Julia: We’ve discovered that as two females work on a project together, people like to find a category for us.
“Are you best friends?” we’re sometimes asked. Having grown up in the era of Enid Blyton, my image of a best friend is someone with whom you have midnight feasts and share deep and dark secrets. On that basis, no, Hoi Yee is not my best friend. I’m not a person with secrets, so there’s nothing to share! But, feasts late at night? Yes, we’ve certainly had those – usually with a glass or two of wine.
Is she like a sister? No! We don’t have the long history that sisters have; those intimate memories of childhood that can bring laughter or tears. We are building our own history of fun and dire moments, but we’ve not gone through the growing-pains stage together, so can’t consider ourselves sister-like. Anyways, we each have sisters of our own! There have been some hilarious moments, like the time when I arranged for us to be collected in an “almond” colored vehicle. We were standing in the blazing noonday sun of India, but the only vehicle that seemed to be waiting was green. Not until we had virtually melted, did I remember that it wasn’t an “almond”, but a “pistachio” colored car that was to collect us!
Soul-mates? No. Soul-mates seem more mystical, as though a silver thread runs through each of us, and cannot be broken by mere mortals. Soul-mates seem more for romance and mystery, than for the nitty-gritty hard work of the regular writing we do together.
So, how do we categorize ourselves?
Hoi Yee: Co-authors – I think that’s the only way to say it. We are completely frank with each other. I don’t think there’s a topic under the sun that we don’t discuss because we end up confiding so many things to one another during our writing sessions anyways!
We’re a great tag team – if one of us is feeling down, the other becomes the stronger one to make sure we don’t lose focus on our writing. We share problems and help each other out as much as possible. We’re also pretty good at playing to each other’s strengths – I try to stay on top of internet technology for our blog and other social networking via the web, while Julia is the best at typing up our ideas immediately to keep the ideas and thoughts flowing.
We’re both inclined to be verbose, but we recognize that in each other, so are good at cutting each other short without offending the other! We also share an exaggerated sense of the ridiculous, and are good at laughing at ourselves, like the time we were traveling in India to attend a literary festival, and misjudged our accommodation and found ourselves sharing a cockroach and rat-ridden room. I wouldn’t change out of my street clothes to go to bed (I didn’t want any contact with those bed linens!), and covered the pillow with a large shopping bag. To avoid being bitten, Julia, slept with her head in a cloth bag, pulled tight around her neck. She looked like she was ready to be led to her execution.
We looked absolutely ludicrous and were so giddy with fright . . . that we forgot to take a photo!