Someone recently asked me about our writing process during the creation of the three book Hoodwives/Bentley Manor series, so I decided to post about it. Every team of co-authors have their own unique way of creating a good book. Some sit shoulder to shoulder at the computer with one typing while they both write the story step by step, others like De’Nesha and I wrote our chapters separately and then alternated and merged them in the book. Knowing that may help other co-authors realize that it is possible to collaborate on a book but stay true to your own writing style–because that’s exactly what we did.
In fact when we first sold the proposal to Simon & Schuster/Touchstone it was presented as an anthology with four separate stories. Our editor at the time suggested merging the chapters into one book instead. Brilliant. (Hey Cherise!) We continued to write as if they were separate stories and when we were done we simply merged the chapters and then made sure we were consistent with time and settings, etc. I created Miz Osceola- one half of the elderly team overlooking Bentley Manor, Lexi- the love struck single mother, and Aisha, the wifey of a incarcerated drug lord. De’Nesha Miz created Cleo-the other half of the elderly team looking out for Bentley Manor, Molly–the white chick who fell for the guy, and Devani, the scheming girlfriend of a football player. We both wanted one character to connect all four women and we both came up with Junior (and he definitely made an impact on each woman’s life!)
The way we wrote Desperate Hoodwives allowed us to brainstorm the concept together but be able to bring our individual writing styles to the table. I think it’s what made the book so successful because you had the skills of two writers, already successful in their own rights, combining to create something that the readers came to love. People really ate up the book about four hoodwives with way more desperation than the ladies from Wisteria Lane. The book was such a success that we went on to sell the second and third book in the series, Shameless Hoodwives and The Hood Life, respectively. The concept for the books changed but our writing process did not.
People may be surprised to learn that Denesha and I have never met face to face. There were hundreds of miles between us when we wrote the three books. She lived in Georgia and I was in South Carolina.
We have ended the Hoodwives series and I can say I do miss the craziness of Bentley Manor, but like so many things in life…it was time to move on. The greatest thing about it? Those books have–and will– remain long after we left Bentley Manor behind.
For a list of my characters from the Hoodwives/Bentley Manor series: https://meeshamink.wordpress.com/desperate-hoodwives/minkcharacters/