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It’s all about us!



Authorial partnerships are nothing new.  Though not altogether commonplace, there are, none the less, a good number of books written by co-authorships.  Sometimes the team consist of a couple of friends, sometimes even three or more.  Husband and wife teams, too, are known to produce best-sellers.  Usually, however, these  writing alliances are found along the non-fiction shelves of your local bookstore.  But a father/daughter fiction-writing team?  I doubt we are unique, but I daresay it might take a while, and a bit of hunting, before you could find another such collaboration.

But how do we work?  How can two people, of different ages, different generations, work together without falling out?  Well, having a great relationship is a big help.  As mentioned elsewhere, Deanna and I are not just family, we are also best friends.  I guess my having a very youthful personality also helps.  In fact, my wife often refers to me as her fourth kid!  For me at least, it’s this close friendship that allows us to work together so closely.

One question we are often asked is, who does the most writing?  Do we write equally, or does one do more than the other?  Well, the truth is I do almost all of the writing.  I will write a few pages, then ask Dee to read through them, and make any alterations she sees fit.  If she’s happy with my work, all is good.  But believe me, if I haven’t reached the required standard she is not slow to tell me!  What we do a lot of, though, is discussion.  All of the character creation, plot development, sub-plots, twists, settings, it’s all discussed, at great length.  In truth she is more responsible for characterisation than I am.  The two bullies, for instance, Kurt and Dennis, were her own creation, amongst others in our cast.

Of course, we don’t always see eye-to-eye.  Occasionally we will disagree on some point or other.  We’ll talk back and forth, raising points and counter-points, before I usually end up letting her win!  Sometimes, however, I’ll dig my heels in, and refuse to budge.  One case in point is the modern town’s nick-name for Verity, i.e. the Witch-Girl.  I strongly felt she needed an identity, some form of reference by the townspeople other than just ‘The Witch.’  I didn’t see them as being so impersonal after they found out the shocking truth about the poor girl.  Dee didn’t like the term, Witch-Girl, (she still doesn’t!) but I held out, and so it is, Verity is now the innocent Witch-Girl of Duncan Falls!

Dee’s greatest strength, however, comes into play when I’m stuffed, stuck, suffering from writer’s block.  I can stare at a page for ages, unable to see the way forward, to find a way to say what I want, what I’m feeling.  Then I’ll ask Dee to take a look.  A fresh pair of eyes will then quickly scan the page, fingers will tap at the keyboard, and there it is, the answer to my problem.  And thus the plot progresses!

It isn’t just the writing where we collaborate.  The cover, for instance.  That too was the subject of much discussion.  I had an image in my mind, almost from the day I first hit the keyboard, of how the cover should look, but it took Dee to help me realise it.  She found a friend from her sixth-form class who was a dab hand at Photo-Shop, (Take a bow, Megan Wilson!) and another friend who would pose for us, playing the part of a terrified Verity, locked In  her cell and awaiting her execution.  This team, with me playing the part of photographer, put together the cover you now see on the home page.  It would never have happened without Dee’s help.

Finally I have to say that, without my youngest daughter’s support, I would have given up long ago.  There have been times when I wish I had never started writing, times I swore I was going to chuck it all in.  Always there came words of comfort, words of support from my best friend, Deanna Nessling.  She would then gently slap me upside the head, sit me back down at the computer, and together we would work our way through any and all problems, side by side.  She’s not just my co-author, she’s my rock.

Thank you, Deanna, and I love you.




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