Writing with a partner takes focus and inspiration. It also takes commitment and trust. Before I compared it to an open marriage. And honestly, the more I think about it, the more I believe that analogy. There is sacredness in writing with a partner. A spiritual bonding. Two hearts, two imaginations, two personalities blending to create something.
Like all relationships there are stages. That first blush. The first time you share a paragraph and finish each other's sentences. Then comes the sense of comfort and belonging. You plan things for the future. Synchronize calendars and date books. Schedule date nights and coordinating public appearances. Then there are the ruts. The writer’s block that hits you both at the same time. The clash of personalities and styles. Everything that you love about a person becomes exactly what you hate about a person. And suddenly single looks good again. But single is scary. It’s lonely and cold and vulnerable. Then there is the reconciliation. Being reunited and how it feels so good. (Or for some writers the oh hell here we go again).
It’s a strange balancing act of relationships.
The key to making it work, like any relationship, is communication. I think I can liken our Duo to a successful open marriage. Now, please, rein in your disgust or outrage. And no jumping to conclusions about our personal marriages and relationships. The analogy varies when we start talking about man and wife--though those personal commitments do play a huge part in our writing partnership as well.
By open I mean that everything is out in the air. There is no room for secrets nor egos. Just like in a real marriage. When egos and secrets become involved, demise is eminent and unavoidable. So Laura and I are blunt and open. If I don’t like something I say so. And I don’t always have to qualify it. I can say no and that no is respected regardless of the reason behind it.
The same goes for Laura. Laura writes some of the most intense BDSM/erotica I've ever read. It’s beautiful. I love that about her. I also know that I only have a faint affinity for it. A light smack, here a love bite there. So if something is too intense for me I know I can safely say to Laura, “No, baby, that's too much.” And she will understand and respect that.
I write characters who are quirky and funny and over the top. Some times they are too over the top. Too stereotypical. And Laura’s characters are not. They are more concentrated and serious. She knows that if I inject humor where it's not needed or if I am too far over the line she can tug the reins a little and whisper, “Not this time, sweetie; let's get a little slower and deeper.”
There is a deep trust and intimacy and honesty there.
There is also the respect of each other as individuals. Before we were Guevara and Riley, we were GUEVARA and RILEY. Each of us still has and maintain very different personal styles. We have thus far been working on a kind of yours and mine basis. But we are moving into an OURS kind of atmosphere. So far our collaborations have been two characters in a linked situation. But now we are bringing our styles together. Each telling the same story at one time. It's been interesting getting to this point. We hope that people will like the results.
With that respect of individuality also comes the share and share alike rule. We’ve each opened our arms to other partners. We’ve both done some works with the talented Shara Azod. The anthos have given us chances to flex our individual styles. Laura can explore the BDSM and I can explore the light and airy bit. I even tried my hand at a bit of BDSM recently.
We also have plans to collaborate as a duo and individual with RaeLynn Blue, as well as continue our work as members of MFPP and BAA. And then we share with our fellow author friends and our family. We balance busy jobs as girlfriend, wife, career women and friends with our love for the written word. When one is unsteady or unable the other will carry the load. We share in each other’s victories and support each other in lean times. Like I said. It’s an open marriage and it takes work and passion and respect.