Today, I have with me the fantastic author duo of Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, authors of The Familiars, which is a great new fantasy series for middle grade readers about three familiars and their adventures together.
Let's have a little background first – when and why did you decide to write a book together?
We decided to write a book in the fall of 2008. We wanted to write a book because “The Familiars” was a story we were passionate about and loved. Adam grew up loving magic and Andrew grew up loving action figures. We wanted to tell a story that captured that love of fantasy we both grew up with. The reason we wrote the book together is because it’s a lot more fun doing something with a friend. It’s really hard to sit down and write everyday on your own, and writing a book was something we both wanted to do for a very long time.
What was your process for writing a novel together?
One of the unique things about this book is that we co-authored it. The two of us literally sat in the same room for months and months writing every word, sentence, and paragraph together. Andrew is the typist (because he's frankly a much faster typer), while Adam sits beside him, or across from him in a nice, comfy chair, or sometimes paces around. We craft an outline of the story that includes much of the major plot elements but with none of the dialogue or details. Then we write (and rewrite and rewrite!).
What do you absolutely need to have when you sit down to write?
When Andrew sits down to write he absolutely must have his laptop, a comfy chair, and a good selection of snacks. For Adam, as long as Andrew brings a good selection of snacks he’s happy, too. (But Andrew doesn’t really like to share his snacks so Adam has to bring his own.)
We just wrote a book that we wanted to read (or would have wanted to read when we were younger!). We really didn't know what a “middle grade audience” was. Now, having met some of these 8 to 12 year olds (on our pre-publication book tour) we couldn't be happier that they are the core audience for our book. Of course, we think that “The Familiars” can reach a much broader audience, as well.
What are some of your favorite novels and/or authors?
When Adam was in fifth grade, his dad gave him a copy of “Spell for Chameleon.” It was a book that first got him hooked on reading fantasy. Andrew must have had 20 “Encyclopedia Brown” books on his bookshelf.
Thanks guys! It's great to know more about how you began writing the book and the writing process of a cowritten novel. Check Adam and Andrew out on Twitter and their Website. (Their site has some fantastic music which I sort of wish I had on while reading their novel – very fitting!) Also, I just posted a review of their novel, right up above this post. So go check it out. 🙂