Poetry has ALWAYS been my wheelhouse, so when I see writers scribing both Poetry & Novels, I tend to get jealous, as they are two extremely unique writing competencies that genuinely promote diversity. Now, to see three writers doing that together – working on the same story while creating three different characters and point of views doesn’t only require a significant amount of talent – which these girls have in droves. But also, proper planning and coordinating between your co-scribes – really boggles my mind!!!
Nevertheless, this trio of ladies totally accomplished their goal. Over the course of the next few days, I’ll be posting my 3-way interviews with: Christina Hart, Cynthia A. Rodriguez, and J.R. Rogue. Together these three talented ladies have written The Secrets of Summer Trilogy Parts 1- 3, which include in chronological order: Ruin Me by Christina Hart, Hate Me by Cynthia A. Rodriguez and final part of this collection Teach Me by J.R. Rogue.
First, I’ll start with Christina Hart, a kind being who houses an imagination that truly rocks – which is beyond evident via her diverse collections. I interviewed Christina a number of times now, she always makes things interesting – as she truly is fun and eclectic. Christina’s sense of humour consistently has me in stitches – especially when she is playing around with her sarcasm, she’s truly quite witty. Oh, and silly me, I forgot to mention The Secrets of Summer is available for purchase on Kindle. All three books on Amazon.com for $8.99 USD. For more information on Christina, please follow her on Instagram at @christinakaylenhart and check out her Link Tree here!
RMMW: Aside from fabulous content! Which all three of you simultaneously house, what do you feel attributes to the success of a truly good book?
CH: Thank you! For starters, I think character and plot development are the main factors that decide if a book is going to be good. If it’s well thought out, and executed accordingly with thoughtful writing. After that, the overall success depends on covers that catch your eye, descriptions that intrigue readers, and the ability to build buzz or excitement around the project.
RMMW: Were there moments when the three of you wanted to give up on The Summer of Secrets?
CH: YES. Each of us had those moments. We only gave ourselves two months to accomplish this, so needless to say it was stressful. Having one another, though, was the push we all needed to keep going I think. Even if/when we wanted to give up or have a breakdown, we couldn’t, because there were two other authors depending on the completion of this. And if one of us didn’t finish, there would be no series.
RMMW: Organizing an event in itself is a complicated task, how did you coordinate plot lines and intertwining stories between the three of you?
CH: It started in a little restaurant/bagel shop. We plotted out the basics on the back of a menu with a borrowed pen. After that, we remained in close contact on anything that could intertwine or contradict. We co-wrote scenes that involved one another’s characters, to make sure their personalities were consistent throughout, and there was a timeline that noted where each of the characters were on any given day/time.
RMMW: Is this an experience that may perhaps continue into a trilogy?
CH: We haven’t fully decided yet what we might do next. It’s very up in the air right now. But we know we had fun writing with one another and would do it again with the right idea/project.
RMMW: With regards to the ages of the sisters, how was it decided as to who would write their selected age? Out of curiosity was it based on your real ages if the three of you were to have been sisters?
CH: It wasn’t based on our real ages. I wrote the youngest sister, and Cynthia is the youngest of the three of us. It just sort of happened organically based on the ideas each of us had. The girl I saw was young, impulsive, figuring herself out, so she naturally wound up as the baby of the family. We talked it out, came up with our characters, and went from there.
RMMW: I can’t get passed writing poetry no longer that 3 pages. How did you keep focused on writing The Summer of Secrets novellas and with 2 other collaborating individuals?
CH: For me, writing poetry and fiction are two totally different beasts. I can’t force myself to write poetry. It either comes or it doesn’t. With fiction, I can sit down and make myself write. With The Summer of Secrets novella, it was a new sort of story for me. For each of us, really. We wanted to experiment and push ourselves to write something a bit different, individually and together. It helped having them to bounce ideas off of, but also just…knowing I wasn’t in this madness alone.
RMMW: What are your favourite characteristics of your co-writers?
CH: Jen and Cynthia are both so hardworking and humble. They also make me laugh my ass off. Humility, honesty, and a sense of humor are traits I need in friends. And they’re both so naturally talented with words. I am still so honored to have been able to write something with them. Working with them was a dream.
RMMW: What do you want your readers to take away from each of your novellas?
CH: That although they’re intertwined, they’re all so different. We wanted to try to cater to readers we don’t usually reach. We also wanted to try to do something fresh, and unique, showcasing three different sisters with three different secret romances over the course of a single summer. Above all, I hope readers walk away knowing the real love story here was the bond between the sisters.
RMMW: What is your favourite characteristic of each of the sisters you created?
CH: For Kitty, my character, I think it would be her depth and capacity for love despite her internal struggles. For Eloise, Cynthia’s character, I really loved her attitude and the way she carried herself—and her sisters. For Sophie, Jen’s character, hands down how she owned her regrets and overall lifestyle, and her ability to overcome it all and grow versus the alternative.
RMMW: What do you find to be the benefits of co-writing?
CH: Having someone else involved as sheer motivation to keep going. When you only rely on yourself, at least for me, there isn’t nearly as much urgency to finish something.
RMMW: I’m in Christina’s Facebook Group the Hart’s Heathens and stumbled across a conversation between the three of you regarding writing steamy love scenes. What are the benefits and pitfalls of scribing vivid sexual scenes?
CH: This was something new for me, and I think all of us. We each typically fade to black during these scenes. It was a challenge, trying to make it steamy, but not cheesy. The benefit for me was the overall learning experience, this new kind of writing outside of what I usually do. The pitfalls were definitely in the experimentation phase, where I was trying to figure out how I as an author would describe certain intimate things.
RMMW: What is The Summer of Secrets origin story? When and how did you decide to write three books together? Did you guys do any rituals like a blood pact?
CH: It happened organically. We had a conversation in my bedroom in June when they came to visit me, after I put on a sweatshirt that reminded me of a young couple I saw in my head. I told them, “If only I wrote more mainstream romance.” It sort of spiraled from there. Before we knew it, we had the whole series mapped out, and our excitement built over the idea of doing this together. There was no blood pact, but there were definitely sweat and tears from laughing/crying simultaneously at any given moment throughout the duration of this.
RMMW: And, tossed in for fun. As a writer, what would each of you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
CH: Oh man. In my head, in general, I’d like to think my spirit animal is way cooler than it probably is. In reality it’s probably a chihuahua or something small and annoying like I am. As a writer, my spirit animal is definitely this guy: