Only One Woman is receiving Five Star accolades on Amazon. Here is a taste of what readers are saying
'A wonderful trip down memory lane.'
'Both women tugged at my heart.'
'A fantastic read.'
Hello Carol, it is great to be able to tell you about working together on Only One Woman, thanks for asking us. J&C.
How did the two of you first meet/get to know one another?
J I’ll let Christina answer this one, I am sure people have heard enough from me…
C We knew about one another for some time before we actually met. I was involved in pop journalism and became the Fan Club Secretary for Jane’s boyfriend’s group… So we exchanged letters for ages before we met in person. We liked each other immediately – recognising kindred spirits – and we’ve been friends ever since.
From whom did the initial inspiration for OOW come?
J We both always wanted to write together. Personally I couldn’t think how, or even why Christina would want to write with me. She had a fabulous well established career as a best-selling, award-winning author and I was involved in the music business, with dreams of being a crime writer. So, how we could write together and what we could write together was somewhat of a dilemma. I’ll let Christina expand on this…
C Both of us! We were both playing around with the idea of writing together – but as I write froth and bubble rom-com and Jane writes gritty crime, our styles were oceans apart so a collaboration seemed highly unlikely… until we met one day and said of course the one thing we had in common was our experiences of life and the music scene in the 1960s… it was a real light-bulb moment – and the embryo idea for OOW was born!
J I remember the meeting well. Peter Robinson was at a local Waterstones signing his latest book and Christina is a huge fan (and me too) and we decided we’d go to his signing. Also, he has mentioned her in one his books and later he told us his wife - in real life - is a huge fan. Christina didn’t want to introduce herself, being shy, so I put my music management hat on and introduced them and he was chuffed to meet her, and said his wife would be so jealous. After the signing Christina and I went to a local watering-hole for a natter about writing together.
Do you share the same taste in music and reading for example?
J I love anything well written, performed and well produced. Most of my career in music I’ve worked with a variety of musical genres, including Chinese Opera, Classical Opera, Thrash Metal and Hard and Heavy Rock, R&B and Pop/R&B and Dance. I’ve never worked with anything I didn’t love. The 1960s is a special music-wise for me, but not the early Rock ‘n’ roll or some of the singer-songwriters of that era, though I love their material performed by others. Bob Dylan is a prime example – I cannot listen to him but love his songs. I am also a fan of the musicals from the early to mid-20th century and I adore Doris Day and Howard Keel, Glen Miller and the big band sounds of the 1940s.
C I think my musical tastes are far more poppy than Jane’s – and of course we both love 60’s music – but honestly, I love tunes from all musical genres, classical, modern – all of them – oh, except a lot of the 21st century manufactured all-sounds-the-same stuff – oh, and the current trend for solo boys strumming a guitar off-key and wailing out of tune… lol – oh, and I can’t do with rap or hip-hop or whatever they’re called these days… Goodness – I’m clearly very old lol!
J Join the club. I cannot abide anything Indie, Rap or Hip/Hop etc. The poetry of the lyrics can be clever, but the ‘music’ hits a nerve at the back of my brain, and it ain’t pretty.
Books – yes we both love crime novels, police procedurals and thrillers! From Agatha Christie to the present day.
J I agree and I love anything to do with Espionage as well.
How different/similar are your writing styles?
C Miles apart lol! As I’ve already said I write feel-good bucolic frolic fiction – happy ever after stories and love and laughter. Jane writes brilliantly at the other end of the spectrum. However, as the writing style of OOW was a sea-change for us both, we managed to adapt really well. Eventually…
J Cripes, I’d read Christina’s work and I loved it, but I never thought I could ever write well enough to - in all seriousness - ever write with her. She’ll tell you, I was always worrying about dragging her down to ‘my level’ and ruining her reputation writing with me, I was so filled with self-doubt and anxiety…before we’d even started any writing, but she read some of my stories and like them, so in the end I had to get a grip! I think getting our styles right so they fitted Only One Woman has been amazing. I have no idea how we managed it, but it seems to have just happened.
How did you decide who wrote which part/ break down the writing?
J I’ll let Christina answer this one…
C That was the easy part I think. Once we’d agreed on the outline of OOW we knew the only way it would work was for each of us to assume the identity of one of the characters – and to make the novel narrative work, we decided to let our characters tell their stories via their diary entries… As we’d also agreed to use part of our own backgrounds for Renza and Stella and fictionalise the rest, the story had to start with Renza’s story, so Jane kicked it all off…
J I call tell you, Jane had a blue fit when she realised she’d be opening the book and trying to capture the reader long enough to read past the first page! No stress at all…
Which was your main method of communication – email? Phone? Did you have the opportunity to meet up?
J Again, I’ll hand over to Christina to answer this one…
C We spoke on the phone occasionally if we had a complicated bit of story to unravel, but as we don’t live close to one another we didn’t meet at all - however we emailed all the time – winging the latest bits of OOW back and forth – BUT to start with Jane wrote all Renza’s parts from start to finish then she emailed me the manuscript and I slotted Stella’s story in.. then we phoned, emailed, texted and each added more adventures for the girls… it was all very 21st century for a very 20th century novel!
