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July 6, 2011

Writing A Book With Another Author

I’d like to welcome Mina Carter and Bethany J Barnes who are celebrating the release of their Sci-fi Erotic Romance, Taming the Wildcat, which was released by Summerhouse Publishing earlier this month. Please give them a warm welcome and make sure you take the time to enter their contest. Over to BJ and Mina…

Hi all *waves madly* I’d like to thank Shelley for hosting BJ and I today. We promise not to break anything, or scare anyone off (maybe)!

Mina: Today we’re going to be talking about co-authoring. Personally, I love co-authoring. Writing can be a very solitary activity (just ask any author’s family). Very often I can hole up for weeks at a time with my laptop and a host of notebooks, snarling at anyone who tries to disturb my writing time and eating a year’s supply of chocolate. (I’ve always maintained I’m in shape. Round is a shape, right?)

Co-authoring alleviates the loneliness that comes with the writing territory. I talk themes, motivations and plot to my husband and he gives me a blank look. The same can be said for my friends, until I’m reduced to muttering to myself and people look at me as though I’m mad. Unless they know me, then they already KNOW I’m mad.

Anyway…co-authors. Finding a person to write with is like an epiphany (or at the very least a damn good chocolate sundae). Suddenly you have a person who will not only listen whilst you rabbit on about your newest shiny plot with all its characters and their subplots but…they actually talk back. Far from avoiding eye contact and making a break for the door, they make comments, ask questions and add to the plot.

From navigating your own course through the choppy world of the first draft, where you have to fight awkward characters, writers block and plot issues, you have back up :D Someone to work through a scene with, help you with that trouble sentence, slap you when you’ve used the same word twenty times in the last two paragraphs (you laugh, I’m good at that one!).

Mina: BJ and I spend hours writing together over the somewhat clunky medium of skype. We each take a character and write primarily for that person. I’m a plotter, so we tend to have a plot worked out in advance (after we’ve hunted and pinned down a couple of the ever present plot bunnies) and then we write over the course of a couple of weeks.

BJ: I don’t talk to my husband about writing. He’s very analytical and has no imagination (unless it involves ways for him to be the goofy and annoying). He also doesn’t read. Not he can’t read, he chooses not to. He’d rather wait for a movie if a book sounds interesting. The most I can get out of him is for him to keep me supplied with Coca-Cola (I don’t drink coffee. I know! The lifeblood of authors the world round and I don’t drink it. Coke is my caffeine of choice), Doritos and chocolate in various forms.

Co-authoring is something rather new to me. I can thank and blame Mina for setting my feet on that path in the first place. We met and became friends through a mutual friend (waves spastically to Nic). When Mina found out I was writing a book, we started talking about it and she became interested in hearing more about it. She offered to become my crit partner and from then on, we talked about each other’s writing. Finding someone to be able to talk about characters and plots with was incredible. Someone as crazy (and sometimes crazier) as I was about writing and great characters? Awesome! She also started telling me about another form of writing she was involved in. Star Trek based RPG (role playing game). She had several characters that I became interested in and eventually, as with all of her writing, I was hooked.

Writing on the sims was the first time I had ever written with anyone else. I totally blame her for getting me hooked on the sims. Writing with others was FUN! When it ended up that the character I created sounded like she’d be a good match for one of Mina’s characters’ sons, the mother of all plot bunnies reared its head. Pretty soon, we were talking about what they’d be like together. That’s how Roz and Summer came to life. From the amount of story that was quickly filling up our heads about them, we knew that we had to write about them in a book so we could explore their characters in ways we couldn’t on the sim. Hehehehe…that translates into sex as well as character development. We didn’t want to limit their interactions when it came to how they met.

Now, co-authoring is one of my favorite things to do, even though I’m still learning as I go along. Writing with Mina is an absolute adventure and joy. I’m very blessed that she took me under her wing and showed me the ropes on how to write with another person. We’re still getting ambushed on a daily basis by rabid plot bunnies that keep telling us about this couple or that one. So far we’ve got more bunnies than we have time to write, but we’ll get around to writing more in the Sargosian Chronicles soon.

We just have to shoot or stomp on the plot bunnies that keep popping up when we’re trying to focus on current projects or they’d take over. I don’t know who I’m kidding here…they took over a while ago. Between them and the muses (for me the characters become the muse and let me tell you they are very vocal about how they should be written or what they would or wouldn’t do), I’ve had to embrace the insanity. I’ve always been crazy, but this is an all new level of coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs!

Disclaimer: No plot bunnies were harmed in the making of this post. *snickers* No…really. They are all safe and sound…for now.

Thank you so much Shelley, for letting us stop by so we could blog about co-authoring. Seriously, if anyone could see what goes into our Skype chats besides our writing, they’d wonder if we were drinking whacky juice or taking some mind altering pharmaceuticals. We aren’t, by the way…we just have that much fun together.

I’ve often wondered, before I did this myself, how people wrote books together. I always wondered how they meshed their ideas together. Now I know and hopefully, we’ve explained it a bit for your readers.

