The male lead at the time was that of Richard Triplet, basically a nice guy but handicapped by too much money. Yes - I know - you wouldn't mind a handicap like that.
I got involved helping Shelia with research and the male point of view. We felt it was important to write a plausible plot, one which even if it wasn't real, sounded real.
For about six months we worked on the story, adding characters as we needed them and sub-plots galore. Eventually we had a 700 page book and still no title or any idea of how it was going to end. We realized that we had the makings of a good story but it was far too long. Reluctantly we started deleting. Out went the long descriptive bits of Donna's journey. We killed the car chase by fake police; we lost the breakfast where Donna talked about cutting throats; we deleted Brenda's murder; we removed the reporter Jack Brantley. In the end we had a story 150,000 words long and no ending or title.
For a year almost it languished unfinished before suddenly I got an idea for an ending and with it came a title 'A Vested Interest'
We ended up with a story 172,000 words long, complete with loads of factual and grammar errors. OK the fun bit was over - time to get down to work.
It took us over two months to go through the book and correct everything. Having done that we went through it again. By the third time we went through it we began to feel it was ready for publication and set about investigating how that was done.
Extensive research on Internet indicated we needed an agent. Curtis Brown was selected and off went sample chapters and covering letter. A month later we had our first rejection. 'Well,' we thought. 'J.K Rowling had Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone rejected 15 times so that's not a disaster'. Off it went to another agent who rejected it also. After out third rejection we did a little more research.
- Prologues are not a good idea in a first book.
- Those first 30 pages have to get the reader hooked and wanting more.
- A first book shouldn't be too long.
Shelia eventually found a way of doing it and she convinced me by saying 'We can put back some of that stuff we cut earlier.' So we did it.
Of course when we started writing again, we got more ideas and in no time at all we found the second book was too long again - so we split that too.
...and the 'A Vested Interest' series was born.
That is... if you tell us you want more.