Let’s find out how these two talented writers work together.
Heather: Thanks for having us, Joan!
JC: You are welcome. Tell me how long have you two worked together? When did it all start?
Heather: Hmmm… decades? Yes, our first collaboration was roughly thirty years ago. It was terribly cheesy and melodramatic, but we had such fun! After our early efforts, we went our separate ways (work-wise) for, oh, twenty-five years or so. A few years ago, we started the Fraser Sibling Writing Machine back up again. It’s just as much fun as when we were kids!
David: I’m not sure if I’d mention the soap opera-esque ramblings from back then. I think it disappeared for a reason. Although, now that I think of it, Dr. Richie St. James might have to make a cameo sometime soon. I chose him because that’s the only character name I remember.
JC: What made you decide to write books together?
Heather: It just kind of happened. We were each working on solo projects, started talking about how cool it would be to write together again, and just sort of jumped in.
David: Yeah, it wasn’t supposed to be a regular thing. It started off almost like a game, something to pass the time while I was blocked on my solo stuff. Now my solo stuff exists simply for me to work on while I’m waiting for Heather to send back her next installment.
Heather: Interesting question, since José is actually more of a typo than a character.
. They printed all of her stuff with the wrong name – José Picada – and promptly disappeared off the face of the earth. No refunds, no exchanges, no money left for replacement materials. So Josie is stuck being in business under the José name. I came up with the initial concept, told Dave, and he wrote the first chapter.
David: I can’t think of anything to add to this, so I’d like to take this time to ask if anyone had a good recipe for homemade barbeque sauce. I can’t find one that I really like.
JC: I have to say, I loved that typo idea. When I first read about Josie having a fictitious “boss,” I thought it was done to make a female private investigator more acceptable. Surely the client in the Deception Al Dente was a bit sexist. It made me laugh when I learned the real reason for Josie/Jose. OK, on to my nest question:How have you come up with plot ideas?
Heather: We tend to make it up as we go along. There’s an overall story arc for the four José Picada books (the first two of which have been published thus far), but we mostly fill in the details on the fly. This can lead to a fair amount of revision, but it works for us.
David: Yes, the characters do most of the plotting for us. We spend way more time creating people and then simply turning them loose. All we do is stalk them from a discreet distance and see what happens. They know that if they want to earn their keep and become recurring characters, they need to do something interesting.
JC: What have been some of the biggest challenges with writing with a family member?
Heather: My biggest challenge is getting Dave’s attention away from his many areas of interest (baseball, binge-watching Doctor Who, making cosplay costumes, you name it!) and back on our current manuscript. Once he’s focused, we can fly through a first draft in no time.
David: Yes, I’d say that time management is a major issue. Mine, that is, not Heather’s. She’s very well organized and motivated. I, on the other hand, am very liable to… oh, I just noticed that the Minnesota-Detroit game is on. I’ll have to finish this answer later.
JC: Haha! I can see that’s true for you, David.
JC: What have been some of the biggest joys with writing with someone else?
Heather: We love to crack each other up, which is why so much humor ends up in our books.
which lends itself very well to the paranormal mystery genre. Plus, I’ve talked to my brother more in the past few years than in the twenty years prior. We have the best, longest, most rambling phone conversations, and it’s a true joy.
David: I don’t know if I’d call it a joy as much as an advantage, but it helps to have someone pick up the slack. There are often times when I’ll have trouble getting motivated to write and Heather will pick up the slack. Once in a great while, I get to return the favor. So, in short, there aren’t really any long delays like there are with my solo stuff.
JC: Heather, what does David bring to the table that you appreciate?
Heather: The dude is flat-out hysterical. He can make me laugh like no one else. Also, he’s very good at writing action, and I’m not. I appreciate the fact that I can just type “please put something actiony here” in a manuscript, and he’ll run with it. Oh, and he’s genius-like with computers. That tends to come in handy.
JC: David, what does Heather bring to the table that you appreciate?
David: I like the fact that she’s gullible enough to be tricked into thinking that I’m genius-like with computers, which is mostly untrue. I now get most of my computer advice from my 12-year-old daughter and pass it off as mine. Also, I like that she can’t write action, otherwise she wouldn’t need me.
JC: If you had to give us a word of advice about writing as a brother/sister partnership, what would that be?
Heather: Humor is key.
David: And keys are humorous.
As you can see the Heather/David team is delightful I thoroughly enjoyed the first Jose Picada PI mystery. I loved the humor and the fun. If you want a good read that will make you laugh out loud, pick up one of these books, or better still pick up both of them. BTW, you can read my review of the series in Monday’s blog post.
If you have your own questions for Heather and David, post them in your comments. They will gladly respond. And, my thanks to both for a great interview!
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