A big welcome today to Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham as part of their blog tour for Burning Boundaries from Pride Publishing. Scroll to the bottom of the post for my review of the book!
How do you figure out who’s going to write what?
B: Usually we start with characters. I create one main character and Sadie creates one main character then we see if they’re compatible. Throughout the story we write the responses, actions, and dialogue for our respective characters and we sort of share the supporting cast. Although, if one of us has an idea for how we want a scene to go we will occasionally ‘borrow’ the other’s character, but it’s always with the understanding that whoever ‘owns’ that character can make tweaks if they feel they might have said something differently or reacted differently.
S: It really is a very democratic process.
B: Besides, we never know what we’re going to write until we’re staring at a blank screen.
S: We’re better than we used to be. We write story plans now. We just don’t always stick to them.
What if you write something the other wasn’t expecting?
B: That’s the best part! Really, that’s pretty much the main reason to write a story with someone. It starts to become something like one of those choose your own adventure books, where depending on what you write next determines how the other person might respond.
S: That’s a great comparison actually. We can sometimes be so synched on a story idea that it’s scary, but occasionally one or the other of us will write something that takes the plot in a whole new direction and those moments can be like fictional dynamite. We’ve had the whole plot of a story change completely on one of those moments. Even when we write a plan for the story, the characters can wind up taking us in new directions, and when it’s not just one brain coming up with those directions, it’s very exciting. A lot of it is about trust. About having faith in one another and the way that we both write. I couldn’t do this with just anyone.
B: I absolutely agree. There’s a getting to know each other period, but after that you learn to trust each other to do what’s best for the story, to let them take the lead and see where the scene goes, then let you jump back in and add your own flavor to the mix. My co-writers are just amazing people and I know I can depend on them to write something I’m going to love.
What kind of roadblocks are there to writing together?
B: Not to be evasive, but I really haven’t encountered many (though my co-writers might disagree, lol) I think if anything it might be schedules. Sometimes it’s hard to grab time to write together and really get moving on a project. At those times, we just have to write our part and wait until the other can respond. But, we’ve been doing it for years and it works, so I guess we’re just used to working around the timing thing.
S: That is a good point. We both still work for a living and I’m getting home from work half way through Bellora’s working day. So, I kind of chill for a while and have dinner, then I have to wait for her to get home and sometimes it’s like half eleven at night here before I get her to myself. Sometimes she’s had a rough day, or I have and one or the other of us isn’t in the mood to create. Sometimes I’m awake until three thirty in the morning because we get on a roll with something but then I have to stop because I have to get up at half seven and go do a stupid job. It would be easier if I’d not picked a writing partner on a five-hour time difference, I guess. But that’s just the way it happened. I can’t have just anyone, this is price for working with my best fit.
What method/software do you use?
B: Back in the olden days we would write everything through email. It’s a huge pain to transfer an entire novel a few paragraphs at a time from email into a document. Google Docs has been a revolution to our tandem writing. It’s like the difference between dial up and fibre optics. It took a little getting used to though. The first time you try it, and you know the other person is watching as you type, it feels a bit exhibitionist/voyeuristic. I think we’ve both gotten past that and now it just feels totally normal to watch a story coming to life word by word in real time. It’s kinda cool, really.
S: I love writing in Google Docs, it is like watching a story appear, word by word, hanging on the cursor and waiting to see what the next line will be. As a reader as well as a writer that’s so cool for me. I love the way that Bellora’s mind works and sometimes I can predict what she’s going to write. Sometimes she just throws something in there that makes me go (What? Wait? Really?).
I was talking with someone the other day and telling her about how we used to write by e-mail and she was just “How long did that take?” The answer is “The writing part was quick. The editing took a very, very, very long time!”
S: There is no point trying to force a story. It just doesn’t work. We’ve gone for long periods trying to make a storyline work and in the end abandoned it because it just wasn’t pushing buttons for one or the other of us. Sometimes we both just have to step back from a story for a while and let it breathe.
