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
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?”
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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!