Catt & Sean – Together Forever?

When I asked Catt and Sean to guest blog I had no idea what they would write about.  I thought they would just give us  an excerpt from Dash and Dingo, theirDash & Dingo previewsize wonderful new adventure which was released earlier this week by Dreamspinner Press.  And it really is an adventure! I just finished the book and … what a rush. It’s a return to the days of rollicking good fun and a quest for the impossible dream, something that mostly only two guys seem capable of (sorry ladies):)

When you read D & D you’ll understand what I mean! This is a short introduction to what I’m sure will become a great writing team capable of doing what most great writing teams do …  read each other’s minds.

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He felt his palm grow sweaty and his grip began to loosen a little. He didn’t dare look up at John’s face, afraid that he might read the inevitability of his fall into the chasmcatt ford below. Instead he concentrated on the minute flexing of the sinews in John’s forearm, straining as their hands were locked around each other’s wrists. The wind caught his jacket like a sail, making him sway against the jagged rocks.

“Don’t you dare fucking let go,” John growled.

They hadn’t even had one night together, Robert reflected. He’d never dared to tell John how he felt and now he might never get a chance.

Desperately, Robert scrabbled at the rock cliff with his feet, searching one last time for a foothold as his fingers cramped and he started to slip.

“Okay, you take it!”

“Who, me? You left John flat on his stomach holding Robert dangling off the side of a cliff! How were you planning to get them out of there?”

I don’t know. It’s your turn. Have fun, see you tomorrow!”

grumble “Dang, why does he always do that to me? How the hell am I supposed to save them? Serve him right if I just let Robert fall and die. Then John gets to go to the funeral. The End.”

That’s what writing in a collaboration is like, exciting, suspenseful, frustrating, adventurous and ultimately one of the most rewarding experiences I ever had.

Of course, it helped that I had another author like Sean Kennedy with whom to write Dash & Dingo: The Search for the Tasmanian Tiger.seanandcatt4
We are great friends, although we have never met face to face. In this age of the interwebz, it’s possible to carry on the most intimate of relationships with a person on another continent. In fact, perhaps the very distance is partly what makes it possible to be so open and vulnerable with another person.

And you have to be able to strip your soul if you’re going to share sex scenes, romantic scenes and the innermost doubts of your characters.

We had a history of editing each other’s work before we started to write together, and we are very tough with each other. I have enormous respect for Sean as a person and a writer. There are times when I’m completely in awe of how he thinks and how he manages to get emotion down on a page in black and white. He is incredibly talented.

So when he said he would like to try writing with me, I was eager to jump at the chance. It just so happened that two men, Dash and Dingo, had come to call on my imagination and demand that I tell their story. I didn’t know much beyond their characters and that they went on an adventure together that changed them and bonded them for the rest of their lives. I told Sean their names, and just like that, he provided a setting and an improbable quest that appealed to me, and the first adventure was born.

And we really did toss the story back and forth like that; we took turns working the characters into a corner and the beauty of a collab is that then you get to say, oh well,seanandcatt1 maybe Sean’ll think of some way to get them out, so you just email it off with your best wishes. And an evil chuckle.

In the anonymous world of fanfic, when we met, I assumed that Sean was a woman, simply because of the overwhelming percentage of women who write gay male erotica. But something kept telling me that he was different. I kept saying to him, your men are so guy-like! Of course, then I found out that he is a man, which made it all the more thrilling for me.

Free research!

But of course, the urge to write is more than that. I would love it if someday it turned out that I’d been writing great literature, but even more I just want to tell a good story, one where people keep reading to find out what is going to happen next.

Most of us read for a bit of escapism. Even exciting jobs and careers are balanced by the humdrum parts of daily life, cleaning, cooking, taking out the garbage, paying the bills. I’d always hoped not to be owned by my possessions, but life is just easier if you have someplace to live and store your stuff.

And sometimes, say if you happen to break both your feet at once, it’s not in the cards to go off on a great adventure, but that urge for something different, exciting and unexpected lives inside most of us. What better way to get a vicarious thrill than to write about it?

In truth, the entire process, from the solitary parts where you are isolated and doing the work, to submitting the ms. and hoping the publisher will accept it, to dreading the reviews is a rollercoaster.

