Julia London, a NYT best-selling romance author, tried her hand at tie-in writing this summer, co-authoring "Jonathan's Story," as part of television's oldest soap opera, "Guiding Light's" 70th Anniversary celebration.
Julia writes on her site:
This was a classic “work for hire” situation: the Guiding Light crew wanted a book with a specific story, and they needed an author to write the book. I was approached about writing the book by my publisher, who had a detailed plot the Guiding Light folks had developed, and one that would tie in to their show....So then I took the Guiding Light outline and turned it into a novel. The turnaround was much quicker than I am accustomed to, but I had lots of help from several people at my publishing house and at Guiding Light, who read the book numerous times to make sure it was true to their characters and their show. The result was a collaborative process, and I think the end product is good.
While writing a tie-in was a new process for Julia, NOT writing one was new for me. I had written GL's sister soap, "As The World Turns," tie-in novel, "Oakdale Confidential," the previous year (though, in the first edition, for storyline purposes, I'd been credited as "Anonymous").
This time around, a newborn daughter limited me to merely writing the detailed, chapter by chapter outline based upon a story idea provided by the show, then, at the end of the game, polishing Julia's final draft to make sure it sound like "Guiding Light." I had one baby at home, but this was my first time handing off another "baby" to a total stranger to do with as she liked!
Like Julia said, "Jonathan's Story" did prove to be a very collaborative process between writers, "Guiding Light" executives and publisher. Read Julia's take about it on her blog, then check out my version in the next issue of the Tie-In Writers Newsletter -- coming this Fall!