Previously we talked about Mormon Mishaps and Mischief. Nicole Giles wrote that book together with Cindy L. Beck. I thought it would be fun to visit about collaborating on a book together.

Margaret:  How did you become co-authors?

Cindy: We met at a writing conference but neither of us actually remembers being introduced, so it must not have been a momentous meeting. We really came to know each other on line in a writer’s group that was sponsored by LDStorymakers. And that just proves how valuable it is to belong to writers’ groups.

Nicole: Cindy and I met at a writer’s conference several years ago. After that, we started swapping short stories and articles for critique, and things just blossomed from there. We learned we worked well together, and decided to try coauthoring a book

Margaret: Wow. So this weekend’s Storymakers Conference will be like a happy reunion/anniversary for both of you I suppose. How did you collaborate? You live in the same state, but not the same town.

Cindy: Email. Scads and scads of email. It worked pretty well, too, thus proving that if Nichole moved to Mars, we could still collaborate. I don’t know why she’d want to move to Mars, but all the same …

Nicole: Almost everything we’ve done together has been online. There have been a few in person meetings (and now lots of signings) but this whole book was done through the beauty of the internet.

Margaret:  Wow. So this weekend’s conference will be like a happy reunion/anniversary for both of you I suppose.  Have you written other books solo? How does that experience compare with this effort?

Cindy: Well, I’d like to take credit for writing the Bible, but that would make me about 2,000 years old, give or take a century or two, and I’m already gray enough having been around only 50+ years. I actually have a brilliantly written novel in my files, but unfortunately, none of the 54,000 publishers I sent it to could see the brilliance in it. And I’m working on a suspense novel that I’d love to get finished this year and start submitting. In the meantime, I’ve had numerous articles and non-fiction stories published in magazines and anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul and Cup of Comfort. And I write a humor column for the Sanpete Messenger. I actually enjoy writing with a coauthor, and Nichole has tremendous abilities and talents. We work well together.

Margaret: How did you divide the tasks of Writing, Researching, editing?

Cindy: I’ll be serious on this one for a change. Nichole and I have very similar ideas and as I said before, we work well together. People in the know (whoever they are) suggest that coauthors write up a contract that includes division of labor. We never did that. Mostly because we didn’t know we should. But even more than that, we never needed to do it because we were both committed to not only writing the book but to making it—pardon me for borrowing a slogan from the Army—the best that it could be. And we felt we needed to be considerate of each other and share the work evenly. We just divided it up by talents, abilities, and time available, and went for it!

Nicole: In working with a coauthor, I’ve had to work with another person’s schedule, and also split certain responsibilities between us. We broke down everything that needed to be done, and basically each picked the things we knew how to do the best. Everything else we divvied up and learned. Mostly, though, I really enjoyed the whole team-work thing.

Margaret: I see that you have book 2 planned and invite submissions on your blog. What has your response been like?

Cindy: We’ve had a number of submissions already, but not quite as many as we were hoping for at this point in the game. And we’re waiting on word from the publisher as to his wants and needs, so volume 2 is still up in the air.

Nicole: We actually have several submissions already. As soon as the publisher gives us the go-ahead, we expect that book 2 won’t take too long.

Margaret: Did you work on this project during the same time period as other works in progress?

Cindy: Oh yes, I always have several projects going at once. Hmm, maybe that’s why I can’t ever remember what I’ve named a file and where I put it.

Nicole: Oh yes. At the same time as this book, I was finishing The Sharp Edge of a Knife, as well as drafting a YA paranormal book which I’m right now marketing to agents.

Margaret: How do you do research for your books?  What’s the most interesting bit of research you’ve come across?

Cindy: The Internet is a great resource. Everything there is true, too … and it broke my heart to read on that the Tooth Fairy was getting a divorce.

Nicole: The internet is a beautiful thing. I use it a lot. The most interesting thing I’ve found was the evidence for the court case after my grandpa’s kidnapping. The guy at the national archives office was also very interested. It was amazing that they’d keep a rusty knife and an old ripped up scarf for more than fifty years. Even more amazing is that they’re going to keep it forever. Or, so they claim.

Margaret:  What advice would you give aspiring writers today?

Nicole: Never give up. It’s easy to want to throw in the towel and forget it all, but persistence pays off. Only those who are persistent will find success.

Cindy: If someone is serious about becoming a published author, they should go to writers’ conferences. Notice the big, black font and emphasis there. That means it’s important, right? The reason for going to conferences is that a prospective writer can make connections and do a little networking, which is the first step on the path to being published. Well, okay, the first step is to actually write something, but other than that, conferences give a writer tips, hints, and the opportunity to meet editors and publishers. You can get published without going to conferences, but you’ll be running into plenty of brick walls along the way without it.

Margaret: Thanks for sharing your unique perspectives about writing a book together. You are the first co-authors I’ve visited with that have given me such a positive response.

Cindy: Thanks so much for the review/interview, Margaret. I enjoyed visiting with you and loved the creative touch to your interview questions!

Nicole: Thank you Margaret!