Writing Partnerships

Update: Here are the winners from our random drawing. Kim Cornwell will receive one of Vanessa’s backlist and Nicole Laverdure won my Touch of a Lady.

As you know, I write collaborative novels with New York Times bestseller Connie Mason. We get along pretty well and have very few disagreements about our stories. But I can’t imagine writing with, say, my husband, which is what my blog guest today does. Not because my DH and I don’t get along, but because I’d be afraid other aspects of our relationship would spill into the writing and vice-versa.

So let’s see how the very talented Vanessa Kelly manages this unique writing arrangement.


Thanks so much, Mia, for having me on your blog today. I’m excited because I get to talk about my latest book, even though it’s not one of my Regency-set historical romances (although I’ve got one of those coming out this October). My latest book, Hot Number, is a contemporary romance, written under my alternate pen name of VK Sykes. In fact, there’s a bit of a twist to this book—I wrote it with my husband.

When I tell people I write sexy romance books with my husband, eyebrows tend to go up. Then the questions and comments begin, some of which involve sly remarks about our activities behind closed doors. I never respond to those questions, but I am happy to talk about our working relationship. Lots of people find it difficult to wrap their heads around the process of two people writing a book, much less a husband and wife team doing it.

So how do we do it? We talk about what we’re going to do and when, how long it’s going to take, and then we schedule accordingly. We never work on the same book at the same time. If he’s writing the first draft of a VK book, I’m working on a historical romance. When those drafts are completed we switch out—he edits my manuscript while I revise his.

Are there times when we disagree? Well…yes. The reality is that we disagree less than you might think, but we do disagree. When that happens, we argue about it for a bit—sometimes fairly loudly—but usually solve any problems by deferring to each other’s expertise. If it’s a plot issue I generally cede the point to hubby, since he does most of the plot development for our joint books and excels at it. If the problem concerns an emotional turning point, how women think, or a sex scene, I tend to carry the day.

All in all, though, we play really well together and enjoy what we do. Some matches are made in heaven, and I like to think that ours is one of them—just like the heroes and heroines in our books!

Hot Number

Hot Number by VK Sykes

Click to order!

Geeky but brilliant college professor Sadie Bligh has failed once again to win the most prestigious award in mathematics. All she has to show for her life’s work is a flat-lined career and a non-existent social life. So when her best friend suggests a wild week in Las Vegas, gambling and hooking up with hot guys, Sadie decides she has nothing to lose.

But Sadie’s first night in Vegas involves an unfortunate run-in with a mojito and a poker table, drawing the attention of the casino’s deputy chief of security. Nick Saxon thinks Sadie’s a problem, but she thinks he’s incredibly sexy. Since she’s come to Vegas to let loose, Nick just might fit the bill.

With a sick mother to care for and a boss who hates his guts, Nick has enough on his plate, and the bundle of mayhem called Sadie Bligh spells nothing but trouble. She’s also funny and smart, and the sexual energy between them could light up the Vegas strip. But when she’s fingered for counting cards at the blackjack table, Nick is faced with a stark choice: protect her and risk getting fired, or toss her out on her sweet behind and risk never seeing her again.

Excerpt from Hot Number:

Sadie gave him what she hoped was a sultry smile. “All I can say is you sure have a funny way of cutting in on a dance, Sheriff. My partner probably had to go back to his room and change his underwear.” To her surprise, her voice actually came out in a soft purr. Sadie had never purred at a man in her life.

He studied her, his face expressionless but his eyes gleaming hot. “Didn’t I tell you to call me Nick?” He slugged down the rest of his beer and gave the waitress a hand signal for refills.

She’d tried once or twice on the ride over to call him by his first name, but ‘Nick’ and ‘Sadie’ registered a discordant note in her ears. She wondered how long it would take her to stop thinking of him as the sheriff or as Saxon. Nick was surely a manly name, but Saxon sounded so lustfully medieval. Somehow, it seemed part and parcel of the fantasy this Vegas trip had become.

“Sorry. Nick, it is. And you ducked my implied question.”

His mouth thinned in a way she was beginning to recognize. “I didn’t like the way he groped you,” he said in something approaching a growl.

That almost blew her concentration. Finally, the guy had let out some feelings.

“But what made you think I didn’t welcome that poor man’s ardor? I told you, Cassie and I came to Vegas for the express purpose of having ourselves a riotously good time. I was well on my way tonight until you launched into the fray like a pit bull on steroids.”

He snorted. “Nice analogy. But did you really welcome what he was doing?” His gaze told her he didn’t believe a word of it.

Nick was right, of course. Still, she wasn’t giving up just yet. Teasing him was more fun than she’d had in a very long time.

She shrugged, enjoying the way the movement brought his gaze down to her breasts. “I might have. Maybe,” she said thoughtfully.

He tipped back in his chair, his eyebrows arching in polite disbelief.

“Well, not so much, truth be told,” she finally admitted. “He was pretty grabby.”

“That’s what I thought.” There was a trace of smugness in his tone. “You just like to yank my chain with all those quips and hundred-dollar words. I’ll bet it would drive you crazy to know I actually get a kick out of it.”

