Let Me Introduce to Two Wonderful Authors Part 1
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Stephanie co-authors with her husband, Don, a Viet Nam veteran who served in the Marine Corps Reserves for thirty-two years before retiring as a colonel. He is also a career architect, whose specialty in government work includes the design of prisons, courthouses, and military facilities. Stephanie is an army brat who lived in many countries around the world and loved it. She learned to speak four foreign languages—but forgot all of them, alas, with lack of use. She met her husband at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she majored in English/Literature. She and Don live in Indianapolis, IN, and have three children and eleven grandchildren. With the empty nest and retirement, they began the new adventure of writing novels together.
Stranded: A shipwrecked Marine reservist helps three fellow castaways survive on an uninhabited jungle island, unaware one of them is responsible for his wife’s death.
Forgotten: A federal prosecutor's permanent memory loss threatens to land her forgotten fiancé in prison for murder.
1. You two co-author your novels. How did this happen?
Steph: Funny that Don is the one who got us started. He is dyslexic, therefore hated writing, and seldom read anything growing up other than comic books. I always loved reading and writing and wanted to be an author. When I became a wife and mom, I simply forgot about the dream. Then one day, at age 57, Don told me this storyline was stuck in his head and he wanted to publish it as a novel. I confess I snickered. He worked at it for four years before inviting me to join him. I figured I’d be nice and correct the spelling and grammar, but instead I fell in love with the story. Little did I know that I had to “learn to write” too. It took us ten years to reach publication, but sharing the “passion” has been a fantastic experience.
2. Did you find it easy to work together on it?
Don: It really helped to have a division of labor. While I wrote the initial draft, I realized I had to turn my precious baby over to Steph and trust her feminine sensibilities to soften the way I’d told the story. At first I gritted my teeth at any suggestion of change, but as we read how-to books together and attended writers’ conferences, I realized the worth of literary surgery on my poor child.
3. How did the team-work impact you?
Don: It ultimately caused me to love my wife more as I grew in respect for her. I marveled at the way she was able to elegantly express ideas that I was just clumsy with.
Steph: I tend to be a global thinker and often reduce my knowledge to the bottom line. Over and over I was impressed with the details Don had imbedded in the story, especially from his experiences as a Marine Corps reservist and Viet Nam veteran. I also discovered that although he wasn’t a big reader, all those movies he watched had made him into an excellent plotter. Most important for both of us was that collaborating on our novel created a terrifically enjoyable bond for us as husband and wife.
4. What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?
Steph: We rarely disagree but when we do, we feel free as husband and wife to, um, clearly express ourselves. However, with fifty-one years of marriage under our belts, we also know how to get over it, find a way to agree, and move on. Being Christians with access to prayer definitely makes a difference.
5. What are you reading right now?
Don: I like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series because there is lots of action and the story is not slowed with unnecessary description.
Steph: Our church has a women’s book club, so right now I’m reading A Different Sun by Elaine Neil Orr for them, and The Distant Hours by Kate Morton for me.