Best friends Laura Hamby and Sheylynn Jones are no strangers to continuity stories, having begun their decade-long friendship over planning a continuity series they wrote (along with Meg Allison, and Sheylynn writing as Shara Jones then) for their epublisher way back in the day. Their epublisher has since closed doors, but Laura and Sheylynn haven’t lost their love for creating worlds together and writing together.
The Gable Cove series is, they believe, a unique twist on romantic series in that both Laura and Sheylynn use Gable Cove as the setting for their novels, but are each writing a 3 book series that will stand alone. Laura and Sheylynn share their experiences in world-building of Gable Cove, in this interview, as well as other fun tidbits and facts.
1. Who came up with the idea of writing two stand-alone series in a shared setting, and what did the other think initially? Sheylynn: I’d created a haunted coastal town and named it Gable Cove and planned a series. Laura immediately popped up and said, “Hey, what if we share the fictional town and both write series based on it?” And then we squee’ed at the brilliance and it was done.
Laura: What Sheylynn said. Okay, I was vacuuming my bedroom when I had the brainstorm to share Gable Cove, so I immediately stopped vacuuming and raced to the computer to PM Sheylynn to see what she thought. Yes. We did squee. And giggle. And got right down to work building Gable Cove.
2. How did Gable Cove get its name? Sheylynn: I wanted a coastal area that had seen tragic events such as hurricanes to support a very haunted present. Laura suggested that Galveston Island might serve in some ways as a model.
Laura: Yep. Sheylynn named it. I loved the name sooooo much, I was sad I hadn’t thought of it first. Sooo thrilled Sheylynn was agreeable to the brainstorm I had while vacuuming (see above).
3. Sheylynn writes ghosty-paranormal-y stories, while Laura writes romantic comedies that often incorporate family. How do the two mesh for the Gable Cove series? Will Sheylynn and Laura be sticking with their preferred sub-genres? Sheylynn: Laura and I have written together for years and know how well our writing voices mesh although they are very different. I love to write paranormal romance with emotional punch.
Laura: We first bonded over writing a continuity series together – even though we approach writing very differently, and write different romance sub-genres, we think remarkably alike, which makes a project like this perfect for us, and oh, so very fun. I love letting humor into my stories – it rather happens organically, and families can be a tremendous source of emotions and great for oddball situations.
4. Describe Gable Cove and how the businesses on the charming Main Street came to be, and how does that all tie in to the planned 6 novels set there. Sheylynn: Gable Cove was always planned as a tourist town and as such, a bit of quirkiness, colorful secondary characters and interesting locations spring from that. The businesses created are sometimes secondary character themselves.
Laura: One of the business on Main Street, a bath shop called Bubbles, was inspired by a lovely bath shop I found downtown in my new hometown. I’ve sent Sheylynn several messages along the lines of, “Hehe…Gable Cove now has a ___” <—Fill in the blank for a business. I’m sure Main Street, Gable Cove will grow as our novels are written, becoming richer and more real as we write.
5. Laura’s 3 novels share the common element of the Gladiolus Garden House, a majestic three-story Victorian home since divided into three apartments (one on each floor), and an apartment on the second floor of the adjoining Carriage House. Laura, how was the Gladiolus Garden House born?
Sheylynn and I had been discussion writing a series – separately and together with our Best Friends brand. The first thing I wanted was a common setting for my series, and as I’ve always loved Victorian homes, it was a natural ‘go-to.’ I got to look at pictures online of Victorian homes and call it “research.” I wanted the old home to have a stunning garden, so I also googled flowers and settled on the gladiolus flowers because they’re so beautiful. And viola! Gladiolus Garden House (AKA “the GGH”) was born.
6. Sheylynn’s 3 novels share a paranormal element. What can you tell us about each novel? Each novel features strong paranormal elements such as ghosts and psychics, and the couples who are sometimes united in pursuit of paranormal enlightenment, or vehemently opposed and resistant to what their eyes and their heart tells them.
7. You say each series (GC GGH Series and GC – Haunted Series) are stand alone, not dependent on the novels of the other author’s series’ to weave the stories. How much crossover is there, then, and how do you handle the crossover of characters? Sheylynn: The secondary characters and locations have been entered into the series master notes or bible, as it were. Crossover of locations is a constant and we refer to the master notes for the descriptions already created. Character crossover is a bit different. The character’s ‘voice’, attitude, style which was created by a different author has to be incorporated into your own story true to form. I will cut and paste a section in question for Laura to see to ensure I’ve gotten the character drawn correctly.
Laura: Our series and the novels that make up our separate series are stand alone. You don’t *hafta* read my series and Sheylynn’s, but of course, we hope you do. I have drawn on one of Sheylynn’s heroines in my first *Gable Cove: Gladiolus Garden House* novel, Side by Side. We have the town, the Main Street and the businesses and people that in habit Gable Cove and Main Street. The important thing is that those secondary characters we use are uniform across both our series. It’s a good thing Sheylynn copy/pastes stuff into the bible for future reference.
8. Laura calls herself a “seat of the pants, organic” writer. Sheylynn is a plotter. How does this affect the writing of your books in this series? Sheylynn: We twit each other about our divergent writing styles but in the end, it works. We both arrive at our intended destinations and the flavor and basic characterizations are in line. I need to have my basic plot and in mind and Laura gives me grief about white boards, dry erase markers and post-it notes. Yes, please!
Laura: Sheylynn threatens to send me a white board, and yes, I do twit her about her propensity for sniffing dry erase markers. What’s hilarious is our discussions on our writing styles. She says I should try plotting. I say I have, and when I’ve done that, the Muse thinks we’ve written the story and we’re done – NEXT! Yes, as I get into the story, I can often see ahead as to what’s coming, but no, I won’t ever white board it or write it down anywhere until I’m actually writing it in my work-in-progress. It’s a great joy to discover what I have to say every time I sit down to write.
9. Describe a day in the life of writing the first books of each of your series, Laura and Sheylynn. What’s it like to write together? Sheylynn: Some days, its 100 words the hard way and sometimes we just fly and have a 2k + writing day. Laura and I have been writing together (by way of instant messaging) for years! Most writers need solitude and silence and no distractions. We tend to spur each on. It’s more fun to share writing tidbits, get opinions and just chat while we write. It works for us.
Laura: What Sheylynn said! I love having her on hand to run a passage past, especially one that’s been hard-won, or one I need to make sure the humor is spot-on and not hinky. I tend to be more productive when I’m writing with Sheylynn. Love it, every single bit of it.
10. Would you ladies do this again? Sheylynn: Absolutely! And we may or may not be in the planning stages for more. Stay tuned!
Laura: Absolutely is right! Best Friends, writing heartfelt romance together…until we’re so old we can no longer see the words, instant message, and our fingers are too bent with arthritis! And then we’ll figure out a way to continue writing together around all those obstacles.
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Where to Find us Online
We’re on Twitter, individually, and as Best Friends…Writing Heartfelt Romance. Follow us on Twitter for updates about #GableCove (#GableCoveSeries), as well as updates for our other publications. Our Twitter handles: @LauraHamby1 @SheylynnJones @BestFriendsWri ~ We love to chat, but please direct tweet us, as we simply cannot keep up with DMs. We appreciate all retweets and do work to return the favor. Thanks for following us!
You’re reading Laura’s blog right now – thank you! THIS is Sheylynn’s blog.
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