I'll be honest, co-authoring a book seems a bit daunting. Two authors with different ideas, coming together to produce a single work. It's easier for me to imagine co-authoring a work of non-fiction. Fiction? Much harder to imagine. But it can be done!
Today, I have the privilege of interviewing Susan J.Reinhardt, the first half of a team co-authoring a gripping, historical fiction novel. Next Thursday, we'll chat with her partner in crime, Karen Lange!
Maria: A very warm welcome, Susan! Tell us about yourself.
Susan: I've been a believer in Jesus Christ since I was 9 years old. I'm a widow, a daughter, a stepmom, and a friend. My passions are studying God's Word, writing, reading, and teaching. In between, I'm an avid couponer, a wannabe gardener, and a happy wanderer through antique malls.
Maria: Wow! Sounds like you stay busy. How did you and Karen meet?
Susan: We met through a mutual friend. I had some research questions, and MaryAnn Diorio suggested I contact Karen. The rest, as they say, is history.
Maria: You obviously have a strong friendship. What made you decide to co-author a book?
Susan: Karen and I often joked about the possibility. We kicked around ideas, and soon the joke turned into serious discussions.
Maria: Tell us about the writing process. How did you decide who would write each scene?
Susan: Since I'd written two manuscripts and had a third underway, I agreed to write the opening chapter. After researching the time period, brainstorming the characters, and deciding where we wanted to start the story, we got to work. We alternate chapters. Other than that, the plot unfolds naturally. As you may recall, I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer.
Maria: You make it sound so simple! Give us a peek into your novel.
Susan: We were fascinated by a historical incident in Colonial times, and used that turbulent period as a jumping off point. Since our book is far from finished, we really haven't started shopping it around.
Maria: What is the most important thing you've learned from this experience so far?
Susan: Up until we started this journey, writing was a God and me adventure. Now, it's a God, Karen, and me project. When we've had different ideas about the direction of the story, I've learned to consider, communicate, and compromise. My relationship with Karen has grown. She's an amazing, godly woman, and has shown me much grace when life got crazy around here.
Maria: Valuable lessons! Speaking of the Lord, how has your relationship with Jesus Christ impacted your writing?
Susan: I'm totally dependent on Him for inspiration, whether I'm writing a devotional or a novel. I want the words I write to be containers of life, not mere entertainment.
Maria: Great perspective. As a writer, what are your future goals?
Susan: I'd like to see this book through to completion and publication. Other projects include a near-future trilogy and more devotional writing. At some point, I'd also like to pick up my speaking/teaching ministry.
Maria: Wonderful! As we wind down, share some lessons you've learned on your journey as a writer.
Susan: A gift for writing is only one component of the equation. Learning the craft/mechanics, as well as the business side, play an integral part in the process. Helping others on their journey is one of my greatest joys. The Christian writing community is awesome!
Maria: What final words of wisdom would you like to leave with our readers?
Susan: Sitting at the Lord's feet and nurturing that relationship will give you the inspiration and strength for the task before you. You'll still have challenges, but the vision He births in you will keep you focused.
Maria: Well said! Thank you so much for stopping by, Susan, and I wish you and Karen well on your co-authored novel!
Be sure to join me next Thursday, February 2nd, when I'll have the privilege of interviewing KarenLange. God bless!
*Susan J. Reinhardt's publishing credits include both online and print publications such as The Secret Place, Vista, Live!, The RevWriter Resource, two anthologies, and Devotions Magazine. Family, church, reading, gardening, and antiquing keep her from ever getting bored. She blogs at http://susanjreinhardt.blogspot.com.