I recently overheard a conversation about one of my favourite authors, Terry Pratchett, who has been very public about the fact that he has Alzheimer's Disease, including doing a documentary about the illness. The comment that particularly troubled me was, "He's had to collaborate on his latest book, so obviously it's the beginning of the end now."

Should I be worrying about that view, I wondered? You see, I am collaborating on my latest book, and as far as I know I don't have Alzheimer's. If co-authoring a book with someone else is a sign that it's the beginning of the end for your writing career, then I might as well hang up my laptop now.

This is the first time I've had help with writing a book, and I'm loving it and wonder why I didn't do it before. Writing comes fairly easily to me, but coming up with workable ideas is more difficult. So for my current book, a fantasy epic called Emon and the Empire, I'm collaborating with two friends. Ryan came up with the original concept and gave me the outline of the story, and Phil is reading through, making suggestions and filling in some details. I've also roped in a few test readers whose comments have been very helpful, and will shortly be on the lookout for more.

I've found several advantages to having Ryan and Phil help me with this book:
  • They encourage and inspire me with their enthusiasm, and keep me motivated to keep writing. They always want to know when the next chapter will be ready for them.
  • They read this kind of book, so they know the market and they are my target audience. If they are happy, then I'm doing something right.
  • It is told from the perspective of a young man, so it is helpful to have two men around to tell me when it becomes too "girly". Which is often. Fewer romance scenes, more fighting.
  • They are very good at spotting errors, inconsistencies and areas where it isn't working.
  • It's fun! Our last "book meeting" was over a takeaway Chinese meal, we laughed nonstop and they came up with so many fresh and workable ideas that it was all I could do to write them down fast enough.

I've almost finished Emon and the Empire and have just started a new book which I am going to need some help with. It's the story of a young Welsh girl who moves to a town in the middle of nowhere in Utah and has some problems settling in. I need to find someone with good knowledge of the Utah public school system who is prepared to read it to let me know whether my American schoolkids sound convincing. Any volunteers?


  1. Pick me, pick me! We got your Christmas card in the mail today and I'm having a great time reading your blogs.

  2. Thanks Malauna - sorry the card was late, but yes, I pick you! (Especially as you named your son after my husband, AND you're the only volunteer!) I'll email you some questions in a week or two.


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