Jolene Perry is the author of The Next Door Boys, Night Sky, and Knee Dee. Stephanie Campbell is the author of Grounding Quinn, Delicate, and Friend is a Four Letter Word. Together, these two magnificent YA authors wrote the heart-wrenching love story My Heart For Yours. Check out our interview with both authors below. We discuss MHfY, and what they both are currently working on! You can follow Jolene on twitter @JoleneBPerry and Steph @StephCampbell_.
What was it like writing a novel with another author?
“Fortunately, it was awesome – Steph is many, many kinds of amazing.”
How did you and Steph meet?
In SUCH a random way. I followed a funny comment she’d made on someone’s blog to her blog and she had up the first chapter of Grounding Quinn, which she put out not much later. I was totally sucked in and asked if she wanted to be on my blog. I read Quinn in a day and LURVED it. We’ve been pals ever since.”
How did you guys divide up writing My Heart For Yours?
“She wrote Tobin and I wrote Delia, but we both added/tweaked/changed in the other person’s POV as we went along. How did the collaboration work? Well. Neither Steph nor I write in order. We wrote the first two chapters, and after that just wrote in any old place, and moved things around to be in the order we thought they should be in. It was fun when I’d get the MS back from her, b/c it was like “Where’s Waldo” to see where she’d added more to the book.”
You guys chose to deal with some difficult issues. Did you guys want to write a story about those specific topics or did the topics just wind up in the story?
“We didn’t choose to write about any specific topic aside from the starting point I mentioned above. As we learned about what kept them apart and broke them up, that’s where the deeper issues came into play. Both Steph and I love to write those deep issues, so it was obvious that we’d continue with that trend in our collaboration.”
Were Delia and Tobin based on real people?
“Nope. Not at all for me. With big issues, it’s best not to use friends, lol ;-O”
Would you consider doing another collaboration [with Steph]?
“I’ve done MANY other collaborations, and I’d love to work with Steph again at some point. Nyrae Dawn and I have a book coming out later on this month called Dizzy, and another one under contract with Entangled (Misplaced). I’ve written two collaborations with Christa Desir who has an amazing book coming from Simon Pulse in fall of 2013 – those will go on submission to publishers sometime over the next year or so.”
Who is your favorite poet?
“Browning. Easy. I’m sure I should pick someone more modern, but I love Browning. OH! Or T.S. Eliot. I started college out as an English major… Modern? Jessica Bell is brilliant.”
You mentioned loving companion novels. Would you ever consider writing a companion novel to MHfY. Either about Eamon. Or maybe Traive and Leslie?
“I would love to write a companion novel at some point in time. It was a really fun setting, and I’d love to see more Traive and Leslie, but to write a book ABOUT them, they’d have to go through something else, and I’d rather leave them be, lol. It would be heartbreaking to do one about Eamon b/c we know how he ends.”
Currently you’re writing novels about girls with unusual talents. Do you prefer writing contemporary novels or sci fi? Which do you prefer reading?
“I’m ALL about characters. So I like reading stories with good characters. I get just as much enjoyment reading Hourglass as Across the Universe as Lola and the Boy Next Door because they all have fab characters. I happened to stumble onto an idea about a girl who doesn’t like to touch people, and then I knew why (unwanted visions) so I went with it, and am now writing book three in that trilogy. I also have a sci fi story done with two to follow (just won’t happen anytime soon).”
What originally made you want to be an author?
“Always wanted to be an author, and just never tried until a few years ago. I sat down to write for fun, and had a whole book. I was honestly a bit surprised I had it in me 😉 But once I knew I could do it, that changed everything.”
What was the first book you read more than once?
“Black Beauty in elementary – I must have read that book a million times. And after that was Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”
What is the last book you read?
“I’m finishing Timepiece right now. The last book I read was The Daughter of Smoke and Bone and before that was Hourglass. I’ve been on a paranormal kick.”
Are you an actual book or kindle kind of girl?
“It depends on two things, no three. 1. If the cover is too pretty, I must have it on my shelf. 2. Price 3. If my used bookstore has it.”
Besides Seeker, what are you currently working on?
“TOO Many things, lol. I’m working on a darker YA contemp called DEAL, and the third Insight book, SEEKERS. Edits on DIZZY, the book with Nyrae Dawn. I’m about to do final edits on a WWII love story that I wrote about a year and a half ago and want to put out in the spring. So. Yes. Jolene=busy all the time.”
Jolene mentioned that you wrote Tobin’s part while she wrote Delia’s. What was your favorite scene to write?
