How did you do it? people ask, when they hear that Paul Savoie and I collaborated on a novel.  How did we do it and remain friends?

It began as a three-way writing challenge with Ayanna Black to write an erotic novel..  I came up with an outline.  Ayanna, who at the time was surely having the best sex, couldn’t write about anything sexual without dissolving into a puddle of embarrassment.  Paul and I rolled our eyes and gave up.

Then another attempt was initiated, this time just Paul and me.  I began writing a novel Paul recognized immediately was a singular effort.  “Roberta, this is your novel,” he said and he was right.  Soon I finished No Words for Love and Famine, on my own. Paul’s contribution was simply the title and one other line in the book, which could get him into big trouble if it were recognized as such, so I’ll say no more about that.

Several years later, Paul suggested we try again.  I’d just finished the screenplay “Dom and Cat” that I planned to tuck away in a drawer.  After all, what business does a Catholic minister have writing about phone sex and BDSM?

A screenplay is a strange art form, like a blueprint for a building that someone else might build. I offered it to Paul as a framework for our novel, with the caveat:  “Paul, the only way I’m going to start down this road with you again is if you promise that we finish this novel or you never ever suggest we coauthor a novel again.”  Paul promised and we began Sexual Mercy.

We soon developed a rhythm.  He wrote one chapter.  I would revise that and write the next.  He would revise mine, and write the next.  So we wrote the first draft and the second in this game of literary leap frog.  I’m going to ask Paul to jump in here and describe his experience.  See, we’re still involved in that game of leap frog.  Our friendship was tested, yes, and endures.  Paul, your turn…


[You can find several of Paul’s books available at . God bless her; Ayanna Black’s birthday last Sunday was marked by her friends.  She has passed but her poetry is available at and  her anthology Fiery Spirits at]

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