Monday, October 11, 2010

This Week's Special Guests Desiree Holt and Cerise Deland

This week at the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut , we welcome award-winning authors Desiree Holt and Cerise DeLand who stop by to talk with us about co-authoring. Together they just kicked off the Nemesis Series, a new series for Ellora's Cave's Breathless line of erotic romantic suspense, with their first book together UNTIL THE DAWN.

Meet Desiree Holt: All her life, Desiree dreamed of faraway places and unbelievably sexy men. From baseball players to rock musicians to television personalities she met them all and each one enriched her life. Now tucked away in the Texas Hill Country, she shares her fantasies with her readers. In her satin robe, with her scented candle burning and a chilled glass of wine at hand, she lets her mind run wild — and hopes you’ll take the journey with her. When she’s not writing, she reads and indulges in her other passion — watching football.


Meet Cerise DeLand: What’s a gal to do if she hails from D.C., lives now deep in the heart of Texas, travels often everywhere, and adores Paris, Florence, London, Tokyo and all points east and west? Ah. She becomes an author who can write about those romantic places. And if your sweet tooth craves spies, pirates, body guards and gutsy women of today and yesteryears of medieval and Regency England, then she is the author you crave for smoldering erotic encounters and delicious love affairs!

Her name? Cerise DeLand. What’s more is that Cerise is the award-winning author of 18 print novels of mystery, mainstream and romance with St. Martin’s Press, Pocket Books and Kensington. Her books have been on every book club list you can name, including Featured Selections of The Mystery Guild, Doubleday and Rhapsody. And when she isn’t dreaming up fiction? Cerise also writes non-fiction. Busy lady. Happy writer.


Co-authoring…the spice in the stew
Cerise Deland and Desiree Holt
Authors of Until the Dawn, Nemesis: Book One

So you’re doing really well as a solo author. Great. Most of the authors out there are right there with you. But did you ever think about sticking your toe in deeper water? Finding the ticket to enhancing your ‘voice’? Bringing a new dimension to your writing? Exchange ideas? Give your work a fresh voice? Put the ‘fun’ back in writing? Then maybe co-authoring is for you. It offers continued interaction with another writer outside a critique group, and the interaction helps keep you sane, happy and creative.

Co-authoring is different than collaborating. In collaboration two or more authors get together to create a series, each one writing an entire title. In co-authoring, you are writing simultaneously. In some instances this means alternate chapters, in some alternate POVs. You have to find out what works for you. What your best method of working together is. This means brainstorming plots, refining characters, finding the common ground on which to build the story. And as you do this, the best method of co-authoring emerges.

How do you decide the point in your career to try this? For everyone it’s different. Maybe you’re stuck in a genre rut and want to try something new. Maybe you’ve become too plot-oriented and want to hook up with someone who’s more character-oriented. Maybe you want to try a new genre altogether but doing it alone is scary and intimidating. And maybe you’re having coffee, or wine, or a long cyberchat with another writer with whom you’ve developed a great relationship. And then suddenly out pops an idea and you both say, “Let’s write a book together.”

The first thing to consider is whether your styles blend. Have you read each other’s work? Do you know how the other person writes? For example: if a writer tends to write dark but you have a light and fun style could you work together? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe the style could complement each other and create a fresh new voice for both of you. That’s definitely something to hash out.

Another point to consider is how you write. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do your characters talk to you when you’re writing and sometimes send the story in another direction? If it happens to one of you and not the other, then you have to discussing detail if the two methods can blend without disrupting the story. Following a timeline is another point to discuss. How much time a day you each spend writing and will you both keep to the schedule you collaboratively set for yourselves.

And finally, can you each accept the other’s critiques without blowing a gasket. Writing is probably the single profession where having a thick skin gives you the best advantage. You may be in love with every word you write but not everyone else will be. And you will not grow as a writer—or work effectively with another one—if you are not willing to be a sponge and soak up every bit of logical criticism. And then between you, you take what works and toss the rest.

We consider ourselves very fortunate. We blend our styles, work easily and well together, love the same kind of stories and the same kind of characters. This series, Nemesis, of which Until the Dawn is the first book, is iour first co-authoring venture but you can bets it won’t be our last.


WIN - Leave Desiree and/or Cerise a comment or question this week at the AuthorIsland Tiki Hut and your name goes in the hat for a copy of their first book together UNTIL THE DAWN. Please leave your email address so we can contact you if you are this week's winner - Good Luck!


  1. Hey Desiree and Cerise!!! It's great to have you two as our very special guests this week here at the Tiki Hut!!!

    Romantic suspense is my number one favorite genre and I'm thrilled with your new series - strong women neck deep in action, adventure, danger and let's not forget sex!

