If you’ve ever thought of writing a book, but just didn’t have the the guts to go for it, we may have the answer to fulfilling your dream. We are both middle school teachers and avid readers, with a growing BFF bucket list. Together, we’ve traveled across the United States, attended book signings, and met and befriended some incredible authors. At some point in our crazy journey, we decided that we wanted to write a book of our own. When the idea struck, we both looked at each other and wondered if it was really possible to take on such an enormous task as a team. We thought it was totally unconventional to write a book as a co-author, until we met this fascinating writing team known as Riley Mackenzie. These girls took one good look at us and said, “You have to go for it. It is the coolest thing you could ever do with your best friend.” Two years later, we can honestly say, they were absolutely right.
Well into our second book, we’ve experienced the highs and lows of writing, publishing, and promoting a novel. When those first few words were typed into our google document for the first time, the extensive process that awaited, didn’t even cross our minds. We sat side by side for days. When we weren’t side by side, we were on a shared google doc. We snuck into each other’s classrooms after class, and pressed forward page by page. We hit our first 15,000 words and cheered. Then came 30,000, and we were finally able to acknowledge the fact that we were really going to do this. It was a surreal experience, knowing that we were actually writing a book, joining the ranks of our favorite people, “The Authors.” And let us tell you, we’ve enjoyed every second of the adventure.
So what made writing a book together such a great experience? For one, rather than facing writing challenges alone, we faced them together. If writer’s block kicked in, the other one would usually have a spark, an idea, or a plot twist. It made it so much easier to get through what could’ve been a “boring” transition or chapter. We made it our mission to annihilate anything that we deemed dull or uninteresting. That would’ve been much more difficult without a partner to bounce ideas off of. We were lucky to have someone with whom to discuss scenarios, to see if they were over the top, illogical, or didn’t fit into the overall plot (which is to be carried through a series of four books). It was incredibly valuable to have the input of another person while writing. Well, not just another person, but our most trusted friend.
Aside from creating and plotting the story together, another perk to co-authoring was the discussion, laughter, and memories made during the writing sessions. It made the project a lot more entertaining than writing alone. We enjoyed the way writing allowed us to escape from the tension of everyday life. It was an incredibly therapeutic stress reliever. We found it amusing to create and plot as a team. Our favorite parts to write were the scenes that involved suspense, the hardest, were the scenes in between high action events. Together we took on the challenge to alleviate lulls in our story. In fact, some of the most humorous chapters came about because we worked extra hard to keep our readers’ attention and diminish “boring” parts. Many readers of When Fall Breaks have commented on how they enjoyed the fast pace of our story. That was our goal, to create the kind of story that we love to read.
When we started this writing journey, we were unprepared for some of the reactions from readers. When we hit publish, we were looking at our story through rose-colored glasses. We were so proud of ourselves for our accomplishment. We wrote a book that had taken a year to finish and publish. We had kept it a secret, and were going to surprise all of our family and friends. This was FUN! There were so many positive reactions from all over the globe. Bloggers from the UK got a hold of it. Bloggers from the south loved it. Facebook lit up with it, and all was great … for about two weeks. We learned in time that you can’t have positive without negative.
When the negative feedback came, having a co-author made it easier to cushion the blows. All writers experience this at some point. If you want to write a book, you need to know that you’re going to have to grow a thick skin. You read things you don’t want to read, and you hear things you don’t want to hear. Even some of our favorite stories by our favorite authors have received one star reviews, with hurtful comments. People can be cruel, and we’re not sure that some of them know that the author’s actually read their comments.
We’ve come to the realization that two people can read the same story and see different things. We’ve also learned sometimes it’s better to avoid reading unfavorable reviews. All books are not for every person. Luckily, we’ve been blessed with far more positive feedback. The point is, when you go through it with another person, it doesn’t feel so personal. You can look at each other, laugh, and crack jokes about the audacity of some comments. It would be much harder to take without someone to lean on.
Creating a book is so much more than just writing. It’s the experience of publishing, marketing, networking, and meeting new people from all over the world. It’s easier and less time consuming to go through this with a partner. We can tag team when responding to other authors, promoters, bloggers, and fans. It decreases the workload, and it has been more fun to be able to share this experience with each other. We’d never want to do this alone. If you are thinking about writing, and just not sure you could make it through by yourself, find a friend who shares your interest. You won’t regret it.
If you decide to read our book, When Fall Breaks, make sure to message us your thoughts. We love when readers contact us and share their reaction to our story. Also, look for The Dead of Winter this fall. We promise, this time, we won’t leave you hanging.
Best Regards, Julie and Tracy (JT Authors)
WHEN FALL BREAKS
When Fall Breaks is the first book in the Seasons of Jefferson Series. This book is intended to give readers an awareness of the warning signs and dangers of unhealthy relationships and substance abuse. Our book is a Young Adult Romance novel infused with country humor and suspense. It follows the journey of a small, tight knit group of high school friends. They work together to help their best friend handle difficulties in her unhealthy relationship. It ends in a suspenseful cliffhanger.
THE DEAD OF WINTER
We are currently writing book two of our Seasons of Jefferson Series. It’s called The Dead of Winter. It has been fun to take our readers off the cliff we left them dangling from. We will be answering their questions soon. We feel bad for how we left our readers at the end of When Fall Breaks, even though we’ve been known to laugh when people share their reactions. We plan to release The Dead of Winter in the fall of 2015. We will continue to write stories that are fast paced and have a good message for teens and adults.
ABOUT JT AUTHORS
Julie and Tracy, aka JT Authors, are a writing team out of Northern California. We are full time teachers, wives, and mothers. We both attended the same high school and later graduated from CSU, Chico where Tracy majored in Liberal Arts and Julie majored in Psychology. We also obtained multiple subject teaching credentials and have a combined 37 years of teaching experience. Both of us love working with middle school children and have a passion for helping our students with real world problems. We write our books as gifts to our children, but also have a vested interest in bringing teenage issues to light. We hope you enjoy reading our books as much as we enjoy writing them. It is our hope to spread positive messages to teens, while encouraging reluctant readers to find a love for literature.
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