Narelle here. I’m delighted to welcome debut author Iola Goulton to our blog today. :)
The Power of Collaboration
I recently attended a class on collaboration in publishing and was disappointed to find it was actually a thinly veiled sales pitch for a vanity press (boo, hiss).
But the class did get me thinking about collaboration.
As a reader, I tended to think of writing as a solo effort. The more I’ve got to know authors and the more I’ve studied writing and publishing, the more I’ve realised this isn’t true.
Writing is not a solo effort: it’s a collaboration.
Some authors say writing and publishing a book is like giving birth. As the proud mother of two, I have to disagree. I think writing, publishing, and marketing a book is like raising a child. And, as the old adage says, it takes a village to raise a child.
In the case of my debut novel, Always By My Side, the most prominent members of the village—my immediate family and close friends—have been my fellow Trinity Lakes Romance authors: Narelle Atkins, Meredith Resce, Lisa Renee, Carolyn Miller, Jenny Glazebrook, and Sara Beth Williams.
We’ve shared planning sessions, settings, characters, and plotlines. While each of the stories are standalone romances, there are common elements between each of the books, including setting, characters, and even subplots.
The series name is a clue to the setting: the books are all set in Trinity Lakes, a fictional town in south-east Washington.
We’ve shared major characters: my heroine, Tabitha Thomas, works for Hannah Gilbertson (from Never Find Another You by Narelle Atkins), and they are good friends with Leah Thompson (from I’ll Always Choose You by Lisa Renee). My book also has scenes with Kyla (from The Ocean Between Us by Meredith Resce) and Josh (from Where Our Hearts Lie by Jenny Glazebrook), and several other series characters have walk-on parts.
We also share minor characters, including the pastors, the town gossips (Rhonda Ingalls and Rhonda Turner), and the Junk Man (a man with a hidden secret). Every good small-town Christian romance needs a pastor, a gossip, and a secret or two.
As well as writing our stories, each of the Trinity Lakes authors has brought something to the group:
Carolyn Miller visited Washington and had the initial idea to create a multi-author series set in the area, and to give the series a distinctly Down Under vibe by ensuring we each had an Australian or Kiwi as a main character.
Narelle Atkins has been our fearless organiser and leader, working with Carolyn to make a lot of the early decisions around worldbuilding. She has also formatted several of our books, including mine.
Meredith Resce is our resident expert on Aussie rules football. She brings decades of writing and publishing experience, and great contacts in Australian Christian bookstores.
Lisa Renee is a marketing whiz who has created many of our beautiful graphics. She also interviewed me on her podcast … which gives you a chance to hear the difference between the Aussie and Kiwi accents.
Jenny Glazebrook has loaned her eagle eye as a proofreader, but (more importantly) is our resident encourager and prayer warrior.
Sara Beth Williams has been our expert on all things Americana, answering inane questions like whether our characters go to college or university (serious question: in New Zealand, colleges are secondary schools aka high schools).
I’m the group editor, and I’m the odd one out in two respects: I’m the only Kiwi author in the group, and I’m also the newbie—Always By My Side is my first published novel.
And Always By My Side never would have happened if I wasn’t part of this group. If it wasn’t for the fact this was a collaborative project, I would have found an excuse to give up.
The Trinity Lakes authors are my author family, and I am grateful to be a part of the Trinity Lakes family. But there’s more to a village than a family. The rest of the village is you, the readers. Because we’re writing these books for you, people who love reading Christian romance stories … and especially people who might want to see characters from different places.
Here’s a question: do you enjoy reading books that are part of a single author series or a multi-author series, or do you prefer standalone novels?
About Always By My Side
A hardworking introvert meets a handsome adventurer longing to settle down.
Tabitha Thomas longs to leave Trinity Lakes and travel the world in honor of the beloved grandmother who raised her and her siblings. But she’s needed at home—she’s the responsible triplet, the one who stayed home to run the family inn while her brother and sister left to live their dreams.
Kiwi Logan Wylde doesn’t call any place home. When an injury frustrates his travel plans, he accepts an invitation to return to Trinity Lakes and recuperate at the Lakeview Inn, where he hopes to rediscover his purpose in life.
When Tabby and Logan find a property deed while cleaning out Gran’s rooms, Tabby embraces a new challenge—to solve the mystery of the floodplain and renovate the old boatshed. Working with Logan reignites long-suppressed feelings, but will their differences drive them apart?
An opposites-attract, friends-to-more, small town contemporary Christian romance.
Welcome to Trinity Lakes, a warm and welcoming small town in east Washington, filled with charm, family, and friends, where fresh starts, second chances, and romance abound. You’ll meet swoony bachelors, cowboys, and adventurers, sweet and sassy ladies, and your new best friends. This series of standalone Christian romances will warm your heart, inspire your faith, and bring a smile to your soul.
About Iola Goulton
Iola Goulton is the empty-nest mother of two who lives with her husband in the sunny Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, and writes contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi connection. She works part-time for a local company, wrangling spreadsheets by day and words by night.
She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Omega Christian Writers. Find Iola at www.iolagoulton.com
Iola is kindly giving away an ebook copy of Always By My Side to a reader who comments on this post. The giveaway will close on July 14 and the winner announced in the Sunday Edition.