Co-Author Spotlight: Amalie Howard & Angie Morgan on My Darling, My Disaster
Today is a special day because I get to welcome co-authors, Amalie Howard and Angie Morgan to the blog! Both accomplished authors in their own right, this dynamic duo first teamed up to write the well-received historical romance, My Rogue, My Ruin (Lords of Essex #1) which released last November, and they are following it up with My Darling, My Disaster (Lords of Essex #2), available TODAY, March 27, 2017!
Hi, Angie and Amalie! Congrats on My Darling, My Disaster (Lords of Essex #2) which releases today! What can you tell us about it?
It’s a steamy regency romance between a Russian princess who is hiding as a lady’s maid from a murderer and an English lord who has a scandalous secret. Their attraction is, of course, entirely forbidden and risky, but the more they learn about one another and the closer they become, they begin to realize they might be able to help one another too.
I'm sure you had to do lots of research! What was the most interesting (or strangest) thing you learned while researching the Regency period?
We learned that no matter how much research you do, you can still get it wrong! There are so many nuances, behaviors, and rules associated with the regency period that it’s easy to miss one or two, even when you think you’ve got them all. And historical romance readers are very savvy so they will call you out on it! Our was “bloomers.” Don’t laugh. But seriously, depending on the period, there are so many names for underwear: drawers, bloomers, pantalets, pantaloons, chemises, combinations. A girl can get confused! Thank goodness for good old panties. One of the strangest things we learned was the bourdaloue, which pretty much looks like a gravy boat, and that women used to use to go to the bathroom underneath all their skirts and nine million petticoats. We will never look at a gravy boat the same way again.
Since the title is My Darling, My Disaster, were there any ‘darlings’ you had to cut, but wish you could have kept?
We actually didn’t have to cut many beloved scenes or characters. However, we did have to add a couple...including a handful of interactions between our heroine, Lana, and her horrible housekeeper boss. We needed her to be accountable for her duties as a maid and have someone breathing down her neck who could put her disguise/position in jeopardy (especially if she was dallying with the lord of the manor).
The beauty of romance is the focus on the two main characters, with the minor sub plots involving other side characters. Since this is a dual timeline story, corresponding with MY ROGUE, MY RUIN, we had to have some overlapping scenes with the characters from Book 1. We had to include those darlings as well, which was fun, but definitely a challenge at times!
We love our darlings, even if sometimes they can be disasters.
Who was your favorite character to write?
Amalie: I really enjoyed writing about Gray’s personal struggle, and how he found himself caught between duty and desire. He has this idea of who he has to be (given the societal pressure and expectations that come with being a viscount and the heir to an earldom), but it doesn’t coincide with his very passionate and caring nature. I loved being able to explore his character growth throughout the novel and employ Lana as a key influence.
Angie: I loved writing Gray’s character too, but I have a soft spot for “sister” stories. Lana has a little sister, Irina, and Lana’s separation from her and their longing to be reunited, really drove her character. Lana is a fierce protector when it comes to her little sister, and her loyalty and dedication to Irina was a quality I really loved about her.
How did you two join forces?
We are like the Wonder Twins. Gravitational forces. Yin and yang.
Ok, here’s the true (less exciting story). A couple years ago, we were having a laugh about how much we loved our “manly marquesses” and our “dashing dukes,” and we decided to write our own historical romance as a fun project. A few months later, much to our surprise, we had written a complete novel, which we both fell in love with. We sent it off to our respective agents and the entire Lords of Essex series was then sold for publication to Entangled!
How does collaboration work? Do you split up scenes/chapters/etc.?
We have a very strong working rapport, honed over the course of four books and countless brainstorming sessions via online chat, phone, and in-person. We write via Google Docs and Word, and we tend to do a detailed outline before each project so that we are both on the same page as to where the story is going. Our last outline was twenty-six, single-spaced pages. Then we write. Because historical romance is so stylistic, we don’t separate out by chapters. We pick up where the other leaves off, even if it’s mid-scene. We trust each other implicitly and we edit as we go. Then we revise the finish project together. Once that’s done...wine time.
What’s the best part of collaborating?
Best part of collaboration is having someone at your side who is equally invested in the project, who will tell you as it is, hold your hand when necessary, and also give you a kick in the butt if you’re turning into a slacker. We both have good days and bad days during the course of drafting and revising too, and having someone there to turn to and “get” what you’re going through is so important. It’s been the best experience!
What advice do you have for writers who want co-author a book?
LOVE YOUR PARTNER. No, seriously, you need to love them. This is like a relationship, and you’re going to have ups and downs. The love is the key to not punching them into the next century. You’re going to argue...and go to bed angry...but you will need to make up.
There needs to be common ground between you as writers. Your writing style and your working ethic need to be similar. And you have to be able to TRUST the other person. That said, co-authoring is not easy. You’re two individuals collaborating on a single piece of work. There are going to be points where you won’t see eye to eye. You need to be able to confidently work through those hurdles or your project will suffer. So communication is key.
Trust, love, and communication. The building blocks for a good marriage...erm, we mean, collaborative working relationship.
Thank you to Angie and Amalie for such a fun interview, and for emphasizing the importance trust plays in any collaborative relationship. Even if you're not planning to co-author any time soon, I think this advice still applies. A huge part of being a writer is learning when and how to trust others with your work—whether that be in a critique setting or just reaching out for a second-opinion on plot problems, brainstorming, etc.
Look for Angie Morgan on Twitter at @PageMorganBooks, and on her website at: angiemorganbooks.com, and Amalie Howard on Twitter at @AmalieHoward and her website at: amaliehoward.com. Go follow them. :)
For more information on Lords of Essex (and the upcoming titles in the series!!!!!!!!) check out lordsofessex.com.