I hope that what I write looks easy, and sometimes it is, but often it’s challenging and just plain hard work to get a conversation to flow right. Working with Sean made that both easier and more challenging. We had to work to blend our styles, and to get both our ideas to work together in a cohesive whole.

With the exception of a few sections, I truly don’t remember which parts are mine and which are his. And don’t let him fool you; he’s just saying I wrote all the sex because he’s afraid that his mother will read it. In fact, he pulled his weight and wrote one of the most ethereally beautiful love scenes in the book.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. In fact, we’ve already started D&D2, as well as other projects of our own.


sean2Catt has provided a lovely look at the collaborative process, so I might digress a little bit.  But first, just let me say that every nice thing she has said about me goes double for her.  To find someone who shares the same humour, a relatively similar mindset and a love of research is damn lucky.  The excitement that comes with creating something together, of producing something new, whether it’s just a little tidbit you’ve found in researching something on the net that fits in perfectly with your story, or just one line coming from the other person that is so well done and does everything you’ve been trying to do without success in a whole page… it takes writing from a solitary experience to a shared one that can be so much richer.  And if you are Googling me, Mum, and you come across this, ALL OF THE SEX IS CATT’S DOING.

One last thing about collaborating – the product that results from it is so much better than what you could have come up with on your own.  I know that had I written Dash and Dingo on my own, it would have been a very different beast.  Both authors bring different ingredients to the table, and you think they might clash but they end up tasting wonderful together.  This leads to you challenging and pushing each other, and by the close of the tale the rewards are greater and your story is better for it.  Catt is so good at bringing in extra layers to character backgrounds and expanding the cast so that we have a wealth of peopleSean tigersanddevils to play with, and who will certainly be making extra appearances as the series continues.  She can see the bigger picture, whereas I’m far more linear and dealing with the ‘now’ of the story.

Strangely as I sit down to write this, I find that I am struggling with finding anything to say.  For anybody who knows me, this is laughable.  But I am in a bit of a block at the moment, writing-wise.  This is always a major stress factor, even if you’ve only been ‘known’ as a writer for little over a year.  In this genre, it seems like other authors are releasing a new book every two to three months.  They must have far more stamina and are less easily distracted than me.  But it feels weird, that with the release of a new book, I can’t relax and let myself enjoy it.  There’s a feeling of, oh, got to get the next one out or else people will forget who I am!  In an age where technology has sped up the publishing process so much, people seem to expect more product, and faster.

But that blinking cursor… take away a couple of letters and you have ‘curse’, which is what it is when your mind has gone on holiday.  Maybe it’s lurking with Dash and Dingo in the forests of Tasmania.  If so, I hope it’s taking notes. Because we want there to be more adventures involving this couple.  It’s been a lot of fun to play with the tropes of pulp fiction, and escaping into their adventures.  It’s an exciting thing to be at the beginning of a possible series, and know that you can follow these seanandcatt5characters for years to come.  Setting it in the past presents its own problems as well – how can you realistically set up a couple in a period where homosexuality was frowned upon even more than it is now?  We’re writing adventurous romances – we want happy endings but we don’t want it to be a false gay utopia either.

In the end, an author writes the story they want to read themselves, while also letting the characters take over from time to time and dictate what they want.  Hopefully the audience will respond to the story favourably as well.  We hope you love Dash and Dingo as much as we do.  If not, beware the tigers next time you accidentally stray off the marked path.

Having read this post, now I understand how the authors’ “voices” blended so seamlessly and effortlessly – I really could not tell who wrote what parts of the book, although I suspected who wrote which character. I’ll ask them but I’m probably wrong.:) One last thing – are they both in hiding or in the Witness Protection Program? Those photos could be of anyone. I much prefer Sean in his blue mesh costume.

Author

I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball

28 comments

  • You guys both rock, you know that, right?

    I adore Dash and Dingo and I feel so honoured that I got to read it first! 😉

    Sean, I nearly fell off my chair when I read your sex scene for the first time! HOT! You sly dog, you. *g*

    I’ve been reading you both, for a VERY long time *cough*won’t go into your murky past*cough* and even I couldn’t tell who wrote what… except for that one word, Catt. ;P

    It’s definitely a real challenge to co-write with someone, but you two have pulled it off with style and panache.

