One of the questions we always get asked is: “What is it like to collaborate and co-write with another author? Writing is such a personal thing - Isn’t it hard to write with another person?”
Three years ago, we would have been asking those same questions of any co-writing duo (or team). Writing is personal. We both agree that writing involves digging deep down inside you and pulling out little bits of yourself the rest of the world doesn’t see and putting them on paper for everyone to read. It’s highly personal. The flip side is that writing is also a lonely profession. It’s a profession, that by nature, forces you to sit in front of your computer/laptop/tablet/journal and pour your words and feelings onto a page … by yourself.
For us, collaborating is the best of both worlds. We can be solitary beings in front of our laptops when we need to get our words down, but we also have a built in cheerleader who is always there to cheer us on when a scene or character isn’t coming across the way we want it to.
Don’t get us wrong, co-writing is a challenge in and of itself. You have to trust the person you’re collaborating with - really trust them - and be able to give up a little bit of control over your work. Because, when you co-write, it’s not just “your” work. Each line, even if only one person created it and typed it into the document, is a joint effort. Each plot idea, each outline, each character development, all of it is a joint creation.
To put it more into perspective, here are some common questions we routinely get asked about our partnership:
Q: For those who don’t understand writing with a partner, how would you explain your writing partnership to them?
Eileen: I can see how people who are used to writing alone would find it odd or weird to write with a partner. To be honest? I love it. We bounce so many ideas off of each other that our SL usually becomes so much more than we originally envisioned it. I also think that writing with someone takes a lot of compromise. There are people who need to be in complete control over their characters and SL. Nik and I happily share joint custody over all of that and discuss every idea or SL change we have. It’s all about give and take. We each have our own OCD about writing, but we work well together and our ideas make our stories and characters stronger.
Nikka:We bounce ideas off each other and flail, then I ramble on in brainstorming. Then we switch. Then Eileen organizes everything and makes it pretty and sensible. Then rinse and repeat. Writing with a partner might not be the best choice for everyone but for us personally, it seems to work as we both have something to bring to the table.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of writing with a partner? What has been the best part?
Eileen: The most challenging part of having a writing partner? Time zones, dinner times and google docs deciding to play nasty and kick one of us out when we’re both working or plotting a scene at the same time.Nik and I discuss every chapter and character we write, so finding the time to be online together can be a challenge sometimes. There have been times when one of us can’t be online when the other is writing and we’ve been frustrated by the need to ask questions but not wanting to stop the creative flow of writing. We work around it the best we can, but time zones and schedules are definitely the most challenging for me. The best part about having a writing partner? I have an absolute blast writing with Nik. She makes me laugh on an hourly basis. Nothing we begin turns out the way we originally think it will. Short works turn into novellas. Novellas turn into novels. She makes me want to do more and write more. To actually get paid for all of that is priceless.
Nikka: The most challenging part: Everything Eileen said. Time zones, dinner time, and technology usually are the only things that keep us from writing together. The best part: It sounds so blasé to say writing with Eileen is fun, but the word really describes it. She’s funny and smart and we work as a good team to get the words out. Plus writing with her makes the sometimes lonely solo process of writing so much more interactive. You’re not stuck at your computer pounding the keys by yourself. You’re writing with someone else and you get to see new ways of looking at ideas or advancing the plot or someone telling you hey, that idea sucks when it’s needed or a thumbs up when it’s good.
Q: Can you give an example of how co-writing works for you two?
Eileen: When we begin a new WIP, we’re often times each drawn to one particular character who we feel a connection with. Each of us will “adopt” that character and take over most of the writing for scenes from that character’s POV. However, even though we usually alternate working on the WIP based on which character drives the scene, we also help each other out if the scene is a particularly hard one.
Nikka: An example of this came up while we were writing In The Raw. The scene followed a painful scene between Jamie and his father, which resulted in a fight between Ethan and Jamie. Even though the scene was from Ethan’s POV, one that I usually write, I kept getting writer’s block every time I tried to work on the scene. We knew we had to make Ethan’s remarks and attitude cruel to Jamie, and it killed me to write it. Eileen took over for a few days, cranked out some hateful dialogue, and we moved past it. Could we have still written a similar scene solo? Of course. But having a partner to help write it, to help move past it and get the words out, was priceless.
Eileen: The same applies to scenes that seem effortless for Nikka to write. I love cooking and watching cooking shows, but the art of translating the techniques and nuances to the page is hard for me. On the other hand, Nikka takes a scene, blocks it out in her head and runs with it. The result is amazing. So usually, regardless of whose POV the scene is from, we never try to bully our way through a scene. We each have strengths in our writing and together, we just work.
The bottom line for us comes down to trust. You see online how many times trust is broken between people. At the core of our friendship and collaboration is a trust that we’ve built with each other since the first day we met. We not only bounce our collaborative ideas off each other, but we bounce our individual WIP ideas off each other, too. We help each other plot out tricky or problematic scenes and have beta’d for each other since the beginning of our writing careers. Trust isn’t easily come by but can so easily be destroyed. For us, it’s worked - the friendship, the collaboration, and the trust. And at the end of the day, we both know how incredibly rare our relationship is and treasure it immensely J
Genre: M/M, Foodie Romance
Length: 85,000 Words
Series: In the Kitchen
Release Date: October 6, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22599510-in-the-raw
If you can’t take the heat…
James Lassiter has had a crush on fellow culinary student Ethan Martin for three years, but has never had the guts to make a move. Putting himself out there is hard, especially when under the thumb–and wallet–of his overbearing parents. Now that bad boy chef Ethan–who is always vying with Jamie for best in class–is struggling with the pastry course, Jamie suddenly has a reason to reach out.