Mina CarterMina Carter was born and raised in Middle Earth (otherwise known as the Midlands, England). After a slew of careers ranging from logistics to land-surveying she can now be found in the wilds of Leicestershire with her husband and young daughter…the true boss of the family.

Suffering the curse of eternal curiosity Mina never tires of learning new skills which has led to Aromatherapy, Corsetry, Chain-maille making, Welding, Canoeing, Shooting, and pole-dancing to name but a few. A veteran Star Trek RPGer, she’s run both games and groups of games but now finds her home in Bravo Fleet,one of the internet’s oldest Star Trek simm groups.

She juggles being a mum, working full time and writing, tossing another ball in the air with her cover artwork. For Mina, writing time is the wee hours of the morning before anyone wakes up and starts making demands, or any spare minute that can be begged, bought or conned.

Her first stories were penned at age 11, when she used a stationery set meant for Christmas thank you letters to write stories instead. More recently, she wrote for her own amusement and to save on outrageous monthly book bills. Now she’s totally addicted and needs her daily writing fix or heads roll! To learn more about Mina’s books visit her website.

BJ BarnesA fiery-tempered stay at home mom by day, Bethany J. Barnes is really a superhero in disguise. Equally at home creating fantastical worlds and the men and women who inhabit them or driving armed across county to collect a hot male (her gorgeous horse, Tristan), she’ll happily wrestle rattlesnakes, rescue baby owls or perform strenuous casting tests for male leads in her stories. An active RPGer, B.J. is equally happy writing hot paranormal or steamy sci-fi and is the mainstay of many online games. An accomplished photographer, B.J.’s specialties are concert and equine photography. She’s dabbled in wedding photography, but has no patience for Bridezillas.

PS – She’s been known to shoot a bumble bee hovering in midair. Not a lady to be messed with! To learn more about Bethany’s books visit her website.

Mina and Bethany are giving away a $10 Amazon voucher to one commenter during their tour. Increase your chances of winning by following their tour.

Taming the Wildcat


Fresh out of a disciplinary that almost ruined her career and landed her in jail, Summer King is out for a much needed night on the town…or bar district in her local space station. It seems this King girl can’t stay out of trouble though, causing a bar brawl within minutes of her arrival.

Roz Taren is a mercenary, leader of the Wildcats, and a man who knows what he wants. Right now, that’s the pretty girl in the purple dress. Rescuing her from the unwanted attentions of a bunch of drunks lands her right in his bed for the hottest weeked he’s ever experienced.

Then she’s recalled and Roz discovers his little firebird is a fleet pilot aka insane crazy with a side of total fruitloop. Fleet pilots live fast, die young and leave legends behind. When he recieves word her ship is lost with all hands, Roz must bury her along with his heart.

Only this firebird isn’t your garden variety. This bird is a Phoenix…one out to tame a Wildcat.

Purchase Taming the Wildcat


  1. Maria D.

    I always wonder how authors co-write. Especially if they live on two different continents and have to deal with different time zone issues. Thanks for the insight into your process.


    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Maria – Thanks for stopping by. It’s a lot of fun writing with someone else, especially Mina. Working around the time zone issues isn’t difficult for me, since I’m at home most of the time. I’m glad we were able to share a peek into our mad little world.

  2. Sidney

    Very cool ladies!

    Co-authoring always sounded intimidating. I did a smiliar style of RPG when I was in high school, but in my mind it was a different animal. I miss a lot of those characters!

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Sidney – I had always wondered about how co-authors worked together. I never thought it would be something I’d be able to do. It turns out I just had to find the right person to write with.
      Oh…I never did any RPG stuff until I knew Mina. It’s all her fault for getting me addicted! Thanks for joining us today.

      • Mina Carter

        Yup, all my fault! *looks unrepentant*

  3. JoAnne Kenrick

    Hi, ladies. Fab interview…I always wondered how on earth authors went about co-writing books. Thanks so much for sharing xxx

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      JoAnne – Hi JoAnne! Great to see you. I hope the interview was informative as well as entertaining. Thanks for visiting with us.

  4. Joan O'Toole

    Very interesting interview on co-authoring books. Thanks for the great information.

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Joan – Thank you and you’re welcome! Glad you could join us.

  5. Ciara Knight

    This post came at the right time for me. A fellow author/friend of mine asked if I’d like to co-author a book with her. I’m considering at. Thanks for introducing me to these great ladies. They sound like a riot. I’ll go check out the book. :)

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Ciara – Thank you for joining us here today. I’m very glad that this came at the right time for you. I wish you the best of luck in writing with your friend. It’s a LOT of fun. I hope you enjoy the book. :)

  6. Minx Malone

    Great post! It’s so cool to see how you work and come up with the story. I’ve always wondered how it works and now I’ve got a mental image of “Girls Night Out” done over Skype!

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Minx – Thanks, Minx! Now you have a teeny, tiny idea of how Mina and I write together. Oh dear…your mental image might set the plot bunnies off…now you’ve done it! RUN! Flee for your life! LOL…just kidding. ;)

      (No, really…you should run)

      • Mina Carter

        Oh my! What a great idea! :D thanks for stopping by and for the plot bunny ;)

  7. Savannah Chase

    i’m dipping my foot in the co writing pond later this year. I’ve never done it but look forward to it…Thank you for the great post..

