RELEASE DAY: ETERNAL ISLAND

ETERNAL ISLAND, by Kristie Haigwood and Yours Truly, is live now! Yes, it’s finally here. We are excited, anxious to see some reviews, but mostly over the moon about our venture.

Eternal Island is book one in the Eternal Series and, as far as I can tell, we’ll be able to offer you at least five more books within this series.

Book two, Eternal Immortality, is due out on Valentine’s Day 2013. If you ask me nicely, I may let you see the cover now: 

This is a magical world worth investing in, because your relationship with the characters – and we have some absolute crackers here – will be a long-lasting one and you will love them. You’ll giggle at them and with them, you’ll love them and root for them, you’ll hold their hands through the bad times and cheer when they succeed. Full of witches and vampires, hot guys and females who know what they want, you’ll be glad you met Abe and Ariana, Jonah, Déus, Rainey, Lidia, Becky, and so many others.

Let me tell you more about Kristie.

I met Kristie courtesy of social media and offered to read and review her first novel, Save My Soul (here’s the review). I loved her writing style from page one. There are a lot of paranormal books out there, But Kristie’s style is absolutely relentless. There is an element of romance in every story, but the action never slows down. I was dumbstruck. Not what I imagined paranormal romance to be like at all.

As soon as she published her second novel, Kristie contacted me again and asked me if I’d review it. I knew I was going to be entertained, and she did not disappoint. I read Forbidden Touch in record time (here’s that review) and prepared to stalk her future work.

Through a happy coincidence, I was able to fit Kristie’s book into my editing schedule, and our professional relationship deepened further.

One fine day, completely out of the blue, Kristie mentioned the Eternal Series to me and asked me if I’d like to co-author them. We were to re-write them together, applying our combined experience to achieve a top-quality product. I knew what she was capable of writing. I liked her as a person, too. I was hooked. And so she forced me to do two of the things I had promised myself I would never do: 1) write about vampires (doesn’t everybody do that already?), and 2) write a romance.

Me? Romance? Ha! Never saw that one coming!

I like drama, I like writing stuff that appeals to people who like to think as they read. How do you mesh that with a light romantic plot? And vampires? They’re not real, for goodness’ sake! It was a huge step out of my comfort zone.

To date, I’d released a satire, Martin Little, Resurrected (here’s a review). It’s the sort of cynical, tongue-in-cheek prose that befits the UK so well. I never imagined my readership to extend to the US, but I stand corrected. I’ve written this book in first person (knowing full well that it was bound to be rejected because of this one point, so sore with UK publishers), and then I stretched further and assumed the male voice, too. To this day I am unsure why. Maybe I was trying to understand men. Maybe I was trying to pretend I was someone I wasn’t. I remember making only one conscious decision as I sat down to write: I was determined my book would have no vampires, werewolves, wizards, goblins or anything anyone could have possibly thought of before. It was to be original in every way. Then came the next surprise: a publisher offered me a contract. While that’s a good thing in principle, my hands are tied when it comes to manipulating the price for promotional purposes. That decision is out of my hands.

The next book I wrote was an action thriller, Blood Is Heavier (here’s a review). Written in third person (the way traditional publishers like it), it flowed so easily out of me that it provided me with the opportunity to take a harder look at the publishing market. Despite writing it to please traditional publishers, I decided to self-publish it. It was at this point that I felt complete freedom and self-belief. I knew I could write and be the decision-maker, too.

Now I could relax and write the sequels to these two, plus the other dozen or so action novels rattling in my head… or so I thought.

Then… along came Kristie.

Did I worry it wouldn’t work? Yes, I did, but not for long. I had read some horror stories to do with co-authoring, and followed threads on LinkedIn, all of which advised authors to stay the loners they were meant to be, or at least use a contract drafted by an experienced professional. I’ve looked at such contracts, masochist that I am. It makes my brain hurt to think that anyone could read through something like that and still want to go on. Forget destroying friendships, these could ensure complete isolation on a land so far removed from reality, a writer could soon believe they were the centre of the Universe. And we know where that leads – white jackets come to mind.

Despite all the articles I’d read and all the advice, do you know how long it took me to decide? Not sure there were enough seconds to count as more than a minute.

I’m not saying co-authorship is for everyone. Not by a long shot. The first requirement is to have your feet firmly planted on the ground and your head screwed on nice and tight. You need to trust and be comfortable with the other person on the team, and you need to be honest with each other. No amount of beating about the bush is going to advance a story to an outcome satisfactory to both parties. And then you need to drop that big ego thing, and be honest with yourself. What you’re trying to achieve is a quality product, not something that looks like it’s been fashioned from scraps stuck together with chewing gum. Think with the right organ, and think objectively.

If you can do that, you can do what we did. What we’re still doing. I never knew this could be possible. I took a risk. So did Kristie. One thing I can tell you for sure: to me, it’s magic.

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