Louise Voss, who has co-authored several thrillers with Mark Edwards, gives her advice on how to create the perfect writing partnership

  1. DO find the right person to work with. Most of the other writing teams around, especially in the crime-writing world, are husband and wife – but I can’t imagine writing with someone I share a bed with. I think one of the strengths of mine and Mark’s partnership is that our personal lives are completely separate. We live hundreds of miles apart, too, so there is a lot of Skyping/emailing/texting involved when we’re working on a novel. Admittedly there are times when it would be really useful to be able to get together more frequently to brainstorm, but we usually factor this in and arrange to meet up at the start of the project, and towards the end when we usually get stuck with the plot.
  1. DON’T commit to the relationship without first testing each other out. For the first 18 months of our friendship, before we’d even met in person, Mark and I emailed each other our individual work in progress. From there it seemed a natural progression to make editorial suggestions, and we both found the process really constructive. So if you’re thinking of co-authoring this might be a useful exercise to try, to see if you can work with the other person.
  1. DO look for someone with similar tastes. Mark and I don’t always enjoy the same books and authors but nine times out of ten, if Mark raves about a new release, I know I’m very likely to love it too. I can only think of one novel that he loved and I loathed (naming no names, obviously!).
  1. DON’T co-write with someone whose work you don’t respect. I contacted Mark in the first place because I thought his work was really strong and he has always been very supportive of my solo books too. Sounds obvious, but you have to respect any potential co-author’s writing and editing abilities!
  1. DO be prepared to compromise and adapt. When we first started writing together, Mark used tons of sentence fragments and loads of swearing, neither of which I was a fan of, and similarly, he couldn’t tolerate my predilection – back then – for semi-colons and more flowery descriptions. In the interests of consistency we’d edit each other’s chapters then send them back, so that the overall voice would be unified. Weirdly, these days we don’t even have to think about this anymore. We always say that we still have our individual voices, but have together developed a third ‘Vedwards’ voice that we use for the joint books.

 

Louise Voss haMark Edwards and Louise_BW_edits published eleven novels in both the crime and contemporary fiction genres. She is best known for her collaborations with Mark Edwards. The Blissfully Dead, is published by Thomas & Mercer on September 29th 2015