Article by Julie D. Jones
Working with a partner is not always a walk in the park!
When you get two strong personalities working together there are times when you inevitably disagree and need a strategy to work out your differences.
As a crime writer, married to an experienced forensic expert, it was only natural for me to seek advice and detailed information from my husband. With a background in nursing it helps that we have a lot of things in common; we can discuss certain drugs/medications and the effects on the body, also from seeing gunshot wounds we can discuss the carnage created from firearms and the types of guns used in shootings.
From time to time Terry and I disagree with scenes in my books. We try to come up with a mutual agreement, but this doesn’t always work. The next step is for us to argue the point by coming up with the reasons/facts behind our decisions for adding/omitting or changing something. If it is purely scientific Terry will normally win, however, if I feel it is something that doesn’t work from a writer’s prospective, I will openly say so.
When you work together you have to know how to switch off
We tend to be complete opposites in many ways, I enjoy swimming, going to bed early, being outdoors. When I feel we can’t resolve something quickly I will head off for a swim to clear my head. Terry is very much a night owl, he prefers spending time indoors, watching documentaries and quiz shows. He will retreat to his study and take time to reflect. When you work together as a couple it is vital you know how to switch off and spend time away from each other.
I know my characters better than anybody, and if I feel a suggested change Terry is making about a character is ‘out of character’ I will dig in my heels and never budge. This can be frustrating for both parties.
There are many positives working together; we love what we do. Terry enjoys hearing my ideas and reading the chapters once they have been written. We have great fun discussing forensic science and the ways to detect poisons, specific lab tests, findings for the Coroner etc. We get to discuss real life cases where forensics were perhaps not viewed or described in the most positive way.
Lots of things make us laugh. We get to travel to Devon (where my books are based) and always get to meet amazing people.
I remember sitting in a café in Salcombe Devon, discussing my second novel. I turned to Terry saying, ‘I really didn’t want to kill that person, but in the end, I felt they had to go.’ It was only then I realised the room had gone quiet!
It is healthy for us to have our own views and ideas. The positives far out way any negatives. I think to work together you need a real commitment for what you do and have respect for each other.
Having been married for almost twenty-five years I feel we can comfortably agree to disagree.
Moorland Forensics: Devil’s Realm by Julie D. Jones is available from Amazon and all good bookshops.