Thank you!

On June 16th, the Many Shades blog will be closed.
The authors thank you for your readership and hope you will come visit them at their personal sites via the links to the left.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Art of Collaboration

By A.J. Llewellyn

My fourth book to be released with Amber Quill Press is The House of Driscoll (Book 1), coming out on June 6. It's a spanky-new collaboration with the uber-talented (and mega-sexy too!) D.J. Manly.
My work with D.J. has been the highlight of my writing career.
People often ask how D.J. and I write together when he lives in Canada and I live in Los Angeles.
It's easy thanks to the Internet, phone calls and that hard-to-find symbiosis that is any artist's dream.
Ever since he first approached me with his idea of a collaboration on a contemporary M/M book Black Point, which became the first in a series of best-selling books, this has been a magical experience.
I mean this in many ways. After writing a few books together, D.J, asked me how I felt about a vampire book and I was excited to collaborate on yet another series.
Blood Eclipse surprised us both, I think. We began to realize more and more how much we like working together. From the start, D.J. and I have found we have our differences as well as our complementary styles and the lines have started to blur--deliciously so--to the extent that our readers often can't tell who wrote what.
There was even a funny incident where D.J. and I got confused over who wrote a certain sex scene (he did) but still, it meant the world to me that our styles mesh so well that even we get lost.
It was a thrill to me when I was invited to submit to AQP and after my first release with Deeper Blue, asked D.J. to co-write Fawnskin with me. I hoped he would not find the book too dark since it revolves around a man hired to sit with the dead in a funeral home. I was ecstatic when he loved it. I like to think we are both versatile.
I do know we are both extremely dirty-minded. I think our readers love that about us.
D.J. was the one who came up with the entire concept for The House of Driscoll, our latest creation and I felt a good vibe...the same one I always feel when we start to work.
Whoever starts the work usually writes a few chapters and emails the other. The other one reads it and starts to work. As our series have progressed, we have stopped writing only from one character's POV. We overlap, interject, add, subtract, you name it.
I think the key is absolute trust and a total lack of ego. I think we share the same viewpoint. The story and characters must feel true, regardless of genre. I would say this is essential in any collaboration and I've learned over 17 books (and counting) that D.J. and I just 'click' creatively.
I don't think I am telling tales out of school by saying this but I never like the names D.J. picks for my characters.
Marcus became Matt in the Black Point series and I think our readers love him. And his husband Thomas.
In The House of Driscoll, the lead character Max Driscoll is a vampire who has been on this earth since the time of the French Revolution and has been summoned to modern day New York City to destroy his former lover turned nemesis, the vampire Galien.
D.J.'s original name for this character was Graham, of course, I hated it. With a bit of research, I discovered the name Galien, which was fitting for a man during the French Revolution.
Together, we've cooked up what I think is a damned fine story.
And it is only the beginning since it's the first in our new series.
I think D.J. and I are both visual writers. We love the power of story and we both love to write.
The symbiosis I was talking about was there from the moment he pitched the idea to me.
I love Max, Blue, Galien...all the characters who define The House of Driscoll. We hope our readers do, too.
To check out more about The House of Driscoll, please visit the Amber Allure site:

Aloha oe,



s7anna said...

Can't wait to read this latest from you two.

Congratulations on the new release!


Lynn Crain said...

Sounds like the two of you have found your stride.

Congrats on the new release!


ElaineG said...

Isn't it wonderful that the person you enjoy the most helps you DO what you enjoy? Congrats to you both, can't wait!

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