A Tea Party filled with an assortment of food, a charcuterie board, jam, bread, sweets, a cake, books, a tea pot, and tea cups, various fruits
Tea Party

Tea Party (Q&A 10: Our Favorite Things)

More Tea Parties | Content Warnings

Hello again! Can you believe it’s the tenth Tea Party already? And it’s the perfect time for warm drinks and fiery fan posts about… well each other. Pull up a chair as we pile on the compliments to each other.

What is your favorite thing about each other’s writing style?

Raspberry:

Oh, I could go on for days, but I’ll behave because no one wants to read a 100,000 word-response. First, I love Apple’s pacing and characters. Like, she always creates scenes so effortlessly too. I can figure out the setting and the characters in the beginning without it being thrown at me. Also, she has created some of the greatest ships. Pineapple is a master storyteller, and I wish I could give specifics, but some of my favorite things I want to mention are in non-JAAM published projects, so I’ll behave. She is so good at creating stories and plots that have me on the edge of my seat. And her details are amazing. Like, I’m always re-reading her work just like “where did you even think of this amazing idea and do you have spare ideas to share?”

Apple:

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it forever: Raspberry is Banter Queen. Her characters hold the sass stick at all times. The dialogue she’s written is some of the most fun, smart, hilarious work I’ve ever read. My mom will literally burst into the room at 8:05am on Wednesdays like, “How does she come up with this?” and I’ll be like, “Mother, she’s a genius. We know this.” I’m not even surprised by it; I go into her stories knowing I’m about to have a great time.

Pineapple is obviously the reigning queen of horror, but! But! Her ability to weave humor into the most twisted of plots is honestly brilliant. I’m prepared to be creeped out (the fun kind)—it’s horror, and Pineapple delivers—but I’m never ready for the giggles that hit. Her comedic timing is absolute gold. And it’s so seamless; she can go right back into the serious parts without disrupting the tone or anything. It’s like magic.

Pineapple:    

I love Raspberry’s sense of humor! All of her character’s are so likable and funny–there’s such a chemistry with all of them that I don’t know if I could ever capture. Raspberry is also a master of subtlety in her foreshadowing. Every time I read one of her drafts I feel like I can find something I didn’t notice before. There’s a lot of reread value in her work.

Apple’s pacing is really impeccable. I haven’t read as much of her stuff as I have Raspberry’s, but the readability of it is something that’s really stand out to me as well. It flows well and it’s easy to digest without feeling condescending. She’s also a master of romance.

Is there anything in each other’s work that you’re envious of?

Raspberry:

Both Apple and Pineapple are so good at descriptions, and they make it look so easy which drives me crazy. I tend to be like “they’re in a room. And, uh, there’s a table.” But in those same two sentences, Pineapple can describe the place and make the reader go, “but that table is sus, is someone going to die or be cursed, or is that a sentient table?” Apple can describe the place and have an OTP that everyone ships in those same two sentences. Basically, they’re magic, and one day I will try to be on their level of description mastery. Also, Pineapple is so good at pacing and keeping the tension in her stories. I feel like tension is something I’m not great at because of my natural impatience, but she has this down to an art. Her stories always keep me hooked until the end (and then I have to re-read it again and again and again). And Apple is so good at creating a flow. She just weaves together facts and characters’ personalities and the setting and the plot so well. Also her romance is next level and I could never. 

Apple:

Pineapple creates the most unforgettable vibes for her stories. In the same way that my mom will rush to read a Raspberry story, she will wait until the sun is fully up before she starts a Pineapple one because she’s afraid to read it in the dark. I think a part of it has to do with how fantastic Pineapple is with tone, but Pineapple’s settings also seriously stand out—almost as much as the characters themselves. Each place oozes intrigue, whether it’s a childhood home, a college party, a vet’s office, or a treeless dystopian city. Pineapple stories don’t have a backdrop. Every aspect is giving frontman energy at all times. I could write literary essays on Pineapple’s settings. Like, I’m literally having to stop myself from doing that right now. (The personification in “The Raisin House”? Fam!) I would love to portray settings that are that evocative.

