Q. How do the two of you write books together?
A. For us it's almost as easy as breathing! We worked on a number of projects together before we wrote Tryin' and discovered that we could work seamlessly. It's almost like having two halves of the brain! We both write and rewrite everything but we have to be in the same place. That's how the vibe happens! Sometimes we're side by side at the desktop PC, one is at the laptop and the other at the desk and we're both writing the same section, then we come together, read each other's work and weave them together, a sentence or two at the same time. We also work within the same chapter, one going from the beginning to the middle the other from the middle to the end, then we exchange sections and work on the other's then join them! The crazy thing is we never know how the work will progress each day and we can work all of these ways in one writing session.
Q. Do you ever fight?
A. Nope. We often agree to disagree, but in more than 25 years, we’ve never had a serious argument. We find that if we talk long enough the right answer somehow magically makes itself known.
Q. Why does it take you so much time between books?
A. We've been asking ourselves that one too (so have our publishers) and truth is it takes us a while to conceive of what the story will be about—and you know us. There have to be layers, and subplots and lots of “stuff” going on. It’s tricky to weave all the pieces together as well as find the flow of a particular story. We work hard to give you a lively, detailed and relatable story with characters you feel are real—like people you know or maybe even a little like you—and that isn’t an easy task. We don’t want to disappoint you, we don’t want to give you the same story over and over again with the names of the characters and their location and jobs changed and we don’t want to give you what you can get somewhere else. So---it takes a little time. Please be patient with us!!!
Q. Are you working on another book now?
A. Yes. We've started work on another book— and we’ll keep you updated about our progress.
Q. Do you plan to write sequels to any of your books?
A. When we completed Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made thoughts of a sequel NEVER entered our minds. Our writing philosophy was (and is) not to wrap a story up in a pretty, tidy bow at the end, because life doesn’t work like that—at least none that we know of. So we chose (choose) to leave our characters at a new beginning, rather than at an end.
For ten years, we were asked for a sequel to Tryin’ and we debated --should we? shouldn’t we? We wrote Far From the Tree and Better Than I Know Myself, but still the questions came about Pat & Gayle & Marcus—AND THEN readers wanted to know whathappened to Ronnie and Celeste and Regina and Carmen! Sequels are tricky. Readers often have very specific ideas about what they want the characters to do, and if we take them in a different direction that usually means some people are disappointed. But there are some characters we might like to revisit a few years down the line, to see how they are coping with the new situations we left them in at the end of each book. Did they learn from their mistakes? Did they make the same ones again? Or new ones? What happens to our characters' children once they grow up and are out on their own? The possibilities are intriguing. So we’ll see how Gotta Keep on Tryin’ goes before we make any decisions about sequels to Tree and Better!
Q. Will any of your books be made into movies?
A. Back in 1997 and 1998 the film rights to Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made were optioned twice but the movie was never made. We tried to be careful, to examine offers from producers thoroughly because we want to assure, as much as possible, that any film would capture the feeling we try to give our work. Now we flash forward ten years---We have joined forces with two dynamic producers to make Tryin’ to Sleep in the Bed You Made THE MOVIE!!!! We have formed our own production company, 4 Colored Girls Productions and are hard at work in the pre-production phase of this project—although we have signed a major film star to play the role of Patricia Reid. Please click on Tryin’ to Sleep The Movie for more exciting details!
Far from the Tree is currently optioned and 4 Colored Girls Productions, has plans for film versions of Better than I Know Myself and Gotta Keep On Tryin’ as well!
Q. Do you have guidelines or questions to suggest for our reading group?
A. All of us who write are encouraged and grateful for the support that comes from the many reading groups that are going strong. You can find discussion questions for Gotta Keep on Tryin’ in the book and at www.simonsays.com and click on the Book Club Resources tab. Discussion questions for Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made are available in the Go On Girl! Book Club Guide for Reading Groups by Monique Greenwood, Lynda Johnson and Tracy Mitchell Brown. And reading guides for Far From the Tree and Better Than I Know Myself is available at www.StMartins.com.