Kym and Mark co-authored and recently published their second book together, All Plucked Up. They often talk about the joys and challenges of co-authoring a book as a married couple in their blog, Write In The Thick of Things.
Mark and Kym have offered us a fun insight into their characters and into their writing process. I think we're in for a real treat. Leave a comment for a random drawing to win a free, autographed copy of All Plucked Up! Now, how exciting is that?
SPEAK UP, CHARACTERS – DON’T BE SHY
April sits in a corner booth at the Lazy S Diner facing Pleasance and Grady. Apple pie for Grady, a full chicken-fried steak dinner for Pleasance. April sips a glass of tomato juice.
“Thanks for coming,” April begins. “As I said, it’s about the Todds, and I need your advice.”
Pleasance interrupts the flow of fork-to-mouth. “So what’s the problem?”
“They didn’t add me to the new third novel in the Silverville series, The Magicke Outhouse, until page fourteen. Seems kinda late if I’m going to have a good part. When did you guys first show up in your novels?”
Grady and Pleasance exchange a quick glance. Grady sets his fork down. “Chapter One.”
“Me, too,” Pleasance says. “But doesn’t mean anything. Sometimes they add important characters later.”
“Had me pegged from the git-go,” Grady adds. “Didn’t want to be in The Silverville Swindle. And damned if I didn’t show up in the second one, too. And I hear I’m in the third one.”
April plucks out one pink designer contact and replaces it with a cat-eye. “I have lots to offer. Big ideas, real potential. Did you know my parents were in the KBG and were killed before I got adopted by my Colorado parents – well, that’s one version they’re talking about. Or maybe my parents were archaeologists but I ended up in a circus.”
Grady guffaws. ‘And maybe you was raised by wolves.”
“Don’t sweat it,” Pleasance says, wiping gravy from her lips with a paper napkin. “I wasn’t even the main character at first in All Plucked Up. Grady never ends up being a main character, and sounds like he’s in all three.”
“You mean there’s still hope, then?”
Pleasance continues, “Look, these authors sometimes don’t recognize who’s important in the first draft. Just keep talking to them – get pushy. Convince them you need a bigger role. That’s what I did. Before they finished, the story was all about me.” She turns to Grady. “Got anything to add to this?”
“They just need to get to know you,” Pleasance says. “Pretty soon, they’ll start asking themselves, ‘What would April do?’ They’ll eventually learn to trust you and let you decide what happens next.”
April doesn’t look convinced. “But you should see what they wrote about me in my character sketch. I’m afraid they think I’m too weird.”
“Weird is good. The more quirky you are the more staying power you’ll have in the world they create. After all, this is Silverville. I started out as a college drop-out who became a professional wrestler. I didn’t get interesting until I began smuggling illegal antiquities. It added a whole new angle to their story, which originally was just about a curse. Boring. And when they gave me an odd-ball antagonist, the story really took off.”
“So what you’re telling me is that characters’ personalities really drive stories.”
“Yep,” Grady said, startling the other two, “at least in their stories. Them other Silverville folks drive me crazy.”
“Crazy?” April perks up. “I’m good at crazy.”
Pleasance signals the waitress to bring the check as she turns to April. “Then no worries. You’ll fit right in… Well, gotta run. You know, artifacts to steal.”
Grady shoves his plate back and stands. “Got a buffalo to shoot.”
They both leave. April sighs, thinking, Those Todds want crazy? That’s what they’ll get. She replaces both contacts with lizard lenses.
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