Sister Act

I write books with my little sister, Elizabeth. And on 30th June (that’s only seven weeks away. SEVEN WEEKS!), our debut novel, The Witch’s Kiss, will be published by HarperCollins.

And that’s not a sentence either of us really thought we’d actually get to write.

The first thing most people ask when we meet them (if the whole writing thing comes up), is something along the lines of:

So how does that work, writing together? I would go mad if I had to work with my sister/brother/other family member. I’d probably kill her/him. How come you two haven’t killed each other?

Well, we’ve been writing together for nearly four years now, and we haven’t killed each other yet. There’s been some yelling, some angry-face emojis, but no actual bloodshed. So what is the secret?

I reckon there are four main ingredients to making our writing relationship work:

1. Technology. We use Dropbox to keep all our files in the cloud, which means we can both edit and comment on stuff the other one has written. So when Liz wants to say things like, ‘this chapter is awful. Terrible. So bad it’s making my eyeballs bleed…’ she doesn’t actually have to say it to my face. Also, we can have a whole conversation about a scene or character over email or Twitter. No vocal communication required!

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2. Similarities. We have a lot of things in common, including a whole childhood of shared influences:  books, TV shows, films. So, there’s a big overlap of stuff we both enjoy, including a lot of our reading material. And now we enjoy writing the same kind of things too.

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3. Differences. We both have our own strengths and weaknesses, in writing as in everything else. Liz has a great ear for dialogue. I like researching and writing more descriptive passages. Liz likes happy endings. I like doing horrible things to our characters.

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4. Love. We love each other. And writing together means we get to do something we love with somebody we love. Life doesn’t get much better than that.

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Thanks for reading. x

 

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