It started with an email. At least my part of the project did. I think Kat must have been thinking about this for a while. For me, it came like a bolt out of the blue.
Kat Flannery and I are historical western romance authors with Imajin Books. We’ve read, reviewed and cross-promoted each other’s books but never met. Kat lives in Edmonton, Alberta and I live in Guelph, Ontario. Getting together for coffee isn’t practical. Getting together to write a book… thanks to modern technology, that is doable.
Kat wanted us to write twin, historical romance novellas, set at Christmas time. Since we were writing twin novellas, I suggested twin sisters as the connecting characters. One of us came up with the Civil War as a setting and the fun began.
We worked out the broad strokes of time, place, and family backgrounds during a Skype call and a few follow up emails. Next we had to research the period. When you’re writing a historical romance, it’s important to be well versed in the time you’re writing about. Most of that research is invisible to the average reader, but mistakes will stick out like a sore thumb to readers who know their history. Since I agreed to the project without having a clue what to write, the research also helped me find plot points.
Even though we were working on separate stories, the emails continued to flow between Kat and I. We shared research, fleshed out the backgrounds of the twins, and generally looked to each other for mutual support. Later on, we traded manuscripts so we could find glitches or areas that we needed to massage a little so that we weren’t contradicting each other.
Was it challenging? Yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat.
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Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic book store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, suspense and historical romance novels.
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