A Look at Anne Calhoun and Jeffe Kennedy’s Writing Processes & Friendship

WITH A PRINCE by Jeffe KennedyIt can be a lonely business being an author, you’re running your own business out there on your own. That’s why so many writers we know are so grateful for their author friends! Today Anne Calhoun dishes on how having an author bestie helps both their careers, and how she and Jeffe Kennedy’s came to share a release day!

It sounds like a meet cute: two authors, working on different books in different series with different publishing models in different states end up sharing a release day. Except we were already fast friends who had progressed from fangirl tweets to Google Hangouts to phone calls every couple of days. Our friendship was really cemented during RT14 in NOLA, over drinks at Lafitte’s and a slumber party screening of Romancing the Stone, on VHS tape, no less. It speaks to how little we talk about publishing that, up until about a week ago, we had no idea we were sharing a release day on May 30.

The difference in publishing models comes into play here. My publisher, St. Martin’s Press, set the release date for Turn Me Loose, the latest in the Alpha Ops, over a year ago. Jeffe wrote “With a Prince” in March and April and set her release date last month. In another convergence, despite the differences in timing, publishing models, and subgenre (“With a Prince” is a contemporary novella, while Turn Me Loose is romantic suspense), we ended up playing an integral role in developing each other’s books. 

I’d sold my book as part of a three-book, three-novella deal (during which the Alpha Ops characters were born) that I signed back in March of 2015. Turn Me Loose, the final book in the series, was drafted and turned in last June; I started revisions in January of 2017. The timing was tight enough that I wanted to be sure I hit the mark the first round, so I asked Jeffe to be a second set of eyes to ensure I was on the right track. I sent her the manuscript, swanned off to England for ten days, and then, when my flight home was delayed, I became That Person at the crowded gate area at O’Hare, the one who’s wandering around, earbuds in, talking…and talking…and talking. Jeffe had specific and excellent ideas about how to punch up the villain and the family dynamics (the villain is the heroine’s father). I thumbed her comments into the Notes app on my phone and, thanks to her insights, had the revisions done in a couple of days. 

TURN ME LOOSE by Anne CalhounTaking advantage of the flexibility of the self-publishing model, Jeffe released the first book in the Missed Connections series in February of 2017 with “The Last Dance,” the second novella in a series of five contemporary stories about roommates in Chicago with a set of Dating Rules that make me laugh. I’d helped her brainstorm the setup during a phone call several weeks earlier, as she walked around a lake, earbuds in, while her husband fished. After she’d started drafting, she wanted confirmation she was heading in the right direction, so I read the first third of “With a Prince,” loved it, and sent her off to finish the book. It’s always easier to see someone else’s story arc objectively. 

In both cases we gratefully utilized professional editors, me with Eileen Rothschild at St Martin’s Press, and Jeffe with Carina Press editor Deb Nemeth, who also freelances. And, in both cases, we finished out the production process of copy edits, etc., without discussing release dates. Until just recently!

Interestingly, neither of us has read the other’s finished product. Not for lack of love, but because—and this is a funny thing about this kind of friendship and sharing work—we’ve both already seen the inner workings of the stories. It’s an intimate look into each other’s process, both a great privilege and an honored responsibility.

But we sent each other the final versions now, and you can watch us read from each other’s book during our Facebook Live event on Thursday, June 1, at 7pm Eastern Time.

Both books are available now! Grab a digital copy of With a Prince for $2.99 on Amazon, and get a digital copy of Turn Me Loose for $7.99 here: Amazon | BN | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo.

Tell us how you met your BFFs! Was it friendship at first sight? What makes her (or him!) your go to person in good times and in bad?

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