Hey there word nerds, I’m so glad you’re here!
We’re doing something different for this episode of DIY MFA Radio. This week I’m speaking with Steve Berry and Raymond Khoury about the art of collaboration. As you may remember, Steve Berry has appeared on this show before, and this time I’m thrilled to welcome him back with a twist. Today I’m talking both with him and with fellow thriller author Raymond Khoury, about their recent ebook collaboration: Shadow Tag.
In case you’ve been off the grid and don’t know who these two awesome authors are… Steve Berry is the New York Times and #1 internationally bestselling author of several history-driven thrillers and his latest book The 14th Colony which will be out on April 5. Raymond Khoury is a former screenwriter and now the author of five consecutive New York Times and #1 international bestsellers. His latest book The End Game will be out on March 10. Their collaborative eBook is a phenomenal example of how two authors can work together to increase both their platforms and reach new readers.
In this episode Steve, Raymond, and I discuss:
- The myth of “original” material
- The logistics of collaboration
- Cross-pollinating reader bases as a marketing strategy
- How to find a collaboration partner
Plus, Steve’s and Raymond’s #1 tip for writers.
Shadow Tag is out now, and you can pre-order Raymond Khoury’s The End Game and Steve Berry’s The 14th Colony. If you decide to purchase, we hope you’ll consider doing so via these amazon affiliate links, where DIY MFA gets a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting this podcast!
History lies at the heart of every Steve Berry novel. It’s his passion, one he shares with his wife, Elizabeth, which led them to create History Matters, a foundation dedicated to historic preservation. Since 2009 Steve and Elizabeth have crossed the country to save endangered historic treasures, raising money via lectures, receptions, galas, luncheons, dinners and their popular writers workshops. To date, over 2,500 students have attended those workshops. In 2012 and 2013 Steve’s devotion to historic preservation was recognized by the American Library Association, which named Steve it’s spokesperson for National Preservation Week. Among his other honors is the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award; the 2013 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award given by Poets & Writers; the 2013 Anne Frank Human Writes Award; and the Silver Bullet, bestowed in 2013 by International Thriller Writers for his philanthropic work. A 2010 NPR survey named The Templar Legacy one of the top 100 thrillers ever written.
Steve was born and raised in Georgia, graduating from the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. He was a trial lawyer for 30 years and held elective office for 14 of those years. He is a founding member of International Thriller Writers—a group of more than 2,600 thriller writers from around the world—and served three years as its co-president.
Raymond came to writing thrillers from a career in screenwriting, which includes the BAFTA award winning BBC series SPOOKS (aka MI:5 in the US). THE LAST TEMPLAR began its journey to print as an original screenplay written in 1996. At the time, a book agent suggested turning it into a novel, and a major NY publisher, the first to read it, offered Raymond a $500,000 advance for the as-yet-unwritten novel, with one condition: “Lose the religion. It’s boring. Change the Templars’ secret to gold, diamonds, something people get excited about.” After much tortured consideration, Raymond turned the offer down, his first potential paycheck from writing. Almost exactly ten years later, his novel, based on that screenplay–religion included–became a global bestseller, hitting #1 in multiple countries and getting adapted into an NBC miniseries.
Raymond’s thrillers are based on big themes that interest him such as international politics and conspiracies, fact vs faith, why we age and die, what do we really know about reincarnation, about mind control. He explores these themes in depth, with heavy emphasis on research, and often combines a historical angle to his stories. As such, some of his novels feature dual timelines: the bulk of the stories are set in the present day, interspersed with chapters that take place in the distant past. As Booklist puts it, “Khoury’s thrillers engage the reader’s mind, even as they move at a breakneck pace. Readers who like their thrillers to have a solid intellectual component will enjoy Khoury’s books very much.”
Raymond’s 7th novel, THE END GAME, is released on March 10, 2016.
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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.