Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Greenfield Legacy: Interview with the four Aussie authors and book giveaway

Left to Right: Rose, Meredith, Paula, Amanda. 

Narelle here. I'm delighted to welcome four talented Aussie Christian fiction authors to our blog today. ICFW member Paula Vince has collaborated with multi-published authors Rose Dee, Amanda Deed and Meredith Resce to write The Greenfield Legacy.

We are also giving away a copy of The Greenfield Legacy (world-wide, more details at the end of the post).

I will introduce these lovely ladies before we learn how they worked together to produce their collaborated novel, a first for the Australian Christian Fiction market. 

Award winning Australian author, PAULA VINCE, loves to evoke tears and laughter through writing fiction. She has a passion to provide inspiring stories that highlight her own beautiful country.

ROSE DEE was born in Ingham, North Queensland, Australia. Her childhood experiences growing up in a small beach community would later provide inspiration for her first novel. Rose, who holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree, decided to try her hand at writing two years ago. The result of that attempt is her first novel, 'Back to Resolution'. Her novels are inspired by the love of her coastal home and desire to produce exciting and contemporary stories of faith for women. 'Beyond Resolution', and ‘A New Resolution’ are the second and third books in the 'Resolution' series. Rose resides in Mackay, North Queensland with her husband, young son, and mischievous pup, Noodle.

AMANDA DEED grew up in the South Eastern suburbs of Melbourne in a Christian home, and found faith at an early age. She has followed her passion to serve the Lord through music and literature since her teen years. Now married, with three children, Amanda enjoys the variety of being a mother, finance administrator, musician and historical romance writer. Her debut novel, The Game, won the 2010 CALEB Prize for fiction, and Ellenvale Gold was a finalist for the same prize in 2012.

South Australian Author, MEREDITH RESCE, has been writing since 1991, and has had books in the Australian market since 1997. Following the Australian success of her “Heart of Green Valley” series, an English Publisher has taken the first three books in this series, and has released them to the British and American markets. ‘The Greenfield Legacy’ is her 15th novel published. Apart from writing, Meredith also takes the opportunity to speak to groups on issues relevant to relationships and emotional and spiritual growth. Meredith has also been co-writer and co-producer in the 2007 feature film production, “Twin Rivers”. With her husband, Nick, Meredith has worked in the ministry since 1983. Meredith and Nick have one daughter and two sons.

Mattie was in love with Billy, but she was too young to wed. When Billy was conscripted to fight in Vietnam, they made a decision that affected their lives and their future. But so much pain resulted that Mattie never really healed. Every turn Mattie made affected her daughter and her granddaughter in ways she didn't even realise. But forty-six years later, is it time for things to be set right? 

Navy is a young woman who has never known her family. But what could be a wonderful opportunity is met with jealousy and apprehension from her cousin Brooke and her aunt Connie, especially with handsome Aidan around. Each must look past their struggles and find forgiveness and trust and perhaps even love. 

This absorbing family drama, set in South Australia's beautiful McLaren Vale wine region, is written by four of Australia's outstanding Christian fiction authors who have brought you best-selling and award-winning novels.

Narelle: What was the inspiration for writing The Greenfield Legacy? Who came up with the story idea?

Meredith: I think Paula came up with the idea, but our brainstorm Skype session helped to let it grow and take shape with all four of us giving input.

Rose: It was Paula’s idea. She contacted each of us with the concept and we had a Skype discussion about how it all would work. The story came to us quite easily. We started with a general outline and it just rolled from there.

Paula: I was scrolling down through my Face Book news feed and saw that four American Christian Fiction authors had collaborated on a novel. As well as being interested to read it, the idea that something similar should be done for the Australian market wouldn’t leave my head. My family thought it sounded far too hard but I still didn’t want to let it go. I finally sent messages to Meredith, Rose and Amanda, to ask if they would be willing to join me in giving it a try. All three ladies were enthusiastic about the idea and the rest is history.

Narelle: How did the four of you manage to brainstorm the story, considering you all live in different parts of Australia? How did you collaborate to put together the story outline?

Meredith: We had the one long brainstorm Skype session, which was loads of fun, with ideas flying around left, right and centre. It was really great how the story could take different turns here and there from the separate characters’ points of view. We just agreed on the one solid storyline thread around which we each hung our own individual ideas.

Amanda: Skype is a great tool for communicating these days. Apart from a first group phone call discussion where we brainstormed the story outline, we emailed back and forth quite a lot during the process, clarifying as we went.

Rose: Once we had a general idea of the four characters, we all drew up a character analysis. I feel as though the story unfolded easily. I had some great ideas on where my character was going just by reading what the other characters thought of her, and how they interacted with her. We mainly conversed through e-mail. Once we started, our keyboards were hard at work and we had a first draft within months.

Narelle: I’m curious to learn the logistics behind four authors writing the same novel. Did you each write different characters or plot threads? Did you all write at the same pace? Did you revise and critique each other’s writing as you wrote the story or did you revise at the end?

Amanda: I think I was the slowest of the group, having to fit the writing in around many other demands, but I loved that the other authors’ parts inspired some of my ideas as I went. Then there were the, ‘Oh, I didn’t see that coming,’ moments, where I had to figure out how I would fit some new scenario into my own part of the story. I really enjoyed that part of the challenge.

