TFFOS: Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman -- Chat & Giveaway

To find out more about The Four Flavors of Summer and to view a master-list of all features and giveaways, click HERE.

The two awesome authors of SIRENZ (released June 8th) are joining me today: CHARLOTTE BENNARDO & NATALIE ZAMAN! I had a great time chatting with them, though a precaution: it's a very long, very silly chat. I've bolded the explicit questions for quick reference, but feel free to read the whole thing, of course. ;)

They also sent me an ADORABLE swag pack that I'll see if I can get some pictures of and it included a copy of the book. I don't know if I'll have time to review it in the near future but it's so Char&Nat, so cute, and so fun -- perfect for the summer! *stamp of approval*

Very Clickable Links: {charlotte's blog} · {natalie's blog} · {goodreads} · {amazon} · {book depository}


            Char Bennardo joined the chat
Jenn­­­ joined the chat
Nat joined the chat

[cue many hello’s]
Jenn: Okay, let's start off with something generic: if you had to describe sirenz in three words, what would they be?
Nat: Fun, Funny, Fabby. :D
Char Bennardo: Yes- my three words- snarky, funny, freaky.
Jenn: Lol, freaky? How so? In the contract with Hades way?
Nat: Freaky stuff does happen...
Char Bennardo: The girls 'morph' into something different. I don't want to give the story away, but it's not something usual like a vampire or werewolf
Jenn: Woah, morphing... o_o
Nat: And there is a "freak" accident . ;)
Char Bennardo: The morphing plays havoc with their fashion.
Nat: but they know how to use it. 
Jenn: Have you guys had any freaky encounters in the pursuit of fashion? Or any weird experiences?
Char Bennardo: Yes- seen some things at the Alexander McQueen exhibit that would give me nightmares, but other stuff I could wear.
Nat: I have a thing for Vivienne Westwood footwear which could be somewhat freaky--have you ever tried to walk in a pair of her heels? She actually designs so you have to "be aware of yourself". Her heels have you pitching forward so you have to stick your butt out--otherwise you might fall over.
Jenn: Haha, is that from experience?
Nat: (looks shiftily the other way)... yes.
Char Bennardo: It's ok, I've fallen off flipflops.
Nat: LOL! Flipflops.
Jenn: LOL, is there a story behind that, Char?
Char Bennardo: I love shoes, but am not always as coordinated as I should be... mind wanders, feet trip.
Jenn: Haha, I know what you mean... Speaking of heels, what do you guys think of the cover of Sirenz?
Char Bennardo: We designed it- we love it.
Nat: LOVE the cover! We didn't want to actually show the girls.
