April 29th’s suspense post showcased the Christian mystery novel, Stranded by co-authors Don and Stephanie Prichard. And now, here’s the story behind the story.
Don and I are often asked what it’s like to write as a husband and wife team (meaning, “and still stay married” HA!) You see, it’s not as if we decided over coffee one morning to write a novel together. Uh, no way.
It was more like oil and water defying odds to become a new substance.
Don, let’s say, is the “oil.” Stranded started off as his baby—a baby born of a man who was not inherently daddy material. First of all, he’s dyslexic, and, well, sad to say, simply can’t write. Secondly, because of that, he rarely indulged in reading as a form of entertainment. He read the Bible and the newspaper. Period. Given those credentials, how in the world could he aspire to be an author? If anyone would have been voted Least Likely to Write a Novel in high school, it would have been Don.
I, the “water,” am just the opposite. I love reading and majored in English/Lit at college, intending a career of writing novels. It wasn’t a passion, however—more of a daydream—and the reality and reward of marriage and motherhood easily replaced it. I forgot all about writing.
Imagine my shock then, when, at the age of 57, Don told me he wanted to write a novel. “Give me a few pointers,” he said. Okay, I admit to snickering behind my hand, but I gave him the basics and off he went, jolly as could be. For the next four years, he wrote, rewrote, and re-rewrote his novel. It got so long he finally divided it into three novels.
Then he invited me to join him as a co-author—by which he meant be his editor, clean up his spelling and grammar. Definitely NOT to rewrite anything. After all, this was his baby, and surgery was not an option. But I fell in love with his story, made a little suggestion here, a little suggestion there, and before long we were reading how-to books together and attending writing conferences. I needed the input as much as Don. Being an English/Lit major, I discovered, did not equal knowing how to write fiction.
Ahhhh, oil and water didn’t just bond—we became one! We are amazed at how perfectly suited we are for each other as co-authors. Don is outstanding at coming up with “story” (he’s an avid movie fan and learned from the cinema), and he now loves it that I perform surgery on “our” baby. I take the draft he’s written and rewrite it, sometimes filling in plot holes, sometimes adding to the story, sometimes deleting (in all cases, talked over with Don first). I research everything to make sure it’s spot on, and he contributes all kinds of fascinating details (especially about survival in Stranded) that make the story all the more interesting.
For this, we credit God and thank Him with full hearts.
As for our marriage, co-authoring has raised our admiration and respect for each other. Having this project in common has given us great delight. We work on the same thing, aim for the same destination, and root for it outcome. There’s no conflict, just wonderful unity.
Okay, once in a while we squabble, but we always end up on the same page, happy with the final decision!
About the Authors
Don Prichard is 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 met her husband at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she majored in English/Literature. She and Don have lived in Indianapolis, IN, for forty years, where they raised their three children and now enjoy eleven grandchildren. In retirement have turned to co-authoring novels.
Purchase your copy of Stranded now on Amazon! You can also find out more about Don & Stephanie via their website, Pinterest and Facebook.
Kara writes layered suspense thrillers and is an ACFW Genesis 2013 Finalist in the Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category.
She’ll also keep you updated on some of the best reads in Christian fiction suspense.
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