Hi everyone —
Welcome back my friends J.A. Rock and Lisa Henry, writing partners who turn out fabulous books like their new one THE BOY WHO BELONGED. They are giving away a copy of this brand new release to someone who leaves a comment so be sure to do that before you go. These two write together — an amazing feat in itself. But i’m going to let them tell you about that.
The Perils of a (Writing) Marriage
J.A.: Last year, Lisa Henry and I wrote an essay about how co-writing was like a relationship–rich with excitement, passion, newness, and adventure. We compared our burgeoning alliance to schoolyard flirtation, to prom night, to that first date where you know you shouldn’t put out but you do anyway.
Well, it’s a year later, and we’re still writing together. And it still feels like a relationship. But maybe it’s not quite the feverish union it once was. Maybe it’s more like we’ve been married for several decades and are both slightly deaf and yelling “WHAAAT??” at each other over morning coffee. The honeymoon phase is over. We’re in this for the long haul. So what does this phase of the writing relationship include?
You know how it is in the beginning. You watch your words around the other person. Don’t want to offend them with too much teasing. Want to be careful how you phrase things so you don’t scare them away by revealing your true colors too early. But at some point something shifts. And suddenly it seems not only acceptable, but necessary to argue. Constantly. About the same things over and over. In this case…
Insurmountable Cultural Barriers
It was cute at first. I’d read stuff Lisa had written and wonder at a certain turn of phrase or word choice. Oh, she’s Australian, I’d remind myself. Sometimes they say things differently there. But over the last few months, the novelty of knowing a real, live Australian has worn off a bit. Or perhaps it’s crumbled beneath the barrage of criticism I get for saying “ass” instead of “arse,” and for not understanding why so many Australians apparently sit on benches in their kitchens instead of on stools or chairs. Our linguistic disparities have gone from an occasional joke to a cutthroat war that’s been carried onto our websites, various social media platforms, and the blogs of innocent bystanders.
She Just Doesn’t Listen Anymore
Lisa: *sighs* No, no. The kitchen bench is not somewhere you sit. It’s the same as a counter. I’ve explained this so, so many times, but it’s like J.A. isn’t even listening anymore.
Lisa: But this happens in relationships, right? Experience knocks the shiny edges off your Sparkly New Romance, but that’s okay. You’re a realist. You know that sometimes the other stuff gets in the way — the day-to-day editing, the word counts, the actual work involved. You couldn’t live in that bubble forever, you know. And yet you can’t help feel a little sad that the romance isn’t what it used to be.
J.A.: *sigh* Remember when you couldn’t keep your hands off my chapter endings?
Lisa: I mean, at this point we’re pretty much only staying together for the sake of the children.
J.A.: And yet, I still rely on Lisa for constant validation of my self-worth in the form of smiley faces in our Google Docs. It’s a scary world out there, and you want to know there’s someone who’ll put up with your crazy. Especially since writer-crazy is an extra special kind of crazy that even regular crazy doesn’t want to invite to the party.
Lisa: And if there’s one thing we’ll always agree on, it’s that what this relationship produces is totally, utterly worth it:
Twenty-one-year-old Lane Moredock finally has a normal life. Six months after he was wrongly made a suspect in his parents’ ponzi scheme, he’s settled down with his older boyfriend, Derek, and is working and attending school. But his happiness is threatened when his mother launches a Christmastime PR campaign to help appeal her prison sentence, and asks introverted Lane to be part of it.
Derek Fields has his hands full taking Santa photos, bird-sitting his sister’s foul-mouthed macaw, and helping Lane prepare for a television interview neither of them wants him to do. As he eases Lane through his anxiety, he worries that Lane sees him as a caretaker rather than a boyfriend, and that their age difference really does matter. He and Lane compensate for the stress in their lives by taking their D/s relationship to new levels–a relationship that Lane’s mother insists he should be ashamed of.
As Christmas draws nearer, the pressure builds. Pushy elves. Snarky subs. A bad fight. A parrot in peril. How the hell is Derek going to give Lane a perfect Christmas when the Moredock legacy threatens to pull them apart before the new year?
Lisa: Okay, it was fun finding those pictures, but I hope that J.A. will agree that this post was pretty much a Big Lie. The fun will always be there as long as we have ideas to play with and characters to create, torment, and finally grant them their happy ending. And I gotta say, so far those ideas have showed no sign of slowing down.
J.A.: Yeah. I mean, the part about bickering constantly about English is true. But co-writing is, if possible, even more fun than it was a year ago. The ideas are incessant, the shared affection for Banrock Station Moscato doesn’t hurt, and I’d say the magic is still very much alive.
We also finished this blog post, like, two whole days in advance. And recently we outlined a book before writing it. So we might even be getting SLIGHTLY more organized.
LOL! Thanks so much, you guys. Please remember to leave a comment so you can enter to win a copy of The Boy Who Belonged. Someone will win. It could be you! Thank you for coming by! : )