My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I co-write the Skylar Drake Murder Mysteries. A hardboiled series that takes the reader to 1950s Los Angeles and other areas of the west. Our new book, Slick Deal, begins News Year’s Eve 1956 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The first murder and clues lead to Avalon, Catalina.
As authors, it is important to get out and meet readers, fellow writers and present your book to the world!! Thus we have a long line of public appearances we schedule each year. Since we present together (usually), the trick to present as one entity without tripping over each other. We refuse to play the “good cop, bad cop” routine so many writing couples do when giving talks. We choose to present ourselves as professionals, showing respect for each other and the profession of authorship. So here is how we work our appearances:
Author Panels: Quite often we are asked to be part of a panel with other authors. The Moderator will send a list of questions to us or ask us to submit questions. Since we write together, we are treated as one entity. So instead of repeating each other, we take turns leading the answer to the question, then the other adds a few words. This keeps us from “dominating” the panel and staying on the topic.
Book Signing Events: We often appear with other authors while signing books and meeting readers. Rather than the two of us tripping over each other, we take turns finishing each other’s sentences. Most of it is off the cuff, and readers get a kick out of it. Again the important thing is not to dominate the event since the two of us is an entity of one.
Our Book Launches: This event is just the two of us. Since our series star, Skylar Drake, is a male detective, the reading is always done by Will. After all, it’s all out of a guy’s head. I summarize the novel and give a brief character study of Skylar Drake. Then we switch off with Q & A about the inevitable question, “How exactly do the two of you work this without killing each other?” We make sure the books for sale are pre-signed, so readers aren’t strapped with trying to run both of us down for signing. We will add a personal note if requested
As keynote speakers: Our presentation always starts off with a summary of the book, a reading by Will and the journey the book took from conception to print, and we always . . . I mean always, have two to three funny stories about our research or interviews. We finish by switching off responding to Q & A.
When partnering in writing both of you must present as one entity with two different takes on things. That is how the book is written, two different takes on plots, subplots, characters and conclusion resulting in the entity of one book.
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