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It’s Shark Week!

July 24, 2022

The title of Naked Came the Sharks was inspired by a 1969 best-seller, Naked Came the Stranger. A collaborative work, it was authored by 24 separate Newsday newspaper writers and initially released under a pseudonym. Each chapter was written by a different author with no effort to achieve any consistency.

Years later, Naked Came the Manatee was written by 13 Miami area writers. That book came together as a kind of chain. An author would write a chapter, pass it along to the next writer, and so on. The final writer had to tie all the loose ends together in the last chapter.  It was originally published as a serial in the Miami Herald’s Tropic magazine, one chapter per issue, and later published as a single novel.

The authors who wrote Naked Came the Sharks used yet another process. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a particular character. Each author took charge of one character, or in some cases, several characters. I put together an outline and we used that as a guideline in crafting our chapters.

You might wonder how four people managed to collaborate on a novel, finish the work, and remain friends but it was never acrimonious. It wasn’t even our first joint project. We met every week at a coffeehouse, shared what we had written, and critiqued it. When we were done, we created an acronym for our names. Jerry Bateman, Devorah Fox, Don Lowe, and Ellie Killian became “Jed Donellie.”

We started Naked Came the Sharks because we were opposed to several local developments and we aired our gripes in the story. When we finished, we felt it was too controversial to see the light of day. We put the work aside and went on to other individual writing projects.

Six years later, Don Lowe passed away. Jerry Bateman died in 2011. But I still had all the files as well as fond memories of how much fun the story was. It seemed a shame to keep it under wraps. The developments we had opposed were now fait accompli so the writing posed less risk. I asked Ellie Killian how she felt about making it available and she agreed. I was in the publishing business and saw to the rewriting, editing, cover design, layout, and production. At last Naked Came the Sharks was ready to be published and enjoyed by readers everywhere.

Want to celebrate Shark Week without risking life and limb and see what four people put together? For a short time, get it at a sale price. The ebook is just 99¢ on Smashwords. Enter the coupon code at checkout.

Is your curiosity about author collaborations piqued? Get to know the phenomenal writing team of Chris Heinicke and Kate Reedwood. Not only do they not live in the same city, but they also don’t even live on the same continent! How do they do it?

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