J Such a cool way to write together. Thanks goodness for the internet. Imagine doing it by snail-mail…
Be honest now! How difficult/easy did you find it, collaborating with someone writing a novel?
J It was a little daunting writing Renza, Scott, and the characters in the early part of Only One Woman and then sending it to Christina for her parts, since she didn’t know what to expect and had to very cleverly fit in with what I’d set-up, some the characters who’d feature in her parts had been established by the time she came to write. She’s done a fab job too, it must have been difficult. Also I didn’t know anything about Stella, her family or friends, when writing the earlier parts. I’ve never done it before, and I am not sure how it would have worked with anyone else. It was easy, no stress and good fun.
C I’d never done it before, and I’m not sure it would work with someone I didn’t know well, but I think because Jane and I know each other inside out, are such good friends, and we’re very close, it was easy. Also we’re very similar laid-back ladies without egos… so, yes, it was a fabulously enjoyable experience.
J Oh cripes egos! Had enough of those to last a lifetime working with singers and musicians. Cannot be doing with it.
What happened if one of you came up with a piece of writing or an idea that the other really didn’t like?
J Fortunately, it didn’t happen. Writing together was easy, we both knew the story we wanted to tell.
C It didn’t happen! Honestly. I guess if it had we’re good enough friends for us to be able to discuss it and come to an amicable decision without coming to blows lol.
Did you edit/proof read each other’s work?
C Oh – we both read it through over and over and over again – we didn’t edit each other’s pieces, we left all that to our professional editors – but yes, because we added so many additional story-lines to the original outline and had to make sure the continuity worked each time, we read it so often that we both said in the end we could probably quote the whole 500 pages off by heart lol.
J I agree with Christina, we didn’t really edit for each other, we had an editor to do all that. My poor long suffering husband read every word over and over, as I wrote, until he could recite my parts in his sleep. He also had to check musical facts for me. I don’t know if Christina’s husband had the same joyful experience. Interestingly, my husband said that he thought men would enjoy the book as much as girls. He was right. We have had lots of men read and review Only One Woman for us. We were asked to add to the 130,000 words already written when we thought we’d finished the book – it is about 160,000 words now and yes, we know the 500 pages off by heart. War and Peace for the 21st century but a fast read so we are told.
Would you write another book in collaboration with another writer again?
J I have been asked a few times, but I am not sure - probably not - unless with Christina. We both have quite a few stories we could still tell…
C With Jane. Yes. With someone else? Probably not…
Did you agree on covers etc/
J I’ll hand over to Christina for this one…
C Our publisher chose the cover – we had a different one originally – neither of us liked it – and the publisher did agree to change it for the one we have now with the generic hippy 60s rock-chick with flowers in her hair… and Narnia’s Children’s yellow band-bus (Jane’s suggestion) in the background
Perhaps Christina could tell us a little about herself?
· OK… Um… Here goes… (Carol – this is my official bio – please, please cut out all the irrelevant stuff here) I’m the only child of a schoolteacher and a circus clown, and have written all my life (long before I thought I’d ever be published). As well as writing romantic comedy novels, and pop interviews and stories to the teenage magazines, I’ve also contributed short stories and articles to many national magazines and newspapers.
I’ve won awards for my writing: Going the Distance was a WH Smith Fresh Talent Winner; Nothing to Lose, was shortlisted and runner-up for the Thumping Good Read Award with film and television rights sold; Heaven Sent was shortlisted in The Melissa Nathan Comedy Romance Awards and won a Category Award; Love Potions won the Pure Passion Award; The Way to a Woman’s Heart was short-listed for the Rom-Com of the Year; and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding won The Reviewer’s Choice Award.
I’ve written 21 romantic comedy novels:
Dancing in the Moonlight; Going the Distance; Running the Risk; Stealing
the Show; Jumping to Conclusions; Tickled Pink; Nothing to Lose;
Walking on Air; Lavender Lane; Honeysuckle House; Forever Autumn;
Summer of Love; Hubble Bubble; Seeing Stars; Love Potions; Happy
Birthday; Heaven Sent; Moonshine; The Way A Woman's Heart; Never
Can Say Goodbye and An Enormously English Monsoon Wedding.
I’ve also written and/or contributed to 11 e-book-only novellas/short
stories/compilations: Those Lazy, Hazy Crazy Days; Mitzi’s Midwinter Wedding; Bucolic Frolics; Happy Ever After; Snippets; Shiver; Holiday Fling; Wishing on a Star; Chicklit Lovers Vol One; Chicklit Lovers Vol Three; and the Milton St John Box-Set.
I’m chuffed to bits to say that the love and peace and rock’n’roll 1960s story: Only One Woman – co-authored with the wonderful Jane Risdon - was published as an e-book in November 2017 and will be available in all shops/libraries/outlets as a mass market paperback on May 24th 2018.
My next novel – Marigold’s Magical Mystery Tour – will be published in September 2018.
All my novels are currently available, either in paperback or e-book format, and after years of travelling and a million different jobs, I now live in rural Oxfordshire with my Toy boy Trucker husband and several rescued cats.
J & C Thanks so much Carol for asking us to tell you about Only One Woman and writing together, it has been fun.
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