Thursday, December 9, 2010

Guest Post: Tricia Goyer

It is my pleasure to host author Tricia Goyer here on the Alley today. Tricia has coauthored two books with fellow author Oceianna Fleiss and upon asking how the partnership is between two authors writing the same novel, she graciously offered this articale. Are you considering coauthoring with someone?

Please welcome Tricia...

Researching Duet
by Tricia Goyer

Tim Cahill once said, “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” Of course, the BEST journey is when you can take a good friend over the miles with you … and research novels in the process!

My friend and co-writer Ocieanna and I have researched and written two novels together over the last few years. Both novels started with a glimmer of an idea, two packed suitcases, and a desire to make history come to life within the pages of our novels.

Our first novel, Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana took us to Lonesome Prairie, of course, which is near Fort Benton, Montana. A month prior to our visit, we contacted the Fort Benton historical society.

TIP: Whether you travel to your research destination or not, a local historical society is a great place to find eager volunteers and great information about your novel's setting.

When we arrived at Fort Benton, we met a great volunteer, Hank, who provided information about Lonesome Prairie and helped us make copies out of research books. Hank also told us about an elderly gentleman Keith Edwards whose parents were some of the first settlers in Lonesome Prairie. We decided to give Keith a call to see if he was available to talk.

TIP: Follow up on leads. It may seem strange calling someone out of the blue, but most of the time people love talking about their lives and sharing information.

Our interview with Keith turned out to be the highlight of the trip! At 93-years-old his mind was sharp and he told story after story about his growing up years. Many of his stories made it into the pages of our novel.

After interviewing him, we loaded Keith up in the car and drove to the former homestead site where Lonesome Prairie took place.

TIP: When researching go on-site if possible and take everything in, not only the sights but also the scents, the sounds, and the feel of the place All this will help you bring the place to life in the pages of your novel.

Because we had such a great time on our first trip Ocieanna and I were excited when we got to do it again. For Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington we traveled to Seattle to research Rosie the Riveters during WWII. We interviewed five women who had been former riveters. We also travelled to the Boeing Air and Space Museum where we received help from their research librarians.

TIP: One of the best places to find information is in periodicals of the day. Look in magazines, ads, and read advice columns from the time your book is set. Remember, it's the little details that make a big difference.

Speaking of the little details, one last benefit of researching with a co-writer is that you both come away with unique insights and perspectives. Teamwork brought our books to life … and made the journey double the fun!

Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-four books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.


Renee Ann said...

My students would love it if we could do our research this way! I've always wondered how co-writers work together. They pool ideas and both write? Or is it like an old movie where one sits at the computer typing furiously and the other dictates? . . . Have any of you writers here at the Alley ever thought of co-writing a novel together? . . .

Casey said...

I have wondered the same thing Renee Ann. I think it really depends on what style works best for which co-authors. I personally have never thought about co-authoring, but I don't know about the other ladies. That would be interesting experience wouldn't it? Thanks for coming by today. :)

Mary Vee Storyteller said...

I think co-authoring would be one of the greatest adventures. I would love to find a partner with a like minded interest...and do the leg work with them.
It could be wonderful.
Then again, Julia child had two co-authors on one project, one helped the other did not.
But with the right mix, the right interests, the right match in talents...this could be a great adventure.
Thanks so much for this post:)

Casey said...

That would be a HUGE deal for me to find the right person to work with if you are going to do a such a big project like co-authoring a book. Thanks Mary for adding your .02 today! :)

Pepper said...

Thanks for stopping by The Alley. I loved the Swiss Courier. Fascinating WWII book.

Keli Gwyn said...

Researching is such fun. My story is set in a Gold Rush town near where I live, and I made numerous trips to walk the streets and get a feel for the sights, sounds, and smells of the town. I poured over books about the area and read microfilmed back issues of our local paper, the oldest continuously produced newspaper in California.

Sharing the thrill of discovery with a writing partner as Tricia and Ocieanna did would be a blast. And even when you found more historical nuggets than you could use in your story, you'd still have someone with whom to share them.