    All I have to say now is… when’s the next adventure starting? *g*

    Oh, and Catt? Can I read the story that has that scene you started off with? *g*

    Reply
    • Hey, Liriel!
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      Um, I would like to know what scene this is I supposedly wrote!
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      Now that the first one is out, I’m starting to get excited about tackling the second one. You get a bit sick of it during the editing process, but I’m starting to feel love for the guys again.
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      What ‘one word’, and scene is this?

      Reply
      • *g* It must have been your evil twin that wrote it.
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        Catt told me a wee tiny bit about the idea for the next one and I am positively slavering to read it!
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        Editing has to be the absolute worst thing, even though it’s essential. I’m glad you’re loving the guys again because I can’t get enough of them.
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        As for the word, well, I’ll have to e you. I can’t be giving away secrets now can I?
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        The scene is what Catt started this post off with – with Robert and John, and Robert dangling over a cliff, hanging on for dear life!

        Reply
    • Thank you, sweetie. And we are honoured that you caught so many errors.
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      A witness! A witness that I speak the truth about Sean writing a sex scene!
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      If it comes to murky pasts, we’re on equal ground, missy! Thank you for saying that; style and panache, how nice that sounds. I shall attempt to squelch that word in the future. Except maybe in GRpd.
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      The next adventure has begun, even though it got a bit stalled by RL. But it will continue!
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      I’ll see what I can do about that scene. That’s all there was. *g*

      Reply
  • Thanks for this, I really enjoyed reading about your collaboration. I’m another reader who’s always been intrigued with the writing process when two writers work together.
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    I’m looking forward to getting my hands on Dash and Dingo (the book!) -I’m keeping my eye on http://www.bookdepository.co.uk – not only for Sean’s sex scene, ha ha, but also because the story sounds fantastic, and it’s set in Australia.

    Reply
    • Gaye
      Yiou’ll love the book. I will be posting a review on Sunday so watch for it. My lips are sealed about the sex scene that Sean wrote.:)

      Reply
    • Hi Gaycrow! Don’t worry, I keep watching out as well so I can order one! Author’s copies always take a while to come internationally, so I can usually get one quicker from Book Depos. It’s a major bummer knowing your book is out there and you haven’t got your hands on one yet!

      Reply
    • Thank you. It was really kind of exciting because I loved reading what he sent back and I never knew what difficulty he was going to leave me in. It was a lovely challenge.
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      My only sorrow is that the spelling was americanized. It just makes it a bit… weird. I hope you’ll be able to get it soon and it doesn’t disappoint.

      Reply
  • Okay, no, I can’t leave it alone.
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    Catt, are you positive that Sean wrote a sex scene?? I mean you did say that you couldn’t remember which parts were yours and which were his.
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    I guess what I’m getting at is (a) do you have proof and (b) is it something that can be used to blackmail him into a new author glam picture for which he would be wearing blue mesh?

    Reply
    • Snork! You are hilarious. Yes, he wrote more than one. If you don’t believe it, you can read his story, Ports of Call, which is at Dreamspinner, which he wrote all by himself.
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      I can’t really imagine him bending to blackmail. He’s made of stronger stuff. Especially if the prize is wearing blue mesh. LOL

      Reply
  • Sean wrote a sex scene?? O_O
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    Now I’ve got that out of the way… I’m always interested to know more about the collaborative process when it comes to authors writing a book together and it was great to read your perspectives.
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    Question for you both – and I realise you’re both professionals who obviously have a great deal of respect for each other – what happens in those instances when you might disagree about what a character has done or the way a scene was written or the how the story is progressing? How do you resolve this? Or do you sit down (on opposite sides of the planet) and sketch out the shape of the work, etc beforehand so as to avoid such issues?

    Reply
    • Nope. I’m not laying claim to it.
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      To tell you the truth, with this work we were basically on the same page about everything. The first time we disagreed with each other about something was in starting the sequel. And I was in the wrong, and actually saw that and caved in pretty quickly. The wonderful thing about Catt and I working together is that egos truly are left by the door. There are no hurt feelings, because we truly want to try and produce the best story we can. We love the characters, and we want the story to reflect that. We actually want to write a story we would enjoy reading if we picked it up off the shelf.

