We were so pleased to get a great question from one of our wonderful readers, Jaime Lyn G., who was wondering how we got started.
Thanks for asking, Jaime Lyn! Co-authoring children’s fantasy novels started for us back in 2010-2011. Gael was writing historical romance for Avon/HarperCollins and Eric was a middle school teacher. Gael’s deadlines were longer than she needed to complete the projects for NY, so in the interim, we thought it would be fun to write something else—together. Middle grade fantasy was the genre that made us both fall in love with books as kids, so we decided to go back to our reading roots, give it a try, and just have fun with it as a project of the heart, whether it ever got published or not.
It all just kind of came together for us like chocolate and peanut butter. Gael, with her lifetime of writing experience and expertise in British history and Eric with his trial-by-fire (lol) understanding of how to keep a roomful of 13-year-olds entertained while educating. We just started brainstorming ideas, and The Gryphon Chronicles developed rather quickly. (Interestingly, Gael had noticed that many of her Jane Austen-era romances actually had some funny, scrappy kid secondary character running around in the background, like tagging along on the adult hero or heroine’s adventures. Early shades of Jake? FYI, her romances always have adventure or mystery subplots.) Anyway!
From the planning stages to completion, it took us probably about a year to get THE LOST HEIR finished. We had originally pitched the idea to Gael’s agent to find us a publisher and go the traditional publishing route, but their suggestions for changing it would’ve wrecked it, LOL. (Such as: Take out all the point-of-view sections except for Jake’s. And cut the story down to about half the length.)
So we said a polite “No, thank you,” and ultimately decided that it would be better to NOT take on two sets of high-pressure New York-publisher deadlines anyway (meaning, juggling both romance and children’s fantasy). For those two main reasons, we decided to go indie and self-published Book #1, THE LOST HEIR, in 2012, with no expectation of success. Just something that the many moms, aunts, grandmothers and other adult women who love G’s romances could share with their kids.
But behind the scenes, we were loving the genre and working together so much that we kept going with the series and put three books out in 2013: JAKE & THE GIANT, THE DARK PORTAL, & JAKE & THE GINGERBREAD WARS. That was when Amazon took notice, a rep contacted us, they flew us out to NY City for a Kindle self-publishing media event (us pictured below at the ice skating rink in Bryant Park) and they ended up running a BIG promo for the series. Books 1 & 2 went to the top 2 slots on the Amazon children’s bestseller list (even ahead of Harry Potter!!) and got lots of eyeballs on the series. That event kind of put us on the map and we’ve just been plugging along ever since, loving it more every day and so grateful that our readers make it possible and help us spread the word.
Hope that answers your question. Thanks again!!!
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