Thursday, December 16, 2010

A story of two dedicated teen writers

One of the best things about starting Go Teen Writers is talking to you guys about your writing projects, so I'm always thrilled when you e-mail me about what you're working on.

Katy e-mailed me a few weeks ago and shared that she and her friend Kait are writing a book together. I've never cowritten a book, and I'm always curious about the process writers use, so I asked if I could interview them.

Katy and Kait run a blog called Book Ponderings where they do giveaways, book reviews, and other kinds of great stuff.

Something I was curious about was how they met, because it was work for me to find my fellow writer friends.

Kait said: Katy and I met at a homeschool co-op after I moved here in Fall of 2008. I met Katy’s younger brother the first day and eventually met Katy through him. Katy and I weren’t really a “friend at first sight” case – we both were friendly but Katy was 16 while I was 13, so our ages really didn’t mesh. I became really good friends with her brother so I saw her often, but other than that we were just mutual friends. In fact, it wasn’t until the next spring that I started to talk to her occasionally (by that time I was close friends with her best friend). Even still, we weren’t considered close friends at all. Then we started campaigning for local candidates who were running in Florida. Once January of 2010 hit, we were good friends and talked to each other often.

We eventually realized that we are practically identical in personality and interests. We continued campaigning through the summer and grew closer and closer. The military moved my family once again this past August to Jacksonville, so though it’s been hard to not see each other, we’ve remained very close friends…in fact we grew even closer. After I moved we came up with Book Ponderings and the idea to write a book. I can’t believe how much my moving strengthened our friendship, but now we’re inseparable and talk to each other every day. Now almost 16 and 18, I believe I am the more blessed of the two, as Katy is an amazing example and has taught me so many great things. :-)

Katy said: The first time I saw Kait was at our local co-op. Their family had just moved to Milton (her dad is in the military) and I noticed a new girl in my younger brother's class that day. I don't think I spoke to her that day except maybe to introduce myself as Danny's sister. I can't remember when we actually started talking and becoming happened little by little. Through hanging out and talking, we realized just how alike we were in some things, and the relationship just kept growing closer! Then their family had to move...which was really sad. I thought I might be loosing a friend. I remember the weeks before they left we tried to cram so many get togethers into our schedule! We had teen game nights...move nights...sleep overs. You name it! Then when she left....we still stayed in touch until we were texting and talking with each other every day! (We still do! ;-) Because of that we came up with the idea for Book Ponderings...and then, now, writing Scattered Tears together! We are the dreamers who toss a random, crazy thought out there and then the next minute decide to go for it! ;-)

I then asked about their process for working together:

Kait said: Well, Katy’s and my book has two main characters, Sarina and Atarah, and two very involved side characters, Asher and Artaxerxes, in the main plot. We each chose two main characters and write their story. Of course, we discuss every aspect before adding something in – regardless of whose character it is.

We write chapters at the same time as often as we can, but since we have different schedules that is often difficult. Katy has already graduated highschool and has a lot of free time while I am finishing up school right now. I am almost done with highschool and will be able to dedicate more time to writing by spring. Hopefully then we will be able to write chapters together again.
Most of the time we’ve spent on this book has not been writing, but discussing what to write. Katy and I are identical in ideas and personalities(so much it’s kinda creepy at times, lol) so we’ve never really had a disagreement on anything major. Sure, we’ve bumped heads a few times, but usually it was because we’ve been in front of the computer working on this book too long and it’s never really been on anything with a huge bearing on the story. We both are also easy going so we never really had anything to argue about because the other person just was okay with any minor changes. We naturally get along very well. I don’t think I could write a book with anyone else.

Katy said: It's been very interesting! I won't say we agree on everything and our experience has been without a bump in the road, but it's not as bad as I thought! I was afraid that if we disagreed strongly on something, it would hurt or ruin our friendship. But surprisingly, we agree on a lot of things and we always work through anything that the other doesn't agree on. It's been a great experience! No, we don't separate what we write by chapters...Scattered Tears has four main characters - Artxaxerxes, Asher, Sarina, Atarah. We decided to keep it simple and each write two characters. Any scene that focuses on one of our characters...we write! But we are really involved in each others writings, talking through the scenes together, deciding how this person should feel, etc.