With Raspberry, I think her ability to write characters in such a vulnerable way is extremely powerful. Sometimes she’ll send a character profile for a project, and I’ll be like, “Oh, I would 100% fight this character on sight,” but then I read the actual story and it becomes, “Oh, this character is in pain. I’m in pain for this character. This character is doing the best they can.” And it’s especially rewarding to be with these characters over longer projects, when I get to watch them—I want to say “grow,” but that doesn’t quite feel right because it’s not something that just happens naturally; the characters work so hard to become the people they are at the end of the story. It’s genuinely inspiring. Whenever I sit down to Pineapple and Raspberry’s writing, just… Where is the masterclass on how to do that?

Pineapple:   

Similar to the above question! I’m envious of Raspberry’s ability to write humor and her subtlety in foreshadowing. I’m envious of Apple’s pacing. Both of them are better researchers and readers than I am, and I wish I had that kind of dedication because it really shows in their writing that they clearly know what they’re talking about. They can write more in depth about things than I can. Both Raspberry and Apple are really great at writing romance, and I love that for them! I don’t know if I’m envious of it exactly, but… it’s something I wish I could do. I always feel like I’m lacking considerably when I try to write something romantic, but they really know exactly what to do with it.

What is your favorite project the others have done so far?

Raspberry:

I’m trying to keep this JAAM-related but they both have so many projects I will forever fangirl over. My favorite project so far with Apple is Faery Bargain because I’ve seen outline drafts, and now I’m first in line waiting for her to drop the rest of it. It’s so good!!! My favorite Pineapple project so far (other than the one project that’s coming out, and you and I both know what I’m talking about, Pineapple) is probably the Roommate. It was such a perfect combination of “oh no” is this place haunted to like… laughing at the main character for getting his just desserts.

Apple:

Okay. I really wanted weasel out of this one by saying that since Stream of Consciousness is an anthology it’s technically one project, but I’m going to behave. If I have to pick just one, I feel like genre preference plays a big part for me. If it weren’t for that, we would be here for-actual-ever because in terms of writing quality, Raspberry and Pineapple bring their A-game to every single thing they do. Fantasy and sci-fi bring me a ridiculous amount of joy, though, and the fam both do it so well, so I’m going to pick Episode Seven of Stream of Consciousness as my favorite Pineapple project and Cat and the Cryptid Summer as my favorite Raspberry project. But, like, everything they write is so good.

Pineapple:

I have read SO many of Raspberry’s works and she really gets better every time she gives me something new. My favorite so far might just be Tied to You, though. It’s a bit more adult instead of YA and the romance is so cute. Raspberry writes romance so well and it’s usually a subgenre in her work, so it’s nice to see it front and center.

Again, I haven’t seen that much of Apple’s work unfortunately! I’d love to see more. My favorite is probably The Faery Bargain. Counter-Clockwise was very cute, but The Faery Bargain has a lot more intrigue to it. I can’t wait to see more of the story unfold and get to see more of the characters. There’s also a poem I heard her read one time IRL that I think about CONSTANTLY that I’m in love with, but, you know. Who knows if she’ll ever share it.

Do you have a favorite passage from each other’s work?

Raspberry:

Again, I will only use JAAM projects, or I’d have a list of quotes from them. One of my favorite quotes from Pineapple has to be the end of Charlie Shrubbery:

“He saw himself in the reflection of his window as he sat up. Again, he saw nothing. Nothing to hide, nothing to offer. Just large eyes judging, staring back at him.

Outside, he saw Dominic’s back as he knelt in front of his father. Begging for forgiveness. His father pulled the trigger. Blood splattered on his window.”

