I dropped (literally) down from my idyllic summer cabin, nestled in the forest pines at 6500’ to the hot Phoenix desert to attend a conference last weekend. I hate being in the 110+ degree Phoenix summers, so the conference had better be good!
During this conference I learned quite a bit about co-authoring and how writing partners can collaborate so their writing “jells.”
Cussler, age 86, has used eight different co-authors for his five best-selling series. He paired up for several books with Grant Blackwood, who went on to co-author Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. He’s also written several books with his son, and featured his son and daughter in his novels. He says his co-writers produce a lot of the pages. While he writes also, he most often comes up with the initial plot idea and treatment.
Panel member Lee Goldberg, who wrote many episodes of the Monk TV series, is currently teaming up with Janet Evanovich to write her Fox and O’Hare series. He says he and Janet take a more collaborative approach, with both of them contributing to writing scenes. He says he’ll write a scene, “and then Janet puts her magic touch on it to finish.”
I was able to book a 20-minute appointment with her to discuss my book-in-progress, Crescent Moon Crossing. I wasn’t satisfied with the opening of the book, and was struggling with how to improve the initial chapters. Well…in 20 minutes, Holly gave me a fresh idea for the book’s opening, plus she helped me decide the best order to introduce the scenes in my first three chapters. Thank you, Holly! It was money well spent. I’ll definitely be back in touch with you when I have a draft ready for content editing.
- Polar Shift (co-author Paul Kemprecos)
- Piranha (co-author Craig Dirgo)
- The Kingdom (co-author Grant Blackwood)
- The Eye of Heavens (co-author Russell Blake)
- Black Wind (co-authored with his son Dirk)
I think it will be interesting to read them all in sequence and see if the writing and tone vary between co-writers. I’ll let you know.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your short list of authors you most enjoy reading. And what about co-authors—do you read co-authored books?