Jenn: Do you guys see yourselves reflect in the girls (Meg and Shar)? Personality-wise, fashion obsession-wise... And who's who? (:
Char Bennardo: def.
Nat: Yes--to an extent...
Char Bennardo: Char is Shar (not intended, at least not initially!).
Jenn: Wow, I didn't notice that name-match. o_o
Char Bennardo: I like fashion, but don't circle my life around it. I'm a bit of a big mouth, but writing is more my thing, not fashion marketing, so character has different career goals.
Nat: Meg definitely has some of my qualities and Shar, Char's. Fashion is something I've always loved--I've been to the McQueen exhibit three times so far.
Nat: Char drafted the Shar chapters and I drafted the Meg chapters, but then we edited each other's chapters.
Jenn: What did you guys love the most about working with each other? ...and the least? (If that doesn't result in any catfights.)
Char Bennardo: Deciding how to get our characters into awful situations. No, no catfights. We agreed from beginning friendship first, book second.
Nat: Char keeps me going--she has boundless enthusiasm and...
Char Bennardo: Liked least- so many revisions! Liked best- writing!
Nat: Char is always the one that has the supreme confidence--sorry, was stuck on that word! Personally, I love the revisions.
Char Bennardo: Nat's opened my eyes to lots of cultural/spiritual/food/fashion ideas. She's worldly.
Nat: There wasn't much I didn't like about working with Char--actually, I can't think of anything--execpt that she almost got me killed in New York. You cross when the little man blinks Char, not when the red hand says stop!
Jenn: LOL.
Char Bennardo: If I can run in heels and make it, you can jog in sneakers. They would've stopped. I think.
Nat: They did. Thank goodness! >:(
Char Bennardo: I'd have saved you. Still have revisions for book 2 to do, and I'm not doing it by myself! Are we rambling?
Jenn: Nope, I like reading what you guys are saying. (:
Char Bennardo: We can go off on tangents, which is why the book came out so funny. Life isn't ordered, things come up. Sometimes things you don't expect.
Nat: True, true.
Jenn: Mm, agree.
Char Bennardo: If I ran into Hades, I wonder what trouble I'd get myself into. For the want of a shoe....
Jenn: Lol, are there any shoes you WOULD sell your soul to Hades for?
Nat: You have everything you want now, right?!
Nat: Hmmmm... I've seen some pretty funky shoes, but not soul-worthy shoes!
Char Bennardo: Nah. I'm not stupid. Once Hades gets you, you're never free. Hence, book 2 in 2012 and book 3 in 2013. Maybe the girls will smarten up by 2014!
Nat: So in a way, we have sold our souls...
Char Bennardo: Other than a hot date with Ian Somerhalder, I'm good.

