Here’s my interview with Jack Everett and David Coles
authors of the political Thriller 1/1:Jihad – Britain.
Why did you decide to write books in partnership and
how do you divide up the work?
David won a short story contest in a magazine who printed his name & address. I read the magazine and realised we lived 3 miles apart…Our division of labour is as follows:
A Writing Team.
David and Jack have been writing
together for more years than they can
remember. It started with a book with
the working title of Chunnel BC, a
humorous tale of the Romans planning
a tunnel beneath the English Channel
because Julius Caesar got seasick
outside of the Mediterranean. It never
even made it to the publisher but, as a
first attempt, it was good fun and cemented
a friendship which has lasted longer than
three Prime Ministers.
In the years since then, they have continued the historical theme with a serious novel concerning the disappearance of the Roman Ninth Legion in Britain, a medieval mystery and a WWII story. There have also been fantasy and science fiction novels – built on a shared admiration of Jack Vance’s work. A political thriller – 1/1:Jihad-Britain the most recent. Work in progress includes a historical fantasy and a modern-day crime/mystery novel.
All of these novels have been written as a team. After their first co-operation- which consisted of writing a chapter each during which they attempted to leave the hero in such a diabolical dilemma that much head-scratching ensued- things changed. The writing model is now one
of repeated layers. Typically, after
discussing the main sweep of the plot
for a new book, Jack will begin writing
and pass a week’s work on to David who
rewrites it, checking facts in some cases,
questioning flights of fancy in others and
adding 10% to 20% new material. Once
the initial draft is completed, it goes back
to Jack, back again to David, a process
repeated until both are satisfied and at
each stage, material is added or changed,
phrasing is amended.The model varies, of course, the main input may come from one or the other but one rule remains paramount: if either of the team dislikes something, it gets pulled. It works for them. In this case, two people writing together generates far more than twice as much fun.
Your latest novel 1/1:Jihad – Britain sounds interesting. Can you please tell us what prompted you to write the book. I’m assuming it was 9/11 and 7/7, but were there other spurs, too?
Firstly the media seemed to be full of it, terrorism seemed to be taking place on a global scale but it was becoming accepted as the norm. We asked the question – how big does an act of terrorism have to be before it makes people sit and take notice? Perhaps take united action.
What do you do to promote your books?
We ask Geraldine Evans to carry an article on her blog! Ha, Ha. And we put it on Facebook and Twitter and a video on Youtube
and Trailer Spy… (sorry, just panting) and we ask anyone that liked it if they would care to review it on Amazon.
Do you have a favourite book? If so, which is it?
Jack’s favourite: anything by Jack Vance.
David’s favourite: Tales of the Dying Earth by
Jack Vance. This writer, now sadly retired due to blindness, writes like poetry and you get as fond of the anti-hero as you do of the hero.
Why did you decide to write in several genres (Young adult fantasy, adult fantasy, historical, science fiction and thrillers)?
We are always trying to find what goes down best with the readers – the jury is still out. Also you never get fed up with your characters because they are always fresh and new.
Do either of you have other creative talents?
Jack is an award winning wood turner David writes computer programs (does it for fun!)
Is there one book that you wish you had written and why?
Jack: Huckleberry Finn
David – see favourite books. If I’d been able to write that, I’d have mastered prose as poetry and the art of making you smile while I did it.
A lot of authors seem to start out as short story writers –did you? And if so, what kind of stories have you written?
Jack: Novel length all the way I never seem capable of telling a story in less than 60,000 words and even then I prefer 100,000+.
David: I have a selection of shorts still awaiting recognition, I think I’ve had about 4 published in my lifetime so I guess they’re not all that good.
Tell us about your typical writing day.
Jack: I am an early riser and like nothing more than to get a thousand words down before 7-30, after breakfast I can write until lunch but I leave the afternoons mainly for chores.
David: My wife gets up and goes to work, for me – breakfast at crack of 9am, fire up the laptop and get creative with the keyboard, write-up some of Jack’s work, re-write his or mine and that takes me through to making dinner for the Missus. Maybe a little more after dinner if the muse is still active. There are those other days too, for both of us, writing pieces for the promotion web-sites, following blogs and and keeping the personal web-sites up to date.
What are you working on now? Or is it a case of having to promote your
Jihad book and not having time to write at present?
Jack’s doing the heavy promotion along with finishing off a crime
thriller involving MI5, MI6 and an ex employee and David’s been
working on the final version of an historic fantasy… watch out for the title: Postponing Armageddon