This week at the SFF Seven, we’re discussing collaborations – if we’ve done them and what our dream collabs would be.
I’ve never (quite) collaborated with another writer on actually composing a story. I added in that “quite” because my friend, Jim Sorenson, and I did start writing a book together. However, even though we wrote several chapters, our mutual agent (Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency) didn’t ever love what we came up with. Getting our voices to gel together was a challenge. We’ve talked about going back to the project, which I’d love to do someday. It’s definitely a different way of working though!
The collaborations I do regularly are anthologies! My bestie Grace Draven and I love to put together anthologies, either of stories from just the two of us, or with more writers. Our next project is THE WATERS AND THE WILD, an anthology that will include fae novellas from Grace, Dana Marton, Maria Vale, and myself. It will be out in late April, with a special print edition available for Apollycon attendees, and then available in ebook and regular print form after that. I’m very much looking forward to what everyone comes up with!
If I could collaborate with any writer, living or dead, it would’ve been Anne McCaffrey. I was too late to meet her and too slow in coming to writing fantasy to be one of the several writers privileged to write in her worlds. I would’ve LOVED to do that and, in one of the sliding doors versions of my life, I believe it totally happened.
It’s starting to be spring here. One of the things I love about the early blossoms like these crocus is how they push up from the bracken, surprising me with their sudden spots of color.
I’ve been writing a new character, the first scientist heroine I’ve had since Gwynn in Covenant of Thorns. This one is working as a scientist for her profession, and it’s interesting to get back in that head of a person who meticulously observes and understands nature. I used to be that person, back when I was working on my PhD in Zoology & Physiology. Now I’m thinking about stuff like form and function again, and how organisms fit into an ecosystem. I’ve even been pulling my books on natural history off the shelf to bring those parts of my brain out of the coma they’ve been in all these years. It’s like I’m turning on the lights in a wing of the castle I closed off long ago. The chimneys are belching smoke, lots of dusting to do – but I also rediscovering a lot of great stuff I forget was stored in there.
This is the collaboration I’ve been working on. I’ve been pretty close to the vest about it, but it’s looking like this will happen! My collaborator is Jim Sorenson, who comes from a graphic novel/Transformers/GI Joe background. He lives in Albuquerque (an hour away) with his wife, who is a kick-ass trauma surgeon. Jim brings a whole other element of storytelling to the table, plus he’s experienced in working as part of a team, so he’s incredibly indulgent of my process. He’s also *really* good at observing world rules, so he’s become my walking story bible. I’ve often said I didn’t think I could collaborate with someone else on a book – because I like things MY WAY – but this has been a terrific experience. And fun!
It’s also been a stretch for me, creatively and craft-wise. It reminds me of when I went from writing short – essays and short stories – to writing novels, and I felt like I had to learn to write all over again. This has been a bit like that, learning to develop a story with another brain in the mix.
So, we pitched an idea to Agent Sarah, and we’ve been working it up with her feedback. Jim has now signed with her, too, so we can run all the legalities of the collaboration through the agency. We just finished up another draft and sent it to her to read. That’s one of the “future project balls” I’ve been juggling that I mentioned in my Sunday post at the SFF Seven. Fingers crossed we can go on submission with it soon!