    Tell us a little bit about the new series. How many books do you have planned in this series and do you two have any ideas on another series you might write together?

    Desiree I know you were at EC's Romanticon this past weekend - since the universe kept me from attending this year :-( tell us all about it!

    Hope you had a great time and I sure did miss seeing you again!

  2. I have to wonder at the difficulties in co-authoring (not a word I'm sure)?? I wonder at the fusion of possibly 2 styles of writing. I must say UNTIL THE DAWN does look like an amazing read.

  3. Congrats on your book!
    Do you write by emailing or actually get together?

    kissinoak at frontier dot com

  4. Hot covers and the excerpts sound great. Congrats

  5. Hi! We live about 20 minutes apart and meet to brainstorm each book. But then we alternate chapters as we write and email back and forth. We think a lot alike so blending our chapters is easy.

  6. it must be great to have someone so close you bounce ideas off of :) my best friend moved to ohio :(

  7. Sounds like an exciting series. How did you come up with the title for it?

    skpetal at hotmail dot com

  8. Congrats On the book!! Love the Cover!!

    Sandy B.

  9. Thanks everyone for stopping by. This is the first book in a series, about a kick ass sevurity agency owned by five kickass women. Hope you enjoy them.

  10. Bless you both for being able to work with one another. I know how hard it would be for me to work with someone else on an artistic project. Have you ever run into a time when you felt it hard to compromise on something? Do each of you take a character and write most of them? If not are you afraid of having the character act differently when a different writer is writing her?

    Did any of that make sense? LOL

    I just think it's very nice to have someone your comfortable to work with.

    Has either one of you worked with any other writers?

  11. Hi,

    Congrats on the release, looks like a hawt book.

    Did you squabble much during the writing of the story? Hehe!!!

    in Germany

  12. Did it make it more or less difficult to write together whilst being in different locations?

    How did you decided on the concept of a security firm run by women and did it cause any problems in researching them?

  13. Anytime during the writing process did you need an outside opinion to be the deciding vote in something you were stuck on?

  14. Okay, I'll try to answer everyone's questions. We outline our characters first and they are usually a joint creation. That's because we write alternate chapters so the characters have to be constant. And we live only 20 minutes apart ut we usually moved the manuscript back adn forth by email after we've hammered out the plot. And no leni, we're pretty compatible and accepting of each toher's ideas and objections so we haven;t needed a tie breaker! LOL! When we researched anall female security firm we found...guess what...there are none! So we took everything we got from researching male-owned firms and gave the characters female personalities. they are kickass women with special talents - explpsives, arms and weaponry, computer technology, martial arts, you name it. And with each book a male is added, the hero of the book. One is former CIA, another former Mossad, and so on. We are really having fun with it.

  15. Hi, Desiree and Cerise! I've read your individual writing, but not your joint efforts--looking forward to it! Thanks for sharing some of your writing process! Even though you go over the basics beforehand, it must be fun for you to read each other's writing as you go along! How do you handle it when the characters or plot take a twist neither of you expected?

  16. Hello there.

    How long did it take to create the book trailer? How many people did you work with?

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  17. Looks like an amazing collaboration, and based on the storyline, trailer and excerpt, one I would be thrilled to read.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  18. Congrats on the new release. I've often wondered how hard it would be to write with a co-author, since writing seems to be such a solitary venture, but it sounds like you two have found the perfect match in each other!


  19. The book trailer was created by my daughter from trailers that Cerise originally created. I love it.

  20. Hi Fedora, HI Cathy! I love seeing old friends here. You guys make it all worth while.

  21. This is for Fedora. Actually in both books things took an unexpected twist. sometimes we put our ideas into an email and send it to the toher person, sometimes we call and talk it out, but we are always in agreement, even with unexpected twists.

  22. That's fabulous, Desiree! It must be quite a blessing to find someone with whom you can write so seamlessly!! Congrats to both of you, and to many more future collaborative efforts from you two ;)

  23. Not one all female security firm? Were there very many women in this field? How did you come up with the idea of an all female security company?

  24. Email has certainly made writing with a partner easier and provides a record of you interactions. Have you created a master list of all your characters or do you try to keep things consistent through rereading?

    linze_e at

  25. Congratulations on the new release! Sounds like a great book and I love the cover! How many books are you planning for the series? I enjoy books that can be read as stand alones but connected by a common factor such as family, business, world, etc.

  26. Tammy, we have five books planned for the series. Our editor ahs Book 2 and we are hard at work on Book 3. Janet, we just decided women needed a share of the gklory! There aremany agencies that have excellent female agents but none where the women were the bosses. We thought it was about timne! LOL!