      Reply
    • He wrote more than one sex scene. Have you read his story Ports of Call? He wrote that all by himself and it has a lovely love scene in it. Very tender and romantic.
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      We did have an overarching plan for the story. Then we would have scenes that moved the story along and seeing as we were tossing it back and forth, sometimes one of us would take the scene in a different direction. Often this was a great challenge, to deal with the new direction and still get the story to progress. There was one time when an action was taken by one boy and I thought the other one should be the one to do it. So we just talked about it, and each gave our reasons for which one needed to do it and then we came to an agreement. It was one of the smoothest collabs I’ve ever had, including in my day job.

      Reply
  • Sean wrote one of the sex scenes? You wrote the one in the mud, didn’t you, Sean? *grins*
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    (Well, either way, that was my favorite. I’m a dirty hippie, after all.)
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    You guys are really awesome, and I totally love this book. Catt, kudos for putting up with him long enough to co-write a story. I’ve only co-written an article with him and, well…
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    😉

    (Just kidding. He was lovely.)
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    So…
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    When’s the next one coming out?
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    *ducks and runs*

    Reply
    • Like I said, we can barely remember who wrote what.
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      Except Catt wrote ALL the sex. I just sipped at my tea and said “Gosh! That’s a bit steamy!”
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      Hmm. You think you’re funny, don’t you?

      Reply
      • Sean
        I could tell that you wrote most of the sex scenes – they have that unmistakable stamp on them from Ports of Call. You’re just denying everything because you don’t want your mother to know that you get down and dirty. All the practice that you get in RL seems to be helping.*g*

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        The one thing that disappointed me about the book is all the American spelling. So unauthentic for a story that takes place in Australia in 1934 with English and Aussie protags! I’m putting that in my review. It really pulled me out of the story several times. Other than that, the adventure rocked!

        Reply
    • ONE sex scene? Honey, he wrote more than one. And one of them when he sent it to me, I just about had a heart attack. I NEVER would have written it that way! (Are you listening, Sean’s mum?)
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      And the muddy one we both had a hand in. No patience was required. Our schedules had problems and so sometimes one of us would be soldiering on alone but really it was so clash-free. It was wonderful.
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      Well, we’ve started #2. Just I got a ton of work and nothing happened during that time. Freelancer, y’know. I hope your collab will be just as good, and count on me for editing. *g*

      Reply
  • Great post guys, I am always amazed by people who can write with someone else and not have it be evident. I read a book years ago by two authors and you could see exactly when author B took over. It was very disconcerting. The whole tone and voice changed. Weird. I am not finished D&D yet (I did have to go to bed last night at some point) but I would have no clue who wrote which parts if you did it literally that way. It’s incredibly smooth and flowing, so great job guys and I look forward to more of your collaborative work.

    Reply
    • Thank you! I’m glad you can’t see the difference, but we really did go over it and add stuff in to what the other wrote, and re-edited and edited to make it more cohesive.

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    • I think in some ways, we already had similar styles, in that we both have ten dollar vocabularies and care about similar things. One of the things that was wonderful about this is that together we created a world and a relationship that motivated us to give our best. When we beta each other’s work, we are very challenging to each other, and this made it more encompassing. I think working together produced something bigger than if either of us had written it alone. And we did go back and forth on each other’s parts, getting the voices right. Thank you so much for saying so, it’s nice to know that we succeeded in getting it to flow so nicely. 🙂

      Reply
  • Great post Catt and Sean. I’m always very curious as to how two authors work together without there being hurt feelings and clashes of personalities, but you two seem to have found a way to make it work. Good for you!
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    And I love the new book. Very much looking forward to reading the next one.

    Reply
    • I think it works for us because we’re both pretty laid back, although we can be very passionate about the characters, and in this instance I was very passionate about the subject matter.

      We look forward to reading it too! Which, um, means we should get onto it.

      Reply
    • Thank you very much! I think one of the reasons we get along so well is the same sense of humour, as Sean noted, but also we just want the best for each other so much that we reënact the Chip ‘n Dale scenes when we have a disagreement. “No, no, you have a point!” “No, you were right to begin with.” “I insist we do it your way.” “Fine, but only until I get my hands on it and then we’re doing it your way.”

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply

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