WRITING TOGETHER

So how do we do it? It's the question we are asked most often (after 'have you ever considered Botox?'). Certainly it seems odd to share the deeply creative process of writing with another person, and it is always our fear that we are only half a writer each... but doubling up has distinct advantages. Not least that you can share your paranoia when it comes to submitting a manuscript! We can also go on and on about our work without boring each other senseless.

Our ideas meetings usually involve coffee, biscuits, wine or a shop and a credit card. We pool things about life that we've noticed and which make us laugh (or want to scream with anger). Goodbye, Jimmy Choo for example is a social satire about petty–minded village life – a particular bête noire of ours. It's also about the tyranny of marketing – another fav rave. In Warnings of Gales we looked at the different ways people raise children – always a source of delight! – and the uncomfortable clash when two styles collide. In The Xmas Factor, well we all recognise the oppression that is Christmas! In our most recent novel, Busy Woman Seeks Wife, we explore every woman's secret fantasy – having someone else do the laundry!

Once we have a plot and characters pencilled in, we decide who wants which characters as their own. The interesting part is, though, that we will be writing each other's character as they interact with our own, so we need to know everything about them and agree on it! Dark hair or blonde? Short and fat or tall and willowy? We even sketch out details like their background which might not be mentioned in the novel. We have to know it all.

We work chapter by chapter to a tight synopsis – it has to be tight because of the chronology of the book. We've made some awful howlers on that score! Then we sit side by side reading the other's part out loud. If it doesn't work that way, it won't work at all! We tend to edit as we go, which makes it easier when the novel is finished. As for any writer, the story takes on a life of its own, especially because one of us will mention something that the other hadn't thought of. That's when co–authoring really pays off.

When we look back now at what we have written, there are places where we really don't know who wrote what. And yes, we do finish each other's sentences. It's worse than being married.

Our latest (and last) out this week

Could this be our Swan Song?

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CLOSER

'Very funny and hugely entertaining, this is great escapism.'

NOW MAGAZINE, BOOK OF THE WEEK

'Tremendously funny and soul filling'

STAR MAGAZINE

'A Touching Tale'

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