Today, I am delighted to welcome the next guests to my Autumn Spotlight - the lovely Cass Grafton and Ada Bright. I've always had a fascination with writers who successfully co-write (writing alone is hard enough!) so invited Cass and Ada to tell us how they have managed to make their partnership work.
Hi! My name is Cass and Ada is my good friend and writing partner, and we’re delighted to be here on Wendy’s Writing Now to talk about our co-writing process when working on our recently released book, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen!
First and foremost, we’d like to say a huge thank you to Wendy for hosting us! It’s lovely to be here, participating in your Guest Blog openings this autumn!
By way of background, Ada lives in California and I live in Switzerland. Aside from the thousands of miles between us, there’s also a nine-hour time difference, but funnily enough, that really worked in our favour during the writing process, as you will see from Ada’s comments below!
If you're a writer, imagine being told you could write a book and skip some of the things you don't enjoy about writing. That is what our co-writing process is like, and I love it!
What Cass brings to the writing table is exactly what I lack and vice versa. What I can produce quickly is what takes her a long time to process. So, maybe with someone else I might feel selfish by suggesting she take ‘xyz’ while I work on ‘abc’; but with Cass, breaking duties up to suit our strengths generally ends up making us both happy.
Does that mean it was the easiest thing in the world? No, we had our share of difficult times. When things were moving along well in both our lives, we were working pretty much continuously on the book: I would write while Cass slept, she would edit my draft or start something new when I went to sleep and so on But, invariably, one of our creative and/or personal lives wouldn't quite cooperate and that meant the other person was pretty well stuck whether or not they were feeling the same.
Still, if I was coming back from a difficult week away from writing, I always had a cheerleader and a partner in Cass to come back to; to get my writing juices flowing again.
Our process involves a lot of teasing each other as well. Never did I laugh more than when typing "Cass writes something brilliant here" rather than fixing the section I was supposed to fix…or, if I'd already used that one recently, giving all the characters Valley Girl accents just to make Cass's brain explode in the morning. I would snicker to myself, imagining that somewhere, a half globe away, Cass was opening up my draft, keen to work on what I'd sent her - then innocently read the part I'd mangled and right then be cursing my name!
We would often stage FaceTime debates for a particular section we wanted cut or kept. The battles never felt like losses though, because whenever we were struggling with something it would invariably be worked out better in discussion and often lead us to exactly where we needed to go next.
We also both swore to each other, before we'd made airline reservations, before we'd created an outline and before we'd written a line, that our friendship needed to come first. It felt silly at times that we'd have thought we'd need such a promise. But maybe, by making the promise, we'd already proven ourselves good enough friends to work through whatever might come up!
So there you go! That’s how it worked on a day-to-day level - a total collaboration where we’d each pass the baton to the other and back again, tweaking scenes again and again until neither could remember who had written what!
We used FaceTime frequently for brainstorming and ‘meetings’ (so much so, we felt quite bereft once the book was out and the need for these chats dropped from almost daily to about once a week)! This was where the time difference was a bonus again, as early morning is my most creative time, and late at night is Ada’s!
We also used OneDrive to upload the sections we’d worked on, along with any pertinent notes for each other (though our most frequent lament was, ‘I hate OneDrive’)!
Ada Bright is an author, wife, mother, friend and all around lover of stories. She grew up in Southern California, where she maintains a fun household and yearns for rain once in awhile.
Cass Grafton is an author and explorer who loves travel, words, and wine. She is a British ex-pat living in Switzerland with her patient and lovely husband.
Cassandra (Cass) Grafton
Co-author with Ada Bright of The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen
Author of the A Fair Prospect trilogy
Co-author of The Darcy Brothers
Our Blog: Tabby Cow
My Website: Cass Grafton
Rose Wallace, Bath resident and avid Jane Austen fan, is looking forward to the annual Jane Austen Festival hosted by the city.
Her anticipation isn’t just for the events she will enjoy, though. Also attending this year will be one of her best friends, an American called Morgan, and this will be the first time in their 7-year online friendship they will meet in person! To add a further frisson of excitement, it’s the one time a year she gets to see her secret crush, an eminent archaeologist who often comes to the Festival to deliver a presentation.
What Rose doesn’t know is that one person attending the Festival has a stronger connection to it than anyone else; someone who will turn Rose’s orderly life upside down by sharing an astonishing secret with her, after which the entire legacy of Jane Austen’s work fades into oblivion.
With the happy melody of her life in tatters, Rose has to face up to a new one; a life devoid of her favourite books, characters, her beloved job and home and even some of her friends.
With the support of a displaced two hundred year old author and a charmed necklace, can Rose help to bring back some of the most beloved stories of all time and turn her own life around in the process?