B: If you get really emotionally attached to your work and have a difficult time with being flexible about it, co-writing might not be for you. You have to both be thinking ‘what’s best for this story’ and not ‘what’s best for my character’. The absolute best tip I can give anyone thinking of trying to co-write a story is, be genuinely open to the other person’s ideas. Be willing to have your MC share the spotlight. It’s okay to spend time playing the ‘what if we do this’ game, but at some point you just have say, ‘okay, I don’t know if that’ll work but let’s try it and see’.
S: Like any business, I guess, communication is key. You have to talk to one another, it’s not just about throwing words at the screen to see what will stick. We rarely argue. Hardly ever argue, actually, which is quite an amazing thing considering just how passionate we can both be about our characters. Sometimes it is like building the world’s best role-playing game, but at the end of the day we have to build something that other people are going to read, so we have to be ruthless about it too. If there is an issue in the story for either one of us, then we will step back and talk about it. Sometimes for a long while. But we get to the root of it in the end.
What happens if you disagree about something in a storyline?
S: Bwahahah! Although we have actually abandoned about half a novel recently because one of us *points at B* couldn’t get her head around the setting. It is unsettling when you have an idea that you really love and your other half can’t work with that, but sometimes that’s just the way it is. It comes back to that democratic thing again. If it doesn’t work for both of us then it doesn’t go in. Sometimes, all we can do is start again. (I may try to find a way to use that setting again though because I love it. heheheh)
B: I can only remember one time we really ‘argued’ about something in a story, and I don’t even remember what exactly it was about. I wanted something one way and Sadie didn’t like the idea and I have this tendency to be…um, pretty tenacious. So, we went back and forth on it for, I don’t know, an hour or two, and finally Sadie throws her hands up and gives in…and then I realized I was just arguing the point for the sake of getting my way and felt bad and said no, you’re right and let’s not do that. I was pretty sure she was going to get on plane and come kill me, but you know, it’s those moments of being self-aware that makes us better people. At least I hope it does. It’s a bit like being in a relationship. Thankfully she puts up with me mostly and hasn’t kicked me to the curb yet.
S: I wouldn’t do that. Not permanently, anyway. It does me good not to get my own way all the time.
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Author: Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham
Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis
Length: 103,000 Words
Preorder: 23rd May
Early Download (from Pride Publishing): 6th June
General Release: 4th July
Heat Level: 4 out of 5
Genre(s): Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Fantasy – Urban & Magical Beings, Mystery & Thriller, Paranormal, Paranormal – Psychic Talents
Mari Gale’s life has been a whirlwind since meeting Jake Chivis. A new job prospect and his mother’s health preoccupy him, so when Jake invites him on a date he’s ready to cut loose. Their night out turns into a nightmare when a fire breaks out in the basement of the bar and they barely escape.
Soon Jake learns that the horrific accident is being investigated as a possible homicide, and it’s not the only case. Detective Inspector Cordiline of the London Met hints at spontaneous human combustion, but as far as Jake knows, SHC doesn’t exist.
When Mari looks into a group called Birthright, he finds a connection to the victims of the fires and Jake risks himself to go undercover at the shadowy organization. The race is on to determine the truth before Jake becomes the next target.
Elemental Evidence Series Info
Former Detective Jake Chivis is a Fire Elemental who uses psychometry to see the past. Doctor Ilmarinen Gale is an Air Elemental, a human/cybernetic interface, able to infiltrate even the toughest information systems. Together they find out just how potent a combination Fire and Air can be when it comes to solving crimes.
Amid murder, conspiracy and a world that views them with suspicion, and sometimes contempt, Jake and Mari circumvent the conventional. While the police aren’t always appreciative of their methods they can’t deny the results.
When they aren’t busy consulting for the police, figuring one another out is their next big mystery. One that proves as frustrating as it is passionate. Between hunting killers and avoiding competing government agencies that want the two of them working on their side, they just might have enough time for love.
Was that flirting? Was he flirting with the guy? Jake tried to rein those thoughts in but he couldn’t help it. Mari had a habit of flirting, but it had never bugged Jake before. Jesus, they’d managed to go to one bar for an hour and already he was devolving into Neanderthal territory. He realized something else. It had never really bothered him when he and Alex had gone out and his ex had spent all night coming on to strangers. Then again, he’d known Alex was doing it to get a rise out of him. That was not Mari’s way, at all.
