E.G. Scott is actually two authors, Elizabeth and Greg, who have been writing together for many years and who have been friends for even longer. I had the pleasure of sitting down to meet with them and learn about their latest book, In Case of Emergency, as well as their writing process.
I reviewed this book back in July, right before it came out (which was August 4th). If you missed that review, read it here. Read a short synopsis about the book below – spoiler free!
Synopsis of In Case of Emergency
Charlotte has felt alone since her promising career as a neurosurgeon was sent down the drain. But, she has her friend Rachel, her online support group, and her new boyfriend Peter.
Peter is mysterious. He asked that Charlotte keep their new relationship a complete secret. So when he goes missing, and she hasn’t heard from him in weeks, she is afraid to report him missing.
Then, she is called into the police department to ID a body that listed her as an emergency contact. Charlotte fears that she is going to ID Peter, but it turns out to be a woman that she has never met before, nor has she ever seen.
Charlotte cannot figure out why the woman listed her as her emergency contact and quickly moves into a nervous panic when she becomes a person of interest in the murder case.
Will she be able to prove her innocence and find Peter before it is too late?
Elizabeth (Liz) and Greg like to approach their novels by first identifying themes and topics that they want to discuss and weave together. Greg: “We came up with about half a dozen ideas, the one that really grabbed me from the jump, the concept that Liz came up with…”– What would happen if you were called in as an emergency contact for a complete stranger?
After they solidified that as their main focus, they moved into the different themes that they wanted to work on incorporating into the novel: trauma, technology, and intimacy. If you have read this book, you will be able to clearly see how they expertly wove all these concepts together with the driving question behind the novel.
The duo also wanted to focus on the topic of women’s agency – agency in friendships with alpha, overprotective friends, agency in the workplace where their contributions are being overshadowed by their counterparts, and agency for themselves. I loved their approach to this concept. It was done in such a tactful and powerful way.
With their vision identified, Liz and Greg began their writing process. I was very intrigued as to how they approached writing a book together. Their answer was one that stemmed from many years as friends and a process that has grown and evolved with each book that they write.
The next step for E.G. Scott is to begin building characters around the themes they chose previously. They “set up some scaffolding, we have a general sense” and after this, they get to writing.
Simply put, they try to alternate chapter by chapter.
Less simply, they riff on the chapters and ideas that the other person has shared with them. With their backgrounds in theater, they feel confident in being able to build on each other’s ideas, develop strong characters, and believable dialogue. They both agreed that the majority of the twists they throw into the story were not mapped out.
“We get into the headspace and get writing, some of the best stuff in the books is what we come up with on the fly.” – Greg
One of the really unique elements about this book was the contrast between Western medicine (neuroscience, hospitals, surgery, etc.) and Eastern medicine (acupuncture, herbal remedies, etc.). With such different ideologies, research was definitely involved in the creation of believable scenes.
“A lot of it was on the table research for me. I’ve been going to an acupuncturist for years.” – Liz
She had the idea of trying to incorporate her knowledge of acupuncture and the research she had done in the form of a new patient, Lucy. This approach allowed her to focus on “showing and not telling” the readers what acupuncture was like and allowed us to learn a little bit about the practice at a time, instead of all at once.
In regards to the neuropsychology, Liz told me that she really enjoyed reading medical memoirs and nonfiction – as well as conducting many Google searches. Reading these types of books helped give Liz a sense of the surgeon’s perspectives; their attitudes, confidence in their abilities, and at times arrogance.
While Elizabeth focused her attention on more of the medical aspects of this novel, Greg was in charge of writing most of the police procedure. I loved the way both of these author’s incorporated the authenticity of the procedures and research into the writing because it felt natural and not overwhelming.
Liz’s earliest recollection of writing is from around 3rd grade when she got her first journal. For years, and still now, journaling has continued to be a major part of her life. From that she grew into storytelling. That age was also a pivotal time in her reading life where she was exposed to many books that would eventually shape her reading and writing life.
Greg was also an avid reader as a child. He remembers enjoying writing from elementary school all the way through college to now. He told me that he didn’t start writing stories and submitting stories seriously until after college.
Elizabeth and Greg met in their first week of their first semester in college. They quickly became friends and had similar tastes in many things which impacted their writing later. At the time, their parents might have thought that their acting careers weren’t the best investment, but theater and acting has completely shaped their ability to develop good, believable stories.
Liz cowrote a play with a few other women after college where Greg starred. It was during that show that the two realized just how “simpatico” they were creatively. This union graced us with wonderful books by E.G. Scott
They are just in the beginning stages of writing their next book! They are eager to continue writing together and share that with us.
Their Advice: One of my favorite questions to ask authors is what advice they would give to other writers.
Liz: Figure out what motivates you to write, figure out what it is about the process that makes you feel the best when doing it and lean towards that. Focus on the process and not the end result. Immerse yourself in the story. Write like a reader, write what you would want to read.
Greg: Try to get into some sort of routine. This small amount of momentum, even thirty minutes, helps keep you in the zone. The more you sit down and write, the more your brain in working on it when you are off the clock. Read inside your genre and see what works and what the mechanics of the story is but also read outside of the genre in which you write. Broaden your pallet as a writer.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out Greg and Elizabeth’s latest read In Case of Emergency. You can also go back and read their first book (I know I will) called The Woman Inside.
Also be sure to check out their website (egscott.com) and look for them on Instagram (e.g.scottwrites).
Thanks for sticking with us to the end and reading my interview with these wonderful people.