Monday, January 20, 2014

Meet Fellow Co-authors Carol Blackley and Megan Herman!

Co-authors Carol Blackley and Megan Herman

I have a soft spot for these two amazing ladies. Not only is the premise of their manuscript insanely unique and their writing stellar, but they are co-authors. And not just any co-authoring duo, but a mother-daughter team! Being a co-author myself, I can attest to how difficult the entire process can be – the exchange of ideas, that banter about plot points, and competing points of view. But those possible points of contention pale in comparison to “consistency of voice.”  Ensuring the voice in the manuscript is even, that a reader won’t be able to pick apart who wrote what, takes unimaginable amounts of time, and tweaks, and read-throughs. But Carol and Megan have done it, and the end result – CHANCE – is positively astounding.

CHANCE Growing up in Leeds, England, in the ominous years leading up to WWII, Eddie and Jimmy Ward never imagine Monopoly, their favorite childhood board game, could be pivotal to surviving the war. But when Eddie is captured by the Nazis, Jimmy’s idea to disguise prison escape tools as Monopoly game pieces might give Eddie a chance to “get out of jail free.”

 A Little bit about the dynamic duo:
We are a mother and daughter writing team. Carol has a MA degree from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Journalism and works in communications. Megan graduated from Hamilton College in 2009, received an MA from University of Pennsylvania and taught middle and high school English. She now works at Pearson Education.

What made you decide to enter Pitchwars?
We’ve always dreamed of being authors. But it wasn’t until we wrote our first novel that we realized our dream could be possible! Although a book was written, we still had a lot to learn about the publishing industry. It was hard to get rejections and learn our story wasn’t perfect, but that feedback pushed us to write another book. With CHANCE, our current manuscript, we hoped we had a “chance” at our dream becoming a reality.

We entered Pitch Wars to learn from an experienced author. This would be another stepping stone on our path to be published. Our instincts were spot on, and we’ve learned so much from Trisha. Her input has changed CHANCE and will change all our future novels.

*Selfishly, I found it exciting to work with a set of co-authors, to see how the process worked for them.  Not surprisingly, there writing and editing practices are similar to my own co-authorizing experiences.

What did you find most valuable about the entire Pitchwars process?
Having Trisha believe in us and agree to mentor us was the most valuable part of this process. It’s one thing to take a class, theorize what makes a good book, participate in seminars and send for critique. But it’s totally different having someone as experienced as Trisha read your whole manuscript and work with you on every chapter of your story. We are so grateful to Trisha…not to mention she is totally kick-ass and awesome! And we are sad that Pitch Wars is almost over and we won’t be getting so many emails from Trisha anymore—although she’ll be happy getting fewer emails from us.

*Sorry to burst your bubble here, but I never said my emails would end simply because Pitchwars did. J You are stuck with me now!

What was the most unexpected thing (good or bad) you learned from Pitchwars?
 A very unexpected thing that came out of this experience was we came up with ideas for a next novel and are eager to start it. Editing our story this last time with Trisha’s help, made us look at writing in a new way, and we are anxious to apply these new insights to our next book.

*And I call first dibs on reading it!
Any advice for writers thinking of entering Pitchwars in the future? 
You are about to embark on one amazingly, awesome journey! Not only do you get to be part of the most incredible community of people—writers!!—but you will find that they are unbelievably supportive. Everyone is “competing” in a sense for mentors, yet everyone is cheering each other on.

Also the mentors/authors who have their own stories to write and edit care enough to give their time to help aspiring authors. It’s the most beautiful thing! Take time throughout all of Pitch Wars to be in awe of such a talented and generous group. Have fun!