Collaborating Without Getting Shot, Part 1 (Alicia Rasley)

Alicia Rasley


Thanks to Lynn Kerstan for inviting me to guest blog here today and tomorrow! I decided to tell you all the dirt I have on her—No! I forgot. I’m supposed to tell you about our history of collaboration in fiction-writing. We’ve written two books together (one won a RITA award), and are embarking on some new linked novellas.

Lynn and I first “met” online, when we were both on the GEnie network (one of those Internet roundtables in the dark ages before the Web, when we had to get online through the phone at 24 baud a second, using only flints to light our candles). We were both writing Regencies, and the Romex roundtable on GEnie was rife with Regency writers discussing the important issues. (Example: Did men really sign dancecards to claim a dance at a ball?)

Lynn and I are remarkably similar while being almost complete opposites. I mean, she’s had this exciting life—travel, cruises, high-stakes bridge (ask her about her time with Omar Sharif), gambling, hot cars, hotter men… and here I am with my boring little Midwestern life. (But actually, I like boring. I am not good with change, something that should make my husband grateful.) However, in intriguing ways, we’re a lot alike. We both grew up Catholic and went to parochial school, though she went to a posh one high above San Diego Harbor, while my school was in a ramshackle house in Boston and had to close after my family (eight children) moved to Virginia and took half the students away.

We both studied literature in grad school, though she was a Shakespearian (this gets important later :), and I studied American lit.  We had a similar tendency to plunge drastically into love with certain writers and books (Dorothy Dunnett got passed back and forth between us). We both wrote Regencies, but mine were all about the relationships and the slang, while she liked to take her characters on rollicking adventures. And while I always loved my heroes and treated them gently, Lynn liked to shoot them at least once every book.

Poetic Justice, starring a Librarian and an Adventurer

We didn’t have much contact online until I mentioned that I wanted to write a book where the hero (John, a secondary character from Royal Renegade) found some rare book and love too. (Hey, my heroes have adventures too! They can find books!) Lynn, who had actually handled Shakespeare Folios when she worked at the Folger Library, mentioned in an email that I might want to look into the playscript of Sir Thomas More, part of which was purportedly written in Shakespeare’s own hand. Whoa! That sent me off into the rabid swamps of Shakespearian denialists, who think someone else (usually Francis Bacon) wrote the plays.  Within a few days, her wise counsel had led to a real plot, in which John really does have an adventure allying with Jessica to save this manuscript from the destruction planned by an evil “Baconist” librarian.

So I owe that book to Lynn! It is, by the way, Poetic Justice, and it’s available now on Kindle. Really. Lynn inspiration. Shakespeare denial. Evil librarian. Aren’t you scared?

Lynn and Alicia on an ice floe (aka our writing careers)


4 thoughts on “Collaborating Without Getting Shot, Part 1 (Alicia Rasley)

  1. Alicia,
    Thanks for filling in for Lynn and Pat while they’re off on one of their Great Adventures! I’m always curious about how authors get together to write books, so this is a great post about Lynn and you. Can’t we get just a little dirt about our favorite ex-nun?????? Huh?????? Please????? Pretty please?????? ;o)

  2. Hmm. Lynn’s out of the country right now, so I’m safe… Well, let me say we both, if given the option, would write long. Really long. But while I would probably wrap a book up in 600 pages or so, Lynn had one that was 1100 pages long, if I recall correctly. (And if I don’t, she’ll let you know right after my funeral next month.

    I wish I could say that we acted as good influences on each other, curbing our tendencies for verbosities and great scenes that have no plot effect. But… probably not.

  3. Well, Lynn may be the *adventuriste,* but I’ve ridden passenger with you at the wheel — and you can get pretty “racy” too for a staid person of Midwest extraction!

  4. Thea, I used to drive without lights at night down mountain roads– that was what passed for entertainment in SW Virginia.