Friday, December 04, 2015

Author Interview: Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson

Today's blog tour post comes with free stuff! Not only are the authors hosting a great giveaway, but I'm giving away my advanced reader's copy of this book to one lucky commenter. Just comment and say you want it and you'll have a shot at this:




Back when I read the Advanced Reader's Copy of this book, December 2015 seemed so far away. But here we are. Today, the authors of The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow are here to talk about their book. Here they are...and don't forget to enter the giveaway and/or comment to possibly get your own free copy.


 Jessica Haight                    Stephanie Robinson


How did you write a book together? A question often asked of authors who decide to collaborate on writing a story. The underlying truth of what they are really asking is, “How did you manage to not end up hating each other during the process?” The answer to this is simple, it’s not about the ego; it’s about the book. We decided this first.


What was a surprising thing you learned while writing your book?

Jessica: I learned a lot about myself and about discipline in writing. I am sort of a free-form writer, and it's absolutely essential to keep everything in tune and orderly to progress. Stephanie is the master of organization, so I am very lucky to have her as my co-author. Most of the time, instructions and lists sound to me like the adults in Charlie Brown, whoh, whoh, whoh. However, after working on this with my awesome writing partner, I embrace the list.
Stephanie:  I have been surprised by the amount of time Jessica and I spend discussing Fairday and her friends and coming up with ideas. Most of our conversations center around our writing and blog. I never knew how exciting it would be to write a book with someone who shares my vision and makes work fun. Also, I have been pleasantly surprised to find support for my book in places I never expected. Thanks to all of our supporters.  

What was the writing process like?


We started off brainstorming about our characters and the basic plot. Our daily conversations were about Fairday and the DMS. We flushed out characters, story lines, and everything else both in person and on the phone. Our meetings were always productive. Using Google docs for an online format allowed us to post a chapter or two at a time that we could work on together. What an amazing tool! Being able to make changes to our book from any location opened up our world of writing and our story was written in Poland, Yellowstone, from our town libraries, and the comforts of our own homes. Usually one of us would start a chapter and the other person would go in and start working their magic- adding, deleting, and crafting the writing until it was a blended expression of both of our ideas.

What's it like to receive criticism and revise a manuscript?


There were times when we threw away whole chapters and started over. This was painful, but we knew it had to be done. We wanted to write the best story we could, and so swallowing our pride became a common occurrence, which became easier to digest. Now when we receive criticism, we think of it as an opportunity to improve our story and hone our writing craft.



What advice would you have for new authors?

Be brave. Let yourself to be inspired. Enter contests, attend conferences, listen to other authors tell their stories, visit book fairs and events. If you commit to your work and take yourself seriously, you'll be surprised by what you find along the way. We've met some amazing people and made great connections all over the world. We've become better writers and had loads of fun learning about what it takes to bring a book project to life. 


Stephanie Robinson at the Unicorn Writers' Conference
From Left: Rachael Dugas (Agent/ Talcott Notch Literary), Jessica Haight, Stephanie Robinson, Krista Vitola (Editor/ Delacorte/ Random House)

"I really enjoyed this book. It was a marvelously done, debut, thriller novel. Ms. Robinson and Ms. Haight are great authors that really pull you into their story. I couldn’t get out until that final sentence. And, by then I wanted more. To say I want a second book is an understatement. The writing style is compelling, and makes me feel as if I was there with Fairday and her friends. I really like the illustrations in the book. They are like the ribbon on a present, or the icing on the cake. I give this book five out of five bookworms!"
~ Erik Weibel/ This Kid Reviews Books  

"Mixing realism and fantasy, Haight and Robinson’s debut opens with 11-year-old Fairday’s move from Manhattan to a small town in Connecticut, where her relentlessly cheerful parents plan to turn a dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast. No sooner has the family arrived than eerie sights and sounds begin to haunt Fairday. The house turns out to hold dark secrets that everybody in town suspects but nobody can explain: a perfect mission for Fairday and her best friend Lizzy’s Detective Mystery Squad (DMS)."

