Yes, we are. And, boy, is it satisfying.
Today, we're interviewing Charley Robson, teen author and co-writer of St. Mallory's Forever. With partner in crime, Miriam Joy, the two have pulled off the gobsmacking feat of publishing their first book. If you want to know more about their
Why did you decide to co-write a novel? (And whose idea was it?!)
The idea of co-writing was our publisher, Mark's, idea. Neither Miriam nor I had written anything seriously in this genre before, and with the perspectives of our protagonists - one being from a comprehensive, one a boarder - it would make more sense to have both of us on board for accuracy's sake and such. That and, well, we both got ridiculously excited at the idea and just started writing.
How does your co-writing process work? (Do you each write a chapter by different characters, etc?)
We started off writing from the perspective of one character each, sending one chapter to each other for the first few weeks until we got a grip of the others whose viewpoints we were more nervous of. Then we started writing more chapters at a time, sending them back and forth between the three of us, adding and altering little bits as we went.
How long did it take you to get to the publishing stage?
Probably a lot longer than it would have done if we'd not been assailed by holiday excursions, exams, moving house, and Mark's wonky internet! As it is, though, it's all taken about two years, start to finish.
Yes, holidays are killers, that's for sure. What kind of publishing are you doing?
Personally, I think of it as "indie publishing", because Mark and Saffi (our publishers, and part of our co-authorship) have set up their own publishing business, and they've got several authors working with them already. Otherwise, I'd call it self-publishing. Or some hybrid of the two, heh heh!
What advice can you give us wannabes about the shark-infested publishing journey?
Seriously. If, like us, you're lucky enough to have some guidance from professionals or authors who've already been published, talk to them and get them to explain it to you as you go. Or if you're too shy, follow their blogs (they're all over the place, and all very good!). Brushing up on the where and the how of publishing before you get panicky at the end of the process will keep from the worst of the mental breakdowns.
Time for the dreaded one liner question! Condense your entire novel (yep, the whole whopping thing) into one sentence.
"When her mother gets a job at a private girls' boarding school, Helen Stroud teams up with old hand Abby Roe and multilingual diplomat's daughter Xuan Liu to solve an ever-thickening mystery."
I won't pretend I'm not rather proud of that. Because I am.
Tell us something funny about the editing process. (Because everyone knows, editing is…funny.)
Personally, I loved reading through the older drafts looking for continuity issues while we were editing. The best, I think, is when we forgot a teacher's name and filled the blanks with "The Teacher Who Must Not Be Named" or "That Teacher Without A Name (Did They Even Have One?)".
That, and just re-reading chapters we wrote before some of our longer breaks, we re-encountered a lot of the humour we slipped in. And believe me, some of it is golden.
Oh, I believe you! I want to read it! Are you hosting any book giveaways? (hint, hint…)
We would love to, and I know I'm certainly going to try and organise one later on, but right now Miriam and I are so impoverished that we can hardly afford stamps for our Christmas thank-you letters. We'll keep you posted, though!
Ah, the quest of the impoverished author. We'll keep our ears open for news later, then? Tells us a little about the main character?
Three for the price of one, then!
Helen Stroud is our comprehensive girl: her mum's a music teacher, and she plays a lot of instruments to a very high standard. The fact that she is capable of communicating with boys like normal human beings earns her a good deal of awed respect from the other girls.
Abby Roe's the St Mallory's veteran. Despite being a great lover of shopping, especially for shoes, she's full to bursting with geek culture references.
Xuan Liu is multi-lingual, dryly sarcastic, and deadly with a lacrosse stick. None of us can pronounce the instruments she plays. We also suspect she might be a Vulcan.
Name an event that occurs in your book that you really, really, really hope never happens to you.
Getting drafted into the house lacrosse team!
Definitely sounds scary. And now, for the question we've all be nervously waiting for... Were any chocolate bars harmed in the making of this book?
I will raise my hand in full confession here.
I strongly suspect Miriam would do likewise. As for Mark, I think he was too busy orchestrating the mass murder of mosquitoes.
Miriam Joy is a young writer from London, England with a pretty ordinary background, unlike Charley. As well as writing, her hobbies include reading, ballet, music and archery, and she’s a fan of computers and technology, though they do not appear to be a fan of her. If something can break, it will break. When she isn’t doing any of the above, she’ll be blogging over three different blogs, making YouTube videos, or aggravating her family.
She spends far too much time on Tumblr, generally reblogging anything relating to Doctor Who, Torchwood, or Sherlock. She’s also a fan of Marvel’s Avengers, with a soft spot for Loki. Finally, she loves mythology – Celtic, Norse, or, well, anything else, really.
Charley Robson is a young author with an unusual background. A proud ‘army brat’, she has lived on every major continent on Earth, tried and failed to learn several languages (though she can insult and insinuate very prettily in both Arabic and Latin) and has had the pleasure of meeting many weird and wonderful people during her travels.
She is currently attending her thirteenth school, her very own Hogwarts in the woolies of Dorset in South England, and has gone the Way of The Thespian. Charley thus spends most of her time reading, picking her teeth with five-page essays, covering her fingers in pen ink and poking philosophical holes in reality. This may or may not be a result of her deeply-seated loathing for all things requiring a calculator.
Aside from writing, which goes without saying, Charley also enjoys long walks, acting (she’s been cast as nothing but villains since the age of seven), singing, and watching Doctor Who.
Look out for more news on the exact release dates of St. Mallory's Forever!