"Come and find me in SIRENZ. *sexy stare*"

Jenn: Ahhh, IANNN. Lol.
Nat: LOVE Ian!
Char Bennardo: A fellow worshipper I see. Do we have to mudwrestle you for him?
Nat: If any TV/Movie people are listening, he would make a delightful Hades!
Char Bennardo: We had him in mind when we wrote the character...
Jenn: Lol, does that "we" mean you guys have agreed to share him?
Jenn: Ohhh, I can envision him as Hades... ;) What would you guys do if you met him in person?
Nat: I'm one of those people who, when I meet people I admire, think are beautiful etc. I turn into a great big sappy puddle. So I'm afraid if I'm ushered into Ian's presence, I will be completely useless. Y'all willl have to duke it out.
Char Bennardo: Faint. Slobber. Make embarrassing noises. Then drag him away. No, I think I'd smile like an idiot and tell him I love him.
Nat: I met Tarina Tarantino once and I was an absolute mess.
Char Bennardo: Hopefully hubby isn't listening. He may not agree to take care of kids & house when we're on the road.
Jenn: (Is it a crime that I had to search up who Tarina was?)
Char Bennardo: I've met some famous people, but Ian's in the 'Elvis' class.
Nat: Pink haired jewelry and cosmetic designer--so fab! I like people with pink hair.
Jenn: So you guys see anyone playing Meg and Shar? Or do you just see yourselves? :o
Nat: I have a great photo of Selena Gomez that looks like how I pictured Meg.
Char Bennardo: Originally I thought Shar Pei (sp?) from High School Musical for the part, but I don't know if she'd be too old to play h.s. by the time the movie came about.
Jenn: Sharpay, Selena Gomez, and Ian... *envisions* Any plans to make Meg or Shar with pink hair? ;)
Char Bennardo: If Hades let me, I could play me, as long as I was 19 again! But he hasn't appeared to make any soul stealing offers. Too bad, I like dogs too. Hades has one.
Nat: Meg has dark hair--but perhaps a pink haired character will wind their way into the story... You never know...
Nat: Would Cerebus count as one or three?
Char Bennardo: Not Shar, she's a little too conservative initially. Maybe later on in the series something will loosen her up a bit.
Nat: Maybe Meg'll get a pink streak.
Char Bennardo: Um, actually don't know. (Cerebus is Hades' dog, which the characters might end up caring for... Has 3 heads. Is he 1 dog, or 3?)
Jenn: I think Cerebus counts as one because there's only one body to snuggle up to. <3
Jenn: And dogs = snuggle buddies for me, hehe. (:
Nat: Maybe I will... LOL Cerebus <3
Jenn: YEAH, Meg should get a pink streak.
Char Bennardo: As long as it's one pile of poop. That will be the girls' job.
Jenn: or a rainbow streak!
Jenn: LOL.
Char Bennardo: Meg gets some fashion redo, so maybe it's only fair that Shar gets some too.
Nat: Hahaha! OK Gave up looking for Selena pic. I think MEG should makeover SHAR > : )
Jenn: *gasp* :o
Char Bennardo: THAT could be scary. Black is reserved for turtlenecks and little black dresses. And shoes!
Nat: We could build on that.
Char Bennardo: Now I'm getting nervous... But as long as Meg gets PINK somewhere, good!
Nat: Pink streak--see how easy that was?
Char Bennardo: This is basically how our characters react. Give & take, snark and insult, but in the end. Oh, can't tell you that.
Jenn: Lol, what about YOU guys getting pink streaks?
Char Bennardo: :D
Jenn: Matching ones!
Nat: Said I would do. Or maybe blue...
Char Bennardo: I could go for that.
Nat: For book cover, someone "suggested" I do that.
Char Bennardo: Be fun for our pics. Then future fans would know our trademark!
Jenn: Haha, I can tell who's the daring, bossy one in this relationship... *ahemCHARahem* ;)
Nat: And what will you be doing? Also a pink/blue/rainbow streak?
Nat: Will bring camera. Will take photos. Will SHARE photos...
Jenn: YES!
Char Bennardo: Gee, I didn't make that hard on you, did I?
Nat: All bark no bite! I will be the one with rainbow hair!
Char Bennardo: You can't blackmail me, Nat. I know YOUR secrets...
Nat: But I agree with bossy (giggles!)
Jenn: You guys could get a blue and red streak, like the cover. With feathers! xD
Char Bennardo: Feathers! I'll wear a feather dress. And someone's got to lead this posse. On occasion.
Nat: Yes, I let her think she's in charge, but secretly I have this lab...
Char Bennardo: I'm happy with my delusions.
Jenn: Lol.
Nat: The secret is the chickens...
Jenn: Have you guys ever made clothes yourself? Am I sensing a chicken feather dress? :o
Nat: I've altered clothes--Char is a whiz with a sewing machine. She's made a lot of cool stuff.
Nat: Once I had a chicken purse--don't tell anyone!
Char Bennardo: Put together outfits, make, not anymore. My next project is sewing a new cover for lounge chairs.
Char Bennardo: Nat's had some really freaky 'accessories.'
Nat: Like what?
Jenn: o_o
Nat: Oh wait. Never mind.
Char Bennardo: Pink cowboy boots with skulls. Chicken purse.