~ Publishers Weekly


"Fifth-grader Fairday Morrow's new home lives up to its spooky reputation, but she and her companions in the Detective Mystery Squad find out why. At Begonia House, strains of bagpipe music issue from behind a padlocked door, grains of sand in an hourglass have stopped falling, and a malevolent weeping willow looms in the backyard. A magic mirror shows an invisible door; a wardrobe hides secrets and a portal. Ruby Begonia vanished more than 50 years ago. Is there also a ghost? Fairday has a new, helpful friend in classmate Marcus, and her best friend Lizzy can visit on weekends to help solve the mystery. What more could readers want?" 
~ Kirkus Reviews




Jessica Haight is a true New Englander, with a deep desire to be near the ocean and a love of the four seasons. She enjoys drawing while standing up and cultivating magic in her garden. She easily floats away in the pages of a good story and is still waiting for her owl from Hogwarts. Jessica lives in Connecticut with her charming fiancé, James.


Stephanie Robinson lives with her husband in a quiet town, though not as quaint as Ashpot. After teaching fifth grade for almost fifteen years, she is now enjoying her role as a school media specialist. One of the many benefits of her job is that she learns something new every day. When Stephanie isn't working, she spends her time creating stories, getting lost in books, and traveling to new places. 

Links:

@DMSfiles

Don't forget--if you want a copy of the book, say "I want the book" (or some variation of it) in the comments. I'll pick a winner from the comments. Also be sure to enter the authors' giveaway here:



a Rafflecopter giveaway

57 comments:

  1. Awesome you got to read the story early, Stephanie.
    That's great the two of you worked so well together. (And the Charlie Brown line was funny.) Really like your attitude towards criticism. Use it to make the next project better.
    Congratulations, Jess and Stephanie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It fascinates me that two authors can work together to write a book. I've tried it before but we didn't really know what we were doing--she wrote one chapter and I wrote the next and that was it.

      Delete
    2. Alex- We were so happy that Stephanie got an early copy of the book. Glad you liked the Charlie Brown comment- it is true. :) Thanks for your kind words.

      Stephanie- Writing a book with someone else definitely can take some getting used to and there are probably a lot of different systems. :)
      ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  2. I adore these two, I have been following their blog for quite sometime... My youngest would love these type stories, I will have to get her a couple of their stories...I am happy for the two of them xox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they the best? So fun.

      Delete
    2. Launna- Thanks for your sweet comment! We adore you too! We hope your youngest will enjoy Fairday's story. :)

      Stephanie- Aww! Thanks! Back at ya! :)
      ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  3. Stephanie, I have always admire good writers. I wondered how words can flow so freely for you all. You writers or authors are so talented.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Nancy! I agree. I have no idea how words flow for us!

      Delete
    2. Nancy- Thanks! We admire writers too! So many talented people in the world. It is awesome that different people are good at different things. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  4. Lovely and inspiring, Stephanie. I wanted to write a book myself on something that I have experienced in my life and that I think could help others, but I don't have the talent for writing. I truly appreciate those who do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda- Thanks for commenting! You might be surprised if you put your words on paper because they could be much better than you expect them to be. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  5. Sounds like a fun read. I'd definitely like to win. :)
    My goal for 2016 is to get more books read, as well as to write more.
    Two authors? So I wonder if a disagreement has ever come up on how to proceed with the story and how that was resolved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeffrey- Glad The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow sounds good to you! Good luck with the giveaway.

      Great question about disagreeing. We haven't disagreed about writing, but we have had some lively discussions about commas (does one belong in a certain spot or not). Luckily, we can be very honest with each other. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  6. What a great review and interview. You are most kind to other authors. I like that about you.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandee- Isn't Stephanie awesome! She is so supportive of other writers and bloggers. Thanks for your comment! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  7. Congratulations on your book and great reviews! Best wishes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Deanie! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  8. I've often wondered what it would be like to be a co-author. Sounds like fun. Sort of. My nephews might enjoy this book. The eldest is about the right age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz A- Writing a book with another person is great- if it is the right person. :) If your nephews gets to read The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow we hope they enjoy it! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  9. Stephanie- We can't thank you enough for hosting us on your blog and for posting your review online too. We really appreciate it! :)
    ~Jess and Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was my pleasure--if you get a chance, check out Jen Malone and Gail Nall--they are cowriting an entire series together. They regularly write about their experience of writing books as a team.

      Delete
  10. This sounds wonderful. We need a Nancy Drew for the elementary age group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jacqui- Thanks! I read all the Nancy Drew books when I was growing up. :) ~Stephanie

      Delete
  11. Yes I have seen a ghost. Congrats to you both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sheena-kay! That must have been some experience!
      ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  12. This sounds awesome!! How great of them to accomplish something like this together. There are so many great writing partners out there! It makes me envious to not have someone to be a "writing friend" with!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Military Pug Wife- We had a blast working together on The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow. You are right that writing with someone else is a lot of fun. Maybe the right writing partner for you will come around one day. :) ~Stephanie and Jess

      Delete
  13. Jessica and Stephanie are quite the writing duos. The books must be a fabulous read. I have read about the authors a while back and was really taken by their cooperating system of writing.

