How did you decide to write Arms of the Ocean together?
Jamie: So M and I have been friends for about 15 years. I had been dying to do a collaboration with M after she shared her draft of Two Thousand Years with me. So when I had this idea kicking around my head about a selkie retelling, I reached out to her and asked if she would like to collaborate on the project!
MB: If I remember correctly it was soon after I personally had a bad experience trying to write with someone else, and the motivation sprung up at the right place and the right time.
How did the two author process work? Are you in the same room when you write? Do you each have certain characters that are 'yours', or do you just brainstorm as you go along?
Jamie: I think the two author process works differently
for everyone. M and I live about five
hours from one another so we turned to google docs and wrote in different
colors. M used red text, while I used
blue text. We basically would just build off of what each other wrote. We did some planning at the beginning and
kind of brain stormed from there. I
would definitely say Nyx is my character.
MB: I was very much writing a lot during my day job at the time, trying to sneak into Google Docs any chance I could to get some more words down.
Do you, basic plot/plan for Arms of the Ocean before you actually begin writing it all out? Or did you let the writing flow and see where it took the story?
Jamie: There was a basic plot/outline for the story. First, we explored selkie lore, sharing all the different mythos that we found about it in a brainstorming google doc. We shared ideas for names of characters, ideas for the story, where we thought it should go. Just basic plot points.
MB: I think when you’re writing with someone else, it definitely helps to get a basic outline down before you begin because then at least you both have an idea of where the story is going to lead, but you also can take some liberties trying to take it there.
Is Arms of the Ocean the beginning of a series?
Jamie: It is book one.
If so how many books will be in the series?
Jamie: Most likely a trilogy.
MB: We definitely left it open with purpose.
Did you have to do any specific research for Arms of the Ocean? If so what/how did you do it?
Jamie: We wanted to incorporate as much of the lore that
was out there as possible. We researched
the different stories of Selkies – as they appear in both Scottish and Irish
folklore – and then tried to incorporate those ideas. There are key points in the story that are
taken straight from that folk lore such as the stealing of the selkie’s skin,
the desire to be on land, or the crying of a maiden luring the male
selkie. We shared these with one another
and then decided which of these we wanted to incorporate and wherein the story
they would appear.
MB: I remember the Celtic lore, especially, and search out names that would fit our characters best.
Who designed the Cover of Arms of the Ocean? Did you both have a lot of input into the process?
Jamie: I absolutely love the cover of Arms of the Ocean. It was designed by Shayne Leighton who is also the owner of Parliament House Publishing. We gave her some basic ideas (underwater themed, long curly hair for the model, the addition of seals on the cover) and Shayne did the rest!
How long did it take you to write Arms of the Ocean? Would you a co-author book takes more or less time to write than a solo authored book?
Jamie: The majority of the rough draft was written in one
month back in August 2016. I personally
find it easier, because I tend to be more creative and motivated when I’m
sharing it with someone else. It can go
faster as well because if you have a word count goal, each is writing about
half and you are playing off of what the other person wrote.
MB: I feel there’s also more editing-as-you-go when working on a co-authored book because you both want to make sure your combined voice is present throughout the storytelling.
Did you both enjoy the coauthoring experience? Would you do it again with each other/other authors?
Jamie: It was such an amazingly fun experience and when I
think back to writing this book with M, it’s a memory that I will always deeply
cherish. Both of us would have the word
document open, and we’d be chatting and joking about watching each other while
we wrote. We’d pipe in with little
suggestions etc. I hope we will do it
again since there is at least another two books here ;) I would be open to
writing with other authors too.
MB: one of my favorite things about co-authoring is
watching the other author while they write, allowing you to see their process
play out in real-time.
Is there anything you disliked/hated about the co-authoring experience?
Jamie: I mean it can be difficult. In the past, I’ve written with people who got kinda bored and it never went anywhere. I think one of the things that was more difficult is that I tend to write in first person and M prefers third person.
MB: This goes back to my editing comment, too. There’s just so much more self-editing that needs to go into a co-authored work, I feel. One person may work on one section while another works on something else, and trying to connect the dots sometimes leaves you working through a plot hole you never intended.
What can we expect from you together/separately next and in the future?
Jamie: For me, I’ve written a few other stories that I am currently in the editing process (I hate the editing process) but I hope you will see some books from me either in the YA/NA/A Fantasy or Urban Fantasy. This is just the start of my journey.
MB: I am currently working through publishing my own NA Fantasy series, The Empire Saga, also through The Parliament House. I have a few other projects in the pipeline and so many more I hope to start writing very, very soon.