Christine and Christopher Russell on Writing Together
By Christine and Christopher Russell, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 24, 2011
Authors Christine and Christopher Russell are a husband and wife team writing children’s books together. The Warrior Sheep Go West is their second book, following closely on the hooves of The Quest of the Warrior Sheep (February 2011). Christopher Russell had a successful career in British television drama before becoming a children’s novelist and Christine has always been closely involved in his work.
We’re often asked how we collaborate, if we ever have disagreements and if so, how we settle them.
Well the initial ideas, wherever they have sprung from, are developed on the hoof. Sitting at a desk at this early stage sends us to sleep so we plot the storylines and invent characters whilst we’re walking, usually on the beach or the cliffs near our home. There’s nothing like a howling gale to keep the brain spinning. Then we take turns at writing chapters. Whichever one of us is the bravest or keenest dives in first and hands the results to the other. And that’s when the fur sometimes flies. But disagreements are usually resolved during heated but short debates – or maybe that should read explosions – and then one or other of us goes back to the drawing board and tries again. We don’t always wait until we’re both happy with a chapter. Sometimes it’s better to plough on regardless then go back and revise bit by bit.
The one thing we never do is sit side by side at a desk working. Christopher needs peace and quiet. And he writes longhand! Yep. He’s Mr Biro. Well, you can chew the end of a pen but it’s not easy to chew a laptop. Christine works straight onto the keyboard and revises a million times per page.
It’s unusual for two people to write together. And even more unusual if they’re married to each other. But we’re used to being under each other’s feet the whole time. Until recently Christopher was the sole writer. He produced scripts for a number of major television series in the UK. Christine helped at initial ideas stage and with plotting and then later in the process with script editing.
The same applied for the first four novels Christopher wrote for children. But then we got the idea for the Warrior Sheep Series and decided to have a go at actually writing together. It just seemed to be the right thing to do at the time. And it seems to be working: we’re having fun and we love the thought that our efforts are making people laugh.
In The Warrior Sheep Go West, the follow up to the critically acclaimed sleeper hit The Quest of the Warrior Sheep, by Christine and Christopher Russell, the courageous and loveable ovine heroes are back for another sheep-tastic adventure with, if possible, even more hilarious fun than before. The “Eppingham Posse” of Oxo, Links, Jaycey, Wills, and Sal hoof it to Las Vegas for a new epic mission. This time, it is the entirety of sheepdom that hangs in the balance, and it will take their combined fleecy genius to outwit the monster named Red Tongue (evading in the process a mad scientist, joyriding teenagers, a flash flood, a sword-wielding magician, and a menacing bear) and save the, ahem, eweniverse.
“Another preposterous romp full of wild coincidences, evil scientists, mad magicians and enough misunderstandings for three novels.”—Kirkus Reviews
The adventurous episodes keep things moving along, while the hilarity takes hold especially during the second half of the book. —School Library Journal
Add this book to your collection: The Warrior Sheep Go West