“You want another drink?” Jake asked, by way of keeping himself from hauling Mari out of there and grilling him about whether he wanted to sleep with Mr. Whips and Tattoos. They had to step to one side as a sweating, agitated-looking guy pushed by them on the stairs in an obvious hurry to get down to the basement for some chastisement. Though he looked chastised enough already, in Jake’s opinion.
“If you do,” Mari said, then exhaled a huff that might have been regret and might have been relief. “Unless, of course, you just want to put me over your shoulder and carry me out, Mr. Caveman. I wasn’t giving him the come-on. So you can stop looking daggers. And don’t deny it.” He pointed a slender finger at Jake as he opened his mouth. “I could see you thinking it. Yes, he’s very cute, but he’s not really my type. I do like his toy box though.”
Jake snapped his mouth closed then pushed a hand through his hair and let out a sigh of his own. He had always pitied guys that acted like possessive jerks and here he was being as transparent as glass, all but snarling at anyone who got too close to Mari. “I’m sorry. I was aiming not to be obvious. I’ll try and refrain from clubbing you over the head and dragging you out by the hair.” He managed a sheepish grin.
“In that case, it would be my pleasure to have another drink with you, Chivis.” Mari chuckled, slipping a hand around the nape of his neck and towing him in for a brief, firm kiss.
They made their way back up into the bar and as they were weaving their way through the crowd, Jake heard someone shout, then screaming coming from the direction of the basement.
The red and gold lighting seemed to be flickering and Mari yelled, “Can you smell something burning?”
Jake noticed the smell just as Mari was saying it, and turned his head. A curl of pale smoke was winding up from the basement stairway, not thick but noticeable.
“Shit!” He grabbed Mari’s arm. “Get out of here. Hurry.”
Jake gave him a push toward the front exit then shoved through the crowd, trying to get to the stairs.
Buy Links Etc
Originally hailing from Detroit Michigan, Bellora now resides on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida where a herd of Dachshunds keeps her entertained. She got her start in writing at the dawn of the internet when she discovered PbEMs (Play by email) and found a passion for collaborative writing and steamy hot erotica. Soap Opera like blogs soon followed and eventually full novels. The majority of her stories are in the M/M genre with urban fantasy or paranormal settings.
Sadie Rose Bermingham
A storyteller since before she started school, Sadie also enjoys reading, photography, live music and long walks on the beach. Sadie has worked as a bookseller, a pedigree editor for the racing industry and a local and family history researcher. Originally from the north of England, she has been working her way across the UK ever since. She currently resides on the south east coast with her long term partner, where she hopes to buy a mobile home and establish a whippet farm.
This is the first book I’ve read by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham, and although it’s also the second in their Elemental Evidence series, I didn’t have any problems following the storyline. However, having enjoyed this story so much I am going to have to read book 1—Breathing Betrayal—now.
I love paranormal/fantasy stories, and this one didn’t disappoint. The world building is detailed, and I was quickly drawn into the elemental storyline, which I found fascinating. In this world, individuals called Elementals have powers that are linked to their bloodline, so are either earth, fire, water, or air. Jake is a fire elemental and as such has the ability to read objects and the memories of the last person to touch them AKA psychometry. Mari is an air elemental so his power is connected to gathering knowledge, and communications. I loved how he was able to interface with computers and go beyond the keyboard, following the information to the source while leaving his body behind.
I enjoyed the balance between the investigation and Mari and Jake’s relationship. There is quite a lot of sex in the story, but as Mari needs to work through a big issue in that, I felt it didn’t detract from the storyline, but advanced their relationship. I also liked how their relationship grows as they work through things. It isn’t an instant “I love you” connection, although it’s obvious they do love each other by their reactions, and the way they are around each other.
As the story progressed and the tension grew after Jake infiltrated Birthright I was on the edge of my seat, needing to know what happens next, and needing to know it now! The action scenes are well written, and very tense.
I’d recommend Burning Boundaries to readers who enjoy an action filled paranormal story, with interesting characters and a slow burn—no pun intended—romance. 4.5 stars out of 5.