Ethan doesn’t mean to be an ass–okay, so mostly he does–but even though he’s secretly hot for Jamie, he sure as hell doesn’t want help with pastry. Ever since his dad walked out, Ethan has been the one to hold things together and he’s done fine on his own. Except that he can’t get his cake to rise.
Jamie could be the answer to what Ethan’s been missing his whole life–someone to depend on. But with the two competing for the same scholarship, things suddenly get too hot to handle. And if Jamie finds the strength to go for what he wants, he isn’t about to settle for what he needs.
I opened the door, shivering when a gust of wind swept through. I pulled my jacket tight around my body, sighing when I saw no cabs waiting at the curb. “Shit.” I could either call information or wait a few minutes for another to drive by. I leaned against the brick wall of the building to wait when I heard the bar’s door squeak open and shut again.
“You could have waited for me, you know?” Ethan’s annoyed voice as he approached had me wondering what I’d done now.
“No worries.” I shrugged, tired from the long day and the confusing mix of emotions hanging out with him seemed to bring. “I didn’t want to rush you because I was ready to leave.”
He stepped closer, his shoulders hunched as he reluctantly admitted, “I wanted to hang out with you. Not Summer or the guys. Just you.”
I stared at him. “What do you want from me, Ethan? Half the time I don’t know whether you hate me or want to be friends. Then you do something like defend me to my father, who incidentally thinks you’re the antichrist. Tell me what we’re doing here.”
Instead of launching into the verbal tirade I expected, a determined look crossed his face and he murmured, “Fuck it.”
He stepped closer and I tensed. As unpredictable as Ethan was, I wasn’t sure what he’d do. I let it out a surprised gasp when his mouth met mine. There was nothing gentle about it. Months of tension, fighting, flirting all igniting when he touched me. Not a romantic kiss by any means…it was bruising, rough, passionate, intense, all the same things I’d come to equate with Ethan Martin. My fingers curled in the fabric of his sweatshirt, tugging him closer as my eyes slammed shut.
Braced between the solidness of his body and the cold wall behind me, I felt my entire body heat. Ethan’s ravenous lips and desperate tongue claimed my mouth, tasting of beer and mint. He slid one hand up to cup the back of my neck, holding me captive as he braced himself against the wall. I kissed him back fiercely, our teeth knocking together with the force of it.
Sounds I didn’t even know I was capable of making left my mouth and I didn’t care we were in public where anyone could see us. I nipped his lip, sighing with pleasure when he moaned into my mouth. He might be an infuriatingly stubborn asshole at times but one thing was for certain: Ethan Martin could kiss. He broke away, breathing hard as he leaned his forehead against mine.
“Wow.” I fought for breath, a smile tugging at my lips. “For once we’re actually on the same page.” As soon as the words left my mouth, he pulled back. His expression changed from needy to terrified as he released me, his hands clenched into fists.
“I’m sorry.” He backed away, staring at my face like I’d punched him. “I’m really fucking sorry, Lassiter.”
I swallowed hard and took a deep breath, raising my hands as if I was soothing a spooked animal.
He yanked up his sweatshirt hood and took off, leaving me to stare after him in silence. What the hell had happened?
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/in-the-raw-nikka-michaels/1119740514?ean=9781426899119
EILEEN GRIFFIN BIO:
Eileen Griffin lives in the southwest, but loves to travel and has spent many summers crossing Europe with nothing but a backpack on her back. She enjoys TexMex, lives for good wine, and has a certain penchant for purple unicorns. She loves reading all genres of books, but her current obsession is writing M/M romance. Her past published works include: Chasing Matt, a M/M novella co-authored with Nikka Michaels, Dinner For Two, a M/F romance novella, “Claiming Ayden”, a M/M shifter romance that is part of Evenight’s Alpha’s Claim Anthology: M/M Edition, and “Lost and Found”, a short story written for the M/M Romance Group’s Don’t Read in the Closet: Love’s Landscapes Event. Eileen is currently working on a new M/M series set in a Bed and Breakfast with Nikka Michaels, as well as several other projects both individual and co-authored.
NIKKA MICHAELS BIO:
Nikka Michaels lives in the rainy Pacific Northwest where she spends her time cooking, laughing and crafting romantic tales to satisfy her craving for HEAs with heat. A voracious reader, novice knitter and music lover she’s been known to multitask without breaking a sweat. She loves to read and write M/M romance but believes everyone deserves a love story. She currently has several releases out including, Chasing Matt, a M/M novella co-authored with Eileen Griffin, Christmas with Caden, a M/F romance novella from Cobblestone Press, “Waking up Wolf”, a M/M shifter romance in Evernight Publishing’s Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition anthology, and the MM series which includes, Mile High Service, Room Service and Lip Service Cobblestone Press’ Blue line. Lip Service, the sequel to Room Serviceand . She also has a short story, “His Assistant” in Evernight Publishing’s best sellingExecutive Assistant: Manlove Edition anthology.
EILEEN GRIFFIN SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Website and Blog: http://eileengriffin.wordpress.com/
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/eileen.griffin
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/eileengriffinauthor
Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/eileen-griffin/
All Romance eBooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Eileen+Griffin
NIKKA MICHAELS SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/Nikka.Michaels
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/nikkamichaelsauthor
Cobblestone Press: http://cobblestone-press.com/catalog/author/nikkamichaels.htm
Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/nikka-michaels/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/author/nikkamichaels
All Romance eBooks: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/storeSearch.html?searchBy=author&qString=Nikka+Michaels
My thoughts on In the Raw can be found here.
My thoughts on In the Raw can be found here.