by Nancy Holder,
& Lorie Lewis Ham
This week KRL has the pleasure of a guest article written by the writers of the new young adult fantasy novel Unleashed. Nancy & Debbie share about writing as a team & much more! After their article, Lorie Lewis Ham reviews Unleashed & there are details on how to enter to win a copy of the book!
Guest Post By Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
In January we will be celebrating our tenth anniversary of writing together. It doesn’t seem like it’s been nearly that long, but that’s what the calendar says. Lots of people, especially our readers and other writers, ask how we manage to write so well together. Many writing collaborations are much more short-lived than ours. The keys to the entire thing are mutual respect and devotion to the book.
We have a profound level of respect for each other both as writers and as people. We are the best of friends, who call each other even if we’re not talking about work. We also read the books the other person wrote without us as a show of support and because we genuinely enjoy each other’s work.
Even more important than this respect and mutual appreciation, though, is our devotion to the stories we write together. Write it Forward is our motto (a concept created by and a term coined by Nancy). Our one hard and fast rule for writing is that no previous draft exists for us. All that we have to work with is the document in front of us at the moment.This means that if one person changed something the other wrote, that earlier draft no longer exists for us. We’re not even allowed to ask each other why something was changed unless it’s going to create a plot problem later down the road. We can always change it to something new, but never back to an older draft.
This means checking our egos at the door and acknowledging that not one single line belongs to either of us. Instead, every chapter, every sentence, every word of the books we co-write belongs to both of us. That gives each of us the right to change whatever we want, whenever we want, for whatever reason.
Another benefit of the Write it Forward method is that it’s usually impossible for anyone to tell who wrote what sections of the book. Our styles flow together and become seamless. Half the time, we ourselves can’t even remember who wrote what in the final product, so that we’re often complimenting each other erroneously for a section we wrote, which leads to a lot of laughs.
Working with another writer can be a challenge, but when you set some basic ground rules and begin from a place of mutual respect the results can be magic. And now, on the eve of the anniversary of our creative partnership we’re happy to have one more book Unleashed on the world!
Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
Review by Lorie Lewis Ham
When I had the chance to hear Nancy Holder speak recently, and then to chat with her afterwards, I was excited. Nancy has written many Buffy The Vampire Slayer books and Buffy is my all time favorite show! But when she began to speak of her other writing, especially her brand new series the Wolf Springs Chronicles, I was intrigued and wanted to know more. Happy was I when my copy of Unleashed made it to my mailbox.
In Unleashed, the first book in this series, Katelyn McBride’s life is turned upside down when her mother is killed in a fire. Katelyn’s love is gymnastics and at almost 17, she had big plans for her future. Now everything has been shattered as she is forced to leave Los Angeles and move to a tiny town in Arkansas to live with her grandfather—her only living family. Being a vegetarian, she is appalled and shocked by the stuffed animal heads on the walls of her grandfather’s cabin that greet her when she arrives. The lack of internet and cell phone reception make her even more miserable and feeling cut off from the “real” world.
Bitter and angry, Katelyn reluctantly starts high school in the tiny town of Wolf Springs. Things start to look up a little when she meets the charming, gorgeous and mysterious Trick who is her ride to school every day. At school, Katelyn becomes friends with a girl named Cordelia, whose friendship and family will likely change her life forever.
Throw into the mix a town full of mystery and secrets, Cordelia’s cousin Justin who Katelyn is strangely drawn to, young girls being murdered in the woods by some scary monster, a legend about a silver mine and a hellhound, Cordelia’s family’s strange behavior, and some odd corporate retreat nearby where business people are learning to release their inner wolf, and Katelyn’s life becomes very complicated. Could the big secret in Wolf Springs actually be werewolves? Could werewolves actually be real? Moving to Wolf Springs changes Katelyn’s life forever, in more ways than she could have ever dreamed.
I love the storyline between Katelyn and her grandfather and the way they stumble about getting to know each other and the closeness they develop. Normally my supernatural favorite is vampires, but Nancy and Debbie have created an interesting world filled with werewolves with intriguing mythology that has only just begun to be revealed. My only complaint about the book is that it ended, I want more now! They definitely leave the reader on a cliffhanger wanting more so when the next book in this series comes out I’ll be first in line for my copy! And for anyone who thinks this is just a young adult book, you’d be wrong. If you love werewolves, fantasy and a great story, you won’t want to miss this one no matter your age.
To enter to win a copy of Unleashed, simply email KRL at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Unleashed”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 17, 2011. U.S. residents only.