05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Co-Writing a Christmas Regency Romance - Vivien Jackson

Check out that pretty cover below. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Now then. Something you might have overlooked in the wow-that’s-gorgeous perusal is the fact that this book cover has two author names on it. Two! Crazysauce! What’s more, so did our Cotillion Christmas Regency last year. And the steamy Regency ménage we wrote before that.

Hi, my name’s Viv and I’m part of a co-writing team.

And now I bet you have loads of questions about how this whole co-writing thing works, don’tcha?  (Please say you do.) Excellent. I’m happy to answer them. Here are a few I’ve already heard:

How did you get into co-writing?
Once upon a time, Christa and I loved a certain – no, I’m not going to name it! – Regency series. We did the brain equivalent of inhaling those books as soon as they came out, both of us, and we were really really looking forward to the last one, the one that all the others had been leading up to. It released. We bought it. We read it. And it was … competent. Decent. Well-researched? Yeah, sort of … oh, hell, that book was disappointing. So in our off time, after we made our word-count on individual projects, we started rewriting that book. Together. Christa would write a scene or two and pitch the doc to me. I’d add to it and pitch it back. Two-hundred-thousand-odd words later, we realized that although our attempts at redoing particular book were iffy, this writing together thing was magic, and we wanted to do more of it.

So, do you write the guy and she writes the chick, or how does that work?
You know, it’s not as ordered as all that. I tend to write until I get stuck and/or my ideas for what happens next are all cliché and boring, and I toss the story over to Christa. She never takes the story where I thought it would go, and that is a good thing. When she runs out of inspiration, she slings it back to me. Sometimes one of us deliberately writes the other into an oh-no-you-didn’t corner, from which we must extract our hapless characters. Those are the funnest parts.

Why Christmas stories?
Christmas was celebrated differently back in Regency (early 19th century) England. It wasn’t about trees and presents and overweight home invaders who eat your cookies and put junk in your socks. If Christmastide celebrations were about anything back then, they were about freedom from school, families getting to spend this time together, and looking past the longest night to the promise of spring. We love these themes and try to sprinkle them liberally into our stories.

Any other questions? Please feel free to comment away or visit me or Christa on the web. Our latest book, A Christmas Scheme, is available now for preorder on Amazon and will release November 13th at Ellora’s Cave.

Thank you so much for letting us visit, and happy happy this season!


Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you for Guesting with us, Vivien! Sorry I didn't comment yesterday - long story involving farm animals, wooden pallets, and goat manure - lots of goat manure.

Anyway, I love lighthearted Regencies and am excited to read your book.

I take it you and Christa are both 'pantsers"? How do you go about revisions? Do you have a target word count when you begin?

Vivien Jackson said...

Long story sounds like it could be loads of amusing (ooch, sorry about that pun!). :)

I think I'm more of a pantser than Christa, but we tend to work out character arcs, themes, and other very basic stuff beforehand so we don't go completely off the rails.

Revisions are more of the tossing back and forth: I do a pass through, she does a pass through, and so on until we figure we're pretty close to done. Then of course our editor gets a pass through, and our process starts back over.

So far our three published stories have been written to a specific length for the publisher's series or line. When we're left to our own devices regarding word count, we tend to get a smidge wordy. ;)

Thank you so much for reading, and for having me here!

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Vivien,

I'm just late - don't have the goat manure excuse that Sarah does. We are so glad Pippa Jay knew about your new release! A Christmas Scheme sounds like a fun read - even more so now that I know what you and Christa did to create it!