Don’t Murder Your Co-Author… Especially If You’re Writing a Series

Don’t Murder Your Co-Author… Especially If You’re Writing a Series 1024 768 Reader Views

The creation of Dead Man’s Pose by authors John Roosen and Susan Rogers

Imagine being on a plane, sitting next to your co-author and discussing ways to murder people. There is a bit of a disagreement between us on the best methods. The lady in front of us finally stands up and turns around. ‘What are you two doing?’ she says in a booming voice that didn’t need a microphone. I’m going to report you!’ We realize we had gotten over-enthusiastic about our mystery series and methodologies for murder. 

Despite our explanation, her request to be moved to another seat taught us a lesson. It was better we confine our murderous plots to the area of our book writing table.

Imagine sitting in the corner of a room for 12-14 hours a day. In the kitchen we have built a narrow American birch table custom made for two computers with, of course, copious amounts of space for the coffee cups scattered on it. From there, we finished our first crime novel about a murder occurring in Sydney, Australia. It becomes three murders after wrangling a plotline from the creative ether. We argued over everything—from character flaws, to location descriptions, to unique methods of murder.

It isn’t easy to have two strong personality types build a gummy web of intrigue. We are both retired military and sometimes there is a bit of pulling rank or drawing swords. Most of the time (almost miraculously), we maintain our humour. The impenetrable goal was not to tarnish (too much) our long relationship by arguing over Oxford commas, how to place Australianisms, or where to bury clues so they are read, but not apparent.

For Dead Man’s Pose, we started the concept of this book and its series over ten years ago. But things got in the way – like working, supporting family members and keeping afloat. In the end, it was the world pandemic that saved this novel and the subsequent series. After all, what to do with all that time on our hands?

So, write we did. We laughed and cried and encouraged Elaina – our main protagonist – onwards in her journey. Our solicitor turned yoga instructor sought to overcome her lack of confidence in a zig-zagging pathway. Elaina’s handsome, dark horse partner, Ric, was easier to write about. He seemed to collaborate with us throughout the mystery, making us laugh at his wry humour and smart dialogue. Thanks Ric!

We tackled some unusual crime-solving techniques. In “Crime Solvers Potluck” a room full of people compile their knowledge, with the crime-solving stars being two homeless men, who definitely had their ears to the ground. One bears a striking resemblance to Shakespeare’s Falstaff. The competition between us became a love of words and how to best express a certain concept or sentence. It is not beyond reality that we can spend an entire day on a paragraph or key fact we are developing.

We dug into our backgrounds of English, business, technical writing, biology, chemistry and trivia, alongside our dual 22-year military careers (each). On Valentine’s Day, we released Dead Man’s Pose as an eBook novel.

Did we tear our hair out, gnash teeth, or threaten to jump from the 14th floor window to get it done? Well, the jumping would be difficult as we are on the ground level … but it did seem like that sometimes. During the blazing arguments and work-throughs, we pounded out the direction were headed and how we would get there. That’s where our passion for writing burned brightest. Would we do it again? You bet! In a few weeks, we will release Book 2 in the Yoga Mat Mysteries Series – Cobra Pose.

About the Authors

What do a woman, who used to train military personnel how to shoot straight, and a man, skilled at eradicating all sorts of hazardous materials safely, have in common? Besides both being designated law enforcement officers, they have now written two ‘knock ’em dead’ books … together!

John Roosen started his career as a biologist, served as a commissioned naval officer and environmental emergency specialist in the United States, and has lived and worked in Australasia, Antarctica and the Middle East. At a moment’s notice, he would respond to chemical and refinery plant explosions, deal with rocket fuel plant meltdowns and dismantle illegal drug labs. As a change-up, John switched careers to chasing pirates and duelling with a con artist extraordinaire on a remote South Pacific island. In between, he organised jungle expeditions and deep-sea scuba diving. However, John’s experience extends beyond responding to cataclysmic disasters and includes mastering the intricacies of making soufflé omelettes without burning the edges.

Susan Rogers already knew she was a writer at age six, but as an adult she took a major detour in becoming a commissioned naval officer. She has conducted sting operations, run extensive weapons training programs and directed the restoration of a Presidential yacht. In between, she has written several books, run health and safety operations for multi-billion-dollar projects in Abu Dhabi and revamped a South Pacific maritime service. Susan continues to write: whether braced against the hull of a sailing vessel on a hard tack, during a crossing of the Middle East’s empty quarter in a Mini, or bouncing around in a troop carrier in Australia’s outback.

After writing Surviving Paradise about their life in the South Pacific, John and Susan hatched their mystery series. Dead Man’s Pose is first in the Yoga Mat Mysteries’ line-up, with Cobra Pose as the second in the YMM series (online February 2023). Next will be Tree Pose – coming soon!


You Tube:

1 comment
  • Tracy Crump

    Cute article! The title caught my eye because I’m cowriting a book with a friend, but it’s a devotional. We can write our individual devotions in relative safety. I’m glad you finished your book without killing each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.