Here is PART 1 of an Article I am working on for Affaire de Coeur. It is the background on both halves of Hailey Lind...more to come on our writing process. STAY TUNED.
Collaborative Writing, or Sisterhood Ain’t for Sissies
What comes to mind when you imagine an author at work? A solitary wordsmith tapping away on a clackety old typewriter in a lonely garret, perhaps wearing fingerless gloves? Much has been written about the writing process, and many of these discussions focus on the loneliness of the long-distance author. But writing doesn’t have to be a solitary endeavor. After years of thinking, talking, and dreaming about writing fiction, my sister and I became published mystery novelists by blending our strengths, balancing our weaknesses, and encouraging one another through the hard times. Together, we are the author known as Hailey Lind.
Our path to publication has been difficult but entertaining, full of obstacles we expected—finishing a marketable manuscript, finding an agent, pursuing a publisher—and challenges we had not anticipated—hawking one’s wares wares at bookstores, begging for reviews and hoping they’re positive, giving readings at Tupperware parties. Indeed, one might ask why (and how) we are now offering a Portrait Contest in conjunction with the release of Shooting Gallery, our second novel in the Art Lover’s Mystery Series. What does a Portrait Contest have to do with fiction writing? Read on, gentle reader, read on!
Of Yankees, Southern Belles, and ApricotsThere was little inkling that Carolyn and Julie would eventually form a sister-writing team. We grew up with an older sister and doting parents in Cupertino, California, a comfortable bedroom community at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay. When we were young our neighborhood was surrounded by walnut, cherry, and apricot orchards, and one of our fondest memories is collecting the sun-ripened fruit that had fallen to the ground. Cupertino is now best known as the birthplace of Apple Computers, and we grew up literally down the street from its first headquarters--Carolyn remembers spotting the Apple logo and thinking the Beatles had moved in! (Carolyn was a little confused.) The booming computer industry gradually replaced the orchards, and many of our classmates went on to become wildly rich. Not so the stubborn Lawes girls, who pursued careers in the fields of art, history, and the social sciences, much to the amused chagrin of their parents.
Dad is a Yankee from New York, a retired Navy pilot who loves motorcycles and camping; Mom is a Southern Belle, a former teacher and editor, who adores reading and “bun berrying”—exploring the countryside, antiques stores, and quaint teashops. There must be something to the old maxim that “opposites attract”, for our parents recently celebrated their fiftieth anniversary. Our childhood was filled with stories, laughter and really, really bad puns. We grew up surrounded by books and read constantly: anything from the Borrowers series to the back of cereal boxes. Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters became a particular favorite. On long family car trips we would entertain ourselves by making up our own stories.
Carolyn, four years Julie’s senior, had a remarkably unhappy sojourn as an administrative assistant in the Silicon Valley—a former pianist, she has fast fingers and types a blue streak. She graduated from the University of Santa Clara, a Jesuit college on the site of a Spanish mission, before continuing on to graduate school at the University of California at Davis. She ran away from grad school to teach history at the University of Paris-VII (Jussieu), and while in France enjoyed a series of adventures, at one point having lunch in an eleventh-century castle with a count and countess (they served pizza) and cheering on the racers at Le Mans, before throwing in the ex-patriot towel and going home to complete her doctorate. She is a specialist in nineteenth-century American history at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Against all odds, Carolyn now lives in an adorable little white house with a huge yard and a picket fence, and dotes on three dogs and two cats, all of whom were rescued from the street and in dire need of a loving home. She swears she doesn’t know quite how it all happened.
Julie completed a bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz, then a Masters in Social Work and another in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Albany. While she was supposed to be finishing her dissertation in cultural anthropology, she worked as a tavern waitress, lived in Spain, Italy, and Mexico, taught English to immigrants and medical anthropology to college students, spent a summer at the Florence Academy of art, and made a documentary film with the BBC about Vietnamese refugees in the Philippines, Boston, and rural Texas. She never quite got around to the PhD.
Upon moving back to California, Julie stumbled into a faux finishing project, taught herself how to glaze walls only after accepting the job, and finally established her own mural, faux finishing, and portrait studio in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco. She lives with her fourteen-year-old son, a big brown mutt, an old college friend, and whatever itinerant artist or scholar is passing through and needs a room. Her son keeps her abreast of rap music and contemporary slang, but he begs her not to attempt it in mixed company—i.e., whenever his friends are within earshot.