Meet Sarina Bowen:
Sarina Bowen is the USA Today bestselling author of steamy, angsty Contemporary Romance and New Adult fiction. She lives in the wilds of New England.
With Elle Kennedy, Sarina is the author of the RITA award winning HIM, and its sequel, US, as well as the WAGs novels.
Sarina also has a new Vermont contemporary romance series, True North. She’s also unrolled new hockey novels from Penguin Berkley including Rookie Move.
Sarina enjoys skiing, espresso drinks and the occasional margarita. She lives with her family, eight chickens and more ski gear and hockey equipment than seems necessary.
Connect with Sarina Bowen:
Meet Sarah Mayberry:
Sarah Mayberry was born in Melbourne, Australia, and is the middle of three children. From the time that she first “stole” paper from kindergarten and stapled it together to make “books,” Sarah has always wanted to be a writer. In line with this ambition, on graduation from high school she completed a bachelor of arts degree majoring in professional writing, then sat down to write a book. When inspiration didn’t strike, she began to wonder if, perhaps, she needed to live some life first before writing about it.
This still left the burning question of how to pay the rent. She found her way into trade journalism, working off the principle that it was better to write anything for a living than nothing at all. Her time there lead to the opportunity to launch a new decorator magazine for one of Australia’s major retailers, an invaluable and grueling experience that she found very rewarding.
But the opportunity to write fiction for a living soon lured Sarah away. She took up a post as storyliner on Australia’s longest running soap, Neighbours. Over two years she helped plot more than 240 hours of television, as well as writing freelance scripts. She remembers her time with the show very fondly — especially the dirty jokes and laughter around the story table — and still writes scripts on a freelance basis.
In 2003 she relocated to New Zealand for her partner’s work. There Sarah served as storyliner and story editor on the country’s top-rating drama, Shortland Street, before quitting to pursue writing full time.
Sarah picked up a love of romance novels from both her grandmothers, and has submitted manuscripts to Harlequin many times over the years. She credits the invaluable story structuring experience she learned on Neighbours as the key to her eventual success — along with the patience of her fantastic editor, Wanda.
Sarah is revoltingly happy with her partner of twelve years, Chris, who is a talented scriptwriter. Not only does he offer fantastic advice and solutions to writing problems, but he’s also handsome, funny and sexy. When she’s not gushing over him, she loves to read romance and fantasy novels, go to the movies, sew and cook for her friends. She has also become a recent convert to Pilates, which she knows she should do more often.
I had the amazing chance to ask Sarina and Sarah a few burning questions about what it entails to be an author duo. I’ve always wondered how two authors could write ONE book and not make it feel like two different books entirely.
The talent that is required to keep the plot flowing, characters true to themselves, and scenes in sync is mind boggling. I truly admire these two authors for creating a book that reads as if it’s written by ONE author.
Here are their answers:
Let’s start with telling our readers what’s a typical day in the life of Sarina Bowen? And what’s a typical day in the life of Sarah Mayberry?
Sarah: Brace yourself. It’s pretty hectic. I shuffle out of bed. Check email. Turn on the coffee machine. Yawn. Let the dog out. Rustle up some breakfast. Then I sit down to write. I may or may not get out of my PJs depending on how slothful I am feeling. Sometimes I have off-site meetings for my TV work, but mostly it’s just me and the computer, doing battle with a blank page.
Sarina: The day starts when the school bus picks up my kids. Then I sit down and try to produce some words before noon. For some reason, getting words before noon is really important to my productivity. Then I can breathe. The afternoon is usually taken up with what I shall call Business Crap. That’s reviewing contracts, hiring cover designers, looking at photography, brainstorming about marketing. Etc. Etc.
Do you listen to music while you write? Are you a night owl or a morning person? What is your writing schedule? When do you prefer to write?
Sarah: No music for me – too distracting. I don’t care when I write, as long as it’s for a decent block of time.
Sarina: I require silence. That’s boring but I can’t help it.
Does real life influence your writing?
Sarah: I’ve been inspired by real life stories, but I’ve always changed things up.
How did both of you meet?
Sarah: I read one of Sarina’s books and wrote her an email to let her know how much I loved it. Turned out she’d read me. We started chatting via email from there.
Who had the idea of working on a collaboration?
Sarina: When I was setting down goals for 2017, I asked myself which things in the past couple of years had brought me the most joy. And collaborating with Elle Kennedy was one of them! So I knew I needed more of that in my life.
Sarah: And I, of course, said yes instantly.
How does a collaboration work?
Sarah: We did some pre-planning and plotting, since we’re both plotters. As Sarina will attest, I am much more anal about the details than she is, but she was kind enough to bear with me. Then we started writing, and we simply passed the baton to each other at the end of each day. We worked in Google docs, so we only ever had one version of the file, and we could have side-bar chats in the margins to ask each other questions and make suggestions for future scenes/moments.
Do you have different styles of writing and plotting?
Sarah: I love having a detailed outline. I think I drove Sarina crazy with that! But with the actual writing, I think we were pretty simpatico.
Sarina: I knew we would blend because I’d been reading Sarah Mayberry for years!
I’ve read some amazing books by fantastic author duos so far, and I always wondered what the process of writing as a duo was. I can’t even imagine how to start nevertheless how to continue in a way that would make such a project a true collaboration. Could you please tell us a little about how it works for you two.
Sarah: Well, the process is pretty much as outlined in Q3. It’s different from writing a book on your own, though, of course. You have a second brain to problem solve with, and a second opinion when you get to places where the story could go either way. That’s where you’ve got to be open-minded and be prepared to be flexible. When you are solo writing, it’s a dictatorship. A collaboration is a democracy!
Sarina: Ooh, I like that! We are a very tidy little democracy, though. There are lots of breaks for chocolate and wine, and no rebel factions. My personal theory about the rise of collaboration has to do with the new shape of the publishing market. In ye olden days, an author might have a long relationship with the editor of her publishing imprint. The author/editor relationship might have fostered a lot of the same collaborative strengths. These days authors have to build their own creative communities, and co-authorship is the result.
Do you have plans of additional books, and what will they be about?
There’s a secondary character in Temporary who needs their own story. You’ll see!
Do you want to tackle a certain genre or topic?
Sarina: We’ll go where the characters takes us, but definitely stay in contemporary romance.
How do you decide who writes what? How do you divide the work, who makes the decisions? Do you flip a coin?
Sarah: It’s a matter of passing the baton to each other at the end of the writing day. Decisions are made together.
Who names the characters?
Sarina: We had a short list, and we picked names from that.
Thank you so much to both of you for your time and very personal and detailed responses!!!