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Savannah – Hi Savannah. Thanks for stopping by. I wish you the best. It’s a fun pond to dip into. Just be sure to bring a hot hunky hero to enjoy that dip… ;)

  8. Lyric James

    Great post. You ladies seem to have a real rhythm and have a lot of fun too!

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Hi Lyric – We have entirely too much fun together. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. ;)

    • Mina Carter

      Hi Lyric :) Thanks for joining us today. We do have a lot of fun, I have to pinch myself at times and remember that unlike what we’re doing to our characters most of the time, this is actual legal. :D

  9. Bethany J. Barnes

    I’d also like to say a big THANK YOU to Shelley for allowing us to drop in and share a bit of our methods for co-authoring. It’s not really work when it’s this much fun!

  10. Bethany J. Barnes

    Oops…I almost forgot. If you want to be entered into the drawing for the $10.00 gift certificate from Amazon, don’t forget to post your email.

    Thanks everyone for your great comments. :D

    • Shelley Munro

      I have all the email addresses and will save them for you. WordPress sends them through to me automatically :)

  11. angel Graham

    It’s so nice when co-authoring works out this way. Sounds like you two have a pure blast! Love it! The book sounds fantastic. I’ll have to attempt to follow your “tour” as your favorite angel stalk– er, friend, yeah, friend is what I meant.

    If you wish to stalk me, I’m at angel (dot) graham (dot) 1 (at) gmail.com

    • Mina Carter

      Hi Angel, good to see you and thanks for dropping by :) and feel free to join us. Stalk-friends always welcome!

      • Bethany J. Barnes

        Hi Angel! Always happy to meet new friends…stalkers, too. Thanks for stopping by. =D

  12. Shelley Munro

    Welcome Mina and Bethany. It’s morning here in NZ and I’ve just climbed out of bed to face a winter morning. I’m so pleased you could visit today. I’ve always been fascinated by the process of co-authoring.

    Now a question: when it comes to the actual writing how do you go about it? I know you plot, but do you each write specific chapters or scenes or characters then smooth them together? How does the actual writing work?

    • Mina Carter

      Hi Shelley,

      Thanks for letting us guest here today and I hope the weather holds out for you.

      As for the writing part. We plot before we start writing. Sometimes it’s a vague idea of where we’re going, sometimes it’s a complex plot right down to the colour of underwear (you think I’m kidding, right? ;) ). We decide who ‘owns’ which character and whose pov the scene will be in and start writing. Normally we write a couple of paragraphs apiece, smoothing as we go unless there’s a large scene with just one character. In that case, the character owner takes over and writes. :D

      • Bethany J. Barnes

        Hi Shelley!

        Mina’s fibbing…sort of. Well, we knew what color underwear Summer would be wearing, but Roz? He’s a bit of a naughty young man. He’s a sans-undergarments kind of guy…hehehehe! :P

        We take turns writing, copy and paste our part into Skype so the the other one can see what was written and go from there. I end up waiting on pins and needles to see what Mina’s going to write next.

        • Shelley Munro

          You make it sound like a lot of fun, but I bet you both work really hard!

          All the best with your new release. It sounds like a very good read.

  13. KJ Reed

    This book sounds so much fun! But then you two sound pretty amusing yourselves. I’m sure it takes a decent amount of humor and humility to make co-authoring work…so I’d probably end up killing someone. Or they’d kill me. :D Congrats on the release!

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Thanks, KJ! It’s a good thing that Mina and I are such good friends and have variations of the same, twisted sense of humor.

  14. Nas

    Great post, I always wondered how authors colloborated and co-authored.

    Thanks for sharing this information!

    Thanks Shelley!

  15. Nas

    Thanks for sharing this information about co-authoring, I always wondered.

    Thanks Shelley.

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Nas, thanks for joining us today. :)

  16. tammy ramey

    the book sounds wonderful and i can’t wait to read it.
    [email protected]

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Tammy – Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy the book. :D

  17. Gabriella Hewitt

    I’m half of a writing team. We write under the pen name Gabriella Hewitt. Our names were a little too long and too difficult to use both or a combination. ( :

    My writing partner and I have been together five years plus. I can’t imagine not writing with her. I relate to so much of what you say in terms of having someone to talk about all the crazy ideas and characters living in my head.

    Best of luck on your release!

    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Thanks Gabriella Hewitt.

      I can’t believe how much fun it is writing with someone else. I didn’t think it would be when I thought about it years ago, but that was just ignorance talking. Now? I love it.

      Thank you again and glad you could stop by.

  18. Chelsea B.

    I’ve wondered, too, so I enjoyed reading this post! Thanks for sharing and congratulations on y’alls new book!


    • Bethany J. Barnes

      Thank you, Chelsea! Happy you could stop by and join us.


  1. We’re in New Zealand with today’s VBT stop! | Bethany J. Barnes - [...] site: Adventure into Romance Posted in [...]
  2. Stopping by with Shelley Munro… - [...] chat about co-authoring and other madness. Come join the mayhem (linkie) and comment to be entered in the tour…