Today we have part 1 of the author team that brought us Waltzing with the Wallflower. One Wednesday Leah will be here to tell her side of the story.
“Hey.” I looked over at Leah as she edited yet another manuscript. “You wanna write a regency short story for promotion?”
Leah stopped typing and looked at me. CORRECTION: She gave me that look of pure terror that asked Can I actually do this? Do I even have time to do this? She often gets this look when I randomly bring things up, especially considering I was asking her to write out of her genre.
“Sure,” she finally answered and then went back to her typing.
Two weeks later, Waltzing with the Wallflower was born. I would LOVE to say that even while we slept the words magically wrote themselves onto our computers, but alas, that is so far from the truth!
When you write with a partner you have to take into consideration what their strengths are. I knew Leah would do awesome with a regency because she is my critique partner on all of my regency books. She and I often use regency words in daily conversation just because we don’t remember how to speak normal anymore! Sadly, we both still struggle with this and have given up all efforts to fix our odd language.
Our book started with an idea. We wanted to write a book that people from all walks of life could relate to. We wanted women to look at the cover and want to read it. So we decided to write about a wallflower.
Lots of writing partners try to mesh their styles together so everything is seamless. In our first co-written book, The Parting Gift, we tried to do this. I think we did a pretty good job but that was mainly because Leah is an awesome editor and was able to go through and smooth over my hastiness and bad grammar!
With Wallflower we wanted to try something different. We decided to split up the chapters. She would write the girl’s point of view, and I would write the guy’s. I can honestly say Leah knows me so well that she can tell what I’m trying to say even if I don’t do a very good job of getting my point across. In writing Ambrose, the hero, I never once had to tell her what he would say or how he would react to Cordelia.
And when I would be in Ambrose’s point of view and write about Cordelia’s responses, it was easy for me to see what she would say or how she would say it, because I understood where Leah was coming from.
We really did write the story in about two weeks. I wrote the prologue and first chapter, gave it to her to edit and make pretty as well as add her own flavor if need be and then she added her chapter on the master file. And so we passed back and forth the same file over and over again until it was finished. Leah edited it as we went along and also fixed mistakes I had, as well as possible characterization issues with Cordelia when I was in Ambrose’s point of view.
Once we were finished we both read through it together to see if we needed to add anything else or possibly take anything away. Because I write mainly romance and Leah does YA, I was forced to write the kissing scenes (which I didn’t mind at all!), but what’s funny is towards the end there is a scene with the brother that Leah wrote which I think is almost thicker with sensuality than my own scene, and it was hilarious.
Writing with a partner can be a challenge, but honestly, Leah and I haven’t really had many conflicts. It could be because we both tend to be people-pleasers and really take into consideration the other’s opinion. If Leah tells me something I write needs tweeking, I look at her while deleting what I just wrote. Sometimes she gives me a pat on the back or a Swedish fish if I get sad, …but for the most part, I deal with it. And when she writes something that I want to add possibly more romance to, she merely hands me the computer from across the couch and waits. It’s perfect. I really love our partnership and feel sooo lucky to have a partner in her.
Rachel Van Dyken
USA Today Bestseller of “The Ugly Duckling Debutante”
Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Astraea Press
“Waltzing With The Wallflower”
“The Redemption of Lord Rawlings”
“The Seduction of Sebastian St. James”
“Every Girl Does It”
“An Unlikely Alliance”
“The Parting Gift”