Just as I promised today I am welcoming to my blog Co-Authors of the upcoming book GEMINA: THE LOST LEGIONNAIRES – Tamara McHatton & Lysa Demorest.
Enjoy while they lay out where the inspiration for the story came from, how they worked together to write it and of course that cover!
Tamara : So, it’s mid-November and I get this PM on Facebook from my publisher: I’d love to get Charles on a cover, but haven’t had the right venue for him. I answered her: I agree. We need to get Charles on a cover, could it be a short? When would it have to be in by? How many words? She came back with…Well if we want it to go to print it would have to be at least 100 pages total, anywhere from 55k to 75k words. To have it in print by RT, I’d want to publish by December, pretty darn tight. We might be able to push that a little bit if I do the editing. Think you can do it?
I responded: I’d want to do it so it could go to print, for Charles’ sake…and I think I have someone who could help me get this done.
Insert superhero sidekick theme.
Lysa: And that’s where the PM from Facebook came in. Let me tell you, it didn’t sound anything like the superhero sidekick music that it should have been. As a Felicity-type from CW’s Arrow though, I figured I could roll with it. After the initial spaz, “Ah!” freak out moment that lasted about a whole second, I told her, “Yeah, sure, we got this.” Of course, this was during one of my easy classes while working on my English Literature degree.
Tamara: So of course pinged you. I knew you were very knowledgeable on this time period, and great with ideas, and terrific as an editor, and so eager and willing, that you wear me out! LOL. That’s when I told my publisher who my cohort was: Lysa Demorest used to be my first assistant with SUITE Magazine. Anything I needed, she could do, to include writing last minute articles when authors fell through… My publisher said, fine, so you and I agreed to work on this together to get it done quickly.
A couple of days later you and I started playing “what if” and by the next week we had a simple plot outline worked up and spent another week fine-tuning it, noting what we had to research, where it would go. By the end of the month, I let our publisher know that you and I were plotting all of it out, and then in December we’d write the story.
Lysa: A month later, when we were in the thick of our writing, the aggravating course started but we still plowed through to get it done. Since T knew I was still taking classes, she offered to do two scenes to me doing one. Especially since she’s an experienced writer and I haven’t written anything outside of academic research papers in years. That didn’t last long though. We very quickly began to bounce scenarios off each other so well it became more of a tag team. There were a few days of quick shot ideas. I’d come up with one on a scene or something with action we should cover, T would add to it or come up with another angle we could go in. I think it took about a week for us decide on exactly the outline we wanted to go for, what plot points we wanted to cover. Then came splitting up the workload.
Tamara: And then I got waylaid by the worst case of flu I’ve had in decades. I’d crawl over to my laptop and try my best to get my 2k+ done for the day we’d both agreed upon. I figured if you and I both wrote over 2k each a day, we could make this happen in the six weeks we had. I was so sick though, I actually had to ask you to help me out with the fight scenes and such because my brain was nothing but fuzz at this point.
Lysa: Which worked out great because T had to come in to rescue me with some of the more human aspects during those parts since I went into technical mode. At some point, it began to turn towards me writing Axilla’s scenes and T writing Corvina’s, the rest of the scenes were split up between us by what was going on. Good thing we sometimes think alike.
Tamara: Which I think is what makes us a great team. Neither one of us has an ego, and we both realize we have strengths and weaknesses as authors. It just so happens that ours complement each other very seamlessly. I add the human, you add the fighting, and then we both edit the scene and make it work as one entity. We’re not thin-skinned, so if you tell me…uhm, that sucks, I trust you, and vice versa. And it just seemed to fall into place naturally that we took on these roles.
Lysa: Once we actually got into the swing of things though, it went rather smooth. In the morning, I’d get a new scene from T, in the evenings she’d get one from me. When we ignored the scrunched up timeframe, it felt like normal writing. Well, for me did from old days of writing chapters back forth in an RPG.
Tamara: Which doesn’t surprise me. I’ve always trusted your judgment, sent my work in progress to you, to get your slant on things, and you’ve always been honest. You’ve actually made me a better writer, so when this opportunity came up, I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d want on board, than you.
Then around mid-December I pinged our publisher. “Remind me again why I decided to take on a story that I’m not familiar with the history of the time?? There has been soooooo much research I’ve had to do that my head spins at times. Words, phrasing, what occurred during that time to reference, etc…ugh! I sure hope Charles appreciates this! LOL.” She just laughed.
Lysa: There were times that we had to add in little notes with our scenes. “Heads up, so-and-so did this,” just so we’d have an idea on how the next scene should go if the character had any part of it. We also had fun playing “pick a name” for minor characters that decided to pop in and rear their heads. Those were the most interesting. One of those random minor characters ended up playing a major role.
Tamara: Oh yeah, when I IM’d you and said…by the way…this character decided to do this, and oh…he died. Make note of this for your scene…snicker. We both went with the flow. And I agree with you. Minor characters deciding all of a sudden to be heroes! Uh, excuse me, that wasn’t in the plot…Uh Lysa, now what do we do…guess we have to give them an actual name! LOL
Lysa: When there weren’t new characters that wanted names though, we had a different issue to face. No matter how many times you might go over an outline, some things decide to be changed. That’s why we referred to our outline as basic or loose. A couple times during our writing, we decided that a scene or something was missing or that a scene we had planned for later would fit better in another place. Instead of worrying about the change, we wrote it and kept going. I guess here is where we should also say that we didn’t write by chapters. We worried about splitting them after the entire book was done so we weren’t jinxing ourselves with writer’s block by seeing how little or many chapters we had in relation to the length.
Tamara: Oh I so agree Lysa. We wrote the scenes, then divvied them up later based on where they needed to go in relation to the storyline, and where our trouble children, aka characters, decided to take us. So glad we didn’t do the chapters thing! I think it worked out very well! What about you?
Tamara: So apparently, our publisher is very excited about this book and in an offhand remark mentioned maybe a sequel since she thought this one was so powerful. Now we’re in talks about a second roman book, who would be the hero…where could we find another heroine?
Lysa: Writing by chapters might have scared me more with such a short deadline. When it looks like there’s not enough of them or your word count isn’t there, it becomes stressful. I’ll admit to days that I just wanted to hide under a pillow than worry about daily deadlines but we made it. The next book though won’t be as tough since we have the learning curve going for us. It is fun to start off with a joking idea and now it turns into the start of a second book.
Gemina: The Lost Legionnaires
Axilla goes against orders to find out the fate of his outpost, only to realize he has made the greatest sacrifice of his lifetime. His existence now rests on his skills to survive his captivity as a Roman gladiator.
Corvina, the scarred protector of her outpost, faces challenges to her loyalty as a constant reminder of her failures. Powerful forces put her in the center of Rome to spy and safeguard her people and the old Roman ways.
It falls to the lost Roman legionnaire and the scarfed woman to orchestrate the heroic plan of saving an empire from itself. They coordinate a daring escape and set the challenge on the very steps of Rome’s aristocracy. A fight to inspire a rebellion, a fight to inspire a revolution.
Lysa’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLysaD
Thanks for coming by the blog ladies! I wish you much success!!