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.

Rare photo of me and Trevor looking tidy!

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.

How we spent most of our time

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!

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Nicola Bagworth
Nicola Bagworth
7 months ago

Hi Paula, I wondered how you had gone about writing as a collaboration. I had wondered if you had each taken a chapter or if one had written the historical sections and the other the current day. Great to work with your brother though !

Paula
Paula
Reply to  Nicola Bagworth
6 months ago

I expect people to think Trevor wrote the modern day more masculine storyline but in fact all the actual writing is mine, I just used different styles.

Joy Ross Davis
7 months ago

I’m so grateful that you and Trevor were able to work together on this project. I’ve never worked with another author, but I can imagine how fulfilling it must have been to see this project come to fruition!!! Congratulations on having a successful working relationship with your brother!

Paula
Paula
Reply to  Joy Ross Davis
6 months ago

Thanks, Joy. I recommend it!

Tara Daly-Tardiff
Tara Daly-Tardiff
Reply to  Joy Ross Davis
6 months ago

I loved this collaboration!!!! Please “play it again Sam!!!!”

Mary Jo Harrod
Mary Jo Harrod
6 months ago

Thank you for the behind-the-scenes info. It’s so interesting! I can understand how you and Trevor must have enjoyed your collaboration. Now we the readers get to benefit by having a wonderful book to read.

Paula
Paula
Reply to  Mary Jo Harrod
6 months ago

Thank you, Mary Jo. I don’t think I could have done it with anyone else!

Vicky Petry
Vicky Petry
6 months ago

When do you think the second book of the Whie Shdow trilogy will be available?

Paula
Paula
Reply to  Vicky Petry
6 months ago

Hopefully next year.

Vicky Petry
Vicky Petry
Reply to  Paula
6 months ago

Wonderful!!

Erin
Erin
6 months ago

Is it going to be audio? Sounds fantastic