18 June 2012

Interview with a Devious Duo

Cathy Coburn and Duaine Neill are a mother/son writing team.   Cathy majored in Art in her hometown of San Diego, CA. There she studied Creative Writing and English Literature. As a Divemaster and quad enthusiast Cathy has an adventurous sprit. She resides in Phoenix, AZ metro with her husband.   Duaine studied Marketing, computer and Business Management in Phoenix, AZ. Duaine has a love for travel and excitement. All who know him tag him as a daredevil. Duaine resides in Phoenix, AZ metro with his wife and son. Both Cathy and Duaine have the gift of a vivid imagination.

Hi Cathy and Duaine, and thank you for agreeing to be grilled--I mean interviewed--about your collaboration on After the Mist. What prompted you to decide to work on a writing project together?

Cathy Coburn
C: First off thanks so much Jude for the invite. Grilled huh? Okay bring it on. I think Duaine and I were always meant to do something great (I like that word, so I’m keeping it) anyway, something great together. We tried on many different disguises even detectives tracking people for a spell, but that’s another story. None of those disguises fit well. 

Duaine was always pushing me to get back to my writing; it was him who encouraged the writing team. With both our active imaginations he felt we could create masterpieces. We pulled our thoughts together and Wa-La,  After the Mist was born.

Duaine Neill
D: We have always been dreamers looking for that one thing that would help us move up in the world. So like she said we have tried a lot of different things together.  But this dream was different, I knew from the beginning, the first night I had the dream, that this dream would change our life's forever. I new with both of our creative minds put together we could write this great novel.

Cathy, you’ve said Duaine is a great liar. Having both a husband and son who love to string me along with outrageous stories, I can totally sympathize. Do you ever find it frustrating not knowing if he’s pulling your leg or not? And do you think writing together has changed your mother-son relationship at all?

C: I like the word great most times but not sure it applies here. I think I said Duaine’s a horrible liar. I have to analyze his every word. I always assume what he’s telling me is a lie, even when he called me to tell me about the twin towers getting hit by the planes, I didn’t believe him. But even though I’m constantly on my guard he can still sting me, and does often.

D: I don’t personally consider myself a great liar, but indeed a great storyteller. She calls it lies, I call it twisting the truth. By the way, she falls for most of my stories along with everybody else.

C: Potatoes-Potataes. What is twisting the truth if it’s not a big lie, I ask?

C: As for your second question, Duaine and I have always been close, we both love to laugh and have fun. It gives us more of a chance to do that, I think.

D: We've always been the best of friends but I do think it has brought us closer on a different level, an intellectual level.

Afterthe Mist is a page-turning adventure of Bermuda Triangle mysterious doings, and reads like you have a good basis of research on the subject. Have you always been interested in the unexplained legacy of the area?

C: I did a lot of research for the book. I have always been interested in anything unexplained. I’d also love to find Bigfoot and the Lochness Monster. But mostly I love to be scared. It’s an adrenaline thing.

D: Yes I have always been since a child. I always liked watching the movies that were unexplainable, like X-files. One of my favorite.
What influenced you to write the particular blend of adventure, mystery, romance, and heebie-jeebies that infuses After the Mist? [Which I absolutely devoured, by the way.] Were you inspired watching a Twilight Zone marathon or something else?

C: Well I never thought of that but yes I’ve watched the twilight zone marathons over and over and made all my boys watch them with me. I was one of those horrible mothers who told scary stories, and made my boys watch scary movies with me. Scared the crap out of them then but they all love them now. Some how they all managed to survive me and turn out fairly normal.

D: And now you know why my dreams are so real and twisted. Thank you MOM!
We wanted to write it so it would appeal to the masses, so that everybody could enjoy the story. Then after we hooked them they’d want to see it at the movies.

Okay, it’s June. In Phoenix. Why in heaven’s name did you move to the sizzling griddle that is Arizona in the summer when every Zonie is desperately trying to get to San Diego?

C: My husbands work brought us here and I reeled in all my boys to join us. They all met their wife’s here, had their kids here, so it’s been a good move for all. But we do, all of us, miss the ocean so we run to it often.

D: Originally I moved from California to Arizona for work. California did not have a lot of work and Arizona was booming. Then I fell in love with the 9 months of great weather and the 3 months of hot are bearable.

The character of Timothy endures a harrowing bullying ordeal as a teen in your novel. What brought that scene to mind for you and did you have any reservations about including it?

C: In every story I read or every movie I watch, my heart moves toward the underdog. I wanted Timothy to be that person, the one your heart breaks for then rejoices over. So no for me there were no reservations in writing it, but knew some others would have reservations in reading it. I like a good shock so I force readers to share in that.

D: No reservations for me she nailed it on the head.

If you had an opportunity to leave a note to yourself as you began writing, what words of caution and encouragement would it contain?

C: Cathy, leave out the words just and quickly. You’ll just have to quickly remove them later.

D: Duaine it is going to be a long process getting your first book published but stay focused, be patient and it will pay of in the long run.

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us today. I really enjoyed your book and look forward to reading more from you two!

C: Thank you so much for allowing us to join you today Jude. It was fun. And not too grilling ;-)

D: Yes thank you for having us here today and reading our book. Hope to entertain everyone more in the near future.

Please give us all the info on your website, blog, Facebook Fan Page, and where readers can purchase After the Mist.


  1. It's good to see these two on the receiving end for a change. It's usually Cathy probing our fellow authors. Keep up the good work, ya'll.

  2. Interesting interview. I wish you success with your writing. Linda

  3. I had no idea you two were a mother and son team, very cool! I keep trying to get my sister to write with me, but she is 'soooo busy.' Probably, it's because she's smarter than me, and knows that we would only argue about plot and word choices. She's wiser because she's older, ha ha, she loves me telling everyone that!

  4. I think it takes an amazing relationship to write with someone--especially a family member! If you haven't read AFTER THE MIST, I highly recommend it.