Earlier this year, thanks to Angela James, Moira Rogers made it onto my radar with the first novel in her Red Rock Pass series, Cry Sanctuary (see my review here). I really enjoyed it and picked up several of her other books afterward.
Not long after, I realized Moira Rogers isn't just one women, but two. Bree and Donna are best friends and writing partners, and together they make up the writing team of Moira Rogers.
Today they're here with us talking about being a writing team and their Red Rock Pass series (books 1 and 2 are currently available from Samhain Publishing and book 3 will be released in October). They're also giving away 5 digital books!
Bree: Hello, Book Binge readers! My name is Bree, and I am one half of the romance-writing, fictional-crime-fighting duo who writes under the shared penname Moira Rogers. And today I brought my other half...
Donna: Me! Today, we want to talk about how plotting and development is affected by partner writing.
Bree: And man, is it ever. Because no matter how clearly we each think we're seeing the full picture, the truth of the matter is we've always got a slightly different idea about how things are going to play out, and the most frustrating and fantastic changes erupt from those tiny details.
Donna: The classic, "Oh, uh, I thought we were doing something else there." We discuss our characters and plots exhaustively, and we still manage to surprise each other--and sometimes ourselves. It's not unlike the theatre, where even actors who've prepared their roles for months might see new and interesting nuances during the performances themselves.
Bree: We've had to learn to plot in generalities. Where we want a series arc to go, a book arc, the individual plotlines inside the book. Sometimes the basic ideas hold out. We always knew we wanted to write about Abby, Brynn & Dylan in our Red Rock Pass books, because they were the three newcomers whose arrival forced a stagnant community to do things differently.
Donna: And our fourth hero takes things even further out there, since many of the citizens of Red Rock probably don't know that vampire exist, much less that they're hanging out in Maine, lumberjacking. LOL
Bree: He was supposed to be a minor character, someone I'd been looking for a chance to sneak into a book. When we were tentatively planning how the series could go, we couldn't have predicted that our stealthy vampire lumberjack would steal the show and upset all of our plans, but three books out and we're learning to roll with the surprises.
Donna: The Red Rock Pass books have been a true series in every sense of the word. Not only do we have characters developing over the span of the four books, but there's an overall plot arc that our vampire lumberjack gets to help tie up...for now.
Bree: Yes, the ending is in sight, and it's not the one I envisioned when we started. There's always a point in the middle of the book where everything falls into place, where Donna makes a suggestion and I build on it and suddenly the answer is there and I can't imagine how we thought we were going to write the book before without knowing it. And those are the times I'm glad I don't have to do it alone.
Donna: Absolutely. It's weird, this partner writing thing. Because it's like being a plotter and a pantser all in one. We have to plot, for reasons Bree already mentioned--if we're not on the same page, a book can quickly dissolve into a hot mess. But we can also still be shocked (and yes, delighted) at the twists and turns our writing takes. Some of it is plot, but sometimes it's just golden. Like when a secondary character asks the one question that will pull out some hidden bit of the hero or heroine's personality. You couldn't have planned it, didn't even know it was there, but all of a sudden, there it is.
Bree: I think writing with a partner can be the most awesome and exhilarating thing ever, in spite of the hardships that come with it. (And we're never going to tell you they're not there--we fight, we yell, we hang up on each other and sometimes we throw snack foods.) But it's all worth it when you have the perfect random idea.
Donna: Like, "Hey, how about a world where corrupt alphas use and take from their packs, and only a handful of safe havens exist?"
Bree: Or, "Oooh, can I add a vampire who was a French Canadian lumberjack in Maine at the turn of the century?"
Donna: And sometimes that's all it takes to subtly--or even drastically--change the direction of a series. Or even introduce a couple of writers to a whole new genre.
Bree: Like that time three days ago when I said, "Heeeey, you know That Thing that happened in 1934 that introduced our very old werewolf to our vampire? Sooooo...I know we've never written a historical, but what if the werewolf's thuggy friend and the vampire's sweet-but-tough werewolf associate had to work together..."
Donna: Yeah, like that. Suddenly, we're pitching a paranormal historical novella to our editor. LOL
Bree: So I guess the moral of the story is that you never know where you're going to end up when you get started.
Donna: Except it's a pretty safe bet that, no matter what, we'll be writing something all the time.
Bree: And before we get back to that, we'll leave you with a question. Would YOU follow a contemporary series into the past for a chance to see how everything started? Or do you think it's best to soldier bravely into the future?
Leave a comment answering Bree's question - Would YOU follow a contemporary series into the past for a chance to see how everything started? Or do you think it's best to soldier bravely into the future? - and you'll be entered to win one of 5 digital copies of either Cry Sanctuary (book 1) or Sanctuary Lost (book 2).
If you'd like to sample the series before you try it, you can read one of the free reads they have offered on their site. Becoming is a prequel of sorts to the series and was really interesting to read. Beware, though. Once you read it you may have a hard time resisting the other books in the series.