For our first post, we thought we'd introduce ourselves.
Inevitably, the first question Katherine and I get when we tell people that we write books together is, “how does that work?” Well, we plan to explore the process of co-writing in blog posts to come, but for now I’ll say that the most important thing to being a successful writing team is definitely planning. We plan, brainstorm, discuss, schedule, discuss again, and then plan some more before we ever put a word on the page because, for this to work, we have to be on the same page. All of that is my way of saying that, according to our “blogging schedule” I get the honor of writing our inaugural post. I have to say, that’s a lot of pressure. As writers who are about to go out on submission with our first manuscript (assuming our lovely agent, Pooja Menon, doesn’t completely hate our revisions!), having a successful blog is really important. We have big, and hopefully interesting, ideas for future posts, but today I thought I’d begin at the beginning and tell you a little about us as a writing team. Annnd, if you stick around until the end, you might even win some stuff!
Katherine and I have been friends since our freshman year of high school. Although we were in the same homeroom, it was actually a gym class that brought us together. Or, more specifically, our gym teacher’s insistence that we all line up in alphabetical order, which put Katherine and I on either side of my friend Yvette. The three of us spent the better part of the year complaining about P.E. (isn’t that how everyone bonds in high school?) and, while we eventually lost touch with Yvette, Katherine and I managed to stay best friends even over the twelve or so years that we lived in different parts of the country. And people say there’s no such thing as soul mates.
Believe it or not, our first foray into writing as a team actually came during that first year of our friendship when my obsession with the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (ok, if I’m being honest my obsession was with David Boreanaz, but can you blame me?) led to a short story about a girl who falls in love with a vampire with a heart of gold. I know, I know, but I was fourteen! At the urging of a beloved English teacher, Kate and I decided to turn that short story into a one-act play for a writing competition, and thus the collaborative duo was born. Sadly, our masterpiece did not win any prizes (and reading through it over a decade later made the reasons why painfully obvious), but it did show us that we worked well together.
So, when, about two years ago, Katherine suggested that we really give novel writing a shot it was a no-brainer to jump right in. We spent about a week outlining a story, and then the next nine months or so researching and writing it. By the end of the year we had a complete manuscript, and the certainty that only a first-time writer could have—our book was golden, and was sure to garner a book deal with in a few weeks once we got it into the hands of the right agent. Cue hysterical laughter from all the writers who’ve been through the querying process. I guess it goes without saying (but I’m saying it anyway) that our search for the “right agent” ended with the realization that what we really needed was the “right manuscript”. So, into the drawer went our first attempt at novel writing, and over the next year or so we did our own thing—Katherine finished two more novels (stories based on personal experiences that were just begging to be written into life), and I earned a Masters degree in International Relations with an emphasis on Middle Eastern women’s movements. I realize that sounds a bit out of left field given that this post is about our work as a writing team, but just stay with me for a second, because that fact eventually led to our current project. See, Katherine—because she’s the most supportive friend ever—came all the way out to Springfield, Missouri for my graduation. During the week or so she was there, between comical graduation parties (think “Entertainment 720” from Parks & Rec except with gentlemen less smooth and charming than Tom Haverford and John Ralphio), packing for my move back to the East Coast, and a Quantum Leap marathon we started discussing Katherine’s latest idea for a YA novel. Her concept was amazing, and given what I’d study the past two years, had some pretty fascinating parallels to the struggles of women in the Middle East that she’d never really considered (I knew that degree would come in handy for something). It seemed fate had big plans to reunite us as a writing team, particularly since—after living so far apart for so long—we’d be living just a few blocks from each other now that I was moving back to Pennsylvania. We got to work right away (the moving boxes weren’t even unpacked!) on a steampunk sci-fi set in a world very similar to the Ottoman Empire of the 1800s, and the rest, as they say, is history—or at least it will be once we snag that book deal. What can I say, I’ll probably never totally lose that dreamy-eyed optimism no matter how many rejection emails pile up in the old inbox. ;)
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Free Stuff!! We figured for our inaugural blog post we'd give away three Steampunk books that inspired us while we were writing. Feel free to do one or all of the things for more entries--your support is greatly appreciated (plus, when we're rich and famous you can tell all of your friends that you followed our blog before "it was cool")!