Relative Disenchantment

Wojtowicz and Streed: authors

Co-Authors Chris and Patty tell how they make it work — December 13, 2018

Co-Authors Chris and Patty tell how they make it work

Thank you to Cindy Ervin Huff for hosting Christine Petersen Streed and Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz on her blog, Jubilee Writer!

JUBILEE WRITER

My special guests today are a co-author team. I met Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz and Christine Petersen Streed at a Library Author Faire this past October.

Co-authorship is rare. I’m impressed they’ve remained friends and continue to co-author novels. I asked them to come and share how they do it.

 First off, tell us how you met?

The answer to this question spans distance and time because before we knew each other, we were both members of the same writing organization—SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), but Chris lived in Illinois and Patty in New Jersey. When Patty moved to Illinois in 2006, she joined the SCBWI critique group that Chris had been attending.

So what made you decide to co-author?

In 2009 we branched off on our own and began sharing and critiquing our individual writing projects. Realizing that our writing styles dovetailed nicely, we began writing…

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Things I Don’t Talk About: a novel — September 28, 2018

Things I Don’t Talk About: a novel

Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz and Christine Petersen Streed are excited to announce their latest novel, Things I Don’t Talk About. This is the second collaboration for Streed and Wojtowicz after Relative Disenchantment.

TIDTA coverThings I Don’t Talk About is a story of friendship, family ties, and difficult life decisions told with a bit of humor. Fern Tyler is not much of a talker. Her long-time friend, Anita, can’t stop talking. The two have an unlikely bond that has sustained them through raising children, adjusting to empty nests, and mourning the death of each of their spouses. When Fern starts showing signs that she isn’t safe in her own home, and Anita considers moving 400 miles away to be closer to her daughter, their relationship faces new challenges. In a quest for one last grab at independence, they set out on a road trip together that will test their patience, their morals, and their friendship.

Christine Petersen Streed and Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz have been writing partners since 2009. While both living in Illinois, they coauthored their first novel, Relative Disenchantment (2017). Their collaboration has recently taken on an interesting dimension—writing together, but apart. Christine still lives in the Chicago area, but Patricia now resides in Boston. Despite the distance, they co-wrote their second novel, Things I Don’t Talk About, via video conference calls. Christine and Patricia find inspiration in the milestones of life, drawing from those experiences to develop their novels.

Things I Don’t Talk About and Relative Disenchantment are both available at Amazon.com.

Streed and Wojtowicz are also excited to be among the authors who will be signing books at the White Oak Author Fest on Saturday, October 13, 2018 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Importance of Grandmothers — April 14, 2017

The Importance of Grandmothers

Early in our novel writing process, as Patricia Shinn Wojtowicz and I discussed what we wanted to write, we kept coming back to the relationships we had with our grandmothers. We found that we both had many pleasant memories of our grandmothers and learning from them became highlights of our young adult years.

As Patty and I developed our fictional characters for Relative Disenchantment, we enjoyed the interplay of young and young-at-heart that developed between Joanna, a college student, and Ruth, her grandmother. Joanna struggles with Ruth’s habit of saving everything that has any sentimental value, but also admires Ruth’s love of life and refusal to admit that she’s getting old. They share memories and a few harsh lessons, bonding over those experiences. Not all the stories Patty and I heard from our own grandmas were happy ones. In fact, one of the stories was a bleak one, inspiring an important part of our novel.

The first time my grandmother told me an unexpected story about an ancestor marked the beginning of my adult relationship with her. My grandma told me that her great-grandmother, Mary, lived in Alsace, France in the mid 1800’s. The story my grandma passed to me­ was that Mary, as a young unmarried woman, gave birth to a son. The father of her child was unknown. I remember thinking I must really be an adult now, because my grandma thinks I’m old enough to hear this story. There were other stories she told me about my heritage then that are pretty hazy now, and unfortunately she is no longer around to fill me in.

Through family documents and genealogy records, I learned more of Mary’s story. She left France on a ship sailing for the United States. Maybe it was easier to start over in a new place. Maybe it was easier to find work. For whatever reason Mary made the journey, she was brave to make a new life for herself. The story even had a happy ending. Mary met a man on her voyage to the U.S. who later became her husband and adopted her son.

I can no longer tell my grandmothers the ways that their lives and stories have impacted me, but I hope to pass some of their stories onto my grandchildren one day (when they are old enough.)

How long did it take to write Relative Disenchantment? — March 8, 2017

How long did it take to write Relative Disenchantment?

The short answer to this question is: seven years of weekly writing sessions. But, the details about that time frame include: time to talk with each other over a good cup of tea; time off for children’s weddings and the births of grandchildren, time involved in the care of parents, and the time to grieve the death of a parent. But, through all of the happenings in their lives, the need to meet and create characters on paper has been strong for both Chris and Patty.

How does writing as co-authors work? — March 1, 2017

How does writing as co-authors work?

img_20170222_141204For Chris and Patty, writing as a team keeps them motivated and allows each one to play off of the other’s strengths.  Patty loves to create vignettes for their characters, and Chris has a gift for big picture ideas that tie the story together.  The key to their work as co-authors is their weekly writing sessions.  And, while Chris and Patty have their above mentioned strengths, they are both involved in all aspects of their combined work.  It’s a great partnership!

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