After my first book “The Bridge” came out and the 4 and 5 star reviews started coming in, I got a lot of congratulations and support. I also started seeing something else coming in… requests to work on collaborations. This was both flattering and disconcerting to me. I was still very new at this whole publishing business and wasn’t all that confident in my skills at that point. I knew I needed more experience and didn’t want to wind up dragging someone else’s work down if I’d simply gotten lucky my first time out. Especially since I was hearing some concerns about the editing in the first version and wound up redoing the book with extra help getting it in better shape.
Still the requests for collaborating kept appearing every so often. When “The Ship” (my 2nd novel) came out the requests started in again. By this time I was more confident in my skills, I’d learned a lot after “The Bridge” and had gone out of my way to make sure “The Ship” was in even better shape.
Still I wasn’t feeling comfortable with the idea of collaborating with anyone… except possibly my wife Helen, who had been my science expert and sounding board for both books. Furthermore, back when I was still working on “The Bridge” she had a dream and was seeing through the eyes of one of my characters Police Sergeant Veronica Ross. In the dream Helen/Veronica had come across a murder scene and found a strange older man examining the corpse. She got a good look at the fellow and was able to give me a good description of him; fifties, curly hair slightly graying, glasses, shortish, and just a little heavyset. However, she knew he wasn’t a police officer but an intruder, so she drew her weapon and told him to ‘freeze’. Instead he looked up at her and put his finger to his lips, and then did a flip out the window. Rushing to the window Helen/Veronica saw they were on the second floor of a house and the man landed nimbly on the ground and took off with a speed and agility that belied his appearance.
Another thing she told me was the fact that she just knew this guy was not a villain, but someone who knew about the ‘Para-Earths’ and that he would be a valuable character to introduce down the road. I readily agreed, but felt awkward about using this fellow she nicknamed ‘The Professor’. Eventually he was given a real name of Otto Hoffstadter and I had hopes of bringing him in ‘”The Door”. However, when I started working on “The Door” the story wasn’t coming along very well and I started working on another story with a whole new set of characters which became “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” (which will be out this December). As that story came developed, Helen asked me if it were possible that my vampyre Nathaniel might have met Otto. I nearly jumped for joy at that point. The personality she’d developed for Otto was the perfect match up for Nathaniel, so I established a history between the two and incorporated Otto into that book instead of “The Door”.
Even as I wrote “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and used Otto, I kept checking with her about how my interpretation of Otto, was I using him right and getting the personality down right? She gave me honest feedback and I made changes, but as I did so it occurred to me that I might need her even more in the sequel story. I also decided I wanted to use Otto in another book that continues the story of two secondary characters from “The Ship” (Johnny Cloudfoot and his girlfriend Michelle). By this time, I knew I wanted to work WITH Helen on both of those stories. Besides, being my sounding board for ideas, she’d also been acting as my science consultant. Her knowledge of scientific facts has been a huge asset to my writing.
But most important of all, I knew we could work together quite easily. We’ve worked in companies together in the past and always made a great team. I know some people were like “How could you work in the same place with your spouse? I’d go crazy. Going to work gives me a break from mine and I need it…” However, Helen and I actually love spending as much time together, even if it’s at a job. So working on a collaboration actually feels like the most natural thing for us. I still plan to work on some books and stories on my own, but I’ll also be helping her with some original tales of her own that are set in my Para-Earth Series. She knows these realities as well as I do and has some great ideas that I want to see become a reality. I’ll be introducing some of her work here and over on “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” blog soon.
However, she is not the only person I’m working with. The other, was a very dear friend from high school who approached me to look over a story he’d been working on for the last twenty years. Naturally I was flattered by his request, but I was still a little unsure about my own level of skills. Doing a blog about writing was one thing and working with Helen was another. But this was a whole new kettle of fish and I really needed to think about it…
TO BE CONTINUED IN MY NEXT ENTRY….