Monday, March 9, 2015

Guest Post and Giveaway, from the authors of A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans!


Readers, last week I promised you an exclusive guest post from the authors of A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder (see my review here). Now, I'm thrilled to present their post. Giveaway details below. 





Happy Together

We were happy to agree to Joanne’s request to do a guest blog post about writing A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans.  Since Larry and I met in journalism school at Marquette University, we decided to answer some traditional reporter-type questions for you.

Who are we?  Larry and I are married and children’s book writers.  We’ve written well over 100 books, but until recently we wrote books separately.  Larry usually writes novels, and I write poetry and picture books.

What has changed?  We fell in love with the idea of a dragon who has a pet human. We both were so charmed by our 3000-year old dragon, Miss Drake, and her 10-year old pet, feisty Winnie, we wanted to work on the book together.  It is our first collaborative work.

When do you write?  Larry is a lark and writes in the morning.  I am an owl and write best in the quiet of night.  We talk about our work at lunch…often away from home with a picnic at the beach or enjoying a meal in town.  It’s nice to take a break from writing, share problems we’re having, and get new ideas. We always end up writing notes on napkins and stuffing bits of scribbled paper tablecloths in our pockets.

Where does the story take place and where do you write?  We set the book in San Francisco because we both love the city.  Larry was born there, we lived there for years, and we both think of it as a unique and rather magical place.

When we moved away and looked for a home in Pacific Grove, we had two conditions.  We needed two studies and lots of wall space for bookcases.  We each have our own writing spots, computers, and our books nearby.

How do two people write one book?   I am sure there are many different ways to write together, but this seems to be ours.  Larry writes the opening, we work on the overall plot, he writes some chapters, and I write others.  We share what we’ve done and rewrite and edit all the parts till we are happy.  Larry, as a novelist, has a much better understanding of plotting and dramatic arcs, etc.  As a poet, I work on images and details and the emotional thrust of the book.  So we each bring the elements we know best to the story.

Larry and I have lived together for 30 years.  That most likely made this project easier to do. Earlier on we might have had some clashing of egos.  But we do respect each other and treat each other kindly most of the time.  I think we both kept our relationship in mind as we tussled a bit over plot points.  In addition, we do laugh and tease a lot. The banter between Miss Drake and Winnie came quite naturally to us.

We both hope readers can see how much fun we had creating these two ever-so-different friends and that they will join us in seeing what Miss Drake and Winnie do in the future.  There’s more magic to come!

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Thank you so much, Joanne and Larry! I loved hearing about your process and especially how a novelist and a poet who are happily married can create magic together. I look forward to more adventures.

Readers, the authors have generously offered one signed hardcover copy for a giveaway. To enter, you must be a follower of this blog and you must leave a comment on this post. If you spread the word via Twitter or Facebook, please let me know and I'll give you extra chances for each mention. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian addresses only and will end at 10 pm EDT on Sunday March 22, 2015. Winner will be announced on Monday March 23. Good luck!


38 comments:

  1. So awesome how Lawrence and Joanne are both writers. And work it out so they can both write when they're best able. This book sounds fantastic but I'm going to let someone win who has tie to read it.

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    1. I also thought it was pretty cool that they described themselves as a lark and an owl and write best at those times of day. Nice of you to let someone else win, Natalie.

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    2. Well, here I am at 2 a.m. while the lark is dreaming.

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  2. What a great partnership! I'm so independent that I can't imagine co-writing a book, but I think all it takes is figuring out how best to work together and when to compromise. :)

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    1. I can't imagine it either, Julie. Thanks so much for visiting!

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    2. Compromising...or knowing when you really should compromise...is important. We have learned that some things are more important to one of us than the other. It's best to compromise quickly on those things

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  3. This was so much fun to read--and of course I'd love to win a copy!
    My husband and I are both writers as well and are currently working on a book together. That line about respecting each other and trusting each other is so true: it's impossible to work on a project like this together if you let ego get in the way! But it's good practice for working on any book, alone or with a partner, as ego ALWAYS damages a story!
    Thanks for sharing the background and inspiration!

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    1. I didn't know you and Mark were working on a book together. That's great!

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    2. Best wishes to you on your writing partnership.

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  4. I love their collaboration process -- including picnics and scribbling on paper tablecoths in restaurants. I'd love a copy of this book, I'm a Yep fan from way back, and I also love poetry, so I'll be interested in her infusion of poetic imagery into the story.

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    1. Elizabeth, I can just picture them both scribbling on those paper tablecloths!

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    2. I do have lots of notebooks, but I never seem to take them when we go to lunch!

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  5. Wow. This sounds like a dream existence -- living in Pacific Grove and having separate work spaces. I fell in love with the cover of this book and would love to read it and share it with my granddaughter. Thanks for this interview and for a chance to win.

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    1. I'll bet your granddaughter would absolutely adore this book, Rosi!

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  6. Not sure if I could write a book with another author. I'm too controlling...at least where my writing is concerned. :)

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    1. I don't think I could do it either. But I guess we would never know unless we try, right DL? Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. This sounds like such a fun story! I love the title and the characters are intriguing.

    Thanks for the interview, too. Very interesting!

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    1. It really is a great title, Andrea!

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    2. Glad you like the title, Andrea. It was Larry's idea and it still makes me smile.

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  8. Loved reading about the logistics of their writing partnership. It seems to be working for them. The premise of their story is just too good to pass up. Can't wait to give this one a go.

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    1. I'd say it's working beautifully for them, Greg!

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    2. Hope you enjoy our book, Greg.

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  9. I thought it was interesting that Laurence works on the plotting, while Joanne focuses on adding images. It sounds like such a great partnership that plays to each of their strengths! Thanks for sharing this lovely interview with us, Joanne!

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    1. Sounds like the perfect marriage, right? A novelist and a poet.

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    2. We think of our collaboration on the books as partners in whimsy. :-)

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  10. Today is the publication day for A Dragon's Guide.... Yay! Maybe a good time to go out for lunch and celebrate!

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    1. Yes! You two should definitely do that. Congratulations and have fun! And thanks so much for stopping by.

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  11. Great post! I loved hearing how you two work together. This books sounds SO awesome and not only does it appeal to me, my 6-year-old dragon-obsessed daughter thinks it sounds fantastic as well :)

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    1. Jess, this is the perfect book for you and your daughter to read together!

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  12. What an awesome interview. I have been wanting to read this book since I heard about it on your blog last week. It sounds SO good and right up my alley. It was such fun to learn more about the authors and how they came to write a book together after writing separately for so many years. Like them- I think San Francisco is a magical city. :)

    Wishing them the best of luck. Thanks for the chance to win a signed copy. I am an old follower and I tweeted and shared on Google +.
    ~Jess

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    1. San Francisco certainly sounds magical; sadly, I've never been there.

      Thanks, Jess. Extra chances duly noted.

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  13. The title is excellent. Totally hooked me!
    I'm always impressed when people can collaborate on a book.
    Re: San Francisco, I visited there two summers ago and loved it.

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    1. That's great that you visited San Francisco, Theresa. I would love to go there someday.

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  14. Ooh, this looks like an interesting book. I'm going to look for it in the library. Thanks for the book review!

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  15. I had SO MUCH FUN reading this book! I couldn't wait for the library to get it so I pre-ordered it and then read it as soon as the box came in the mail. LOVE it!!!

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    1. Yay! Glad you enjoyed it so much. Love your enthusiasm, Sue.

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