The authors of the new release Nowhere in Sight, Elaine Braman and Margarete Johl, were
gracious enough to take time away from their writing to chat with us today.
We’re happy to be here, Mousey. It’s always a pleasure chatting with you.
I hope you are enjoying the coffee. I made it special for the occasion. Now, let’s get into finding out more about you two. What made you first want to be a writer?
As a child I was fascinated with dreams and every morning I’d have my mother type out my stories while I narrated the fantastic places my imagination took me. To this day, I still have those first stories I created before I even knew what a verb was. Additionally, my grandmother wrote poetry and I grew up listening to her prose.
It officially started in 6th grade. During a week long absence from school, I borrowed my dad’s old Smith Corona typewriter and wrote a few short stories that I hoped would serve as credit for other missed assignments. The credit and praise spurred me on to continue.
What kinds of things do you write? Why?
Together, we write cozy mysteries, soft sci-fi and short stories. Our cozy mysteries, Right in Sight and Nowhere in Sight are written in first person. Neither of us were fans of first person until Kate took shape. We chose first person to deliberately improve the craft of point of view. We enjoy the mystery genre, are suckers for puzzles, and have the tenacity of bulldogs until we figure out the who, what, where, why and how.
We are also closet poets.
What is your favorite part about being a writer?
Freedom. Writing gives us the ability to skew worlds, bring characters alive that can do the bravest and silliest things that connect with all of us but are things we are afraid to do.
Is there any genre you want to try, but haven’t yet?
No, at least not yet.
Ladies, I hope your coffee isn’t too cold. It’s okay? Good. If you could indulge me just a bit, I have to ask this: if you could bring any of your characters to life, who would you choose and why?
I would choose Ondrea, the Diva, because she is a character you love to hate.
Michael Earl… hmmm…. (now I’m purring…)
A question I’m really interested in is how difficult is it to join forces with another writer, especially one who lives on the opposite side of the continent?
Wow! This is huge, considering we have only ever met eye-to-eye once. But we mixed like paper and pen. The most difficult trait to work through when joining forces with another writer, is ego. There is no ego in collaboration. But we’d be lying if we said we didn’t have that dragon head of ego spitting fire behind the scenes every now and then. After all, we are both strong opinionated women, who are often right more times than we are wrong. When we first decided to join forces, we danced a fox trot around our egos. We passed scenes back and forth; each of us took turns carefully striking out words in the other’s piece. It was our getting to know each other phase. After all, a writer bares their soul on paper. It really is hard to kill your babies especially those that make you laugh out loud or smirk as you type them. We learned that the babies that needed our defense would never be strong enough to snag a reader’s attention. Although we still write the self-amusing prose every now and then, the dragon merely hiccups and rolls its eyes when we edit our way through first drafts.
But none of that came easy, it developed over hours and hours of drafting, plotting, revising, haggling over word choice and trusting in each other. Many times laughter left us breathless when we realized the absurdity of what we wrote as opposed to what we meant. Quite honestly we envy each other. We are each other’s biggest fans. Elaine can work a plot point through dialogue that leaves Margarete in awe. She has a way of magically writing herself into a corner and painting her way right on out and into the next loophole. Margarete can craft a scene setting to the point that you will feel the wind in your face and smell the wet moss oozing between your toes. She’ll sit you right beside the character to feeling their emotions!
Because our strengths are each other’s weaknesses, we depend on each other’s craft. Vertical and horizontal—we blend together like The Outer Limits and take control of the novel we are writing. We are totems to the spirit animals; the trudging turtle and the bouncing rabbit. We complement each other, learn from each other and have grown humble. There is no ego, no single me, just we, writing.
I understand how hard it is to collaborate with another. I have to work with Doggie. He can be a bit of a challenge at times, lol. So, can you describe what would be a perfect day for you both?
Love a rainy day with no expectations to do or be any place. I can focus on plotting, writing and listening to my cats purr.
The perfect day is when the alarm clock doesn’t jar me awake and the smell of fresh brewed coffee wafts in the air. I’ll power up the laptop and do a little internet surfing, a little Facebook checking, open a new word document while both dogs snuggle at my feet. I hold court with my characters while I sit at the kitchen table while family life flows around me and the day ends with someone bringing Chinese takeout home for dinner.
What is your creative process like?
I start with dialogue. I let the characters talk to each other and string me along through the scene, take me where ever they want to go, and say whatever they want to say. I don’t second guess, after all, it is their world.
A lot of procrastination. I have to chew on the scene overnight. Think it through then stare at a blinking cursor for an hour or so while I look for the perfect opening sentence. I do a lot of rereading and backspacing.
What do you hope readers will take away from your stories?
We hope our readers are entertained, make a connection with our characters, are surprised, satisfied and enjoy the sassy humor.
Do you have any news to share with the readers?
While we are plotting our third Kate book, we are working on second draft of our newest book, a soft sci-fi novel.
Well, it has been great to chat with you both today. Please tell our readers where we can find you around the web.
We can be found at these places:
We hope you have enjoyed our…
To learn more about the books written by Elaine and Margarete, click on the links below.