Welcome readers! Today I’m happy to have Traci Wilton, (the writing duo Traci Hall and Patrice Wilton) join us on the blog to talk about how they came to be cowriters, their writing process, and best of all, their friendship. They’re also giving away three books to three lucky commenters! Take it away, ladies!
Traci Hall and I, Patrice Wilton, have been writing romance stories and other genres for over thirty grueling years. We became friends before either of us were published. We belonged to a critique group and would meet up once a week. At that time, twenty years ago, we lived in South Florida, within thirty minutes of each other.
We were determined that one day we’d break through the world of publishing. It took me fifteen years to achieve that goal, and perhaps a little less for Traci. It’s harder than you think! And way back then, self-publishing was not the thing to do. New York publishing was the only way to go! Small publishing companies materialized and we both went down that route until…wait for it…AMAZON became Big Brother and Kindle Direct Publishing was born.
Lucky me! I had six perfectly solid manuscripts to introduce to the world. My agent had sent them to all the big houses, and yes, I had wonderful rejection letters, saying I was a talented writer, but…
I hate buts, don’t you? Well, they didn’t know who they were dealing with because Traci and myself were not quitters! Traci by that time had two contracts with promising middle-of-the-road pub houses. Her favorite quote was that she personally closed them all down. But (of course) she was kidding! We think.
My first book, REPLACING BARNIE, started selling like hotcakes, and reached as low as 340 out of a million books.
READERS FOUND US!!
So, we became rich and famous and now live in mansions! NOT.
Traci has at least sixty published books, and I’m closer to forty.
So, what do long-time friends do? We continued to write and waited for our golden opportunity. It arrived in the form of our agent, Evan Marshall. He worked with an editor who wanted a cozy mystery series similar to the old TV movie, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. He approached us and asked if we’d be interested in writing a cozy mystery and we said, “hell no!” and that’s the end of our story.
No! Hold on. Wait. The truth is that we accepted right away.
We jumped up and down and shouted over the miles that separated us, thank you cell phones and internet, and started a series that neither one of us had ever written before. But how hard can it be, right? We agreed from the beginning that our friendship would come first. That is how the Salem B & B cozy mystery series was born.
We decided to try and keep our romance fans, because romance readers are awesome and read across the genre board, and adopted Traci Wilton as our pen name.
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost garnered good reviews and seemed to be popular—but we didn’t know what to expect, since this was brand new.
Mrs. Morris and the Witch climbed higher in the sales numbers. Readers were reaching out to tell us how much they liked Charlene and Jack. Sam. Silva!
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past hit the B & N top seller list three times. We were so excited and surprised.
Mrs. Morris and the Sorceress will be available everywhere on March 30th! It already has a wonderful Kirkus Review—this is an achievement we’d dreamed of back in the critique partner days—almost twenty years ago.
Mrs. Morris and the Vampire follows August 26th. Mrs. Morris and the Pot of Gold will be handed in to our editor April 1st!
It’s been an amazing ride, and if we had a moral to our story it would be Never Give Up. We each are so humbled by the loyalty of our readers – thank you!
What’s next? We hope to continue on with more Salem B& B stories.
In our free time (ha) we are co-writing a new series. Death in Sandpiper Bay, A Riley Harper Mystery, written by Traci Hall and Patrice Wilton is available now in ebook, and print copies are coming soon.
People are always curious as to how two people can co-write a story. We knew we could do this as we write in a similar style, trust each other completely, and are focused on our goal of an entertaining book.
First thing we do is get together and figure out our characters and plot. That can take us anywhere from hours to days. The most important element in the creation of the book involves WINE, and lots of it. We also enjoy going away to research our location. Our trip to Salem included finding the perfect lobster and searching for ghosts!
Okay, in all seriousness we have a solid system to write our books together. One of us starts the first chapter, then the other reads what was written, and starts the next chapter. We make notes on the side of the page in the comments section and move on until we finish the first draft. In the second draft, we tie all the threads together. Draft three is prettying up the book with great descriptions and word choices.
After that, we send the manuscript to friends and people we can trust to read it and give us an honest opinion. We are not looking for praise at this point, only if everything is clear, with no repetitive words or sentences, and hope they catch any misspelled words.
Occasionally we will have a difference of opinion, but we call each other and respectfully talk things through. No bad feelings, just the knowledge that we’re in this together and doing it for the greater good of the book.
We hope this answers any questions, but we love to hear from readers, so feel free to reach out to us.
We hope that you’ll check out our cozy mysteries as well as our individual books!
Happy reading everyone!
Thanks for being here, Patrice and Traci! Readers, the ladies are giving away three books today to three random commenters. Winners can choose from Mrs. Morris and the Ghost, Mrs. Morris and the Witch, Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past, or Mrs. Morris and the Sorceress. Tell us in the comments below – what appeals to you most about this series? For me, I love that it’s set in Salem, a place near and dear to my heart!