Writing The Witch’s Knight
What’s it like to collaborate on a novel, particularly with a family member?
Three years ago, when my big brother, Trevor, started telling me about this idea he had for a book, it was like stepping back in time. Not because part of the setting was historical, but because as children we had always shared stories. Trevor, in particular, had spun long, shaggy yarns about adventurous rabbits, or teddies in horror settings, or children who ran away from home to explore the world of giants or spies or soldiers. We had grown up on a Welsh mountain with seemingly limitless space and freedom which fired up our young imaginations. The idea that part of the story would take place in the very valley below our original hillside home had me hooked.
We had always got on well, partly, I’m sure, because we lived beyond the reach of other children most of the time, aside from our Besties, Melanie and Colin who lived in Cwmdu, two miles away. That said, Trevor was a merciless prankster (still is!) and not above capitalising on my terror of large spiders. Time spent together was fun, and we grew up sharing a love of the mountains, of animals, and of make believe.
So, it seemed a natural step to have a go at writing a book together. We wrote most of The Witch’s Knight with Trevor in Florida and me in Wales or Hereford. Thank heavens for FaceTime. Once he moved onto his sailboat his had lots of quiet time to mull over plot points or do research or make notes for scenes. He was particularly good at mapping our fight scenes, battles and the martial arts parts of the story. We would discuss where we wanted the tale to go and then I would go away and write the next chapter or so. Trevor would read it, make notes, we’d discuss, chew over how things were developing, come up with six new ideas before breakfast, rewrite, repeat to 125,000 words! It was a lovely change of pace and technique for me to have a writing partner, and I know Trevor loved the experience of co-authoring his first book. Here’s to more!