Meredith: We each wrote a different character, and the main plot was agreed upon from the brainstorm, but there were subplots that added to the story and built each individual character. We each wrote a character profile for our own character and secondary characters, so that if one of the others of us had to write our character into their part, they knew pretty much how each would act/respond. We wrote like a tennis match. One would serve a piece, the next would take and develop the next point in the story via their character’s point of view, then hit to the next writer, whose character needed to emerge at that point. We batted it back and forth between us and it grew exponentially. It was very exciting going to the email next day and finding the story back in the inbox, but it had grown and developed so much. We did critique each others’ writing. I might have been more harsh than the others, but hopefully it all turned out well. I believe the readers will really engage with it.

Paula: I was the one who tied all the different chapters together as I received them in my inbox and it was great fun. I enjoyed the jigsaw puzzle aspect of that job, figuring out where each bit would have happened chronologically and slotting them together until they worked as smoothly as possible. I always got a kick out of seeing how ‘my’ characters appeared in the other ladies’ sections. We left our critiquing until towards the end, but by then we were all so emotionally involved in the story as a whole, the input from outside editors was definitely appreciated.

Narelle: Was it difficult to pull together four different writing voices and writing styles to create a cohesive story?

Rose: You would think it would be incredibly difficult, but I found that the process flowed smoothly and the ‘voices’ complemented each other. I think this is because we all write specific characters, so although each voice is different – they all really suit the characters.

Meredith: Surprisingly, no. The four different voices definitely reflected the four different characters’ points of view as they emerged. It actually made it just a tad more realistic.

Amanda: Getting it all to flow together seemed to be rather easy, I think. I have since read other co-authorship stories which make it sound a lot harder than our first experience of it was. Perhaps we were just a good fit.

Paula: We are quite confident that readers may have a tricky job telling who was who. Our minds gelled together so smoothly, we believe it may as well have been written by just one person. I enjoyed my experience of everyone else’s working styles. Meredith would come up with plot twists and email them to us with headings such as, ‘Breaking News.’ Rose got so enthusiastic about the different characters, she’d infect us all. Amanda would work with spurts of amazing energy, when we’d receive two or three really poignant chapters that made us ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah.’

Narelle: What advice do you have for other writers who may be thinking about collaborating to write a novel?

Paula: Start with a basic plot in which you are all firmly agreed on. Then you’ll be less likely to annoy each other with ideas the others just can’t buy. Keep your approach to working together lighthearted, even at moments when the story itself isn’t.

Amanda: Be open-minded. I think if you have narrow expectations of what it should be, you might struggle to make it work. There needs to be a lot of give and take.

Meredith: If you find other authors who seem to think like you do, and who you respect as a writer, and who is willing to have a go, why not?

Rose: I think that you have to have similarities in taste. Although we are two contemporary and two historic fiction writers, we still all like a bit of romance and drama. Common ground helps. I can’t imagine it would have worked if we had to accommodate an author who wrote science fiction or someone who wrote thrillers. Other than this – I think you just have to give something a go. We had no idea how this would work, or even if we would produce anything good enough for publication. But The Greenfield Legacy is a story we are all proud of. It’s a great read.

Narelle: Ladies, thank you for a fascinating and insightful interview. I'm looking forward to reading The Greenfield Legacy and trying to guess who wrote each character. 

By commenting on today’s post you can enter the drawing to win a copy of The Greenfield Legacy. The drawing will take place on Friday, November 2 and the winner announced on Sunday, November 4. Please leave an email address [ ] at [ ] dot [ ] where you can be reached. 

"Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws."


  1. Thanks for a great interview. I would love to read this book. What an amazing collaboration!



  2. a great posting..thanks for the chance to read these wonderful stories ;)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  3. Mandy & Karen, thanks for stopping by and good luck in the book drawing :)

  4. Narelle, thanks for a great interview. Ausie writers, I salute you and definitely intend to read this book somehow! I would love to do something like this, working with a team of South African writers. What fun! And yes PLEASE enter me for the draw!

  5. I have hear a two author collaboration can be daunting. I can't imagine four. Sounds like you had a great time. cindyshuffatcomcastdotnet

  6. Thanks everyone. Shirley, I hope you do get a collaboration team for South African. We Aussies found it so much fun. I hope you do all get your hands on a copy easily.

  7. Hi girls!

    I've been following the creation and release of Greenfield Legacy. It's on my "To Buy List". I'd love to be entered in the draw. dingo4mum [at] clubtelco [dot] com

    All the best as you write for His glory,

  8. Thank you for this delightful interview. Paula whet my appetite in Tuesday's post, and now I want to read it even more!

    Sounds like the four authors had real fun with this book. Whatever would we do without Skype?

    Please enter me in the draw.

    ruthdell [at] mweb [dot] co [dot] za

  9. Great interview, ladies and congrats on the novel. I have done several novella collections with other authors and love the friendships that form from it on top of the fun of writing a story together.

    Lisa contact (dot) harris (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. I have worked on a novel with one person, and the sharing does help.
    I have read two of the authors and the other two on my to be read list.
    I would love to get a copy, if not I will buy when i can

  11. Shirley, Cindy, Lucy, Ruth, Lisa and Mel, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment :) Good luck in the drawing! I hope you'll all have the opportunity to read 'The Greenfield Legacy'.

  12. Love to go in the draw for this one. It sounds a fascinating idea.