Writing in a different world
Two writers — separated by time zones, international borders and some 3,000 kilometres — may not be the most likely pairing to co-write a five-book science fiction series.
But Nelson author Kristene Perron says collaborating with Joshua Simpson from Texas is what gave her the motivation to sit down and write the first draft of all five books in a mere 18 months.
“I would wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and just write all day,” Perron said, sitting in her home office where she spent all those hours feverishly typing.
A collage of pictures on the wall depict each of her characters and their families (or, more accurately, the celebrity or public figure who reminds her of each character).
The book centres around two worlds — one that has depleted its resources, and one that is resource rich but suffers from political corruption — and characters who travel between them, stealing what they need to survive and escape their enemies.
When they were writing the books, Perron and Simpson divided up the characters and would take turns writing scenes together in a Google document.
“We were writing live, so we could see each other’s words appearing on the screen as we typed, and we’d also have a Google chat window open to tell the other person when it was their turn to write,” Perron explains.
Perron didn’t meet her writing partner in person until last summer. Initially, he contacted her through her blog, asking her advice on how to become a writer, then he asked if she’d work on the project with him.
“He told me his idea for one of the worlds. It was such a good idea, immediately I just said, ‘yes, let’s do this,’” Perron recalls.
She came up with the second world (no surprise hers is the one that is lush and resource rich, like the Kootenay landscape) and created some characters. Then the two writers got to work, weaving their stories together.
“We had a blast writing the first draft,” Perron said. “We’d try to throw curve balls at each other and challenge our characters to get through new situations.”
When the books were finished, they polished the manuscript for the first book (“It takes about 20 drafts to get it right,” laughed Perron) and, with the help of Nelson's Mint Literary Agency, started sending it to publishing houses across North America.
“That’s when all the really nice rejection letters started coming,” said Perron.
They couldn’t find anyone to buy the book, but Perron was determined not to let it sit in a drawer, forgotten.
“I was determined, because I love the story and I know it’s good, I wanted to get it out there for other people to read,” Perron said.
She decided to self publish the first novel, Warpworld, and plans to do the same with the other four.
Warpworld is now available for download onto e-readers and in hard copy through print on demand. Copies are now being sold on Amazon, and the Kindle and Kobo stores.
Since the book came out, Perron has become her own publicist, looking for buyers online and within her personal networks. Simpson is doing the same.
“You never know what can happen with self publishing,” Perron said. “There are authors who abandon traditional publishing because they can do better independently. But it takes some time to build a reputation with readers.”
Locally, hard copies of Warpworld are for sale at Otter Books. Perron is also having a book launch at the Nelson Public library, Thursday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m. She’ll be reading and signing copies of Warpworld and has also recruited a handful of L.V. Rogers secondary school drama students to help bring scenes from the book to life.