Posted at Apr 17, 2014 1:10 am
Today we’re sharing a bit about our writing process as part of a special blog tour. We were tagged by the very talented Linda O. Johnson, who posted her responses to these questions last week: Linda O. Johnson’s Writing Process
We’ll answer the questions posed to tour participants below, then hand the torch off to the next author for their part of the tour. Sound like fun?
So, here they are:
1. Why do you write what you write?
We’ve both been writing for a long time and for both of us all of the stories, while they’ve had different themes, are mostly about what makes people do what they do. What motivates them? How to they react under stress? What makes them tick?
So, we’d have to say we write what we write because people are endlessly fascinating.
2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
You may have noticed there are a lot of cozy mysteries to choose from. Good news for those of us who read the genre. And what a fantastic variety! But how are ours different? Hmmm…
First, our cozy mysteries would fall into the sub-genre of humorous mysteries, and also into the sub-genre of mysteries with animals. As Linda mentioned in her post, pets have long been a common and beloved theme in cozies. In our books, the pets are sidekicks. They don’t solve the mysteries. However, the pet theme is more than a minor part of our books because our amateur sleuths, Caro and Melinda, work with pets. Caro is a pet therapist and Mel is a pet boutique owner. Pets are important to them and play a big role in the mystery plot.
Secondly, we have a unique twist in that the two protagonists, who are cousins, alternate as the lead character in the books in our series. In other words, in the odd-numbered books Caro is the POV character, and in the even-numbered books Mel is the lead. The books share setting, secondary characters, and the cousins make appearances in each other’s books. Granted right now the two aren’t speaking to each other so they aren’t often on the same page. (Pun intended.) You see, there’s this little problem with a brooch that their Grandma Tillie left to her “favorite granddaughter.” Well, you can see the problem there, can’t you?
3. How does your writing process work?
Our collaboration is also unique in that we write every other book. Mary Lee writes the Caro books and Anita writes the Mel books. Because of this our writing process is a bit different than it would be if we worked alone or if we had a more traditional co-writing arrangement.
We’re both plotters but we’re hybrid plotters. Never heard that term before? It may be that we just made it up. What it means to us is that we plot out the story in advance. (This is very important for us because the books stand alone, but the series must be tightly woven together.) However, while we plot the story before we begin writing, we’re both very character-driven writers so if what we’ve planned doesn’t work once we’re in the midst of writing the story, we may make some changes. That’s what we mean by hybrid plotters.
The first step after planning out the storyline is a rough draft. We both find our first drafts are mostly dialogue. (What’s more interesting than people talking, right?) Then we go back in and add additional details, make sure the plot-points line-up, and tweak the things that need tweaking. Finally, once more through to look for any problems and then the story is off to our publisher.
4. What are you working on?
FIFTY SHADES OF GREYHOUND is going through the final processes at our publisher, Bell Bridge Books, and will be released later this month. It’s a Caro book and we’ve had a lot of fun with it and learned a lot of fascinating information about Greyhounds.
THE GIRL WITH THE DACHSUND TATTOO is in progress and we’re having a blast with it. Look for it to come out later in 2014.
As part of this post, we get to introduce writers who we’ve chosen to follow us on the blog tour:
Please meet the wonderful Shannon Baker, who writes a great series and who we met at our very first mystery conference, Mayhem in the Midlands in Omaha, NE.
Here’s a little bit more about Shannon…
Shannon Baker, author of the Nora Abbott Mystery series involving murder, environment and Hopi Indians, can often be found backpacking, skiing, kayaking, cycling, or just playing lizard in the desert. From the Colorado Rockies to the Nebraska Sandhills, the peaks of Flagstaff and the deserts of Tucson, landscapes play an important role in her books. Tainted Mountain, the first in her Nora Abbott Mystery Series, is set in Flagstaff, AZ, where she lived for several years and worked for The Grand Canyon Trust, a hotbed of environmentalists who, usually, don’t resort to murder. She lived twenty years in the Nebraska Sandhills, where cattle outnumber people by more than 50:1. When Shannon moved to Boulder, CO, Nora followed her and Broken Trust is set in the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. Shannon now makes her temporary home in Nebraska and believes her job description is now itinerate writer.