Merry Wanderer of the Night  + [Just Contemporary]

Just Contemporary Interview with Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout! And Giveaway!: D

Today's interview is with a writing duo. Yvonne and Sandy have written quite a few books together and while I've only read two of them so far, they have both been lots of fun to read, and exactly what I was looking for at the time. Lots of fun, a little bit of fluff and just overall enjoyable.

What is it like writing as a team? How do you get past disagreements on pieces of the story?

We've been writing as a team for over a decade, and it’s still fun. The toughest part is picking one of many ideas floating like balloons over our heads, and focusing on just one.

Over the span of 10 books, we’ve had to develop a three-stage technique to shoot down each other’s ideas in a way that isn’t hurtful:
1. Listen to the entire idea, nodding and smiling;
2. Offer lukewarm praise; and
3. Present new idea so obviously superior that the first one is instantly forgotten.

Seriously, though, you can’t get too attached to your ideas when you’re a team. You have to trust than another, better one will come along, because it always does.

How did the two of you meet? How did you decide to become writing partners?

We met as teens working in a public library. We were friends for years—and even roommates after college—and the idea of writing together never occurred to us. But one day, Yvonne went looking for a non-fiction book for her nieces to answer their questions about relationships with boys, friends and family. She couldn't find a book with the right, light-hearted tone, so she suggested we write one. That led to Totally Me: The Teenage Girl’s Survival Guide. It was a natural fit, since we've spent our entire friendship talking about relationships with boys, friends and family.

Have either of you written alone? Or written with a different partner?

We've only collaborated with each other. In some cases one of us has written “more” of a particular book than the other person, depending on our schedules. But we developed our voice together, so I doubt anyone could tell who wrote what. In fact, sometimes we compliment each other on our own lines, forgetting we wrote them!

What are the differences to writing alone vs as a team and what are some advantages/disadvantages to both styles.

A huge advantage to collaborating is simply the “we're in it together” feeling. It’s nice to share the highs and lows of publishing, and the weight of deadlines. The only disadvantage—other than the loss of full creative control!—is that you have two schedules to coordinate. We have other jobs and commitments and they don’t always sync up as we’d like.

Why Contemporary?

We started out that way and just kept going. Spending time with our teen friends keeps us grounded in the present and we’re intrigued by the challenges they face.

But to be honest, we have always wanted to give paranormal a try and soon... we will! Expect something a little different from Collins-Rideout in a few months.

I've heard talk that *Love, Inc.* is actually a series. Is there any truth to that rumor? If so, is there any information you can share with us?

Yes! We just released the sequel to Love, Inc. It’s called Trade Secrets, and it will soon be available across all electronic platforms. You can already find it on Amazon

Here’s a short overview:

Kali Esposito and her best friends Syd and Zahra revive Love, Inc. to help the lovelorn break-up, make-up or take-up with someone new. A die-hard romantic, Kali can turn the most socially-challenged clients into confident charmers and the “Kali Method” takes Love, Inc. to new heights. But when a competitor corrupts her method to turn regular guys into players, Kali must reclaim Love, Inc.’s trade secrets before every girl in Austin gets her heart broken.

Speaking of sequels/series, are they harder to write than the first book? Do you *like* them or do you prefer writing a standalone story?

The challenge with sequels is trying to recap the first book for new readers without boring returning readers, who already know the back story. But on the whole, sequels are easier to write in that you’ve already developed the key characters, and their world. Our favorite book of all is the third book in the Vivien Leigh Reid series: Diva in Control. By that point, we’d hit our stride and could just enjoy getting poor Leigh into trouble. We’d still love to do a sequel to The Black Sheep. Judy is our most obnoxious villain ever—she deserves another outing.

What made you decide to self-publish Trade Secrets? Will you continue to self-publish all your future books? Will Trade Secrets also be released in a hard copy edition (I'd love to have a hardcover to match Love, Inc!)

It all started when Sandy bought a Kobo for her mom for Christmas... and kept it for herself. If a hard-core book lover like Sandy can fall for an e-reader, it can happen to anyone.

So we started researching e-publishing, and it just seemed to suit our needs. First, you can get books out faster. We have always wanted to write more than one book a year, and also, different types of books. Now, with e-publishing, it’s a lot easier to follow your heart—as long as you hire experts to rein you in! We’re pretty excited by this new opportunity and expect to e-pub our next few books. But we've been around the book biz long enough to know that you have to stay flexible.

If there’s enough interest in paper copies of Trade Secrets, we’ll look into making that option available.

Is there anything you can share with us about your current work in progress or upcoming stories?

We’re working on a bunch of projects right now, including a paranormal novel, and possibly, if people enjoy Trade Secrets, more from our Love, Inc. trio. It seems like their story wouldn't complete without another cycle of revenge hits, led by Sydney Stark.

We love hearing from readers, so please join us on twitter @collins_rideout or visit our websites: collinsrideout.com and loveincbook.com

Thank you both, so very much! I loved hearing from you and I'm definitely excited to read Trade Secrets! Hopefully, I will have a review up soon! I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but I do have some copies to giveaway!! Yvonne and Sandy have generously offered copies of three of their novels as giveaway prizes! Enter below! The hard copies are US/CND only but the ecopies are International!
*edit — I can't believe I forgot the Rafflecopter widget! SO sorry! I will still allow those who entered through the comments to maintain that as their entry, because this is my error, but anyone entering now needs to use the widget!*