“One of my favorite scenes to write in this book was when Delia brings Tobin home after finding him on the tracks. He’s had too much to drink, and it’s the night before the funeral and really, nothing good could come out of him being in the same space as Delia at that point. The tension and chemistry between Delia and Tobin in that chapter is palpable, I think.”
Is it more difficult to write from a boy or girls perspective?
“I think that it ultimately depends on the project, and how well you know your characters. I would say that Quinn in Grounding Quinn and Tobin in My Heart for Yours were the characters that spoke to me the most, that I was able to sit down and just know exactly how they would react in any given situation the easiest.”
How did you come up with the names Tobin, Eamon and Delia?
“All three of those names were on the list of baby names that I loved that I gave my husband, and he ultimately gave them the “veto.” (Also, a friend of mine has a husband named Tobin, and I have a cousin named Eamon.)”
How did you come up with the story for MHfY?
“MHfY sort of evolved organically. Jolene and I talked about writing a romance where the characters had been separated for a long time, and were sort of thrust back together for a limited amount of time. The inner workings of their relationship, their history, and their love evolved with each individual chapter. It was always a treat to open my computer in the morning and see where Jo had taken the story the night before.”
What was your favorite poem in MHfY?
“Gah! This is such a hard question, because Jo did an amazing job on every single one of the poems in MHfY. I think my favorite is the short, simple one that is titled, TO MAKE YOU HATE ME. It is only three lines long, but the vibe it has is so gut wrenching and so true to the story.”
Do you listen to music while writing? Were there specific bands you listened to while writing Tobin’s perspective?
“I do! Here’s a snippet of the very random playlist I had for this project:
Maybe I’m Amazed – JEM
Hide & Seek – Imogen Heap
What I’ve Got – Sublime
18th Floor Balcony – Blue October
Stupid Boy – Keith Urban
Stand – Good Riddance
Whatever it Is – Zac Brown Band
The Story – Brandi Carlile
Accidental Babies – Damien Rice
Must Be Doing Something Right – Billy Currington
Rootless Tree – Damien Rice
Comfort Me – Tim McGraw”
For a while Tobin didn’t understand Eamon’s death. It didn’t add up. Did you guy ever think about developing that part of the story more?
“We went back and forth on this one a lot. And ultimately, we decided that sometimes in life, terrible things that don’t make sense happen, and learning to live with the fall-out from those things is part of life. It was difficult to not give readers closure one way or another on Eamon’s death, but we were satisfied with how it ended up.”
You’ve done a few collaborations now. What do you enjoy most about them?
“I think the best thing about doing collabs is how it challenges you. It sounds silly, but you obviously never want to feel like the weak link, so you really have to throw yourself into the project and maybe even write outside of your comfort zone. It’s amazing to develop these characters together, and to wake up to a fresh plot that you might not have thought of on your own and build from there.”
You had a book signing recently. What was the experience like?
“The book signing in Chicago was one of the highlights of my entire experience as an author. I really enjoyed finally meeting some of the authors in person that I “talk” to daily online. The readers that came out were so enthusiastic and generous with their support, it was just a great experience all-around.”
If you could meet any author dead or alive who would it be?
“Megan McCafferty. She has inspired me so much in my own writing, and I just adore her novels. I think I’d like to try to convince her to be my best friend over lunch. ;)”
What is the last book you read?
“FALL GUY by Liz Reinhardt. (It was amazing, by the way.)”
Do you prefer reading stand-alone books or series? As an author which is more fun to write?
“I have many favorite books that carry on into series, but I’m super impatient, so sometimes it’s hard to wait for them all to come out. 🙂
I do, for the most part, prefer stand-alones- both reading and writing them. I’m not one for perfect endings wrapped up neatly in a gorgeous bow, I like my endings more realistic, even if they are still a little messy or complicated. I love companion books, where you get to see glimpses of the characters you loved from previous books. :)”
Can you tell us a little about “A Toast to Good Times?”
“I think my co-writer, Liz said it perfectly: “It’s a book about messing up and running away. But it’s also about finding lust and losing love and closing off and opening back up. It’s a book about families who fight as fiercely as they love and all the things that tear them apart and piece them back together. And it’s also funny and sexy and romantic.” We really love this book, and can’t wait to share it with everyone.”
What are you currently working on?
“Right now, I’m doing revisions on the follow-up book to Grounding Quinn called Beautiful Things Never Last. After that, I have two more projects outlined that I’ll be giving more info on SOON, and plan on releasing in 2013. :)”