Author Wednesday presents two authors today. Melissa Mayberry has visited her before to talk about her series, Mellifica. Now she’s collaborated with Travis Casey on the newly released Enemy of My Enemy, filled with suspense, action, and lots intrigue. Melissa drops by for an interview today, but first I’ll let her explain how this collaboration came about. As an author myself, I find it fascinating and inspiring that two authors can write together to create a novel.
Welcome, Melissa! Let’s start by talking about the birth of this project with Travis Casey.
A few years ago, Travis Casey critiqued work for my first series, Mellifica. He seemed to enjoy the story, but I remained a bit skeptical of his praise. After all, that story is a young adult romance. When I returned the favor and critiqued Travis’ book, Trouble Triangle, I fell in love with a rowdy, smart-mouthed sailor named Tyler Chambers. Immediately, I noticed the quality in Travis’ work, but the complexity and depth in his characters captivated me and each week I was anxious for more.
Soon, Mellifica became a series, as did Trouble Triangle. Anyone who has finished a novel can attest to the euphoric rush. We finished our first novels around the same time and became addicted to writing and each other’s stories. At the time, my daughter started writing fan fiction with her friends. They would write one paragraph and the other person would write the next. I liked that idea, but on a less complicated scale. Every writer I know has their “writing bestie” and it wasn’t difficult to know who to pitch this idea to.
Travis accepted the idea as a challenge, and I dug through my list of ideas and proposed the idea for Enemy of My Enemy. Neither of us had written action, but both of us could write a rich character. We created characters for each other, and Travis assigned me to the sass-mouthed Gemma Gage. She was a materialistic woman who ignored a very complex and organized crime spree, simply to reap the rewards. My biggest challenge was that I actually hated the idea of her and her shallow ways. Bringing life, depth, and personal growth to this character took a lot of work. Eventually, I learned to love Gemma Gage and allowed her to survive to the end of the book.
Thaddeus Kline was the project I gave to Travis. After writing such a naughty character in his first series, I threw him a curveball with Thad. Sure, Thad has an agenda to kill, but deep down he was a good guy pressured into a dreadful situation. Thad isn’t a born killer, but he is a quick study when he needs to avenge his woman.
Co-writing this book was a lot like reading a new book. I had a basic idea of who this character was, but no idea how Thad would handle Gemma. Most of the time, I had no idea what Gemma’s responses would be.
Fortunately, sparks between Thad and Gemma flew faster than bullets from an ugly gun.
So you began by creating characters for each of you to use in the story. That’s a very intriguing way to start, and it focused on both of your strengths. You said you’ve been writing for a few years now, but when did you first discover your voice as a writer?
In high school, I was a writer for the school paper. Seems silly now, years later, but my creative work was always picked by the editor. Of course, that piqued the artist in me, and I wrote a lot of short stories. Life got in the way, so I stopped writing for a while, and my first novel came to me, and I had no choice but to write again.
And thus began your life as an author. Do you have any writing rituals?
The one that most people find surprising is closing my eyes. Reading my books, you get a lot of personal information, whether you know it or not. When I’m dishing out the embarrassing stuff, I type with my eyes closed.
That’s good. Anything to get it down on the page! Do you have a vision of yourself as a writer?
I often think of writing as an outlet—a stress relief. Not only does work and family stress me, but a story rattling around in my head put a certain pressure on me, and I can’t stop until I’ve let it out. Sometimes, it’s a problem when I have a lot of stories on my mind and no time to write.
Yes, I get grouchy when I can’t write my stories. When things are stressful, I’m often asked, “How can you write during this time?” How can I not write during stressful times? It takes my mind off the reality of my days. You both switched genres with Enemy of My Enemy, to a genre unfamiliar to you and Casey. Why did you decide to try for a thriller?
When Travis agreed to write with me, we wanted to do something fun. Something with a back and forth banter, but could eventually bring the characters together. Two people that were leery of each other, but with a common goal that fit nicely into an action novel.
Interesting process. I’m a little envious of this collaboration! Do you have a favorite character from this novel?
Well, I created Thad, and Travis created Gemma, but then I had to write Gemma, and he had to write Thad. So, yeah, I do love Thad. I’m all about a gentle bad-boy.
That’s a very attractive proposition for sure. I really love how you came up with the concept. Now, what about the title. How did you choose it?
I have a file of book names that I think of and then build a plot around the title. I don’t remember how this particular name came to me, but Travis liked it, and we made a plot together.
How long do you estimate it took you to take this book from your decision to do this project together to a finished, published novel?
It’s been in the works for a few years. Travis and I had other projects that we worked on and then came back to this one.
Is the book traditionally or self-published?
We went with self-publishing. Although my publisher is great with the other books, we wanted something we had full control and say over.
That’s what I love about being an Indie Author, too. What is the best thing someone could say about this book?
Oh, I love hearing that it’s fun to read. Writing Enemy of my Enemy was entertaining, and we want our readers to have a good time reading it.
Let’s talk about how it actually worked with the collaboration. The idea came from you, but what about the execution of it?
Travis and I had very different opinions about this. We have similar writing styles, but very different imaginations. But when it comes down to it, we both write off the cuff, so even our own conceptions changed when the story progressed.
Who is the antagonist in this book?
Bruce Gage. I’m laughing thinking of him because I remember how much Travis hated him from the beginning. Bruce was just a character that you love to hate.
Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in Enemy of My Enemy.
I love Gemma’s opening scene. Gemma was being held captive in an unconventional way but Thad inadvertently took care of the problem was pretty cute during that scene.
Thank you for stopping by today, Melissa. I enjoyed learning about how this book came to be. You and Travis are very fortunate to have found in one another kindred writing souls.
About Melissa Mayberry: In a series of ironic events, Mellifica presented to Melissa Mayberry in such a way that she had to dust off her writing skills and put the story to paper. The story soon became her passion and rekindled her love of writing. Living in the Blue Ridge of Virginia, Melissa works full time as a nurse, student, and mother. Her past will haunt her until the story is told.
About Travis Casey: Travis was brought up in Midwest America before embarking on a nine-year Navy career that allowed him to travel the world and learn about life. He has ping-ponged across oceans moving from mainland United States to Hawaii, to Scotland, to Seattle, to England, to Minnesota, to…
His writing is light-hearted fiction writing comedic novels with humor being the focal point binding his stories together. He has written Tyler’s Trouble Trilogy, which comprises three stand-alone novels. The first in the series is Trouble Triangle, a romantic comedy. Followed by the sequel, Oceans of Trouble, where the adventure continues to the Far East in this suspense novel. His third novel, Forbidden Trouble, follows the natural progression into a romance but retains the humor and suspense that readers enjoy in Casey’s writing.
An international move from England to Minnesota inspired the satirical memoir, Foreigner In My Own Backyard. Following that, Travis released the sequel, Foreigner On My Own Front Porch. This real life series takes a humorous look at the American lifestyle as he repatriates himself to the United States after living in England for the past twenty years.