Exclusive Guest Post: NYT Bestselling Author Dianna Love on the Belador Code and the Fine Art of Collaboration

With just  two weeks to go until we publish The Curse, the brand new novel in the Belador Code, we caught up with NYT bestselling author Dianna Love to find out more about how the series came about and just what it is like to collaborate with the queen of paranormal — Sherrilyn Kenyon.

I’m often asked what it’s like to collaborate with #1 NYT bestselling paranormal author Sherrilyn Kenyon and many times when I’m asked this, we’re out on tour or at reader events with her standing right beside. That’s when we look at each other and smother our chuckles, because we’re probably the oddest writing team out there.

Why?  Sherrilyn has been writing since she picked up crayons, but I didn’t start writing until 2001.  Sherri goes to bed at 4:00 am and I get up at 4:00 am. She’s a seat-of-the-pants writer and I tend to plot out complex story threads.  She has three children.  I have a saltwater tank full of fish, which is why I remind her that my life is far more stressful since she’s never had to flush a child.  That’s when she reminds me that she’s wanted to do just that a couple of times.

How did we come to collaborate on two series?  It happened about 2:00 AM one morning in the middle of a tour.  I don’t remember which city.  We’d just gotten in from a late signing and were trying to unwind quickly so we could grab a few hours sleep and head out by 6:00 AM.  We started talking about a series she had going and got around to the BAD agency.  She wanted to give it the darker, edgier feel of a thriller so I immediately started brainstorming something off the cuff.  The next thing I know she’s suggesting we write it together.

This is where the dialogue cloud above my head read, Let me think about this…collaborate with a #1 NYT best selling author?  My answer?  Let me put it this way – my mamma drowned the dumb kids.  But that was the extent of our planning how we’d do it.  Later that day, we just started writing on the first book.

What’s our process?  We don’t take separate chapters or characters to write.  I like to write the opening of the story, but once we get rolling we’ll hand off the book in the middle of a scene. We both read each other’s words and edit at will.  From the beginning, we had one common goal – the story came first.  Splitting up characters and/or scenes disrupts the author voice, in my opinion.  I’ve read stories written that way and it’s easy to pick up who wrote what because I got pulled out of the story.  I’ve also read stories written the way we write and find myself immersed in the journey, so that works for us.

Who wins a fight?  We get that question often and laugh, because we don’t fight, but we do put snarky comments in brackets.  We’ve sat in her cabin in two different rooms, emailing chapters back and forth on the final run.  One of us will hit a snarky comment and lean over to call out something derogatory and the other one will snort or chuckle.  I did walk in once to ask her about a sentence that didn’t seem to fit.  When I pointed it out to her, she said, “I thought you wrote it.”  I said, “I thought you wrote it.”  We deleted it and pretended that sentence never happened.  That’s how well our voices overlap and blend.

Four years ago, our publisher asked if we’d consider writing something paranormal together. Back in 2006, I’d created an urban fantasy concept about the Beladors. I’d shopped the series to editors who’d wanted it, but marketing departments said the Belador series was too unusual and (at the time) didn’t fit within any genre.  They had no idea how to present it to readers.  One editor suggested it was ahead of its time, which turned out to be the case.  But fast-forward four years to the conversation with Sherri and our publisher.  Since she’d been generous enough to bring me into the BAD Agency series she’d created, I asked Sherri if she’d like to collaborate on the Beladors. By that point the urban fantasy market had changed significantly, and she loved the idea.

Sherri and I met when my first book was out and we noticed we’d been running into each other every weekend at the same conferences for over a month.  We started eating together, then meeting at other events.  Inside a year, we’d become good friends and were touring in the US and internationally.  For my part, I feel blessed to have met someone like Sherri who is both creatively generous and has been a wonderful friend.  We’ve covered a lot of miles together, and we both share a passion for writing, business and marketing that has produced a lot of interesting ideas.  It’s been great to work together as a team through the crazy business of publishing, and the most wonderful part—getting out there to meet the readers and fans.

To find out more about the Belador Code and The Curse visit the UK Books page now.

For more about Dianna Love visit  her website and stay tuned to Dianna’s Twitter feed for your chance to ask her anything in an exclusive #Beladors web chat from 13.00hrs GMT on Friday 14th September 2012!

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