On finding a shared vision… – Aristen

As much as we’re in tune with each other’s visions, as much world building as we do, Olive and I still have to talk to each other constantly to figure out everything, from what a character is wearing in that moment, to what the inside of the room looks like, or why would they be hungry at an effed up time like this?!

Here’s a fictional example, but it mirrors many real life discussions:

“There’s no way he’d put that jacket on.” I insist.

“Why?” Olive responds.

“Because obviously, when he was six years old, the people that took him in were wearing blue, and now he associates that color with” etc etc I spout some bullshit I think is brilliant.

“… OR maybe the people made him wear blue all the time, but they always wore red. And didn’t let the poor bastard wear blue. Ever.” Olive keeps it going.

“Holy shit.” My head starts to hurt. But by god, she’s right. It just makes sense.

I suppose that’s the point that we’re both searching for when we have these conversations. That moment where we both say “Yeah that makes sense, in this fictional, complex world we’ve created, that makes total sense.”


Collectively, Olive K. Aristen: Meet the Author(s)


Alright, cat’s out of the bag. Olive K. Aristen isn’t a real person; it’s the pen name of two co-authors [us], Salinee P. Goldenberg and Brandi K.S. Endres. Believe it or not, Olive and Aristen are the names of their cats; K. stands for “Kitty.”

Brandi and Sal have been friends since they met in kindergarten in 1988. Over the many years, both have moved to different states and countries, but have kept in touch through the writing they once sent back and forth through the U.S. mail. Today, thanks to the Internet, they keep in touch through email and social media, and share their stories through Google Documents.

In addition to the Azura’s Chosen series, Sal and Brandi are working together on a sci-fi project that is unofficially called simply “Big Black Empty,” or BBE for short, among other stories that shall remain nameless … (as we haven’t gotten around to naming them yet).

Salinee “Sal Go” Goldenberg

In addition to listening to lots of records, watching lots of hockey games, nerding out over cinematic tv/film, Sal’s favorite thing to do is travel to new countries in order to find delicious things to eat. She plays guitar in a proto-punk garage band, plays video games, enjoys boxing, and is in the process of writing other speculative fiction novels.

Sal lives in Washington D.C. with her boyfriend and teenage son. She clocks in during the day as the head of Video Production for Bethesda Softworks, snugly locked away in a climate-controlled, soundproof editing suite. Of all the cats she’s lived with throughout her life, only one gave her Lyme disease and chiggers…

Sal writes on the blog as Aristen.

Brandi “Bee” K.S. Endres

Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Brandi has lived in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston (The Woodlands), Bastogne, Belgium, Syracuse and Watertown, New York, and Northern New Jersey (Newark and North Arlington). After graduating college, the U.S. Army immediately banished her to a desolate Kuwaiti desert, among other popular vacation destinations. Following an honorably served five years on active duty and four combat stripes, she attended law school in New Jersey, and currently serves as an government attorney during her day job, perched on the 18th floor of a high rise.

In her free time, Brandi attempts to grow tomatoes with her husband, Tom, in Fort Worth, Texas, and adores hot yoga. She has no children but does own two dogs, Dixie and Mama, and two cats, Nemesis (“Nemie”) and Olive, and also shares her home with the occasional foster dog(s).

On the blog, she writes as Olive.