Since its publication on Kindle in May 2011, Catch Your Death has been an ebook sensation. It was the first fully-independent British book to hit No.1 on Amazon, where it stayed for a month, selling tens of thousands of copies. This year, HarperCollins have released Catch Your Death in paperback, and it’s already had fantastic reviews. As Louise and Mark work in a team to write, we thought we’d ask them, how does it work? Find out below…
Louise: Our writing partnership – as all the most lasting relationships tend to – grew gradually over an 18 month period back in 1999/2000. We used to email our work to each other all the time and soon came to trust each other’s judgement when it came to editorial advice. It was only once we’d actually met up and realized the other one wasn’t a nutter (there was always just this small nagging doubt, when we were penpals!!) that it seemed entirely natural to start planning our own book together – Killing Cupid. We had the premise, the characters, the twist(s) – and once we started, we never looked back…’
Mark: I didn’t even know what Louise looked like before I met her. At least she knew I looked vaguely normal. I think if this had happened now, and I’d seen Catfish, I might suspect that ‘Louise’ was actually a 54-year-old Hell’s Angel emailing me from prison. But she was perfectly normal and nice. Phew! And when we started writing together, it turned out that we had each discovered our perfect creative foil. Lennon and McCartney. Morecambe and Wise. Keith Harris and Orville. And now Voss and Edwards.
Louise: Or, ‘Vedward’, as my friend christened us! It’s true to say I’m not 54, a Hell’s Angel, or a jailbird. Maybe Mark had a lucky escape… Yes, I knew he looked normal as I’d seen him on the telly – that was how we met, after I watched this documentary about three wannabe authors, and empathized with Mark (who was one of the three) so much that I was moved to write him a brief email via his agent. That’s how we first got in touch. He moved to Japan for a year shortly after we met – not, I trust, as a reaction to having met me – so the whole thing was done via email. We didn’t even speak on the phone during that year, just went back and forth, one chapter each per week.
Mark: Killing Cupid was written in a quite old-fashioned way, even though one of us was in London and the other in Tokyo, and it was all done by email. But because the book alternates male and female viewpoints, it was very easy to write; kind of like writing one of those chain stories that we used to write on coach trips when I was school. Write a line, pass it on and the next person writes the next line. Catch Your Death was more complicated.
Louise: Yes – at first we found it quite tricky to blend our styles into one 3rd person narrative. Back then we were really strict about writing a chapter each, then emailing to the other for a thorough edit and to add touches of our own voice to try and unify the style. It’s funny though – these days it comes naturally and often neither of us can remember which of us wrote some bits. It has just got easier and easier. I think we’ve become like those dog owners who resemble their dogs! Bit of a weird analogy but hopefully you get the drift…
Mark: When I read Catch Your Death now I honestly can’t remember who wrote which bits. For Catch Your Death and its forthcoming sequel, The Antidote, we worked to a plan, divvying up the chapters depending on who fancied writing what. (Louise: ‘I’ll take the big emotional goodbye.’ Me: ‘Bagsy the hideous disfigurement scene.’) Then we share the chapters and edit and comment on them immediately. We are very honest with each other. The secret of our co-writing success is that we respect each other’s ability and never take offence if the other person says ‘That’s rubbish.’ There’s no emotional baggage between us. We just want to write the best books possible.
For your chance to win a copy of Catch Your Death, simply tell us:
Which country was Mark living in when he and Louise wrote Killing Cupid?
We have three copies to give away, so email your answer into: firstname.lastname@example.org.