The question we—Ann Aguirre and Carrie Lofty—get most often is how did you form your partnership? It's generally followed up with questions about our pen name and how we divide the work. So let's rock that out today.
I met Carrie online five years ago. I had recently moved to Mexico. She was writing a historical romance novel. I was writing all kinds of things. Since then, she's sold historical romance novels. I've sold all kinds of things. Fast forward two years into our friendship to when I had an epic dream. It was insanely vivid, post-apocalyptic, full of dangerous magic, excitement, a compelling hero and heroine, the end of the world, and evil demon dogs. I posted a blog about it, where a ton of readers commented: I would so totally read that! You should write it. But by that point, I didn't have time to finish a book on spec. Yet the idea haunted me. Eventually, between deadlines, I hammered out the first chapter and I emailed it to Carrie.
I was curious about Ann's idea. Frankly, as a historical romance author, I'd never given much thought to writing outside of my comfort zone. But the idea of plunging into something crazy and unformed was really tempting. It was unlike anything I'd tried before. I took a chance. After all, what do I know about writing a male soldier's point of view during an apocalypse?! I think Ann was nervous about working with me because, at the time, I was quite a plotter. Neither of us knew if I could free style in the way a partnership needs.
We needn't have worried. The work was so much fun! Writing for the hell of it. No goal. No net. Just tag, you're it!
This is where you find out that we do, in fact, split the books by point of view. The strategy worked for us because any minute differences in our individual voices as authors could be attributed to character differences. Thus during the summer of 2008, we wrote Nightfall by pinging the chapters back and forth. Suddenly we had a book.
Fast forward another year, and we sold the whole trilogy to Berkley Sensation. Which is insanely thrilling. It was incredible exciting to start with nothing but a dream, fall into a partnership for the fun, and—against the odds—wind up going pro with a cross-genre project. The "Dark Age Dawning" trilogy fits firmly in the romance genre because without the couples at the center of each book, the center would not hold. And happy endings all around! But we provide elements of fantasy and horror too. We hope to have created something new and exciting, which brings us to the final point.
How did we become Ellen Connor? Well, we discussed just using our names, but we wanted these books to be ours. Together. A pen name is the best way to communicate that joint commitment. Plus, on a more technical note, it's easier for the art department to utilize one name. The amazing art by Gene Mollica certainly validates this decision! We were totally blown away by his gorgeous, perfect depiction of our world and characters.
Once we settled on the idea of a new name, we needed to pick the perfect one. What a nice surprise that it wasn't too difficult! Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor are our favorite kick-ass heroines of all time, so it was a simple matter of combining their names. (We did toy with the idea of Sarah Ripley, but we liked Ellen Connnor better and hope you agree.)
We also hope that you love our books. These paranormal apocalyptic romances are a new thing under the sun and we'd love to hear from you. Find our more about our work at www.ellenconnor.com and write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All our best,