Here’s my interview with Jack Everett and David Coles
authors of the political Thriller 1/1:Jihad – Britain.
Why did you decide to write books in partnership and
how do you divide up the work?
David won a short story contest in a magazine who printed his name & address. I read the magazine and realised we lived 3 miles apart…Our division of labour is as follows:
A Writing Team.
David and Jack have been writing
together for more years than they can
the working title of Chunnel BC, a
humorous tale of the Romans planning
a tunnel beneath the English Channel
because Julius Caesar got seasick
outside of the Mediterranean. It never
even made it to the publisher but, as a
first attempt, it was good fun and cemented
a friendship which has lasted longer than
three Prime Ministers.
In the years since then, they have continued the historical theme with a serious novel concerning the disappearance of the Roman Ninth Legion in Britain, a medieval mystery and a WWII story. There have also been fantasy and science fiction novels – built on a shared admiration of Jack Vance’s work. A political thriller – 1/1:Jihad-Britain the most recent. Work in progress includes a historical fantasy and a modern-day crime/mystery novel.
All of these novels have been written as a team. After their first co-operation- which consisted of writing a chapter each during which they attempted to leave the hero in such a diabolical dilemma that much head-scratching ensued- things changed. The writing model is now one
of repeated layers. Typically, after
discussing the main sweep of the plot
for a new book, Jack will begin writing
and pass a week’s work on to David who
rewrites it, checking facts in some cases,
questioning flights of fancy in others and
adding 10% to 20% new material. Once
the initial draft is completed, it goes back
to Jack, back again to David, a process
repeated until both are satisfied and at
each stage, material is added or changed,
phrasing is amended.The model varies, of course, the main input may come from one or the other but one rule remains paramount: if either of the team dislikes something, it gets pulled. It works for them. In this case, two people writing together generates far more than twice as much fun.
Your latest novel 1/1:Jihad – Britain sounds interesting. Can you please tell us what prompted you to write the book. I’m assuming it was 9/11 and 7/7, but were there other spurs, too?
Firstly the media seemed to be full of it, terrorism seemed to be taking place on a global scale but it was becoming accepted as the norm. We asked the question – how big does an act of terrorism have to be before it makes people sit and take notice? Perhaps take united action.