    Congratulations and great success on their new book.
    Hugs,
    JB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Julia- Thanks for your lovely comment. We love that you remember reading about us and our way of writing together. You are so sweet. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  14. Congratulations to both Jessica and Stephanie. I have been seeing their book everywhere across the blogosphere - and hope it goes gang-busters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elephant's Child- Thanks! So awesome that you have been seeing out book around the blogosphere. We hope it goes gang-busters too. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  15. A great interview, ladies. It's wonderful how you worked together to write your story. My copy arrived this week. I'm looking forward to reading it. I bet a lot of middle-graders and even older teens will enjoy the story. Best of luck to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beverly- Thanks! We are thrilled that you enjoyed the interview and how awesome that your copy arrived. We hope you enjoy it! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  16. Hi, Stephanie, Stephanie and Jessica,

    Stephanie, Stephanie and Jessica and totally awesome writers and even more important, totally awesome people! :)

    Consider this good news well and truly shared by me, yes me, shy, humble Gary! :)

    Have a peaceful, positive weekend.

    Gary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Klahanie- Your comment is fabulous and made us smile. Thanks for all your kind words. We really appreciate the support. :)
      ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  17. The "Be Brave" advice I highly respect. I can't tell you how much this advice would have benefited me in the past. This is the most important piece of advice I would give to all writers. It takes a tremendous amount of encouragement to get writers to step across that boundary which hinders their voice.

    Voice is the biggest seller for me when I'm wanting to make a purchase. It comes when writers are brave enough to drop the facade of the starving artist, and take on the responsibility of contributing to the discourse and storytelling for future generations, and I think you can only do this by discovering your own truth and sharing it with your stories. It takes a brave soul to do this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Diane- We are so glad that the "Be Brave" advice hit home with you. :) Your comment is so thoughtful and interesting. We appreciate you stopping and taking the time to share your thoughts with us. ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  18. This was an inspiring interview, thanks for sharing! It makes me think the book is even better as it was true teamwork!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Christine- Thanks so much! Writing the book was definitely true teamwork. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  19. This is a great learning tool on how to work well with others and never let egos get in the way. I also love how you both view criticism and not let it get you down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Birgit- Glad you enjoyed learning about how we work together and that you thought it was a good learning tool. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  20. will the possible second part of the book be FAIRDAY 2MORROW? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dezmond- There will be- The Talking Library is book 2. :) ~Stephanie and Jess

      Delete
  21. These two ladies are awesome, and such a huge support to other writers! My copy just arrived and I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Meradeth. Your comment is so sweet. We love to help out our fellow authors and bloggers. Awesome that you copy arrived. We hope you enjoy it! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  22. I so enjoyed these ladies talking about book collaboration. It's one of my many writing dreams to find a compatible author. This sounds awesome. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Denise- So glad you enjoyed hearing about how we collaborated on our book. We hope you find a compatible author to work with too! :) ~Stephanie and Jess

      Delete
  23. I'm interested in how authors collaborate on stories. I'm so used to being alone in my writing, only partaking in company during my critique group sessions. This looks like an amazing book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Medeia- We are so happy that The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow looks amazing to you. :) Writing with a co-author definitely adds another element to the mix, but it really works for us. :) Happy writing! ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  24. The book sounds awesome!

    I'm curious about collaborating, but I'm not sure I could do it. I was once a head writer with four writers working for me, and it was like herding cats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. J.H. Moncrieff- Yeah! We are so happy our book sounds awesome to you. The key to writing with another person is to make sure you can work together and that you both do your part. We can imagine many situations when it would be difficult with the wrong person. ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  25. WOW!! Congratulations to Jessica and Stephanie!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cathrina! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  26. Great interview, ladies. Wishing you much success.

    Hi, Steph:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed the interview, Sandra! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete
  27. This is interesting - I've always wondered how two or more people can collaborate on a novel like that, since I've never had any luck at all with working on anything creative with anyone outside of a school project. >_< Glad it's worked out so well for them, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mason- We are so happy you enjoyed hearing about how we collaborate. It is definitely better working with someone who has the same vision that you do! :) ~Jess and Stephanie

      Delete