The Novel Approach welcomes co-authors Debbie McGowan and Raine O’Tierney today on the Leaving Flowers blog tour. Not only are they chatting a bit about the collaborative process, but they’re also offering the chance for one lucky reader to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below.
Hi, ladies, I’m so glad to be hosting you on your Leaving Flowers blog tour.
I’d love if you’d tell readers what it was like to co-author a book that seems like it may have been emotional for both of you to write. Did you ever get to a point where you cried on each other’s shoulders as you wrote the story? What were some of the most emotional scenes for you to write?
RO: Thank you so much for having us!
There were many times where Debbie and I desperately pleaded with each other, “I don’t want Aidan to hurt anymore… Can’t we just fix this?” because we hated seeing him hurting. We knew in the end we would have crafted something beautiful and have seen him through to a happier tomorrow, but there were moments where—damn—it was hard getting there.
And… we almost always naturally agreed with the directions the other took the story (even though we rarely discussed where we were going), but there were a couple of times I remember that I did some plot bastarding that left Debbie very upset. I even made her cry one morning and I realized the plot element I’d written wasn’t worth the pain. There’s plotful pain and pain for pain’s sake, and I’m a big enough girl to admit when I’ve taken a misstep.
On the other hand, Debbie once mentioned something about Patrick’s past that got me all hysterical and I begged her to explain his canon to me—which sounds totally silly as it’s nothing you ever see in the story, but it was important that I know.
In short, our hearts were very invested in the story, but we trusted each other enough and were willing to compromise enough that we could see each other through and produce something that I think is rather spectacular.
Do you find you write differently when collaborating than you do when writing alone? Is there a different approach to it?
DM: When we were writing Leaving Flowers, we were both having a spot of what is commonly known as ‘writer’s block’, although that’s inaccurate really. Writing alone, there are times that the ideas are just pouring out of you faster than your fingers can get them down on the page. Other times it is like pulling teeth. The inspiration just isn’t there, even if the ideas are.
Collaborative writing bypasses the block, or it certainly has for us, because what the other person has written becomes the inspiration and ignites new ideas. It’s also a little gentle pressure at those times where you might think, Oh, I’m too tired to write, because knowing there is someone waiting for the next part of the story—someone who will appreciate your words and give you honest feedback—is the perfect motivation.
Finally, there’s a responsibility to your collaborator. As Raine mentioned, there were some emotional moments where particular plot points were distressing to one or the other of us, and it requires a certain amount of honesty on both parts, as well as respect. For instance, you will never come across a story we write where anything bad happens to an animal, because one of the co-authors can’t even watch Ice Age without having a meltdown. Writing together is about respecting the values and beliefs of each other so that it is an fabulous experience for both of you. And it was.
Blurb: Shy and awkward since childhood, Aidan Degas is now a man lost. His twin—Aidan’s other half, Nadia—died tragically young, leaving him with nothing to get him through his days but his job at the prestigious Grand Heights Luxury Apartments and the flowers he lays upon her grave. When Aidan is assaulted on the job by a tenant, it’s the graveyard he turns to for strength and solace.
Patrick loves being assistant groundskeeper at the sprawling cemetery where he tends graves and offers a bit of comfort to mourners. When he sees a sad young man lingering over an old grave, his curiosity is strangely piqued for reasons he doesn’t understand. He’s never done this—struck up a friendship with a mourner. But soon that friendship blossoms into a romance.
It’s not going to be easy for the pair. Aidan is so damaged, like petals crushed in an angry fist, and even with Patrick’s warm heart and Irish charm, it might not be enough to bring him back from the edge.
About the Authors:
DEBBIE MCGOWAN is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she ‘ran away’ to London at 17, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At 25, she went back to college to study social science— tough with two toddlers, but they had a ‘stay at home’ dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can!
RAINE O’TIERNEY lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow author, SiônO’Tierney. When she’s not writing, she’s either playing video games or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers! Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on gay romance) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you’re interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!