reader’s laughter.
We cross our fingers
After the second revision, our story goes to our team of beta readers. These readers are our windows into how close our story is to being ready to fly. Our beta readers’ invaluable feedback lets us see our cast through the eyes of our audience.
We kick the story out of the nest
Once we have the green light from our beta readers, we take one last bittersweet pass at the story and then tell it that it either has to move out or pay rent. This is the hardest part- knowing when it is time to let the story stand and tell the next one. In this phase all we can do is hope that we’ve raised it well and that it doesn’t end up in prison. The story is ready to take on a life of its own – the one it will share with readers.
Meet the Staff
A. E. Lowan writes with the questionable assistance of a legion of office minions. They couldn’t agree on a hierarchy, so we will introduce them by seniority:
Sugar-Bear is the grande dame of A. E. Lowan. She takes the most active role in drafting by manipulating the space bar, which everyone knows is the most onerous of the writing tasks. For her assistance, she only asks for tootsie rubs, cherry yogurt, or sometimes just for someone to hold paws with.
Shigure is a Japanese Chin who splits his time between napping and his secret identity – the super-villain known as Obnoxious Dog. When he is not tying his cat brothers to the railroad tracks he is plotting his next peanut butter caper.
Perseus is a quasi-dignified red-point Siamese who is the grumpy old man of the office. He spends his days keeping the outlines warm under his plushy tummy and yelling at the other minions to stay off his lawn.
Koji is Shigure’s full-blooded younger brother and has adapted to his role of middle child with grace. He is the clueless mediator of every office dispute and wonders why we can’t all get along and how he can open the cupboards on his own.
Thor and Loki
Thor and Loki are twins who joined the office pool after a brief stint as Lost Boy understudies at our local park. Thor is everything his name evokes – he is courageous, daring, and improbably loud. He is our resident practical joker and the most likely to bite your nose for attention. Loki, on the other hand, has yet to grow into his famous name. He is our butterfly chaser and the most likely to fall off the deck because he forgot how to cat.
Asher is the office baby and has taken to his role as Sidekick in Chief with gusto. Three times larger than any of the other minions, Asher’s heart is as big as his paws, which any of the others will tell you, once he stops sitting on them and they can breathe again.