Authors Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty team up as Ellen Connor to create the Dark Age Dawning series.

The partnership was unexpected. Author Ann Aguirre is best known for her sci-fi and paranormal works and Carrie Lofty is a historical author. At the start, Lofty was firm that they "needed to stop if [their] friendship ever suffered because of the project!" Instead they were surprised to see how well their thought patterns and writing styles matched. After quickly creating the first book in the series, they embarked on extensive revisions to create a consistent voice. But their hard work paid off when the manuscript was picked up by Cindy Hwang over at Penguin, who has a reputation for, in Aguirre's words, "taking chances and giving edgy romance a shot."

So what brought them together? A great dream-inspired story by Aguirre that included a were-girl, zombie Dobermen, and an apocalyptic chase scene. Aguire wrote a blog post which she then turned into a first chapter before sending it off to pal, Lofty, with a message: "Tag, you're it."

The futuristic trilogy kicks off with the shifter-origin tale, Nightfall. Set in a world full of magic and terror, the characters bear a strong likeness to those from 2000's blockbuster hit Pitch Black. But these warriors have "hearts and minds [that] are completely their own." Lofty felt the post-apocalyptic concept particularly resonated as she grew up in the 80's and frequently wondered how (or if) she would survive. "Our characters reflect variations on all those fears and strengths," she says.

"Both of us, especially early on, were just doing this for giggles," reveals Lofty. But look what turned out! Nightfall is tentatively set to release during the summer of 2011. In the meantime, you can check out their website and get a sneak peak at the prologue and first chapter!