So, how and when did you two meet?
Camilla: A long time ago—
Bonita: In a galaxy far, far away. (Chuckles)
C: We did college theatre together.
B: Yeah. But what really blew our minds was when we figured out that Camilla was my dad's sub when he taught high school Spanish.
B: I know! It was our bonding moment.
C: Cut to fifteen years later. We run into each other at the movies. And voilà!
So you're both actresses?
B: Yep. When we —I — can get the work.
C: Acting's sort of an occasional thing for me now. Mostly I'm focusing my time and energy…and my insanity on writing.
That's funny. So does writing induce the crazy more than acting?
C: Sometimes. But I love it.
B: Yeah, and unlike acting, we control when we work…which is all the time.
So when you're not working, how do you spend your time?
B: Seems lately, I spend most of my time training in martial arts.
Really? What art?
B: Well, I have a background in Jeet Kune Do. (Bruce Lee's martial art.) But now, I'm training in Kenpo MMA and Kali Escrima…which I did a bit of back in the day. I got Camilla back into training lately.
Back? How so?
C: I studied Kosho Shorie Ryu throughout my teens and early twenties. But it's been years. Bonita encouraged me to start back up again. Something I've wanted to do for a long time. Escrima seemed a good fit.
B: She's just being modest. She has a black belt.
C: But I earned that a long time ago.
B: Ah! Ah! Ah! Once a Black Belt, always a Black Belt.
Bonita gives Camilla a "don't argue with me on this" look. Camilla rolls her eyes.
C: Anyway, I love my home—
C: Thanks. So hanging out with my husband, P.J., and my dogs at home is my favorite thing to do. We like to entertain. P.J.'s a really great cook.
B: Oh, yeah! I eat better at Casa de Ochlan than any restaurant in L.A. If we could somehow add a movie theater to this house, I'd never leave. Best food. Best movies. Heaven.
I take it you like going to the movies.
B: And eating. Movies and eating…hamburgers.
C: I'd say we both enjoy a good hamburger and movie.
B: With bacon and avocado!
C: The burger, not the movie.
Stop. You're making me hungry. I did notice the running food theme in The Werewolf Whisperer.
B: Well, write what you know. Right?
Right. So besides food, who or what are your influences?
C: David Eddings, Katherine Kurtz, Guy Gavriel Kay, Mercedes Lackey, Marion Zimmer Bradley. Mythology. Anything supernatural. And, of course, D&D.
Really? Dungeons & Dragons?
C: Oh, hell yeah! I spent every weekend in high school and a lot of college gaming, when I wasn't doing plays. The gaming eventually evolved into writing, and I'm working on a series of fantasy stories that take place in the world my friends and I created in high school.
And you (Bonita)? Were you into D&D?
B: No. I was always a Star Wars girl. From the first time six-year-old me watched Luke gazing out over the desert plane at the twin moons of Tatooine, I was hook, line and sinker.
Wow! That was…um…poetic…and geeky.
B: Man, you have no idea.
C: We were Fan Girls before there were Fan Girls.
B: I was going Comic Con when you could actually get in to Comic Con. David Mack's Kabuki is one of my all time favorite books. And I'm really into Greg Rucka's Queen and Country and Lazarus. But my first love will always be Star Wars. Okay, Star Wars and Buffy. Cause Joss (Whedon) can do no wrong in my book. Don't care what others say, no one writes better female characters than Joss…and my husband (screenwriter Brent Simons).
C: Until now.
B: Right, until now…But we're female. So I think we have a leg up on the boys.
Then I'm going to pose this controversial question to you (Bonita). On what side of the Prequels do you fall?
B: Ha! No softballs from you. (She gets serious for a moment.) Look I'm not a hater. I like them. And Revenge of the Sith was really good in my opinion. But nothing surpasses the Original Trilogy. Though Clone Wars is up there.
C: On that note, shall we take the pups for walkies?
Once again, Camilla and Bonita herd the pack inside, leash them up and grab the poop bags. (Never forget the poop bags.) We head out the door and up a very steep hill. I'm out of breath, and I think I'm on the brink of a heart attack.
(Panting) I didn't bring the right shoes.
C: Don't worry about it. We're not going too far today.
B: Yeah, Lokes can't take too much of this heat.
Neither can I. We walk past a vast canyon. It's getting hotter and more arid. All I want is to douse myself with a bucket of water. Or jump in Camilla's pool. (But of course, I don't have a bathing suit.) Neither Camilla nor Bonita seem winded. The dogs pick up the pace. Loki is desperately trying to keep up with the much larger Zuzu and Lamby. We're on the downward slope of the hill. I breathe easier, until I realize that I have to climb back up this even steeper hill to get back to the Ochlans' home. I decide to take my mind off my pain and continue the interview.
So, how'd The Werewolf Whisperer come about?
C: I had this kernel of an idea when I was shooting my short film, Dog Breath. (The short film was shot in both English and Mandarin and was a Jury Selection in several film festivals.)
You wrote that film as well.
C: Yeah. Bonita was coming off writing a producing her own short film, Cantar. So I asked her to help out on my shoot.
B: It was really cool. I got to be a decaying dead body.
C: Good times.
So after the shoot, you started on the book?
C: No, not right away. I needed to get this new idea out of my head, so I wrote up three episodes of a web series.
The book was originally intended for the web?
C: Yep. I showed the episodes to Bonita.
B: Hell, I was on board the minute she told me the title. I thought it was so funny. I just got it. Then I read the episodes. And that did it.
C: We got to work immediately writing The Werewolf Whisperer web series.
B: Then the floodgates opened.
C: (Chuckles) Yeah. Ten episodes turned into a giant world.
B: So then Camilla gets the bright idea of writing a novel. I've never written a novel. I was scared out of my mind. But I said yes anyway.
C: Now we're publishing The Werewolf Whisperer and writing its sequel.
B: And that's that.
C: Until, book three.
We arrive back at Camilla's. I'm dog-tired (pun intended). Camilla sets fresh water out for Lamby and Zuzu. Bonita puts several ice cubes on the floor for Loki. The pug crunches away. Bonita sips from her sparkling water bottle. Camilla hands me a glass of the cool liquid (flat not sparkling), and I greedily gulp it down. Ah. After the respite, it's time for goodbyes. I kneel down and pet the pooches. They lick me in return. Lamby nearly knocks me on my behind. The pack follows me, Camilla and Bonita to the door. Before I go, I say…
Wow! A book series. It must be so exciting.
B: It's been a wild ride.
C: Yeah. I love these characters. I love this world we've created, and I can't wait to find out what happens next...
Neither can I.