The Val & Kit Mystery Series

Thursday, June 4, 2015

We Come As We Are

How can we coauthor The Val and Kit Mystery Series and other novels when we live 1300 miles apart, you ask? (At least many of you do.) It’s easy, really! And communicating via Skype doesn’t hurt a bit. We meet regularly in our respective “offices,” Roz in her kitchen in Texas, Patty in her spare bedroom in Wisconsin.

First, we spend many months taking turns writing ten pages or so at a time. These are e-mailed back and forth, always with an aim to paint each other into a corner, and always edited and tweaked by the other (which we think accounts for the reason y’all so kindly marvel that we write with one voice). Then we’re ready to start a first read-through of the work in progress. We don’t need to dress up or put on makeup (as the photos below attest). We just connect via Skype and get right to it. It goes kinda like this:

Good morning.
Good morning. Your hair looks really nice.
Nah . . . okay, thank you.  I just got it cut. Your nails are gorgeous.
Revlon Gel.
Oh, let me write that down.
Should we take a break?
Yeah. I’m gonna heat my coffee.  See you in five. 

Five minutes later we’re back at our respective screens, Roz still wearing her Houston Astros T-shirt that doubles as sleeping attire, Patty in her pajamas. Thank you, Skype.

What’s that you’re eating?
Fiber One Lemon Bar. Delicious.
Let me write that down.
Ooops, my cell is ringing. Oh . . . it’s my dentist. I’ll call him back.

We have our manuscript loaded on our Kindles (thank you, Amazon) and take turns reading aloud—one page at a time, to ensure we’ll stay awake and alert. Thus we carefully maneuver (and hopefully destroy) the minefield of potential plot gaffes: What happened to that character in Chapter Three? He seems to have disappeared. How come Val and Kit had breakfast twice in Chapter Four? Shouldn’t the second meal be considered lunch by now? And why do they need to eat so much, anyway?

Wow, this is a really good book. Don’t you think?
I love it.
Are we sure we know who the murderer is?
I was thinking that dude in Chapter Fourteen.
You mean the one who fell down a mine shaft early in Chapter Twelve?
Oh, right. Couldn’t he have been rescued?
By his blind, one-legged dog?
Could the dog—
Forget the dog.
Okay.  Wanna take a break?  See you in five.

And so it goes. Much more laughing than plotting. After a few more all-day Skype sessions, we finally have a manuscript that makes sense (so we think), one where no character undergoes a change in hair shade, eye color, height, or age. We’re finally ready to pass along our precious baby to our beta readers. Right now we’re eager to see what they think about Palm Desert Killing (due out this summer).

Here we are, in all our Skyping glory.