Talk of collaboration is in the air lately. At Writer Unboxed, we’re not only great at supporting our fellow writers, we’re good at working with them too! Author Heather Webb’s recent post on the positives and pitfalls of collaboration immediately made me think of another WUer — our own Jan O’Hara.
Jan, a former family physician who hails from Canada, has turned collaboration into a fine art. Her first book was one in a series of interconnected novels that shared a physical world and even some characters. Her second book was part of a box set that shared a genre and a theme, as is her third book, due out in February. To me, it seems as if she’s found the perfect balance between writing alone and collaborating — she has a built-in set of writing pals, brainstorming buddies, and marketing allies, but she gets to do the actual writing herself.
I was curious what I could learn from Jan’s experiences and I thought other WUers considering collaboration might be curious about the nitty-gritty as well, so I convinced her to sit down for a long-distance chat. (If you’ve met Jan IRL, you know that wasn’t an easy task. A confirmed introvert, she’s reluctant to talk about herself. ) Here are the results.
Q: Hey Jan! Tell us about your first book — The Opposite of Frozen.
JOH: OoF is the second of twelve romances set in the Thurston Hotel in the fictitious town of Harmony, Alberta. Though the series’ novels can be read as standalones, they are also connected through secondary characters, some of whom have series-long character arcs. The premise: when their tour bus is stranded for a week in a Canadian mountain town, an injured athlete reconnects to life with the help of an attractive stowaway and 51 matchmaking retirees.
Q: How did you wind up finding a group of authors to collaborate with? How closely did you work with them? What were some of the benefits of writing your first book this way?
JOH: I knew I needed to change what I was doing with my writing. I was leaning toward self-publishing but had yet to complete a full novel, much less put it out for consumption. I was intimidated by the technical challenges on top of the writing challenges and couldn’t quite figure out how to move forward or where to begin. [Read more…]