Last month, Edith Parzefall and I got a book deal for the first book of our Higher Ground series, Wind over Troubled Waters.
Right before my birthday. Who could have expected such a wonderful present?
Let me tell you all about it. That is, if you haven't read the same thing in Edith's blog. I'll start at the beginning. Are you sitting comfortably?
The first thing to mention is that co-writing with a partner like Edith is the most enjoyable occupation I've had in my entire life. I can hardly count the hours until we meet in May for the first time.
After writing for about three years, I met Edith on the Internet Writing Workshop, novels-l section. It's a friendly writers' site, where members submit their work, one chapter at a time, for others to critique. We went over each other's work and, over the years, got to know how we thought and worked. I came to the end of my Moonstone series and contacted a few friends about an idea of a story set in the future about the same group of people after a drastic change came about on earth. Of course, my characters would have died. But their personalities could be reborn, and they'd learn more as they went along in a future world.
I’d made a start on the first book and Edith jumped in and continued. She knew my style because she edited my first book Still Rock Water. She’s much better at action scenes than I am, so I was glad she chose the men. I based the Raymond character on my first husband, so I knew him well. Boris is a reincarnation of a drug lord – Mack B in my first triology. Trevly, Aron, Sasha and Cerridwen are based on other characters too. You don’t know them so it’s no use telling you who they are. All the characters get another chance to redeem themselves and of course experience karma. Chuckle!
I did all the character profiles, but Edith chucked them out the window as their characters grew. Still, it was good to have something to disregard. Cerridwen stayed true to herself. Trevly and Aron were both drawn to Sasha in the other life. Cerridwen loved both men.
Edith lives in Germany and I’m near London. 1 hour apart. We work well together, give respect and patience and sometimes send more than 20 emails a day. When my broadband went off for a week Edith said she felt cut off. She didn’t know if I was sick or what.
We’ve each signed a contract so that the other can ensure that the books are not lost if anything happens to one of us. Last year, one of the members of IWW died and her family wouldn’t have even been recognized her work for what it was, let alone publish it. I feel very privileged to be associated with Edith.
She wrote: "Just one thing to add to Francene's explanations. It's very inspiring to write with someone else. Sometimes Francene might write a paragraph only to weave in a little back story or even setting and it might fire off a new idea, sometimes a complete subplot. And the other way round of course.
"Francene wrote that she isn't good with action scenes, but we did rub off on each other. She wrote the fantastic girl fight scene at the party after the mudfights. Carol Kean, who knows both our writing very well, was so sure I'd written it because of the humor and action. :-)"
Back to the present. We've finished four books in the Higher Ground series together.
I've written an off-shoot about the Raymond character after he chose to stay behind in Saint Eyes. Edith's gone over it and, after I made her recommended modifications, she approves.
The first book: Wind Over Troubled Waters is due to be published in May 2012. The second, Knights in Dark Leather will come out the following year. The other two: Golden Submarine and Long Doom Calling will follow.
I'll feature the cover for Wind Over Troubled Waters as soon as it's available.