Saturday, 7 January 2012

Around the World in 80 Days: The International Kissing Club Blog Tour

Hi guys! Today we have the three authors that make up Ivy Adams on the blog to celebrate The International Kissing Club's release! I asked what it was like collaborating on a book:

Even the lamest page can be saved by collaboration” Philip Greenspun

Ivy Adams is, not so secretly, a pseudonym for three writers: Emily McKay, Tracy Deebs and me, Shellee Roberts. We wrote a book, The International Kissing Club, together. The number one question we get asked is “How did you do that?” which really translates to “How did you do that and not kill each other?”

We always laugh at this question because surprisingly, not killing each was the easy part--actually getting the book finished was the harder part. Or maybe that’s not such a surprise to others as it was to us.

Our book, The International Kissing Club, is the story of four best friends from Paris, Texas, who  escape the bullying of their high school mean girl and other problems by becoming foreign exchange students for a semester. We thought the premise lent itself perfectly to multiple writers, so each of us would write the chapters for one girl and we’d split the fourth between us. We figured since we were each only writing one-third of the book (roughly 30,000 words each, a novella really) this would be a breeze compared to the grind of completing an entire novel by ourselves. Right?

Well...sort of.

After we fleshed out the girls and the basic storyline, we each set out to write a few chapters and very quickly realized this was not going to be as easy as we first thought. A scene doesn’t occur in isolation because what happens in it depends on what happened before and what’s going to happen next. And I’m not talking about just the big things, like actions and beginnings and endings, which are easier to plot out before hand, but the smaller things such as character emotions and nuances had to be in sync as well, not to mention the voice. Your voice as a writer is so vital to how a story is told and we were three writers from different backgrounds with radically different voices and writing styles. If this book was going to work--and we were determined it was--we had to completely change up our writing processes, trust each other implicitly with each other’s words and drop any ego we had (which, thankfully, wasn’t much) at the door.

First, we had to plot, really plot, and we’re not plotters. In our individual writing, all three of us do a little character work, some scene sketching of scenes, a basic outline, and then dive in. But this was plotting on a whole other level. Color coded index cards were brought in and we figured out scenes down to key dialogue, feelings, and time of day in each time zone the girls were in around the globe so concurrent scenes were accurate (not always sure we got this 100% right, but we really tried!).  

Then we read. Out loud. Once or twice a week we met to read our written work aloud to each other. This is where we had to be brave. Since we were usually working on a tight deadline, squeezing this book in among other writing deadlines, families and day jobs we often had to bring totally unpolished first drafts to the table for a reading. And, y’all, my first drafts suck! Not just a little. But we found that doing this was the best way to check that each of the character’s voices were true and that overall the book sounded cohesive. This took hours, and hours, and hours. Especially because when we got together we wanted to talk about anything other than the book. Oh, and eat. I recall a lot of eating during this time.

In the end, we made our deadline on time (even if it was at 11:59 pm on the date and the ink was still wet on the page, so to speak), we learned a ton from each other and grew as writers (at least I did), and we’re extremely proud of our book.

Thank you for hosting us today!

Now I want to know if you’d read your first book of 2012 yet and what it was. Did you love it? Tell me in the comments (leave your email so we can contact you) to be entered to win the Around the World In 80 Kisses daily and weekly prize and also become eligible to win the Grand Prize, a Kindle Fire. For a list of all our Smooch Posts you can visit and earn more entries to win, visit us here.

The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams is the story of four best friends: Piper, Cassidy, Mei, and Izzy--the misfits of Paris, Texas. Their whole lives, they’ve dreamed of escaping small-town life and seeing the world. So when Piper is the victim of an embarrassing prank that goes viral online, she gets the idea that the girls should escape via the school’s international exchange program, in search of fun, love and internet redemption.

Emily McKay, Shellee Roberts and Tracy Deebs write under the pseudonym Ivy Adams. They shop, gossip and watch movies in Austin, Texas.

The International Kissing Club is out now, if you're interested!

And thanks so much for stopping by today, girls. This was fascinating!



  1. I'm going to your signing Saturday afternoon and look forward to buying this. I know I'll love it.


  2. I wish I could go to the signing! I live too far away...): Still can't wait to get a copy, though ^___^ Thanks for your hard work, ladies!


  3. I'm looking forward to reading this book!

    chey127 at hotmail dot com

  4. Whispers in the dark by Maya banks, I loved it and I am sad I have to wait until July to read the next one!




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