Co-Authoring by Gwen Mayo
One of the questions I’ve been hearing about writing Murder on the Mullet Express with a partner is “How do you write with someone else?” The short answer is that I channel the Coen brothers.
Okay, so I just wish I could channel the Coen brothers. With seventeen films to their credit, they have one of the most successful writing partnerships in history. They claim that one of them does the first draft of a scene then passes it to the other, and he takes it up a notch. This back and forth continues until they both feel that they have the best scene they can produce.
What works for them doesn’t work for everyone. The mother/son duo that writes as Charles Todd spend a lot of time discussing their ideas and say that they can’t remember at the end of the book who wrote which line.
Sarah and I have worked out our own way of approaching writing together. We had to. Our writing styles are worlds apart. Sarah starts with whatever scene captures her imagination, and builds her book from there. Things get switched around a lot, and gaps have to be filled in as she draws the work together. I can’t do that. I start at the beginning of the book and write to the end. She thinks life needs a soundtrack; I want a quiet room when I’m writing. To team up on a book, we both had to compromise. I sometimes joke that we have a writing prenup.
Seriously though, writing partnerships are a lot like a marriage. You need to work out the plan in advance. Having those details in writing isn’t a bad idea. When a partnership goes bad, it can get as ugly as a divorce.
If you go into a writing partnership with mutual respect, cooperation, a willingness to discuss issues, and the ability to let the other person win disagreements that are important to him or her, chances are you will have a successful partnership. We try very hard to leave our egos at the office door. Each of us have books that are ours alone. Together we write in a different voice. It is not my book or Sarah’s book; it is our book.
What Does Gwen Write?
It’s 1926. The West Coast Development Company is staging its biggest land deal in Homosassa, Florida, selling pieces of a planned city to speculators who dream of a tropical paradise. Army nurse Cornelia Pettijohn takes leave to travel to Florida with her ancient uncle, who claims that he wants a warm winter home. When their car breaks down, they take the local train, The Mullet Express, into Homosassa. By the time they arrive, though, a passenger has been poisoned. A second murder victim boards the train later, iced down with the fish. Uncle Percival’s hidden agenda makes him the sheriff’s prime suspect. Cornelia and Teddy Lawless, a twenty-year-old flapper in a body pushing sixty, must chase mobsters and corner suspects to dig her uncle out of the hole he’s dug for himself.
Who Is Gwen Mayo?
Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending the colorful history of her native Kentucky with her love for mystery fiction. She currently lives and writes in Safety Harbor, Florida, but grew up in a large Irish family in the hills of Eastern Kentucky.
Thanks for reading…