The Duo Behind Gil & Claire Hunt

Writing a book is difficult enough, but this couple managed to write a series together. Robert J. Randisi and Christine Matthews are the masterminds behind the Gil & Claire Hunt Mysteries and we got a chance to ask them both a few questions (and get some great banter in as well.)

The Masks Of Auntie Laveau (A Gil & Claire Mystery Book 2) by Robert J. Randisi and Christine Matthews

Wolfpack Publishing: Whose idea was it to start writing together?

Robert: Mine.

Christine: Bob’s.


WP: You said it was your [Robert] idea to start writing together, how did you get this idea and why did you want to do it?

Robert: We were invited to write a story for a Cat Crimes anthology. I didn't want to do it, but Christine came up with an idea for a cat story with no cat in it–a cast member of the play Cats gets killed. Once I agreed, then we each needed a character. We decided they should be married. So I came up with Gil, a bookstore owner, and Christine came up with Claire, a home shopping host. Thus Gil & Claire Hunt were born. Then I decided we should put them in a book.

WP: Tell us a bit about the writing process from start to finish.

Christine: It varied from book-to-book. He was pretty much in charge of the first book., I took control of the second. The third was about even, as we were telling not only Gil & Claire’s story, but our own, as well.


WP: Do you ever disagree on the storyline or details? If so how do you move forward?

Christine: The only thing we ever argued about was a dedication.

Robert: Uh, I tried to change the killer halfway through the first book, but Christine wouldn’t have it. She said I should do that sort of thing in my own books.


WP: What do each of you think is the best Gil & Claire Hunt book? Why?

Christine: The Masks of Auntie Laveau. It's the one that I took charge of, because Robert was busy with other projects.

Robert: Same for me, since Christine was in charge, and doing most of the work. Ha, ha.

Christine: Typical man!


WP: When writing these books, can you set the scene for us. Did you sit side by side? Each write separately? Where did the work happen?

Both: At the time we were living in a 2-bedroom condo. The office was divided in half, with a desk on each side. We sat with our backs to each other. Christine needs complete silence to work, while Robert listens to music, watches T.V., and insists on talking while he works. Therefore, we worked at different hours of the day. One would start, and work on a few chapters, then the other would come in for their shift and continue.


WP: What type of research went into this series?

Both: Just life! The characters were us. What kind of research did we need? We had been to New Orleans both separately and together, so that was the research for the second book. The third book takes place at a writer's convention, which is where we met. All three are set in St. Louis, where we were living at the time.


WP: How do your family and friends feel about the two of you being a writing team?

Both: Our families have very little interest in what we write. Actually, what other people think of it is not our concern.


WP: Do you give feedback on each other’s individual books or have any input?

Robert: Christine edits all my books and makes them better.

Christine: Robert reads my short stories and books for holes in the plot.


WP: What advice would you give to couples thinking about starting a project together?

Christine: Be sure you REALLY like each other, first.

Robert: Make sure your partner is as talented as Christine.


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