On Saturday, Oct. 5 at 2:00 p.m., Mysterious Galaxy will host a signing for S.J. Harper, which is the pen name for the writing team of urban fantasy authors Samantha Sommersby and Jeanne Stein. For this interview, the two discussed their new book “Cursed” and what it’s like to write collaboratively.
Both authors have written independently, but came together for the Fallen Siren series. Stein, author of the Anna Strong series, said that she likes both types of writing. “Writing independently allows you to develop an idea on your own but collaborating allows you to look at an idea from more than one angle. It’s the old two heads are better trope!”
Sommersby added, “Right now, I’m really enjoying the collaboration. Writing can be a very solitary experience. Having a shared vision and someone to bounce ideas off of has been exciting. It’s also easier for me to stay on task when I know Jeanne is waiting for my pages.”
The two also noted that writers thinking of collaborating should choose their writing partner carefully. Stein said, “Make sure your vision of the story is the same. And it helps, too, if you’re writing styles are similar. My critique group often can’t tell what I’ve written and what Samantha has written. It makes for a smooth narrative flow.”
The writing partners do need some differences, however, for the collaboration to have synergy. Sommersby said, “It helps to have a similar vision and voice. I also think it’s important to find someone who can bring something to your project that you can’t. Someone who will complement you as a writer and help you to grow. And, someone who is as invested in the project as you are.”
Both Sommersby and Stein are anxious to how their collaboration is received. They both agreed, “We hope readers have as much fun with these books as we’ve had writing them. We just finished the second in the series and of course whether or not there are more depends entirely on the readers!”
Readers interested in a YouTube video interview with Sam and Jeanne can find one here. The authors also have an online Reading Guide for “Cursed,” which can be found here. Website addresses for the authors are S. J. Harper at FallenSiren.com, Jeanne Stein at JeanneStein.com, and Samantha Sommersby at SamanthaSommersby.com.