Just, like, the plot, the character’s literal and metaphoric reflection, and that ending. It’s so good!!! And my favorite quote from Apple is probably:

“Without looking up from her study guide, Destiny stretched out a hand for the half-full mug of tea that should have been next to her highlighter. When her fingers connected with empty table space instead, she reached a bit farther and missed again—only this time, she heard the distinct sound of glass sliding against wood and tea sloshing over the café’s lo-fi playlist. Lowering her book, she glared at her best friend from across a sea of sticky notes and pens.”

Like, what an intro! I already know so much about the characters’ personalities, what they’re doing, and where they are. How does she put so much detail into so few sentences??

Apple:

Hi. It has been days. This question has me in tears. One? I can only choose one? How? HELP. Even with it being narrowed down to published JAAM projects, this is so difficult.

The Pineapple passage that I’m going with is from Episode Ten of Stream of Consciousness, when Elaine says,

“You are a bit of everything you’ve touched and everything you’ve done.”

I remember reading that and thinking that it’s so beautiful. That’s the quote the fandom gets tattooed. That’s the one that stays with you for always. It becomes even more powerful in the context of Part Two, where the character Elaine is talking to wants to both cling to the bits of home and family that made her who she is but also define herself and become her own person. It’s the layers! It’s the bond! It’s the feels! I will never recover!

The Raspberry passage I’m choosing is from Episode Seven of Tied to You. That vulnerability thing I mentioned Raspberry is so good at? This part. Amy points out that she could leave instead of talking to Colin, but she doesn’t. Colin could turn down the cider or start another fight, but he doesn’t. The fact that they’re all smiles—that they’re so eager to mend things—despite everything that’s happened—I can’t even— Look:

By Amy’s guess, she should probably start packing her picnic basket and heading down. The sun was sinking lower by the minute.

She reached into the picnic basket and grabbed an unopened cider.

“Can we call it even?” she asked, holding it out to him. “I’ll forgive you for being the worst new employee and you’ll forgive me for playing a harmless joke?”

He smiled, and she felt the corners of her lips twitch up. He took the cider from her.

“Well, I guess I’m easily bribed,” he said.

Pineapple:

I think that my favorite part of Cat hasn’t come out yet, so I’ll have to go with my second favorite, ha ha.

Cat suddenly felt very aware that she was alone in the woods and no one else knew she was there. And the chills on her neck were still there. Like she was watching Gran, but something was watching her. 

“Gran?” Cat said, stepping into the opening. 

She suddenly didn’t want to be alone. 

Gran grabbed her chest with her hand and looked at Cat like she was seeing a ghost.

“You shouldn’t be here,” she said, quickly striding over to her. “Did I leave the door unlocked?”

“Yeah,” Cat said slowly. “And I saw you walking and got worried, so I…”

She trailed off, not sure how to ask her about anything that happened after she started following Gran. 

“Oh, dear,” Gran said with a chuckle, grabbing onto Cat’s arm and steering her back into the woods. “I must’ve been sleepwalking. Could you help me home, dear? I’m afraid I don’t have my walker with me.”

This is from episode four of Cat! I just really love the… tension and then the tenderness here. Gran’s character is so unreliable and unpredictable, but she seems sweet here when Cat really needs her and we, as readers, get a glimpse into the horrors that they actually face.

I would like to select everything in Apple’s complete works since there isn’t that much on Jaam Writing. But I will narrow it down.

It was possible he’d taken the words as a friendship thing. Or maybe he simply hadn’t noticed the engraving at all.

The other option was that he had noticed. And understood.

And he was pretending he hadn’t.

Which was fine.

She took a bite of Danish.

There were few things in this life Destiny valued more than their friendship, and she had zero intention of messing that up. 

Still, she’d shown up today in the scarf he’d gotten her, the softest yarn she’d ever felt looped warm and toasty around her neck.

She hadn’t even taken it off after coming inside just so he could see her in it. Now, the extra layer only made her feel exposed.

Like—the pacing? The stuttering of the free indirect discourse and then the seamless switch back to the regular narration? I love it. It’s so good.

Thanks for joining us!

Feel free to leave a compliment for a writer you love (or the JAAM fam; we’ll love you forever), and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @jaamwriting.

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