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!
You may contact us at: http://www.traciwilton.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
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!
Mrs. Morris and the Ghost looks very interesting but is a little daunting at 336 pages. I think I shall have to allow two days for this one should I win.
Congratulations, you two! Way to be persistent. I love that you can work together so well. And I adored The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, so I clearly need to catch up with Mrs. Morris and sidekick.
This is so interesting. I’ve just bought Mrs Morris and the ghost! I love your story.
I love the characters.
Congratulations on your success and the books. I’m really looking forward to the print edition of Death In Sandpaper Bay.
I’ve been to Salem a few times and I love to read books about places that I have been too.
I live near Salem and it had been I have been there MANY times. It’s a wonderful community intertwined with the Salem witch kitsch. My dad harbored his sailboat there and I’ve taken continuing Ed classes at Salem State College. My daughter now works there. I love your collaborative spirit… it’s a bit like Salem!
Hey, these sound right up my alley! I love Salem, ghosties, and I absolutely loved The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – thanks for bringing back that memory. Congratulations on your success and I will be looking for your books!
Not had the opportunity to read the A Salem B&B Mystery series, but sure would love to. I love the idea that Charlene was brave enough to strike out with a business of her own. Although I would be petrified to buy a house site unseen, I can understand the need to do “something” after the loss of a loved one to keep mind and body busy. Think it’s cool that Jack is a part of each book too which takes the cozy to a new level. Can’t wait to read these books on my TBR list.
Love that your friendship has worked through the years and distance. It reminds me of my friendship with my BFF, a prized treasure for sure. Wishing you many more years of success and fun investigating for future books which naturally must include lots of wine. 🙂
Thank you for the chance to win one of your books! Shared and hoping to be one of the fortunate ones selected.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
Another new series to read. Love it! I was a big fan of The Ghost and Mrs Muir when I was a child so the concept is very appealing to me. It was very interesting to see how you write, together. I would guess that is both challenging and rewarding in equal measure. I’d love to read any book in the series.
I love your story – persistence is indeed the key. The books sound lovely.
I love the setting. And I really enjoy the characters.
I love the setting. And I really enjoy the characters. Looking forward to the new books!
Welcome to the blog! I loved hearing your story of “overnight success!”
I love that the books are set in Salem. I read another series set in Salem and I love it. Ghosts are always good. You’re story is inspiring.
I remember watching The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. What a good show! I would love to win Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past.
Never been to Salem, would love to go! I have been wanting to read Mrs. Morris and the Ghost! Would love to win that book! Thanks for the chance!
Okay, this appeals to me on so many levels. I like the location. I have always been interested in the supernatural and I love a mystery. The cat on the cover signifies to me there is one in the stories. I love dogs and cats and have several of both. I think I may have just found myself another new Cozy Mystery Series to read. I’d love to win one of the books to get me started but if I don’t, I guess I’ll have to buy them. I prefer print books and have an actual library in my home full of books many of which are autographed.
Welcome to the Wickeds! I cannot imagine writing a novel with another person. Bravo!
I liked that the first book reminded me of The Ghost and Mrs Muir.
Sounds like you’ve worked out a great way to write these books. Congrats on your success!
I loved The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, it’s such a great idea to base a cozy series on the movie!
Wow! Great story about the two of you creating such wonderful works! Thanks for being here. Can’t wait to read Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past (sorry, but I’d read that just because of the cover pic — it’s adorable, funny, and the cat completely gives me the giggles, tee hee). You two are pretty cool! Loved the humor in this piece, kept grinning while I read.
I am always in awe when two people write together. What an accomplishment and to stay friends for so long doing it…just WOW! I have not ever read any of your books and they all sound delightful.
What a great post! The humor in these books appeals to me a lot. Thanks for the opportunity to win. aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com
I enjoyed the first three books. I like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir vibe and that the cat can see Jack. Stay safe and well.
I loved all of these and can’t wait to read Mrs.Morris and the Sorceress!! Keep them coming!
I enjoyed reading this post about all these awesome sounding books, I have not read any of them, but it all sounds really good to me. Have a great weekend and stay safe. Thank you for the chance.
I love Salem, too! And I love hearing how two people can write a book together. That just boggles my mind. I would love to have the first book in the series so I can add the series to my TBR pile. What fun that would be.
The characters sound great along with the setting.
I am trying to be upset for you introducing me to a new series and author(s). Not working. I love new series & authors. Looking forward to reading these books
I’ve not read you before but I would love to! I love things set in Salem. Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com
I just love reading cozies!! Thanks for the chance!
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