For this giveaway we are featuring a delightfully entertaining steampunk series by two authors who are 'lovestruck'. Pip Ballantine discusses collaborating with her husband, Tee Morris, in life and in writing.
Collaborating in Life and Writing by Philippa BallantineThey say never work with animals and children—but some would also say that you should not work with loved ones either…at least loved ones that you want to keep in your life.Setting out on an adventure with my good friend, who become so much more—eventually my husband—was not something I ever planned on doing as a writer. It was innocent enough; I wanted to do a podcast for pay, and Tee Morris had been a friend in podcasting since 2005. So he was the ideal candidate to collaborate with. I rather naively thought it would be just about sharing the workload and whatever profits there might be.Before I knew it, we were on the way to creating a steampunk world full of secret agents, societies and darkness in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. Along the way, I learned so much about Tee as a person and a writer. I also learned how to collaborate.As it turns out, collaboration in writing is much like collaboration in love; you must have excellent communication skills, know how to compromise, and know how to argue without staying mad at each other.The collaboration started off simply.Tee and I wrote separate characters in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series. He wrote Wellington Books and I wrote Eliza D Braun. Well, that is how it began at least. Once we started writing in other point of view characters, things started to blend together, and then we started editing each other’s scenes. Now even when I am reading our novels, I can’t quite remember who wrote what. I love that magic…I find it beautiful in fact. The story is a blending of both of our ideas, and our styles. The Ministry novels have a particular style all their own, which know neither of us would be exactly able to replicate by ourselves. Not that we would want to though; writing the novels together has become part of the fabric of our relationship.But it doesn’t mean that collaboration was an easy thing to get to. Many times Tee and I had what I might term ‘creative discussions’ about a character’s motivation, or the way the plot might go. However, I can say we never raised our voices over it. Whatever happened in the story, had to be justified. If he or I couldn’t find good enough reasons for things to happen, then we learnt to give way. Just like in love, you learn that you have to pick your battles; decide which ones are important to you, and which ones you can let slide.For every one of those ‘discussions’ there were at least ten more fantastic moments, when we were bouncing ideas off each other like creative ping-pong. I like to think the story was created in that space between two people—two people who happened to fall ridiculously in love with each other.Perhaps some of that had spilled over into Eliza and Wellington’s interactions. If you read Phoenix Rising and the Janus Affair, I think you will find certain places where it did. Of course, neither Tee nor I work for a secret government organisation, or swing from burning airships, but the texture of our relationship helps make up the shape of our main characters burgeoning feelings. Like us they started off as friends, and like us, they are starting to develop feelings for each other.That is why to me the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series has a special place in my heart. Yes, writers can be hopeless romantics…but then they say write what you know!
Thank you, Pip, for taking the time to share your story with us! You and Tee have created a wonderful series with a dynamic duo that I can't seem to get enough of!