Co-writing a Transatlantic Novel – The Truth!
Co-writing a novel 6,456 miles apart with an eight-hour time difference should have its challenges, right?
Surprisingly . . . not so much.
As childhood friends with an identical mischievous streak, we approached co-writing our bestselling novel Bride Squad Runaway as we do most things in life – it was yet another wild adventure we just had to embrace. It was this same sense of mischief that landed us in the principal’s office together far too often during our school days. Why stop now?
As we signed contracts with our publisher, we knew one thing for sure. We’d have hilarious stories to share about this journey. Tales we could reminisce about over many glasses of Pinot Noir for years to come. And with a bit of luck and a whole hell of a lot of grafting, we’d have something we were proud to have our names on of at the end of it. Game on!
Our intention with creating our Bride Squad Runaway story was always completely clear. For us, the hilarious and constantly challenging trials and tribulations of forty-something year old women weren’t being portrayed accurately – or at least, not as we are living it. We wanted to explore what happens when that little thing called life gets in the way and important friendships fade into the distance—with a focus on the countless trials and tribulations women approaching and in their forties face today. We had often wondered aloud why a lot of these topics weren’t being discussed more openly – perimenopause, the challenges of family life and the unexpected impact it has on friendships, questionable age-panic-driven romantic relationships, post-baby bodies and lifestyles, the effect of ‘Mr Wrong’s’, the impact of the new wave of social media Influencers and media on women and the negative body image issues that result, and the often controversial decision many women make to focus on a career over having a family. Issues many women like stress about, but often struggle to talk about openly.
The best way to kick things off? Character development. We never got bogged down by defining exactly what their story would be. Yes, we broke all sacred writing rules from the get-go. We wanted our storytelling to evolve organically, and chose not to get side-tracked by structure rules, or stress about word count as we kicked things off. Instead we focused on the ideas, and spent months figuring out who our main characters were and the important themes they represented. It was only when the main characters were fully developed and we were excited about our loose story plan, that the writing process actually began.
So, how did we physically write Bride Squad Runaway and make the transatlantic distance between us seem like the most natural thing in the world?
We played ‘writing tennis’. As in, we wrote our story entire via an online manuscript as if we were playing the game itself. One player served up words and ideas and hit it over the online net to the other. The other picked it up, bounced words and story ideas around and volleyed it back across the virtual ocean. As the word count picked up, so did our momentum. We became Venus and Serena-level good at this little game of ours, if only in our own heads.
We’re often asked ‘how did we manage the eight hour time difference between Dublin and LA?’ Strangely enough, it worked to our advantage as part of this online tag team approach. While one of us slept, one of us was writing. Lots of late nights and early morning starts in between juggling jobs and families. No rest for the wicked – ain’t that the truth!
This virtual tennis-writing game continued for months until we got to those two magical words on our first draft last Christmas, ‘The End’. Ironically, it was only then we were actually in the same room together for the first time. Drinking wine with Tayto crisps really takes the edge off the editing process, btw.
Above all else though, we had absolute trust in each other throughout, just like the friendship theme that runs throughout our book. There was BFF risk involved as this was our first time on the novel-writing court together, things could have gone horribly wrong. But, thankfully, there were no John McEnroe racket-smashing moments. Not even close. We had each other’s backs at every writer’s block obstacle. We laughed a lot. We challenged ideas. We pushed each other. We dug in and figured things out because we knew our characters so well, and we knew each other so well. It was an improvisational graft at its finest. And in the end, it was one of our greatest friendship adventures of all time. And as for the overwhelming joy of seeing our creation hit #5 on the Irish book charts? Or regaling Ryan Tubridy with funny stories about the, eh, ‘joys’ of perimenopause live on national radio? That was just the gravy.
(c) Lisa C. Carey and Caroline Grace-Cassidy
About Bride Squad Runaway:
Ava and her trusty bride squad set off on an unforgettable Irish roadtrip. Along the way there’s ice-cream vans, roguish strangers and a very handsome Frenchman. Join them for this laugh-out-loud, feel-good romance with a twist.
‘Tu es belle – wow! Look at you!’
It should be the perfect moment. A sunny day at Vintage Brides, and Ava O’Hara is twirling in her wedding dress. Super-hot Stefan likes what he sees…
But Stefan won’t be the one standing at the altar. It’ll be Simon, Ava’s wannabe rockstar fiancé. Or will it?
Simon says he loves her, but he’s got a funny way of showing it. When his indiscretions go viral on the big day, Ava suddenly becomes a bride-NOT-to-be.
She needs her Bride Squad, and fast. It’s time for a runaway! But will Ava come home from her wild Irish roadtrip? And if she does, will it be to love, loss or something entirely different?
A brilliantly funny and uplifting story of love, friendship and freedom by real-life BFFs, Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Lisa C. Carey. Readers of Holly Martin, Marian Keyes and Katie Fforde will love this brilliant collaboration.
Order your copy online here.
All writer royalties are being donated to the Sarah Jennifer Knott Foundation for Cancer of Unknown Primary. SJKFoundation.org.