“Wow. A guy who likes the way I talk. Prince Charming, where have you been all this time?


Vanessa Kelly

Vanessa Kelly, or 1/2 of the VK Sykes team

V.K. Sykes is really two people – Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes, a husband and wife team who write sexy contemporary romance. Vanessa also writes Regency-set historical romance for Kensington Zebra under her own name. Her next book, His Mistletoe Bride, will be released October 1.

You can find V.K. on the web at www.vksykes.com, and Vanessa at www.vanessakellyauthor.com. Vanessa is also a member of Rock*It Reads, a collective of traditionally published authors who also self-publish books. You can visit Vanessa and her fellow authors at www.rockitreads.com.

Blog: http://vanessakellyauthor.com/vanessa-blog/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vanessakellyauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/VanessaKellyAut

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/vanessakellyaut/


Thanks for sharing, Vanessa.

Leave a question for Vanessa to be entered in the random drawing for either her Hot Number or my  Touch of a Lady. We’ll announce the winners here on Friday!

28 thoughts on “Writing Partnerships

  1. Sunnymay says:

    I know people who call disagreements discussions which I think is a more positive take on something contentious. I think there are a lot more variables to control when two or more people write anthologies and give each other feedback. Isn’t hard to write about flaws that are close to the ones you have? But if there were no deviations, it would be hard to compare and contrast your characters.

  2. bn100 says:

    Very nice excerpt. How do you like to celebrate each new book?

  3. Lori Meehan says:

    It sounds like you two write well together. Do you guys have the same work habits or are they different?

    1. Hi Lori! The same in that we’re both neat and organized, but Randy tends to write first thing in the morning. I’m pretty useless on that front until later in the day.

  4. Dalila G. says:

    Hi Vanessa! *waving*

    Great interview on ‘Writing Partnerships’, some couple’s are just meant to work together. Happy to hear you and Randy are in the trenchs together and get along nicely.
    If not, I’m sure Randy will become very friendly with your couch! LOL! ;-)

    Wow, lots of fun and interesting questions.
    I just wanted to say a quick “hi” to you and to wish you and hubby the best!

    Please do not enter me in contest, I have HOT NUMBER already! :-D

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      How about if I put your name in the hopper for TOUCH OF A LADY?

      1. Dalila G. says:

        OMGosh! Awesome, thanks Mia!
        I’m such a dufus, I totally forgot to say ‘yes’ to your book.
        I would definitely enjoy winning TOUCH OF A LADY!
        Thank you!

    2. Thanks, Dalila! Always great to see you!

  5. Nicole Laverdure says:

    Ha Ha ha while my husband watches TV I spend my time reading. I’m addicted to books!

    1. Nicole, sounds like the perfect solution!

  6. kim Cornwell says:

    Do you too argue alot while writing together if one wants to change what the other wrote? I just wish I could convince mine to read. He hates reading. He would rather watch Tv.

    1. Kim, we generally don’t argue about that. Our writing meshes very well, so a lot of times I’m just tweaking, polishing, or adding the sex scenes.

      And sorry your hubby doesn’t like to read! If it’s any consolation, Randy is a big TV watcher, too.

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      My DH is a reader, but he prefers techno-thrillers or fantasy.

  7. Julie says:

    What is one of the bigger challenges to writing with a partner as opposed to writing solo?

    1. Randy always writes the first drafts for the VK Sykes books, which I then revise. He’s a fast writer, so I usually have one or two books piled up behind me. So, synching our writing schedules can be a challenge.

  8. Nicole Laverdure says:

    I smiled when I read this “Then the questions and comments begin, some of which involve sly remarks about our activities behind closed doors”

  9. Nicole Laverdure says:

    Hi Vanessa
    Do you sometimes disagree with your Randy on some details and how do you come to a compremise? please excuse my english!

    1. Nicole, I won’t pretend that we don’t ever, ahem, disagree – sometimes pretty loudly! But we just talk it through until we reach a solution that satisfies both of us.

  10. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Vanessa,

    I think it’s great that you and your husband share in an interest in writing and create books together. What a conversation starter.

    1. Barbara, I bet you can imagine what the first question usually is, especially since we write pretty hot books!

    2. Mia Marlowe says:

      My DH keeps volunteering to wear a “Research Assistant” T-shirt next time he goes to RT with me!

  11. I think it’s great that you can tap into each other’s expertise as you write!

    1. Margo, hubby is also a grammar/copy edit king. That helps, too!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Do you ever question each other on where you get your ideas from?

    1. Allison, we do talk about where we get our ideas, but Randy is MUCH better at coming up with plot ideas than I am. He’s got a great imagination.

  13. Betty Hamilton says:

    What is the biggest challenge of writing with your hubby?

    1. Hi Betty!

      The biggest challenge is getting him to remember that plot is not the primary issue in writing a romance. He’s very big on plot, which is great, but he sometimes tends to include a lot of detail – about sports, for instance, in the baseball books – that I think are unnecessary. We can sometimes have some pretty lively conversations about that!

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