Friday, October 22, 2010

What about those Zany Adventures to Fight Crime and Corruption?

I've always wondered what it was like to co-author a book. Well, Andrea Graham is here to tell us. As we look forward to learning more about both Andrea and her husband Adam, let’s take a couple of minutes to get to know who these two truly are.
Andrea: According to my publisher, “Andrea Graham is an author and poet who writes for Christ.” I haven’t written poetry in over a decade and right now the last half sounds pretentious to me even though I hope I live up to it. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, though I’m not sure if anyone really cares my family has lived there at least four generations. Before Tales of the Dim Knight, I had a short story, “Frozen Generation,” featured in Light at the Edge of Darkness along with “Chosen of God,” which I co-authored with my husband, Adam. I studied creative writing and religion at Ashland University. I mouthed off with Christian advice and book reviews at my blog, Ask Andrea, and put out my for editor-for-hire sign along with free writing tips at . Adam and I live with our cat, Joybell, in Boise, Idaho. We are members of several writers’ groups, including ACFW and the Lost Genre Guild.

SDC: After a long day of writing or revisions in a story what is the very first thing you do?

Andrea: Attend to personal needs. Basic things like hunger and thirst go unnoticed when I’m creating. Housework or sleep come next, depending on the time of day.

SDC: What’s it like writing a book with another author?

Andrea: It really tests your skills at conflict management and the strength of your relationship with the person. I loved my co-author enough to marry him, and we still have creative differences sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, co-authoring can be exciting and a lot of fun. Our voices blend nicely and our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. But for it to work, you do have to be willing to give up partial control of the manuscript to another person. That’s not for everyone.
SDC: That's great to hear, and I love how the two of you are able to stay so close through the work. I always seem to find at least one ghastly mistake in my novels after they are published. If anything keeps me humble it’s that because it is too late for me to fix what is already in print.  I know you can't speak for Adam, but I'll ask you your thought. What is the one thing that keeps you humble about being a published author?

Andrea: Personally, I’m a huge fan of Deep POV and filtering everything through the perspective of the view point character. That and showing emotion are key. A good book doesn’t tell the reader what the characters are feeling, it stirs the reader to feel what the characters are feeling. I like to take cues from method acting. To a certain extent, if you want your reader to become the character, you need to become the character first. The emotions must be real. If your view point character is scared, recall to mind a time you felt as scared as your character is and put that real painful experience in the book, safely masked in a completely fictional scenario, of course.

SDC: I appreciate reading Deep POV and creating it in my stories too. I also find that interesting how you work in the method acting aspect, Andrea. Thanks.

It’s been so great having you here with us, even if only briefly. And next time I must have Adam here to speak to him directly. I understand you both are planning to donate one of your books to a viewer of the blog. Tell us about it, why you both chose that genre, and also where people can go to find these books.
Andrea: Thanks! In Tales of the Dim Knight, mild-mannered janitor and superhero fanboy Dave Johnson gets all his wishes at once when an alien symbiot gives him supernatural powers. But what's he to do with them? Follow his zany adventures as he fights crime and corruption while trying to keep his family together and avoid being sued for copyright infringement.

Comedy is native to my co-author’s authorial voice, so parody was a natural choice, and superheros provide so many opportunities for spiritual analogy.  It should be available soon on Amazon.

SDC: We'll be watching for it. 

Andrea: At present to get a bit of preview is to go to:

SDC: Thanks so much. Your brief introduction will help us a lot. Now, if you were to meet a reader, or writer, or experienced author who came up to ask you what you’ve learned most about writing so far what would you say?

Andrea: Gosh that’s awful vague, sir/ma’am, could you narrow it down more? LOL.

Um, probably the lesson that’s been hardest to wrap my black-and-white brain around, at least, is that there are as many right ways to write a novel as there are seasoned professionals with opinions and the right to declare them as gospel. I may exaggerate slightly, but that’s a dose of humility I hope more of us learn to appreciate. 

SDC:  It would certainly open the door for conversation, wouldn't it. Now it is your turn. Someone who loves to read or write has just come up to you, Andrea. What is the first thing YOU are going to ask them?

Andrea: LOL. That depends on whether my book is out yet.

If it is, realistically, the first thing to pop out of my mouth to a reader would be along the lines of, “Have you read my book and did you like it?”

Afraid I’m an “encourage me!” junkie.

For a writer, hopefully I’d be a bit less impulsive and come up with something meaningful and preferably not so selfish. I should probably discipline myself and ask them, “What’s going on with you?” or “How can I help you?”

SDC: Okay, I give up.

Anyway, we thank you for being here with us. It’s been a pleasure having you at A Pen for Your Thoughts.
Now I have some questions to ask the viewers. Be sure to write in if you'd like your name to be added for our drawing to win this book.

To the viewers, here is your question:
If you write, how do you think co-authoring with another would test your skills at conflict management and the strength of your relationship with the person?

And to the non-writer, my question to you is this: What strengthens you the most when you are working in a team setting, or do you find yourself working better solo, and why do you think that is?

Don't forget to send in your answers. I hope to be drawing your name to go in the winner pile for a copy of Tales of the Dim Knight.

Congratulations to Caprice Hokstad of Escondido, CA. You'll be hearing from Andrea soon.


  1. I've always wondered what it would be like to write with someone else. I guess I would try to settle with my strongpoints and then let the other writer emphasize hers. I think it would be interesting. I could never do it with my husband. He's not at all into writing.
    Janice Ian

  2. Yeah, a husband-wife team does require two writers marrying each other. Writing teams, in my opinion, are at their best when your strengths and weaknesses are complementary (contrasting) and you each write to your own strengths. But the same thing that makes such a team great together in the end results--our differences--can also lead to head-butting in the creative process.

  3. Conflict? What conflict? Seriously, we did have some conflict, but we worked t out. She really made things flow. I'm very proud of the product that will come out shortly.

  4. This sounds really interesting. I don't write but I love to read. And I love to win books. I hope my name is drawn here.
    Betty Fimple
    Windsor, CA

  5. I can't imagine that I could find anyone willing to collaborate who had the kind of complement I would need. I know I'm too much of a control freak. However, anyone out there want to design characters but let me do all the writing and have final say on plot, let me know. Not holding my breath. LOL No, I don't see collaboration as a good idea in my case.

    And sure, you can put me in the drawing.

  6. LOL. Good to be aware of it. Some of us were created to fly solo.

  7. I think I'm a solo flyer, as you described, Andrea. I dont think I could write with someone else.
    Mary Manning