Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dear Gail Giles: A Tribute to My Co-Author (guest post)

Tomorrow, our book officially meets the world.
Our book. No Returns.*

It happened because you, Gail Giles,* are a very cool person. You heard me speak at a state library conference and tracked me down. You invited me to your house for lunch (and you are, by the way, a very fine cook). You piled books in my arms and expected book reports the next time we met. You told me we’d crack this writing thing together.

When your first book was a runaway hit, none of it went to your head. We hung out like always. We swapped manuscripts and made them better. You piled books in my arms. When you moved away, you mailed them in boxes.

We vacationed in Cabo. You brought watercolor paper and paints and insisted I learn to paint even though I can barely draw a stick figure. We propped our chairs in the sand and you showed me tricks that made my little ocean picture look almost pretty. We went shopping for pink cowboy boots for you to wear at author events, and we started writing the book you suggested we write together, a book about three boys in a band who accidentally call up the devil.

Under the Mexican sun, we wrote the first few chapters, then finished the book through a series of phone calls and emails. We fell in love with the boys in the band, and we even developed an affection for a certain little demon named Fred.

I’m glad we decided to make this a series, because writing the sequel is every bit as fun as writing the first book. We play off each other’s strengths. No one’s the diva. You noodle and punt to me. I peck out a few pages and punt back to you. Where I get stuck and don’t know quite how to say what I mean, I type [Gail help] and you’re back the next day with words that make it sing. Where something’s not working, you say so or I say so and we fix it.

They say writing is a lonely profession, and I suppose in some ways it is. But I can tell you this: it’s not lonely when Gail Giles is on your team.

Deb Vanasse is the author of more than a dozen books for readers of all ages. Her debut novel, A Distant Enemy,   was a Junior Literary Guild selection and is featured in Best Books for Young Readers, as was Out of the Wilderness. Follow her at www.debvanasse.com and www.selfmadewriter.blogspot.com

*Jody Feldman's Note: A couple of the links in this post will simply not work no matter what I've tried. So, to find out more about No Returns, please visit
And to learn more about the very wonderful and talented Gail Giles, try this


  1. A wonderful tribute and a great partnership. Congratulations on you're newer book!

  2. Thanks, Marcia! And thanks to Jody and everyone else here at Smack Dab in the Middle for hosting us today.

  3. So cool. And yes--congrats on the new release!