I know that this is a collaboration. How did this story come about?
Tricia: I’ve written a handful of books set in the World War II, and I’ve always been intrigued about how the Nazis stole art. When I was in Austria I heard about the salt mines that many art pieces were hidden in. I also read a book Rescuing Da Vinci that intrigued me. That’s why Mike and I started the book with an action scene involving a train in Paris being loaded up with priceless art that was purchased or stolen in France. I was amazed by how that happened and I knew readers would be too. Mike: From there, it was a matter of piecing together a plausible plot that involved Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring’s desire to steal the Mona Lisa following the Allies’ liberation of Paris in August 1944. We believe we have more than succeeded, and there are a lot of unexpected surprises along the way.
Did you find it easy to work together on it? Tricia: The best way to work together was for Mike to write the first draft and then I came in behind and edited, added bits and pieces of scenes, and offered suggestions. He usually set me free on the “romantic” parts. Mike: That’s what worked best for us. Thank goodness for Track Changes in Word.
That was a great invention loved by many authors.
How did collaborating with this team impact you? Tricia: Mike and I collaborated on a previous World War II novel, The Swiss Courier and we both like the same type of research, although Mike comes up with the zinger plot twists. Mike: Although Chasing Mona Lisa has several of the same characters that appeared in The Swiss Courier, Tricia and I decided to make it a stand-alone novel.
What is the hardest thing about writing as a team? Tricia: Mike and I both have other books, other projects, and other deadlines that we do on our own, so it’s hard to coordinate our time. Mike: There are never enough hours in the day.
What are you reading right now? Tricia: I'm currently reading Kisses from Katie by Katie J. Davis and A Stranger's Gift (pre-release to write an endorsement) by Pulitzer Prize Winner Tom Hallman, Jr. Mike: I just finished Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly. I was surprised how good it was, but he didn’t write it. His collaborator Martin Dugard undoubtedly authored the book.
How did you choose your characters’ names? Tricia: I can claim Colette! I love that name. Mike did the rest. Mike: Believe it or not, many of the names come from Nicole’s family (she is Swiss) or friends she went to high school with outside of Zurich.
Would you want to work on another book together? Tricia: Sure, but we need Chasing Mona Lisa to do well. Mike: So tell all your friends. This starving artist will appreciate it.
What do you want to tell us about the book? Tricia: The action never stops. Every chapter moves toward a cliffhanger. We don’t want anyone to catch his or her breath. Oh, yes, the research is pretty fun too! Mike: It’s wonderful how all the plot threads . . . and there are a bunch of them . . . all come together. We haven’t had anyone guess the ending yet, so there are plot twists galore.
Sounds like a book I’ll love. I’ll have to try to guess the ending. I love it when I’m totally surprised, but that doesn’t happen too often.
This interview was first published on A Christian Writer's World and provided to FaithVillage by our contributor, Litfuse Publicity Group.