Nopeming Shores was the first book I've ever co-authored. One of my author friends asked how I managed to do it with my Type A personality. I'll tell you.
Around the holidays last year, Andrew and I exchanged some emails about the story arc. Since I normally write erotic romances, scorching hot wouldn't fly because he's a primary grade school teacher. In fact, the book couldn't have graphic sex or language in it and still carry his name.
I wanted to overcome this obstacle and allow Andrew the opportunity to take credit for his work. I went back to thinking about the plot and retooling my writing style to suit his needs. I solicited a laundry list of g-rated swear words and phrases I could use instead of the F-bomb and other choice epithets military guys would use. I started imagining a love scene without sweat and hot dialog. My muse was scratching her head, wondering how this was all going to play out. I was, too.
In January, I'd sent a detailed outline of the book and it met his stamp of approval. I had a green light to begin writing. We spoke for the first time shortly after that. And in case you're wondering, he does sound like a redneck. *toothy grin*
I always figured he wrote poetry as himself, based on the emotion he was feeling at the moment. I wondered how he'd do "becoming Gabe." I didn't have to worry. I was amazed at his insights about Gabe's character, and pleased with his ideas about the emotions and behaviors of Lily and Shane Keefe, too. He totally "got" the romance – another surprise since he isn't a romance author. His ideas and insights made me swoon a few times. I tell ya, being married to a poet would be something. His wife is one lucky woman.
But I digress . . . .
Two books scooted in ahead of Nopeming Shores, and I didn't get to writing the story seriously until May. We had to finish by mid-August because of Andrew's work schedule. The exchanges went smoothly. I sent the book every time I needed a poem, Andrew would return it, and I'd write any transitions for the scene.
My muse had enjoyed drawing out all the evocative scenes, but every now and then, I was poised to write an honest to god swear word. I wanted to draw way more imagery into the love scenes. I resisted. My fingers stalled on the keyboard.
My muse chanted, "Write it, write it, write it."
Andrew cried, "Foul!"
In the end, I met the challenge. When I finished the scene I'd feared writing for weeks, Andrew wrote back, "Bravissima. Don't change a thing."
Then the book went through editing, and I was asked to lengthen the love scene. I broke out in a sweat and tried not to think about how to make that work with the entire book finished. And I need Andrew's approval on a tight deadline (did I mention he's a busy guy?).
I originally thought I'd lengthen the scene by sharing Lily's point of view since that isn't given. When I got there, I realized this is all about Gabe and the only thing to do is make the scene more vibrant. I ended up closing my eyes to write it. The images were playing out in my mind, and the words on the screen were getting in the way. My muse didn't play hardball.
Andrew said, "It's perfect."
Please enjoy an excerpt from our new book.
An IED snuffed out Gabe Holliway's life, but couldn't destroy his love. Using his unique gift, Gabe struggles to help his young wife, Lily, rebuild her shattered future.
But when Gabe's ghost reaches out to her, Lily fears she's lost her last hold on sanity. Can she trust what she discovers and what her heart says? When she sees Gabe face-to-face, can she believe her eyes?
When love transcends death, the answers are found in Nopeming Shores.
"Margie Church grabs her reader's heartstrings early and doesn't let go while she depicts Lily's conflicted battle to hold on to and let go of Gabe at the same time. J. Andrew Lockhart's beautifully stark poetry plays a magnificent counterpoint to this story of love beyond death. Heartbreaking and yet life-affirming, and if you somehow make it through the rest of the story without tears, have a box of tissues on hand for the final scene at the titular lake. If you buy only one book this year, make it Nopeming Shores."
Buy Nopeming Shores now: https://www.nobleromance.com/Books/335/Nopeming-Shores
About Margie: I'm a full-time writer with 10 romance novels and a children's book on the market. I live in Minnesota with my husband and two sons. Yes, I love the snow. Follow my blog to keep up with me: http://blog.romancewithsass.com/.
About Andrew: He specializes in Japanese style poetry and has been writing poetry and short stories for over 30 years. Andrew was once an attorney, and is now an elementary music teacher. He lives in Van Buren, Arkansas, is married, and has four children. Tangled in Wisteria, his first solo collection of poetry, was published in 2007.
Visit http://jamesalockhart.blogspot.com/ to read some of his newest writings.