While we’ve been catching up on Netflix and wondering if we’d look good in bangs, the mother-daughter writing team of PC and Kristin Cast has been busy writing 12 bestsellers in the beloved young adult House of Night series.
And—trust us—it is very beloved. The series tells the story of Zoey Redgrave, a 16-year-old girl who discovers that she’s actually a fledging vampire (or “vampyre,” as the novels call it). She’s sent to live in a House of Night boarding school, where she falls in love, finds her best friends, and meets her greatest enemy.
We might be a little more intimidated by this mother-daughter powerhouse if they weren’t so warm and approachable. Read on to find out how they helped each other become stronger writers and what it feels like to say goodbye to a series after so many years.
PC Cast: Actually, it originated with our agent Mary Bernstein. We were at a romance writer’s convention—I already had several books out—and she said that she would like to see me write a series set at a vampire finishing school. I was teaching high school at the time, so I immediately thought of Young Adult. She was totally thinking the other end of the spectrum: college coeds, S&M, all kinds of crazy stuff like that! But I said, “No, let me write a real school!” I wrote the first little bit, sent it back to her and she loved it.
Of course I made the world matriarchal, because I prefer that. My dad and I brainstormed the biological basis for vampirism. And then I brought Kristin in to serve as my front-line, teen voice editor.
BT: Kristin, in your capacity as editor, what exactly do you do?
Kristin Cast: I add pop references. [Also,] in Mom’s adult novels, they’re really fat, they’re really long and she does a lot of world building. But we had a different word count with this young adult series. So in the beginning I used to cut out a bunch of stuff, like unnecessary world building things. Over time, especially with these last few books, I haven’t had to do as much, because when you’re writing the characters they take on minds of their own. But she will still leave comments in the margins asking me questions about certain things, or holes where I’d fill in different pop culture references. And I was always there to make sure that her inner 70s teenager wasn’t popping out.
BT: As a mother-daughter writing team, what do you think each of you brings to the table in different ways? What have you learned from each other?
PC: I bring the experience, and the ability to juggle multiple character storylines. I really relied on Kristin’s editorial ear and eye. I was able to write the story as it unfolded, and Kristin reeled me in, like cutting excess scenes and that type of thing. I’ve learned to trust her editorial eye. I’ve learned that big time.
Kristin: I’ve learned how to be a better writer over a decade of editing my mom and watching the process that she goes through for each novel. It has really helped me further my career and write my own solo books.
BT: Redeemed is the final House of Night book. Are you a little sad to see the series end?
PC: It’s been really emotional for both of us. The story arc came to a conclusion and we’re both very satisfied with that. But I started writing these in 2005, so we’ve spent almost a decade with Zoey and the Nerd Herd (Zoey’s friends at House of Night), and we do miss them.
Kristin: It’s been really sad. I think the most emotional part for me is saying goodbye to our fans with the series. Mom and I both have separate projects that we’re working on and in the future we will write another series together. My hope is that our fans follow us into the next phase in our careers. But you make all these connections with people over the past seven years of the books coming out and it’s really sad to say goodbye to those people.