Can I be honest here?
I hate group projects.
There. I said it. It’s the way I’ve felt all my life. In school, growing up, I dreaded when the teacher would tell us we had to do something with other students. Especially if those other students didn’t pull their weight. I just tend to work better on my own, at least on the main part of things.
That being said, as an author, I can’t work completely alone. Trust me. My books are much better thanks to several rounds of editing done by other people. Not to mention, my covers look much nicer than they would if I were trying to do them myself.
And, I have enjoyed working with other authors to put together novella collections. Having a theme to write a story to can be a challenge, but that’s a good thing sometimes. It makes me stretch. And gives me story ideas I might not otherwise have. Plus, being in a collection, I have help marketing when the book releases. Something every author loves.
So, when my author friends started talking about making our silly writers’ retreat idea into a reality, I agreed. Here’s what I’m talking about.
Back in 2019, Heather Greer, Regina Rudd Merrick, Erin Howard, and I were all at the same table at KenTen Writers’ Retreat. The retreat was held at Montgomery Bell State Park in Tennessee, a gorgeous place. Our task was to brainstorm a story idea using a location in the park. We immediately thought of the little chapel there. We all loved the quaint structure with its stained-glass windows and stone walls.
Three of us are Contemporary Romance authors and Erin writes fantasy, so our story got a little carried away at the end with the character falling through the window to a dystopian future. Well, after we talked some more over various times of meeting up, we decided we really did want to do something with this idea.
That tiny seed of an idea morphed into four novels. The novels would follow a family through the years, starting in the 1920s, moving to the 1970s, then contemporary, and finally into that dystopian future Erin loves so much. I was blessed to be able to stick with my genre of choice and my story, Window of the Heart, was the contemporary novel. We’ve now released three of the stories, with the final coming out in December, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing the whole time.
For one thing, I am crazy. Remember how I said I do the main chunk of a project better by myself. I may or may not have written my story before any of the others wrote theirs. This would be fine if mine were first, but it isn’t. It’s third. So, some tweaking was done in my edits to make the transition from the other two books smoother.
We’ve had myriad conversations and have an ongoing facebook chat going at all times as we toss ideas and scenes and names back and forth. It’s hard to keep up with all the details after a while. That’s why we made a family tree to be able to remember how it all worked out.
Needless to say, this has been a whole different kind of experience, working with other authors to write a whole series. Even after all these years, I’m still working on learning to work better within a group project. ;) But it hasn’t been bad.
When the others suggest doing another one down the road, I suggest we do it a little different. Maybe one where everyone gets a different sibling or something and they’re all set in the same time period. That way, whoever writes her story first can be the first in the series. Ahem.
Will I do it again? Maybe. But I think for the next few years, I’ll stick to my own novels and maybe a novella collection or two.
Do you love multi-author collections? What do you love about them? What do you hate? Did you know they took so much work?
Leave a comment below and I’ll draw one winner for a signed paperback copy of my new book, Window of the Heart (US only this time).
Lennox Malone may not believe in love, but she’s determined to do the best job she can as her friend Sara Beth’s maid of honor. Problem is, the man in charge of fixing up the chapel doesn’t match her determination. Fighting against preconceived notions, a past that catches up to her, and an attraction she wants nothing to do with, this wedding is turning into more than she can handle.
Ty Dunne might be laid back and easy-going, but he’s determined to make sure the chapel is ready for his cousin’s wedding. Not only is it his duty as best man, but he wants to preserve the family’s history in the building. If only he could live up to his family’s other expectations—or those of Lennox Malone, the fiery redhead he can’t stop thinking about. Before he can go any further with her, though, he has to convince her that love is real and worth the risk.
Lennox has built her walls high and sturdy, but Ty is determined to find a way in—even if it’s a window. Maybe the history of the chapel itself along with the romance of a wedding will help.