Ever wonder how two people co-write a book? Where do the ideas come from? How do they coordinate the characters, action, pacing, dialogue and plot? What about details like who are the real heroes and villains? What about that “fine line” between love and hate?
Let’s listen in:
Tell us a little about Dear Hero:
Hope: Sure! So Dear Hero follows the story of a villain and a hero who match in a nemesis-pairing app. They fight behind coffee shops, but they don’t expect to fall in love. When a shadow organization haunts both of them and their pasts, they may have to team up to make it out alive.
Alyssa: What if being a hero or a villain was a career path like any other? What if it involved building your social media platform and fighting bigger and better nemeses for clout? At that point, what does it even mean to be a hero or a villain?
How did you come up with this idea?
Hope: It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact moment. Alyssa and I had some parody YA twitter accounts where we made fun of YA and superhero cliches and tropes. My friend was also on a dating app at the time, and we saw quite a few superhero movies come out that year. Everything clicked together, so we hopped on a Google doc and started writing.
Alyssa: Our original idea involved hero/villain pen pals, but we wanted it to be snappier, with more dialogue, so we modernized the concept. The idea of hero/villain Tinder was too funny to pass up.
How was the writing process for this different than other books?
Hope: For one thing, it’s all chat format (a new popular form of an epistolary novel). Although Alyssa and I had a skeletal plot we were following, we never knew what the other person would write. Often characters or major plot points changed based on what they said. We did make sure to spot-check each other for plot consistency and copy editing.
Alyssa: We wrote together in real time on a Google Doc. That meant hours and hours typing furiously. I don’t think I’ve ever spent that long at a time just writing, but when there’s someone on the other end and you’re having so much fun, writer’s block and the munchies fade away.
What was the hardest part about writing this?
Hope: Honestly, this was the most fun I ever had writing a book. The hardest thing was balancing work schedules. Alyssa and I wrote the first draft (emphasis on first draft) in nine days, but we had a three hour time difference between us and five jobs we worked collectively. This led to a lot of late nights writing. But honestly, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. In fact, we did when we wrote the sequel LOL.
Alyssa: Time, for sure! I kept forgetting things like meals.
Do you have a favorite character?
Hope: So my allegiance changed with the sequel (a guy who, if he materialized, may or may not become my future husband), but in Dear Hero I love Kevin. He’s a theater nerd slash frat boy who doesn’t know how to rein it in. He’s awkward, adorable, and ridiculous.
Alyssa: V is my precious murder child. She’s deadly, she’s sassy, and she has a secret soft side that may or may not involve singing lullabies to her pet sharks.
Any advice for other writers?
Hope: I always feel like I could write a book for this question alone. My best advice is to trust the process. It will take a lot longer than you anticipate. Publishing involves a lot of stop and go, and a heck of a lot of hustle.
Alyssa: Take every opportunity you can. You’re going to have to take on a lot of gigs you don’t like before you get to where you want to be (cough cough, my stint in journalism). And right when you’ve had it and you’re about the throw in the towel, that tends to be when you hit a breakthrough, if you just hang on.
About Dear Hero:
Up-and-coming teen superhero Cortex is on top of the world, at least until villain dumps him. If he’s going to save his reputation, he needs a new antagonist, and fast.
Meanwhile, the villainous Vortex has once again gotten a little overeager and taken out a hero prematurely. Will any young hero be able to keep up with her? Maybe she should work on finding a steady relationship with an enemy she won’t kill in the first round.
So the two turn to Meta-Match, a nemesis pairing site for heroes and villains, where they match right away. After throwing punches at each other behind coffee shops, practicing their fight choreography, and hiring henchmen to do their bidding (mostly just getting them coffee), they begin to realize they have a lot more in common than just names that annoyingly rhyme.
But not everything in the superhero world is as it seems. Who are the real heroes and villains? And just how fine of a line is there between love and hate? When darkness from the past threatens them both, Cortex and V may need to work together to make it out alive.
Author Hope Bolinger.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 800 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids to HOOKED to Crosswalk.com.
She writes about 250-300 articles a year. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) released in 2019, and the sequel, Den, released in 2020. The final installment, Vision, releases in August 2021.
Her superhero romance she co-wrote with Alyssa Roat releases from INtense Publications in September 2020. Sequel Dear Henchman set to release in April 2021. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on Instagram and Twitter @hopebolinger. Find out more about her at hopebolinger.com
Author Alyssa Roat.
Alyssa Roat studied professional writing at Taylor University. She is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E., the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, and a freelance editor with Sherpa Editing Services.
She has had 200+ bylines in publications ranging from The Christian Communicator to Keys for Kids. Find out more about her here and on social media @alyssawrote. https://alyssawrote.com
September 28, 2020 at 8:13 am
I don’t know if I’ll read the book, but the interview was hilarious. No wonder they had so much fun writing it.
September 28, 2020 at 6:30 pm