When I asked about the benefits of cowriting, Kait said: Oh goodness, writing this book has been such a blessing to me(and I hope Katy too!). Not only has it helped me learn to write, as Katy as already written two books and knows what she is doing, but it has also really strengthened our friendship and taught us how to get along well even when we don’t always agree 100%. Also, writing a book together keeps us working and encouraging one another. If you come to a bump in the story plot, you have your partner to help you through it. There have been disappointments, change of events in both good and bad ways, and moments where we are just stuck, and having someone there to help you and encourage you is awesome! It has been a great experience so far and I can’t wait to see the finishing piece!

Katy said: Benefits? There are many! Someone to encourage you on when you get a brain cramp. Someone to help with researching. Someone to help come up with ideas for the book! Honestly, its amazing what awesome plots and scenes two brains can come up with compared to two! Kait was really involved in developing Atarah's complex background, which was awesome! :-)

And then I asked them a question that I get asked a lot, something I'm always struggling with: How do you find time for writing?

Kait said: Well, for me it is rather difficult right now as I am a photographer and am still in highschool, along with the fact that I live in a family of 10, but I write when I can! I don’t really have a time of day that I specifically write. My laptop is currently broken and needs to be repaired so I can’t write in the evenings or mornings, but I’m sure my nights will be filled with writing once it is fixed!

Katy said: Now that's a stickler! For me, I always have a desire to sit down and write. So finding the right times to let that out is tough in a family of 12 people. But, I do find time! Late at night used to be my biggest friend for writing, but I find myself writing blog posts and reading books at night now. So now I tend to get up an hour or so before my family in the morning (If I go to bed at a reasonable time! ;-) and work on it in solitude. That plan has worked well for me!

I was so encouraged to learn about Kait and Katy's project. I love hearing about teens who are dedicated to their passion of writing. Thanks, girls, for answering my questions!


  1. Okay, I'd been wondering, ladies, and the size of your families (well, the pictures helped too) has finally let my addled brain draw the last dot and realize that the Katy emailing me questions of Persia is the same Katy McC I emailed concerning A Stray Drop of Blood and who's now one of my reviewers. Yes, I'm slow sometimes, LOL.

    I'm amazed by you two young ladies, and proud to know you--and be able to help answer a few research questions now and then! Keep up the truly awesome work.

  2. Yes, I am! Sorry, I probably should've mentioned it, since I was using a different email address! lol But I am one and the same!

    Thank you so much for your help with the research questions - you've been invaluable and helped us to think of different aspects of the book which, I hope, will make it more authentic and historically accurate!

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    ~ Katy

  3. I kinda figured, but since it wasn't the same email address, I didn't want to make any assumptions, LOL. Sounded like you though. =)

  4. Yes, my sister tells me I have a unique way of writing my emails! :-) LOL!

  5. Thank you, Stephanie, for interviewing us! It was a lot of fun and I can't wait until we finish our first draft of Scattered Tears!! :-D

  6. Glad to have you guys! Sorry the blog has looked different, like, every time you've visited today. We're remodeling :)

  7. That's okay - it's looking great!! :-)

  8. Thank you :) I think this will be the look for now. I'm tired of fussing with it. Especially when I could be writing!

  9. I love the new look, it's totally awesome and looks great.

    Wow, Katy and Kait... hey, do you guys have like, the same name basically? That's cool:D Anyway, it's really cool how you're writing a book together! And it would be so much fun, doing and accomplishing something like this with a friend, because no-one else could probably understand how happy you are once you achieve the goal. :)

  10. This is such a neat idea! Thanks for telling us about it.

  11. Emii - yes, it's been a huge, wonderful, adventure together! :-) And, to answer your question, we *almost* have the same name. My name is Katie and Kait's full name is Kaitlyn - but we go by Katy and Kait! :-)

  12. Wow this is so awesome =D Its great to know that other teens are writing books together.
    Right now I'm starting to work on a couple books with one of my best friends, not to far into it yet but its fun brainstorming with a writer-friend! =)
    Kinda interesting, considering we both live in completely different states thousands of miles apart...

  13. Wow thanks so much for interviewing us, Stephanie! We enjoyed it and it was fun!

    Emil - Haha that's funny; when we first met we both went by Katie and Kaity but it just got so confusing, I went to Kait and Katie started spelling it "Katy". So now we're Katy and Kait! lol

    Jazmine - Katy and I actually live in different places too, though we are only 350 miles apart it often feels like much more! But it is so much fun!