Teamwork: Local authors combine talents to write first book in a trilogy

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By Rob Cline, correspondent

Jordan Pinckney and Will Lenzen Jr. each had a story idea. As fate would have it, they met and soon merged those ideas in “Destined,” their debut novel and the first book in a YA space adventure series.

In an e-interview, the authors discuss the nature of their partnership, the origin of their story, and their plans for future installments.

In October and November, Pinckney and Lenzen will participate in events in Marion, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines. Details will be available on their Facebook page: facebook.com/destinedbook.

Q: Tell me about your partnership. How did you work together to craft your story?

A: It’s 100 percent collaborative, but we also work smart and divvy up work to where our strengths and deep interests lie. The story was created together. Before any writing took place, we would spend months creating the story arc, character backgrounds/history, gaps in the plots, and figure out what pieces of the story we wanted to leave out for later novels and short stories.

When we were ready to start writing, Jordan wrote the first draft while Will worked on the design and marketing aspects. Then when the first draft was completed, the manuscript was put into Will’s hands to add to and edit. After brainstorming our work and coming to an agreement, we then sent out a draft (second or third draft) to an editor.

We then continued the process. Jordan made changes, adding to or removing parts of the story, then Will wrote in his work and inspiration into the next draft, and then back into another editor’s hands. The first novel was a two-year process. It took quite some time, but it was worth it in the end. Besides, this is the process that works best for us.

Q: What’s the origin of this particular story? Where did the idea come from?

A: Before we even knew each other, Will had been working on the seed of this story for over a year. About a week before we met, Jordan had an epic and fantastic dream that he had to write down. When he was able to build the courage to participate in Filmmaker Corridor (a filmmaking group/community for the surrounding area that was headed by Lenzen), Will saw the passion Jordan had for writing and decided to pitch him his idea as a screenplay. This fit Jordan’s dream perfectly, and we made the next step to become a team.

Within the first few weeks of the process, Will was inspired to turn it into novel form, and then we decided there was too much story for just one book, so we agreed on a trilogy of novels. Now we’re writing and building an entire universe.

Q: You’ve set the book in a future Cedar Rapids/Marion and the surrounding area. Why did you decide to do that, and what were the advantages and disadvantages of the decision?

A: Writers’ and storytellers’ inspiration is fueled by the world they live in, including the people and places they live in or where they’re from. We wanted to give people something special: a sci-fi future of the Cedar Rapids/Marion area over fifty years into the future. We wanted to entertain the people of Iowa with a fantastic and epic story that they would feel a part of, and we wanted them to get lost in a familiar world that was not their own.

Q: Who do you think of as the primary audience for this book?

A: Young adults, tweens to 19. But just like with Harry Potter and Hunger Games, the audiences for this genre reaches further. We hope the core of our story will universally resonate and compete just like other popular titles from these genres. But we also want to give readers something entirely new, adventurous, and entertaining.

Q: The cover suggests this is the first book in a trilogy. How’s the second book coming and what can you tell me about the story? Do you have the whole trilogy mapped out?

A: We’ve started the second book. The storyline has been written down on our 4x3 foot dry erase board, the note cards have been filled out, and the characters have been created — past, present, and future back story. We can tell you that it’s an extension of the story started in the first book. [The authors included a winking emoticon here.]

Yes, the entire story is mapped out. As a bit of side information, we have created and written out 700 years of back story, not all of which will be in the three novels.

Q: Are you working on anything else in addition to the trilogy?

A: Yes. We have a couple plans in the works that we don’t want to reveal just yet, but something we can reveal is we’re in the process of writing two novellas. One will be a prequel to the first “Destined” story, and another is a novella or short story that will connect to one of the following “Destined” novels.

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