Co-authoring any book comes with its challenges, it’s pitfalls and its joys. Writing NETHERWORLD with my bestie, Danielle Bannister was no exception. Discover what it took for us to create the magic of NETHERWORLD, book 1 of the HALLOWED REALMS trilogy, coming this October.
First things first…how did the two of you meet? You’re not even in the same state!
Danielle: It was back in 2011. I had just released my first book, Pulled and I was looking for bloggers/readers to read and review it. I came across Amy’s blog. At that time, many moons ago, she used to do reviews in addition to write. She liked the book and we friended each other on Facebook. We started chatting about writing, and it turned into daily conversations.
Amy: Man that was a LONG time ago. I can’t believe we’ve been friends since 2011. Time sure flies by! Now we can’t go a day without gabbing to each other.
Amy writes primarily fantasy books. Danielle writes primarily real world, romance driven novels. What made you think to combine the two genres?
Amy: Most fantasy books contain romantic elements. I’ve read and enjoyed all of Danielle’s books in the past and knew that she’d be a huge asset when it came to creating that romantic thread that I sometimes overlook because I’m too amped up to jump into a suspenseful battle. Netherworld is a great blend of both of our skills.
Danielle: Even though we write in different genres, we’re in a lot of the same circles just because of being indie authors. I’ve always wanted to try fantasy, but I really didn’t have the courage to try it. Sooooo much world building and coming up with ridiculously massive back stories. That was a skill Amy had with her books and I wanted to yolk some of her skill that way. I’m not sure which one of us suggested that we should try working on a book together, using each other’s strong suits, but we decided to give it a whirl. I don’t think either of us thought it would take us as long as it did to happen, but that’s another question haha.
What has the co-writing process been like since you live so far apart?
Danielle: Amy and I both have very different ways in which we go about writing, as all writers do. We find what works for us and go with it. So trying to figure her process and blending it together with mine took some getting used to. Add into the fact that we weren’t often in the same room together at the same time when writing. Often we’d be writing at different times from the other, on different chapters within the same document so our outline became a HUGE piece of what we used. I had never outlined prior to this book but when you have two different authors, you HAVE to know where the story is going.
Amy: We spend a LOT of time on Facebook messenger hashing out ideas. A lot of times I would come up with some brilliant plan that would leave Danielle banging her head on the desk because I was creating ripples that flowed over into her chapters, but it worked…eventually. I MAY be part of the reason why Netherworld went through seven rewrites haha.
Danielle: So many ripples…She’d get this crazy idea that totally worked, but it meant going back and changing five other chapters! This book took a very unique way of coming to the finish line.
What has been the best and worst thing about writing Netherworld?
Amy: For me, the best has definitely been seeing first hand what it’s like to compromise and work through varying ideas on a book. I’m so used to just being a panster when I write my own books that plotting in advance and making not only two different POV’s but also two different worlds blend has been amazing to watch. The worst part is definitely going through so many rewrites. Even though I’m thrilled with the end result and all of the added layers of depth that we have added, it become difficult to remember which details remained to the final cut. Danielle and I will message each other saying “didn’t we write this already?” only to remember that was three re-writes ago. Book 2 and 3 will definitely be a smoother ride for us now that we’ve got this process down pat.
Danielle: I agree with Amy on the ‘worst’ element. Having to stick to an outline made the desire to follow a road that I normally would follow something I couldn’t do. It forced me to be disciplined. The other negative was the multiple revisions…We had a version of the book done in 2014, but then it got picked up by an agent…the agent wanted revisions…then we parted ways with the agent…let it sit dormant and said, you know. We have this book done and waiting. Why don’t we publish it? When we re-read it, however, we saw ways we could improve upon the original 2014 version (we had both grown as writers) and so that meant yet another round of revisions! Hahaha The best thing has been being collaborative with Amy. I think we’ve both learned so much about each other’s writing style and method and learning how to incorporate those styles into one project has been eye opening.
Who is your favorite character from Netherworld and why?
Danielle: I get to write the humans for this book so I tried to make each of them different from the other in honest ways. I love to write characters that are broken, if only in their own eyes. Some people think of characters that start a book as such are weak. What’s fun for me, as a writer, is to help these characters find their strength throughout the course of a novel. I want to go on their journey of self-discovery. This book focuses mostly on Devlin’s journey after some tough news in his life. Other humans will get their turn as the trilogy continues. Having said that, the funnest one to write so far has been Seamus. He’s Devlin’s side kick. He’s a bit of some comic relief but also has a troubled past so he’s fun to write.
Amy: That is a really hard question to answer since I have the pleasure of writing both Taryn, our heroine and Aed, our cocky prince of the Netherworld. Both have strong personalities, are fiercely loyal and are totally badass. Those are the three things I love most in fantasy based characters. But I’d have to say that I really love Taryn. She’s going to go through a pretty major character growth process over the span of this trilogy and it’s going to be fun watching her realize that letting herself love doesn’t make her weak. It actually makes her stronger.
Want to know more about our process? Feel free to ask questions in the comments.
Ready to pre-order your copy? Available on iBooks HERE!
Want to check out Danielle’s other works? You can find her right HERE!