Bestselling author, Hazel Edwards (There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake, and many other fabulous titles) and her son Trevelyan are here to talk about their new book and share their tips on co-writing.
Co-writing with family is different from co-authoring with a colleague, because you still have to live together afterwards.
Someone once asked me, ‘Is writing your family trade?’ Until then I hadn’t thought of co-writing in that way. It was just a time management and family workstyle. But it also gives our extended family reason to travel & celebrate together.
I’ve co-written two ‘adventure’ books with my son. The two grandsons are yawn-testers and have inspired some stories.
- Agree on who does what, before you start. E.g. Trevelyan did ALL the THRU walking of the 5 month 2184 miles of the Appalachian Trail which became the ‘Trail Magic’ book. This was the research. I helped with the writing and business side. He wore out two pairs of boots.
- Allow for differences in attitudes to deadlines or ways of working.
- Have some family fun where you do NOT mention ‘The BOOK’.
- Decide on sequence of author names on cover. Put most relevant author first so readers can find it easily, or go alphabetical. We included Quest as Trevelyan’s real middle name because it fitted the adventure book subject.
- Agree on title and cover.
- Work from the same version of the ms. Or use Drop box.
- Possible to co-write even if in different time zones. E.g. Trevelyan lives in Darwin.
- Invite all family to book launch to celebrate.
- Knowing you will write about it afterwards, enables you to live more intensively and to share family memories.
When I was growing up, Mum had a home office , so authors and illustrators visited all the time.
We had their signed artwork on the walls. But her memoir about the 2001 Antarctic expedition stuck in the polar ice with the chopper crash, inspired me to write my first book ‘Cycling Solo; Ireland to Istanbul’ .
I realized you could travel and write honestly about what went wrong or the funny stuff. And others liked reading that.
But I always put off finishing my writing. I prefer the walking or cycling. That’s why we call it co-authoring. Mum finishes projects.
Trevelyan Edwards wore out two pairs of boots in five months. He walked THRU the Appalachian Trail of 2184 miles northwards from Atlanta, Georgia to Mt Katahdin in Maine (U.S.A.)
A Darwin-based life-saver and former cartographer, Trevelyan was known as ‘Walkabout’ along the trail. ’Trail Magic’ shares his minimalist (minus digital devices) philosophy as he treks the most famous hiking trail in the world over five months. At one stage he nearly gave up, but the support of friends kept him going. Trail Magic is the random kindnesses strangers offer travellers along the Appalachian Trail which should be paid in kind. Hence this book.
MORE ABOUT HAZEL
If you have a question for Hazel or Trevelyan, feel free to ask it in the comments section of this blog.