Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sit-Down Saturday

Lynn Patrick (Patricia Rosemoor and Linda Sweeney) talk about writing Home for Keeps together

How do two authors write one book?

Patricia: It helps if you have like-thinking minds. Or if you have a psychic connection. :) It seems that way sometimes when we plot together. And if I’m writing and hit a wall, I tell Linda about it and she comes up with just the right solution to what I’m missing. We figure out the book together and then one of us writes the first half, the other the second, but of course we exchange chapters and add or revise as we see fit.
Linda: It seems that the story exists outside of ourselves and we are just transcribing it, at least that’s how it works for me. I would say being able to firm up a plot is most important. Two people could never write a scene from time to time willy-nilly and have it end up cohesive.



Where did you get the idea for Home for Keeps?

Patricia: This is the fourth book we set in the fictional town of Sparrow Lake, WI. Grace Huber appeared in The Long Road Home and introduced the idea of a green community. So we created Caleb Blackthorne, a hero that would be a natural fit for her, a professor at the community college who teaches conservation.
Linda: We try to use topics in which one of us has some expertise or special interest.  Patricia is a gardener, which inspired a heroine who is a “green” landscape designer in The Forever Home, as well as the hero conservationist in Home for Keeps.  I contributed to the art interest in the hero’s daughter in the latter book and to Aunt Margaret’s profession, an art professor, in all four books.

            

What’s your favorite scene?

Patricia: My personal favorite is Caleb’s daughter Angela building the sweat lodge with her friend Kiki. Because Angela was getting out of hand, Caleb confined her to home during Spring break. Building the sweat lodge on the property next to the house qualified in her mind if not her father’s. I loved the camaraderie between the girls and Angela’s sympathy for her friend. Kiki’s father is dead, her mother is in jail and she’s in a bad situation in a foster home. Angela draws Kiki out to learn that she has a grandmother in Chicago. The scene shows a different facet of both girls from what the adults see.
Linda:  I like the camping out scenes best – we used many incidents from an actual camping trip we took years ago.  Patricia, her husband, her stepson, and I set up tents and built a fire at a campground in Wisconsin.  Late at night, we were invaded by raccoons that screamed as they fought over foodstuffs and jumped on a car, setting off the alarm.  I liked writing those scenes because they were humorous and had a lot of people in them, some quite silly like Jimmy the college student who is always hungry.


What kind of research did you do?

Patricia: Linda really did the research on green communities, so I’ll let her take this one.
Linda: I read about green communities online. I had heard of such already when I saw a house hunting episode on HGTV wherein a house hunter considered living in a green community in Oregon as one of her three options. For the hero’s background in Home for Keeps, I looked up syllabi on environmental science (available online) and read a small book on useful medicinal plants that grow in the Midwest.


Who is your favorite character?

Patricia: I identify with our heroine Grace Huber’s wanting to do what she can to make her part of the world a better place by using green technology and creating a development that includes the outdoors. I’m also a city person who recycles, composts, gardens, and works with a community garden as a Master Gardener; when I was younger, I used to camp, boat and ride horses, as well.
Linda: My favorite character is Nellie, the older woman who lives in the green community with her cat Olive and who steadfastly doesn’t believe in ghosts. I always want to create older characters who are vibrant and interesting, not stock “old people” characters. I also had fun with the ghost hunter guy in the book. Years ago, Patricia and I went on a Chicago Ghost Tour with someone similar to him, all dressed in black and full of stories.


What do you appreciate most about your Heartwarming stories?

Patricia: The ability to build a community of characters of all ages that are threaded through the stories, making seniors as interesting and as fun as the kids we create.
Linda: I agree with Patricia. I also appreciate visiting a small town, at least in a story.  I’ve lived in the big city most of my life but, in my childhood, I grew up on a farm three miles from a small Iowa town. I also love the humor we can blend into our stories.

See more about our books here...

22 comments:

  1. Great post, ladies! You had me at HOME FOR KEEPS, and then you shared those juicy tidbits about the characters, story, and setting. Well, what's a romance lover to do but order a copy! Hope your weekend is wonderful!

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    1. Thanks, Loree. We finally have good weather, so I can get out and garden :)

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  2. I have always been fascinated by co-authors and how you DO it. My hat's off to you both. You must be so very, excruciatingly organized...I wish I was! I can't wait to read this one. Green communities are not only interesting, but in the future...they may be our future. Great post!

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    1. The more "green" products people use when building/remodeling their homes, the better living will be, especially for people with sensitivity or allergies to things like paint and the materials some kitchen cabinets are made of. We can all start small, but I agree that green living will someday be common.

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    2. Speaking for myself, I'm not that well organized except with the plot. The downside of writing is that it is very time-consuming, as you may know. I just have to shove everything aside and work at it first and foremost.

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  3. What a great subject. Writing together must have a lot of perks. I like that idea of when something doesn't seem to be working, that you have someone who knows the story and knows how you write characters who can jump in to help. We need more green communities. Unfortunately they're opening up more land to fracking, which I think is so dangerous to our natural resources.

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    1. One of the biggest perks is having an alternative to being secluded, which we writers do. When you have a partner, you need to go out to a lot of lunches to discuss the next couple of chapters. You know, to get them right :)

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  4. Congratulations, Patricia and Linda. Been hearing so much about green communities; have to see how yours works. Sounds as though each of you has so much to bring to your book, and I love that you helped a couple of teens learn about themselves. But I'll never understand how two writers can create together. Brainstorming is great with other people, but I can't imagine putting the book together with someone else. But who can argue with the fact that you make it work!

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    1. We started in the dark ages, before we could afford home computers. The first book was written on a typewriter!!! This is our 27th co-written book.

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    2. Yeah, we started out with typewriters, then graduated to typewriters with memory and printing capabilities. Next, we got the newest Japanese computers with about 1 Mg of memory attached to a dot matrix printer. Remember those?

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    3. I do. Talk about 'way back then', I wrote for years on a computer that didn't have a hard drive. I had to load my program with three floppy disks, and the disks I wrote on had to be formatted. I remember printers that banged loudly, and tractor feed strips that had to be removed before you mailed the ms.! Fun times.

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  5. It sounds as though you two have a great working relationship. And, Linda, I can relate to your feeling that stories exist outside ourselves and that we are transcribing them. That's what I think, too. Looking forward to reading your latest book.

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    1. We each have our own strengths and play to them. I can play a little with humor, for example, but Linda is great at adding it.

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  6. Patricia and Linda, I'm fascinated by the co-writing thing. Thank you for sharing a bit about how you two operate. Amy and I co-write our blog posts sometimes and it's a ton of fun. I can't imagine making a whole book come together - amazing! Congratulations to you both!

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    1. We've tried different ways of writing together until we found the best fit. Try alternating chapters (NOT!)

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  7. What interesting research, and I love the cover. I've always liked A-frames.

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  8. What an interesting interview. Like others, I'm interested in how you write together. How did you get together in the first place? And I can't imagine writing a book on a typewriter! I wrote two short stories on one and as soon as I sold one, bought a computer!

    Your book sounds fascinating as well. I knew someone who had an A-Frame like that!

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    1. We met at a class on "How to Write Romances" in 1981.

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    2. We met in a writing class and learned we only lived 3 blocks from each other.

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  9. It's so cool that you guys write together - I think I might get more books written if I had a partner. Maybe I should look into that! Love this interview.

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  10. I find it so fascinating that the two of you write books together. That is awesome. I've never collaborated with someone on a book before, but I bet it's a fun experience. I love the cover of your new book. Wishing you both a ton of sales!

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