disclaimer: NOT actually Nat's
 Nat: I never actually carried the chicken purse.
Char Bennardo: Saw it. That was enough.
Nat: Love the skully boots though. <3
Char Bennardo: My goal is to get Nat into a pink cashmere sweater. Couldn't get her character to do it, so maybe I'll have better luck with her. Although not likely. :D
Jenn: No to the pink and the cashmere? Or just to the pink?
Nat: Depends on the pink. Shocking pink, yes. Pastel, not happening. Always yes to cashmere!
Char Bennardo: It's fun living thru your characters. Can't wait to torture them some more.
Jenn: Mm, living vicariously = always awesome.
Nat: They really have their butts handed to them in book two.
Jenn: So, any extra hints on what's happening? (; (I'm so subtle, I know...)
Char Bennardo: Bk 1 - it ain't over till it's over, and it ain't over. Bk 2- Here we go again. Haha how's that for vague!
Nat: Book 2--revisit old friends, make some new ones.
Jenn: Lol, those sound like perfect song titles. Any SIRENZ theme song?
Nat: WOW. I have a playlist for just about every chapter... but don't think there's a total package song...
Jenn: Want to share? :D
Nat: Char can't listen to music while revising/writing.
Char Bennardo: But I will hear a song and think, that would be good, like Duffy's "Begging you for Mercy."
Nat: I listened to a lot of Muse and Lady Gaga... especially for Back In Fashion. Paparazzi comes to mind.
Jenn: Ohh, all awesome songs. LOVE Muse and Duffy's "Begging You for Mercy.” Though Lady Gaga.,. I only really like “Born This Way.” xD
Nat: Saw Muse and Gaga last year--awesome shows!
Jenn: Ohh, jealousss.
Char Bennardo: I can see that music playing especially in bk 2 when Shar & Hades have a lot of 'alone' time...
Jenn: :o Darn, book 2?!! I want to see that in book 1, lol. I'm such a romance-junkie.
Char Bennardo: Gaga would fit with Meg in bk two at that concert she goes to with a certain someone...
Char Bennardo: Good things come to those who wait. Or, don't rush in like a fool! Esp. with Hades....
Nat: I'm thinking of a different scene. There's a concert scene based on Muse. For Gaga, it's the "essence" of Paparazzi that captured my imagination...
Char Bennardo: There's more music in scenes with Meg, cause her character is really into it. It gives Nat room to funk out.
Char Bennardo: Wait till you see our trailer! Coming soon.
Nat: Indeed--hopefully by the end of the month!
Char Bennardo: Original music by Nat's nephew Jesse. If I was going to be a music groupie...
Jenn: You guys would make an awesome advertising team, lol. (:
Nat: LOL!!!
Jenn: "Wait til you see this!"
Jenn: "Coming soon!"
Jenn: <3
Char Bennardo: Just so people know, it's a clean read- there is no sex. Only 1 bad word (not F). We didn't feel the need for it.
Char Bennardo: But that doesn't mean that there aren't hints of something more...
Jenn: ... I'll just stare at Ian in the meantime, to placate myself. ;_;
Jenn: So, to wrap up: What's the top one reason to read SIRENZ?
Nat: It's FUN.
Char Bennardo: It's a humorous read in a sea of dark or serious titles.\
Nat: What's with the stick at the end of your line there, Char?
Char Bennardo: Clumsy fingers.
Jenn: Lol, I think a stick gives character. ;)
Jenn: Thanks for the cool chat! /
Char Bennardo: Thank YOU!
Nat: We had a blast! Thank you!!!!!
Nat: and /
Char Bennardo: Haha, torment the dumb blonde.
Nat: I believe I'm the blonde now.
Char Bennardo: Yes!
Nat: :D
Jenn: BUT YEAH, thanks again! :)
Char Bennardo: k. bye! Thanks! Adios! Bonjour! :D
Jenn: Looking forward to reading SIRENZ and seeing those trademarks. :D
Nat: Excelent! See ya. <3
Nat: Excellent, I mean! Ga--spelling...


Bickering frenemies Meg and Shar are doing some serious damage at a midnight sample sale when the fashionistas find themselves arguing over a pair of shoes-with fatal consequences. One innocent bystander later, the girls are suddenly at the mercy of Hades, Lord of the Underworld himself. To make them atone for what they've done, Hades forces the teens to become special-assignment Sirens, luring to the Underworld an individual whose unholy contract is up.

Finding that delicate balance between their fashion addiction and their new part-time job in the eternal hellfire biz turns out to be harder than Meg and Shar expected, especially when an entire pantheon of Greek deities decides to get involved. Then there's the matter of the fine print in their own contracts...



Courtesy of Courtney at FLUX books, I have one finished copy of SIRENZ to giveaway! For an extra point, answer this question that Char, Nat, and I talked about earlier: does Cerebus count as one dog or as three?

To enter, fill out the form below. Open to U.S., Canada, and Mexico addresses.