Co-Authors Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam Tell All
Writing is more often than not a lonely profession, but this isn't the case for YA co-authors Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam, whose recent book, Elusion, has captivated readers with its story of the dangers of virtual realities. We asked Claudia and Cheryl a few questions about their collaboration and today they reveal the inner workings of co-authors!
Your partnership first began as editor/author. Can you tell us a little bit about working together in that capacity and how you transitioned into co-authoring?
Sure. You’re familiar with arranged marriages? We began as an arranged partnership between an editor and author. But we hit it off immediately and had so much fun working together as writer/editor that we decided to work as writer/writer (which really wasn’t a stretch, since the editor half of us was already an established writer and had published several books). We first teamed up to write a TV pilot and then wrote some movie treatments - and then we finally decided to do what we knew best: write a book.
In what ways have your writing processes changed since becoming writing partners? How have they stayed the same?
When you write with someone else, it’s all about teamwork. So although the process itself is similar to writing solo (in that when we sit down to write a scene we have an idea of what we want to accomplish and where we want to go with it) what’s different is that a lot of times we’re dependent on another person for information leading up to that scene and after it. We need to know what our partner is thinking. Writing with someone else requires a lot of joint brainstorming. It’s kind of like the ice dancing competition in the Olympics. Whatever move you make affects your partner. We both had to make sure we were writing in tandem.
What is the hardest part about writing with another person? The most fun?
Writing is by nature a solitary endeavor, and when you’re writing with someone else, it can be difficult to remind yourself that you need to stop before you take the book off on that great (!) tangent – and check in with your partner to make sure they’re in agreement.
The most fun part about writing with another person is that instead of enduring what can be a lonely, hard endeavor by yourself, you get to go through it with a friend. While writing we both developed “inside” jokes about characters and situations that no one else could understand, but that the two of us found HILARIOUS.
What inspired you to write Elusion?
We’ve both been impressed with the increased dependence of people, particularly teens, on their devices. More than once we found ourselves discussing what this meant for future generations. When we decided to write a book together, we knew that was a question we wanted to explore, and thought it would be fun to combine it with a really big adventure, some family dynamics AND … a love story (of course!).
Can you tell us a little bit about how you went about writing it together? Did you trade off on chapters or particular characters?
We’ve never traded characters (we’re not those kind of girls), but we have tried writing every other chapter, first half, second half, every other scene – you name it. Ultimately though, each one of us ends up going over every word.
What advice do you have for aspiring co-authors?
This person is going to be your partner in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad and in joy as well as in sorrow. So, like with marriage or any other hefty legal document that’s going to connect you with someone else for a while, it’s wise to pick someone you not only really, really like, but also someone who shares a similar outlook and attitudes, at least in terms of how they view their work.
Thank you, Claudia and Cheryl! Be sure to purchase your copy of Elusion in-stores or online today, and for more YA authors and books, visit our Everything Young Adult page!