Thursday, February 15, 2018

Words and Images: A Partnership Between Writer and Photographer (Part Two)

When the February theme for the Blood-Red Pencil turned out to be Partnerships,
one collaborative effort popped into my brain from right here in Northern Colorado. Author, writing consultant, and publisher Kerrie Flanagan teamed up with artist and photographer Suzette McIntyre to create and publish three coffee table books.

Read Part One of this article here.

The three books created by Kerrie Flanagan and Suzette McIntyre are called Beauty Surrounds Us (March 1, 2016), The Paths We Take (November 10, 2016), and Reflection (March 29, 2017). Reflection is identified as their last words and images coffee table book, so I asked Suzette to describe the projects as far as difficulty of ideas and coordination of duties.

“The second and third books materialized from the enthusiasm of artists," Suzette told me. "They liked the themed competitions and the idea their pieces could possibly be published. The themes of the competitions/book titles for these three books came to me after a massive introspection and study.”

Kerrie did an internet search on the titles to make sure they were unique, an important step in choosing titles so a book is not buried in a long list of like-titled publications.

Suzette added, “Coordination was easy. I did the layouts and design. Kerrie put it all into the format for Ingram/Spark.”

Now that the three-book endeavor is complete, I was curious how Kerrie and Suzette felt about their books and how well they worked together.

Kerrie has worked on several joint projects, so she was an old hand at partnerships. “I have loved working with all the authors I have collaborated with; my 100 Haiku for the 80s Generation with Dean Miller, Write Away with Jenny Sundstedt, and now these three Words & Images Coffee table books with Suzette. I have enjoyed each collaboration and am proud of the resulting books. Maybe my co-authors think differently, but from my point of view, the process for all these books was smooth. Each of my co-authors brought different skills and strengths to the books. I think the best answer to this question is collaborate with writers you get along with. :-)”

From Suzette, I wanted to know if she’d ever thought of going it alone with books featuring only images and what the pros and cons were of going it alone. She responded, “I have thought about producing themed photography books many times, however I think the idea of adding additional poetry/text will always be a part of my model now. The two need each other to form the deeper dimension.”

I think it’s clear that most writers and artists would work faster on their own without the need to coordinate efforts with another person or team, but would each writer/artist pay as much attention to detail alone as they would with a partner? Kerrie noted Suzette’s “incredible eye for detail” and her knowledge of Photoshop and added she appreciated Suzette’s meticulous attention to the photos, layout and design. Suzette noted that she worked slower than usual on this project, but that she loved having Kerrie’s expertise in publishing to rely on.

From my own point of view, I’d say Kerrie and Suzette formed a great partnership for the duration of their three-book project. No two people work the same way, spend the same amount of time focusing or procrastinating, or have the identical vision when it comes to a final product. It appears the keys to a successful partnership are (1) working with writers or artists you already get along with, and (2) working with a legal contract.

Thanks so much to Kerrie and Suzette for taking time from their busy schedules to answer my questions.

More about Kerrie:

Photo by Suzette McIntyre
Kerrie Flanagan is a writing consultant, publisher, author and freelance writer with over 18 years experience. She has published eight books under her label, Hot Chocolate Press. Her book, A Guide to Magazine Article Writing, through Writer's Digest is scheduled to release in July of 2018 (and now available for preorder).

Kerrie enjoys working with writers to help them find success with their writing. To contact her about consulting or speaking at an event, contact her at kerrie.flanagan@gmail.com. You can learn more about her at her website.

More about Suzette:

Suzette McIntyre is an award-winning artist and has been recognized internationally for her signature style of photography and mixed media paintings. She works in genres from weddings and portraiture, to landscape and fine art.

Suzette views photography as a relationship as well as an art. Combining the two creates her intimate distinctive style. Her canvases and photography, inspired by her deep passion for people and her love of the western wilderness can be seen in galleries throughout Colorado and Wyoming and on her website.  Suzette is the co-founder of Words & Images.


Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017).

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy (aka Doggity), and brown tabby Katie (aka Kitty Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was recently interviewed for a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers podcast that you can find at the RMFW website.

6 comments :

  1. This is a great followup of Part 1, Pat. Spelling out the way to make collaborative projects work within the parameters of different arts and different artists is hugely helpful to any who venture down that path. Compatibility of personalities, working styles, and visions no doubt contributes to a positive work environment, as well as an incredible finished product. This two-parter is a keeper.

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    1. Thanks, Linda! We often think of writing collaborations as two or more writers working together. Creative folks like artists and musicians make great partners too.

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  2. My son is a composer, and he wrote a lovely piece, "Katherine's Song," to celebrate the protagonist in my book that's coming out in a few weeks after surviving (albeit with great difficulty) 3 hard drive crashes, loss of formatting, etc., etc., etc. The lyrics appear in the story, and he tells me they do fit the music. (Not being a singer, I wouldn't know.) It would be nice if he'd do a song for each of my books. :-)

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    1. That's exactly the kind of thing that sparks the imagination. It's very cool to combine forces with a talented composer, especially when it's your son.

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  3. Very nice post Pat. Having been a commercial artist for a couple of decades, I'd often thought of combining writing with my art. I nixed the idea because I concluded that I might be hard to work with. :-)

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  4. This was a great two-part series, Pat, and the comments and advice from the two women you interviewed mirror some of the experiences I have had working with others. Next week my post will focus on my writing partnerships, but reading this series made me think of the collaborations I had with photographers and graphic artists when I was doing PR work, producing brochures, annual reports and other printed material for a large financial institution. I would come up with the concept for the piece, write the copy and the others would work with the images and layout that brought the whole thing to life. I loved working with the others, and that experience helped me to see things visually, which I know helped me in my screenwriting.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.