DLM: Thank you both for allowing me this opportunity. I’m so excited! I really adore your Lucky Moon series and look forward to reading more from your collaborative as well as solo efforts. You both are so accomplished that I can’t really touch in this humble post upon all your works and must thank you for taking time away from writing.
Anyway, moving forward I must ask an obvious question; did you each seek out a writing partner before finding one another?
MJOS: I hadn't at all, actually. I wasn't opposed to it but it had never crossed my mind. I'd written a few books on my own already and Piper and I were in the same critique group. She came to me with the idea for Moonlight Becomes You, which I thought was great. We did some tweaking (which was where Nick Ventura as he is today was born lol) and got going!
DLM: I’m so glad you were open to the experience, Ms. O’Shea.
PV: Thanks for having us, Darla! I always knew I wanted to try writing with someone, but I’d never done it before MJ. We were in the same critique group and I had broached the subject of writing something collaboratively at one point. We discussed it and had actually been planning a different series when the idea for “Moonlight Becomes You” first struck.
DLM: The pleasure is all mine, Ms. Vaughn. “Moonlight Becomes You” is a great first joint venture. Following on that question, how did you know the partnering chemistry worked?
MJOS: We just took off, so it was pretty clear from the beginning that it was going to work. Our writing styles meshed but we both brought a bit of a different perspective to the table, so it was fun to work together in that respect.
DLM: Fun is good, for sure. This fan is glad you have incentive to keep working together.
PV: We didn’t know whether or not it would work until we actually started trying to write together. It was easy and fun plotting together and coming up with ideas, and for me, the actual writing felt the same way.
DLM: That’s wonderful! Now, of course, every author has strengths and weaknesses. How do the two of you delegate storytelling?
MJOS: It really depended on the book. sometimes we'd decide what parts we both thought we'd write the best/wanted to write, and go from there. On the One Small Thing books we divided by character.
DLM: Interesting. What say you, Ms. Vaughn?
PV: We developed an overall plot at first, and for the “Lucky Moon” books in particular, we split up the writing by chapters. For the “One Thing” books, we each took on a character and wrote that character’s scenes.
DLM: It’s great you agree on what works. I know most novelists have many projects percolating at the same time. For your Lucky Moon series, did you plan Nick Ventura’s love story all along?
MJOS: We knew as soon as he came to be that there would be a story for him and obviously it was going to have to do with his redemption and growing up and learning to love. The story details came together after Moonlight Becomes You was already done and published. Both of us loved working with him <3
DLM: I can only imagine, Ms. O’Shea. ~grin~ Nick is sure a joy to read.
PV: No, it wasn’t planned from the very beginning. When we started “Moonlight Becomes You,” we hadn’t even considered writing additional books. Our love for Nicky developed as we worked on Shane’s story, and we knew he had to have a book of his own. I think the fans agreed. “The Luckiest” is undoubtedly the most popular book in the series.
DLM: Interesting. I sure knew a need to read it when I saw the title promoted in my reprint of “Moonlight Becomes You”. As for brothers Shane and Nick Venture, they are deliciously different. Do you model characters after real life persons?
MJOS: I'm going to go with no. Mostly we took the "persona" of the cliché rockstar and then built those two and their relationship up behind that. I did kind of model teenage Shane after some of the kids I used to teach when I taught junior high -- at least some of the attitude haha!
DLM: Ms. O’Shea, your confession makes me respect teacher’s all the more! And your take, Ms. Vaughn?
PV: Appearance wise, I often do model characters after real people, but not always. Their personalities are something different altogether. I start off with an idea of how a character will be while plotting, but then as the writing happens, the character’s personality develops further too.
DLM: It’s like they have a mind of their own, sometimes. As a writer, I find one question inevitably comes to mind. What helps you achieve both short and long-term goals?
MJOS: I'm kind of a type A personality haha so I'm fairly self driven. It really does help of course when the readers send nice comments and emails! Nothing makes me want to write more than when I get to have a nice conversation with a reader about one of my books.
DLM: You both deserve friendly fandom, for sure.
PV: I find I work better on a schedule, and also, word wars and sprints with author friends help to motivate me sometimes.
DLM: I only recently discovered these latter two tools and must agree. Another favorite question regards whether music or other artistic sources inspire your work.
MJOS: Ohhh haha I could talk about this for day. The short answer is YES. Piper and I were both very inspired musically by a lot of the bands we like, always and especially Muse. Moonlight was modeled stylistically by them. I make music playlists for every book :) for me it's one of the most important steps in setting the mood of the book.
DLM: Your technique matches several of my friends, Ms. O’Shea. Interesting. How about you Ms. Vaughn?
PV: Oh, yeah. Definitely. Music is a constant source of inspiration, but also artwork, photographs, other stories. Really, everything in life can serves as inspiration for me.
DLM: Amen to that! I wish Moonlight and Luck were real bands. If given the opportunity, who among your creations would you most like to meet? And please feel free to pick any character among your numerous books as I’d enjoy getting a sneak peak before having a chance to read. ~grin~
MJOS: Oh MAN haha. Yes, Nick is on the list. Also, my Lycan PC from Hunter's Moon. I love him. And if I get one more answer than it's Static, my boy band from Catch My Breath. Sure, I based them on a mix of current and past boy bands but I kinda fell in love with them as individuals along the way. It would be awesome if they were real. I'd go see them in concert lol.
DLM: That would be awesome, I’m sure.
PV: We’ve gotten asked this before, and I think MJ and I have always answered the same way (at least in the past). I think it would be awesome if Nicky were real. I’d love to meet him. Second to him, I would love for Dusty from our “One Thing” books to be real. He’d be a great friend. :)
DLM: Friends are important, for sure. We readers are so fortunate that the two of you hit it off! And I must read about Dusty now.
Dear readers, I hope you will check out the publications of these two gifted writers. You won’t regret it. Below you can read more about both these ladies and where else you can find them on the web.
Piper Vaughn Bio
Piper Vaughn wrote her first love story at eleven and never looked back. Since then, she’s known that writing in some form was exactly what she wanted to do. A reader at the core, Piper loves nothing more than getting lost in a great book—fantasy, young adult, romance, she loves them all (and has a two thousand book library to prove it!). She grew up in Chicago, in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, and loves to put faces and characters of every ethnicity in her stories, so her fictional worlds are as colorful as the real one. Above all, she believes that everyone needs a little true love in their life…even if it’s only in a book.
Visit Piper at:
About M. J. O’Shea:
I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state in a little old house. While I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then!!
isit M.J. at:GOODREADS