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The Lady Soldier by Jennifer Lindsay

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Hi! I thought I would 'unmask' myself as the co-author of The Lady Soldier by Jennifer Lindsay which comes out in hardback in May.

It's the story of a lady who disguises her gender so she can serve as a soldier, and is set in the Napoleonic wars.

This is my first novel to be published so its all very exciting but also a little daunting.


Kate Allan


half of Jennifer Lindsay


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As a writer myself, in various fields, I am very curious to know how you write a novel with someone else. Do you write every sentence together, or do you write a chapter each (I've heard some co-writers do this)? Whenever I see books written by duos (eg Nicci French, Annie Sanders and Stephen King/Peter Straub, as examples) this same question occurs to me. I remember Eve Pollard wrote at least one novel with two other writers.


I have actually written a book with someone else, but it was a comedy book, and that lends itself to co-writing much more naturally, I think, than novels, where the quality is largely dependant on the quality of the prose style. So whose style is it? Yours or your co-writer's, or something in between?

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The answer in my case is that Jennifer Lindsay has her own voice, which has elements of both authors' styles, but it was more us coming together to create something a little different, than simply 'meeting in the middle'.


I suspect it would be very hard to co-author a novel with anyone who was not already a novelist in their own right, and if you did not admire their work and see how it might fit with your own.


What was important was telling the story in the best way possible, so our technique was to 'edit with impunity', which meant we did not ask permission of the other to edit. We discussed elements of plot and character development at the start, and then later as they arose, but as for the rest, we just got on it with.


I have to say that was very different from writing a novel on your own.


My co-author Michelle Styles, explains practically 'how we did it':





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Completely! For a start we met on an internet board and when we discovered we both had manuscripts under consideration with the same editor at the same publisher, and were both members of the RNA (i.e. credentials!) we swapped e-mail addresses.


And then e-mail allowed us to send the manuscript back and forth as often as we liked.


I suppose we could have met at some RNA event at some point, and what, posted computer disks back and forth? Don't think it would have happened.



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