How did the two of you decide to write a book together?
Dee: I wanted to collaborate on a romantic suspense with Mark, but I knew if I called it that, he’d say no. He, at the time, considered himself way too high-brow to write a romance. So I lied. I asked him to collaborate on a novel with me and told him it would be a crime fiction. Never mentioned the romance part.
Mark: Eventually I did figure out what was going on. But by then, like the frog in the boiling water, it was too late! A lot of writers dream about collaborating. Only a few get the opportunity. In television and film, it’s not uncommon, but novelists typically fly solo. I love a challenge, and since Dee and I were already great friends and knew each other’s work inside and out, writing Beguiled together seemed like the perfect thing to do.
What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?
Dee: I wanted our hero to look like this:
And Mark wanted our hero to look like this:
Mark: Guess who won that argument? By the way, the older gent holding the Beretta is the late Philippe Noiret, probably best known to American audiences for playing Pablo Neruda in the film Il Postino. He did inspire another character in the book. I won’t say who, but here’s a hint for those who’ve read Beguiled:
How did you choose your characters’ names?
Dee: I chose them. And Mark made fun of them. In the book. No lie. He has the hero thinking, and I quote:
“Rylee?” Logan smirked. “Seriously, she’s got to hate her parents.”
Mark: Guilty as charged. Not only would she hate her parents, but she’d spend half her waking life correcting misspellings. My wife’s name is Laurie, which most people seem to think is spelled Lori. If I wrote historical novels, I’d be tempted to change the spelling of my name to Marque—as in, letters of.
Dee: If I was ever to do another collaboration, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather do it with than Mark. But I found that I simply cannot write two books in one year. So, in order to keep my work schedule manageable, I’m going to have to go back to my one-book-a-year historicals.
Mark: Absolutely. Of course, to wrench a passage from the Bible way out of context, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The challenge is finding the time, and as Dee says, writing two books in the space of a year is quite a feat. In theory, having two authors should split the work in half. In reality, it probably doubles it. After all, there are so many extra arguments over what the hero is going to look like!
What do you want to tell us about the book?
Dee: Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.
Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything.
As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?
Mark: Beguiled isn’t a Deeanne Gist book set in modern Charleston. And it’s not a J. Mark Bertrand book with an added romance plot. It’s an ideal collaboration in that, working together, we came up with a book neither of us could have written on our own. There’s suspense, romance, mystery, and a sense of humor.
Where can our readers find you on the Internet?
Dee: For giveaways, chats, blogs and exclusives, visit my website at IWantHerBook.com. You can also find me on facebook and twitter.
Mark: The best place to find info about my writing is jmarkbertrand.com. And readers who want to know about about my upcoming crime fiction release, Back on Murder, should check out the dedicated site BackonMurder.com and read the excerpt!
Thank you, Dee and Mark. I believe this is the most fun interview I've ever done, and I can't wait to read Beguiled.
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