We are Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz – and are best known as the authors of the #1 Amazon Sales Best Selling book, Go for No!® We are professional speakers who travel internationally speaking to audiences about how to overcome fear of failure and rejection. Go for No!® has been among the top 20 Best Selling Sales Books for the last six years. We’ve also written other business parables but Onyx Webb is our first fictional book series.
Why would non-fiction business authors turn to fiction? While growing our speaking business, our side-hobby was writing screenplays. We’ve written several, even had an agent and spent some time in Hollywood.
But we love creating stories. That’s why all of our business books are fables – most even have a little supernatural twist! So one day, a couple years ago, walking around Lake Eola in Orlando, we started brainstorming what we’d like to write next together. We have spent hundreds if not thousands of hours talking about and crafting our characters and their stories. Thus, Onyx Webb and the series was born. It is by far the most arduous undertaking we’ve ever attempted and we look forward to sharing Onyx with the world.
A few answers to questions you may be wondering about…
Q: Why such a massive project?
We knew we had a few stories we wanted to tell. Specifically the story of Koda Mulvaney started us off. Then we developed the character of Onyx. Then when we started thinking about the concept of a web we really began to develop all kinds of ways our characters were connected through time, place and relationship. Once that happened, it was impossible to separate characters and try to write just one story. We also noticed series’ were popular on Amazon so we figured even though it would take a while, we could release as a fairly long-running series of books.
Q: What do you mean by the series being like ‘a supernatural soap opera?’
We’re visual writers having written screenplays for many years (none have been made as of yet!) So this almost became like writing a t.v. series except in book form. We see it in our minds as a series. We even refer to our chapters (when writing) as scenes. To us they are scenes as if you were watching Downton Abbey or Days of Our Lives. It’s like a soap opera with the idea you follow many different people and relationships. Readers get a little piece of each person’s story and then we move onto the next person’s story. And like a soap opera, we pick back up with the character again. Of course it’s supernatural because a few of our characters are ghosts! However, we are strictly into the ghost world and so readers will not be seeing vampires, werewolves, fairies or other creatures.
Q: How do you work together?
We brainstorm about the characters and their stories. We use post it notes to figure out the timelines and major story lines. Then we take long walks discussing various ways we could actually write it out. To start Onyx Webb, we did that for well over a year. Finally when actual writing happens, Richard begins. Andrea gets the first draft to add and rework each episode and it’s usually quite a bit. We repeat that process three to four more times before sending to a couple of trusted readers for final feedback and changes and then later to the final copy-editor. Often we will write all the story lines (what we call ‘tracks’) and then it is not until the very end that we put them all together. We have a very easy relationship and agree on most everything in terms of what needs to happen in the books although ultimately whoever believes in something the strongest usually wins. But it helps that we are both in love with what we are creating.
Here’s an example of us plotting scenes: