Melanie Shawn - Co-writing a World Where True Love Has a Sexy Twist
NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author Melanie Shawn is the writing team of sister duo Melanie and Shawna. Originally from Northern California, they both migrated south and now call So Cal their home. Growing up, Melanie constantly had her head in a book and was always working on short stories, manuscripts, plays and poetry. Shawna always loved romance in any form - movie, song or literary. If it was a love story with a happy ending, Shawna was all about it! She proudly acknowledges that she is a romanceaholic. They have joined forces to create a world where true love and happily ever after always has a sexy twist! As our Authors of the Day, Melanie and Shawna tell us all about what it takes to co-write a book.
Please give us a short introduction to what Fire and Foreplay is about.
Fire and Foreplay is the story of Gabe and Adriana, a former MMA fighter turned firefighter (and cancer survivor) and the single mom who captures his heart!
Tell us more about Adriana and Gabe - what makes them such a great couple?
They have both been through so much in their lives, but they’ve both overcome the odds with will and strength. That’s a big part of what draws them together.
What do you think is the most important part of creating seductive heroes readers can't get enough of?
I think it’s mastering the balance of strength and vulnerability. Of course, a strong set of protective instincts and a bad case of “you’re the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen” when it comes to the heroine doesn’t hurt! :D
You co-write your books. How do you go about it? What are some of the challenges you face?
We generally switch off passes, although all of the foundational work (world-building, plotting, characterization, etc) is done together. Our main challenge is our schedule! We’re so dang busy!
What did you have the most fun with when writing this book?
We always love coming back to Hope Falls. It was our first series, our first town...our first real world. Then, of course, firefighters are always so much fun to write. Add in some kid characters, which we freaking love, and it’s was a real treat!
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
Hmmm...I don’t know how secret these are, but Shawna is an amazing dancer. Seriously, one of the Dancing with the Stars pro dancers once told her that if she ever became famous for literally anything he wanted her to be his partner on Dancing with the Stars because they’d have a killer chance of winning! :D
As for me, I have a not-spectacular-but-above-average singing voice, and used to be an ASL interpreter. I had a straight As in high school and college, which is more like a piece of trivia than a skill. But, still.
What is the most romantic thing you have ever done for someone or had someone do for you?
Hmmm...tough one. I’m takin’ it all the way back to first grade. A kid who had a crush on me gave me a NICE-ass necklace. Of course, he’d stolen it from his mom’s jewelry box and I ended up having to give it back. But it’s the thought that counts! Haha.
Do any of your characters take off on their own tangent and refuse to do what you had planned for them?
We’re pretty hardcore plotters, so even if their personalities take on shades and colors as the work develops, they usually stick to the script. I think that’s because Shawna and I have very cinematic imaginations, and when we plot, we really see the story unfolding. Therefore, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises when it gets down onto the page.
Among the wealth of characters in Fire and Foreplay, who was the most difficult to create?
Characters are our easy part. The plot is sometimes tough, but we have way too many characters in our back pocket to ever fit into the amount of books we could physically have time to write in our lifetimes!
Did you work out the entire plot of your book before you started to write?
Yes. Even with both of us working full-time, there is no way we could release on our schedule without being committed plotters.
What was your greatest challenge when writing this book?
Same as with every book - finishing on schedule! Aaahhh!!
Talk to us about your writing routine; what’s a typical writing day for you?
Shawna and I are different in that regard. She gets up early and sits at her desk and works straight through like an office job. I...don’t do that. I work random, weird hours. I pull all-nighters. I dictate while I’m driving. I type in coffee shops. I outline scenes on my phone while I’m waiting for a waitress to bring my food. I speak snippets of dialogue into the recorder I keep in my purse while my dog plays at the dog park, like a total lunatic.
Takes all kinds!
What are you working on right now?
We’re wrapping up the Someday series and also releasing in the Crossroads series.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
They can connect with us on social! We’d love it!