Sharon and Tammy are the authors of Psychic. They are a mother-daughter writing duo. Psychic combines sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and thriller elements into one hard-to-put-down thrill ride. The novel follows Alpha Moore who is telepathic, but her skills amount to far more than just the ability to read the thoughts of others—she can also convince people to change their minds, think differently, and even reverse previous decisions by 180 degrees. YEM was able to speak with Sharon and Tammy about the process of writing a book together, their inspiration behind writing about a psychic, and what they have learned from each other.
Young Entertainment Mag: When did you each know you wanted to be a writer?
Sharon: From the age of 6 when I first wrote a story about a magic umbrella.
Tammy: I really wanted to be an editor, but jobs in that field are few and far between. I’m a bit of an academic at heart, and love nothing more than studying texts for comparative purposes. That said, I enjoy writing too, and became particularly interested in creative writing when I was at University studying English and History.
YEM: What does your process look like writing a book together?
Sharon and Tammy: Sharon does the overall plot, and gives a brief outline of the characters. Tammy reviews the characters, changing some dramatically, and gives them a backstory. They share out the chapters, depending on whether the chapter is more action-oriented, in which case Sharon writes it, or more dialogue-focussed, in which case Tammy writes it. Then they swap written chapters, review, discuss and sometimes write a chapter again.
YEM: How do you balance your relationship as mother-daughter and as a writing duo?
Sharon and Tammy: It’s long been time to move past the mother-daughter relationship as Tammy has been an adult for several years. However, the process of working together has helped us respect each other’s strengths that much more. It’s been good for us – we’re closer than ever.
YEM: What was your inspiration behind writing about a psychic?
Sharon and Tammy: The initial thought was about what skill or talent would make a person the most powerful person in the world. The ability to get anyone else to do exactly what you wanted seemed to fit that bill. But then the difficulty of creating challenges for that person had to be addressed, because a book about absolute power would be boring. The main character had to be capable of failure.
YEM: Who are your favorite authors?
Sharon: Stephen King.
Tammy: Oscar Wilde.
YEM: Is any part of the book influenced by your real life?
Sharon and Tammy: Other than Sunday being a representative of many of the young people Sharon met and tried to help whilst living in South Africa, no. However, the book is influenced by the real world – terrorism, populism, and several other political concepts in the story are all true to real life.
YEM: What is a piece of advice you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Sharon and Tammy: Read, read and read some more. Become critical about books you read – what writing works for you and what writing do you hate. Know yourself as a writer.
YEM: What is something you learned from each other?
Sharon and Tammy: How to be patient whilst waiting for the next chapter to appear from your co-author. Also, the knowledge that your mother/daughter is better at doing something than you are.
YEM: What was your favorite part about combining sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, and thriller elements?
Sharon and Tammy: Fantasy has become so cliché, and there is very little modern science fiction written that appeals to girls or women. Dystopian worlds, interspace creations, vampires and werewolves are common. We wanted to create something that sits firmly in the here and now, and could be happening in your neighbour’s home. Or your own. It could be you, or your children, who are psychic.
YEM: Is there something you hope that your readers take away from reading PSYCHIC?
Sharon and Tammy: Psychic, at its heart, is about learning to trust others – and forming teams that are more powerful than individuals. We would like our readers to take this message and use it in their own lives.
YEM: Do you have a line or a scene that was your favorite to write?
Sharon: the scene where they are all waiting to find out where the terrorist attack will take place, and the tension that builds as they drive around in the car together.
Tammy: where Alpha opens up to Sunday exposing the truth about her mother for the first time, then learning that her truth is not the whole truth.
YEM: Are you guys thinking about writing another book together?
Sharon and Tammy: Definitely. We think Psychic deserves a sequel. In fact, we have plotted out four more books in this series, and have started to think about a different story too that would form a trilogy.