Without further delay....please, welcome Mark Bertrand to my Window!
Beguiled is the first collaborative effort for both you and Deeanne Gist. How did you two know one another and what was it like to work together?
We met five years ago at the Baylor Art & Soul conference, just before Deeanne’s first book A Bride Most Begrudging hit the shelves. Her editor at Bethany House, Dave Long, introduced us. (Now he’s my editor, too.) After that, Deeanne joined a weekly writing workshop I helped start and we became great friends. I’d read her work, she’d read mine. With that experience, when it came to writing a book together, we figured we’d make a great team.
We did. But it wasn’t always easy. Neither of us had collaborated before, so it took some time to work out the kinks. Writing a book together was probably twice as hard as it would have been for either of us to do one alone! But the result is something neither of us could have done alone, a unique blend of two very different voices.
One of the questions an author has to ask is, “Would readers like to visit this place?” With
Romance and Suspense are very effective partners in a well-written story. There are scenes in the novel that are pretty intense with the deep desires of both characters becoming almost tangible. Were you part of that process too? Or were you focused on the suspense, leaving the romantic tension to Deeanne? How did that work out since you’d never worked together before?
Believe it or not, I did write some of the romance scenes. Deeanne read one of them and said, “It lacks romantic tension, but that’s no surprise since you wrote it.” I was offended, naturally, but when I told my wife she nodded in understanding. To make a long story short, each of us had a hand in every scene, either writing the first draft or revising and rewriting. Some readers think they can tell which parts are mine and which are Deeanne’s, while others can’t. I’m in the latter category. I’ll look at a passage and think, “Did I write that one or did
Rylee’s heart is pretty tattered throughout the story, as is her faith, because of events from her childhood. There is a very moving scene where she finally comes face to face with her Heavenly Father. How important was it to you and Deeanne to present an overt faith message without deterring from the building suspense of the story? I found it to be very believable. Was that hard to accomplish?
For a moment like that to be believable to readers, it has to flow honestly from the character and the situation. Our goal as novelists is to tell a story, not present a message. I don’t want to give anything away, but there’s no way given Rylee’s faith that she’d go through that “dark night of the soul” without confronting the spiritual implications. Her struggle is one readers can relate to, and I think that’s one thing that makes the moment so moving.
Logan’s moonlighting gets him into hot water, but it’s a dilemma any journalist looking to break into publishing might face. Is the story his, or does it belong to the paper? Or better yet, does it belong to the people it’s happening to, meaning that
Can you tell us about your writing projects aside from Beguiled? What’s next for you?
My first crime novel, Back on Murder, releases this summer. It’s the beginning of a series featuring
Will readers ever see Gist and Bertrand listed as the authors of another story?
Who knows? Nothing’s been planned, and we’re both pretty busy with solo projects. If readers want more, though, you never know.
What exciting things is God doing in your life?
With Beguiled coming out and Back on Murder scheduled for the summer, and the next two March novels slated for 2011 and 2012, he’s keeping me busy … and for a writer, that’s always exciting.
Closing words of encouragement you’d like to share with your readers?
Writing Beguiled was hard work for us, but above all it was sheer fun. Our delight in the story comes through as you read it. If you’re up for something a little different, a blend of romance and suspense set in a fascinating location full of jump-off-the-page characters, give Beguiled a try.
I have a FREE copy of Beguiled to give away! Please leave a comment on this post to be eligible for the GIVE AWAY!!