E07 – Interview with A.B. Cohen and J.P. Rindfleisch (video, show notes, transcript)
In this episode, Miss Catherine M.H. and V.E. Griffith interview writing team J.P. Rindfleisch IX and A.B. Cohen about their writing process, using the Three Story Method, editing as a team, and the challenges of one writer using English as a second language!
Dark Pawn: A Paranormal Academy Urban Fantasy by J.P. Rindfleisch IX and A.B. Cohen
Find JP at https://www.jprindfleischix.com
Find Abe at https://www.abcohenwrites.com
Find Abe on Instagram @a.b.cohenwrites
Support us on Patreon at https://patreon.com/revisionwizards
PRODUCTION NOTE: BECAUSE OF HOW THE TRANSCRIPTIONS ON THIS EPISODE WERE DONE, THE TIMESTAMPS ARE NOT ACCURATE. WE APOLOGIZE FOR THE INCONVENIENCE.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:00:00
Welcome to the Revision Wizards podcast. I’m miss Kathryn MH. And with me today is the E Griffith. This is episode seven, and today we’re talking with AB Cohen and JP Ring Flesh the 9th about how they co write and edit together. Together. We do apologize for the audio. The site we were using had a hiccup that day, and it affected Abe audio.
V.E. Griffith 00:00:22
This week we have another patron shout out. Mary Van Everbroeck has been kind enough to up her pledge. We love having her in our little community and all her support and encouragement for the podcast. It’s really wonderful. Patrons are our only sponsors, so your support means everything. If you’d like to support the show for as little as a bucket episode, we have a bunch of neat benefits you can take advantage of, including a special podcast feed with extra content and personal updates, early access to scene analysis slots, the opportunity to ask questions for upcoming Ask the Editor episodes, professional editing, and you can find everything you need to email@example.com. Revision Wizards and with that, here we go with JP and.
iss Catherine M.H. 00:07:39
Hello and welcome to our lovely podcast. Today we are interviewing two people. Why don’t you start by giving us your names and your pronouns, please? Either one, whoever wants to go first.
A.B. Cohen 00:07:56
Hello. My name is Abe, Abraham. Go by Abe. Name AB Cohen. And I am he/him. Nice to meet you all.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:08:07
Hello, I’m JP Rindfleisch. And I go by he/him or they/them.
V.E. Griffith 00:08:15
Excellent. Thank you both for joining us. We really appreciate you coming on the show. So I guess we’ll start with the easy stuff. How did you all become co-writers working together?
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:08:31
Sure, I’ll tell the fun story. So if we can roll back the clock to a wonderful year known as 2020. But in January, before all insanity ensued, we joined the J. Thorn and Zach Bohanon Authors on a Train 2020. And in that program, aside from going on a train from LA to San Francisco, we ended up becoming writing partners for a short story for Authors on a Train. We stayed in a haunted mansion, and I terrified poor Abe, and we wrote a fun little horror short story. And we clicked instantly and decided that we wanted to write some more stuff.
A.B. Cohen 00:08:31
Yeah, it was pretty freaky.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:09:20
How did you scare him? I want to know.
A.B. Cohen 00:09:23
Oh, I can tell you that for sure. So as you walk into this mansion, it’s already pretty creepy. And it was like 07:00 p.m.. So it was already kind of creepy, very dark, whatever. And then we enter and I see JP spinning. He just starts spinning as he was walking slowly. And I’m like, remember I met this dude, like, what, two days ago? And I go like, what are you doing? He’s like, I’m just feeling the energies. What energies? What are you talking about? And so that’s how we introduce each other. But it was interesting. And then we were supposed to sleep in a room. We ended up sleeping in the attic because JP. Said, fine, yeah, we can sleep in the attic. And I was like, no, we cannot. But he decided that we’re going to sleep in the attic. And it was pretty terrifying. I have a picture and it’s creepy.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:10:23
So as part of Authors on the Train, we ended up at a mansion with about 15 or so authors, and we kind of all worked together. We were there for about two days. The mansion had a lot of history to it. It was fun. A fun place to be.
A.B. Cohen 00:10:23
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:10:46
So how does collaborating work for you guys? Do you collaborate on the ideas together? Is it you have an idea and he has to just deal with it or vice versa? How do you guys work together?
A.B. Cohen 00:11:01
Honestly, this is going to sound weird, but I feel like we have very similar brains. And when we put the two brains together, they just click. So from the very, very beginning, whenever we start, we do everything that we can together. We brainstorm the initial idea, we debate on it, and it’s sort of like a healthy competition where I have an idea and then he grabs that idea and pushes a little bit further. And then I push it a little bit further than that. And we push each other’s boundaries a lot in the best way possible. So I think it’s just very intuitive. They’re always open to communication and just like, it’s like an open channel of communication. Every day of the week at odd hours as well. I would just message him and be like, hey, I have an idea. And then I just vomit an idea. And he would just respond the next day.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:12:13
Yeah. And a lot of the time, if we ever come to a situation where someone feels strongly about a topic, usually depending on as long as the story, it all comes back to, is the story going to benefit from this? And usually it will. And so the other party’s like, yeah, fine, we’ll go with this direction. And we’ve never run into something that was so detrimental that it ruined our friendship. So I would say whatever we’re doing works.
V.E. Griffith 00:12:44
It sounds like it.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:12:44
I mean if it stays in the attic.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:12:48
It’s true. Maybe he’s possessed, but.
V.E. Griffith 00:12:48
Maybe that was the goal all along.
A.B. Cohen 00:12:52
Well, he told me that a year and a half later, he was like, yeah, there was these dark shadows standing next to your bed. And I’m like, what? And we write a lot of horror and dark fantasy together, but I’m a scaredy cat. You tell me that and I’m not going to be able to sleep. And also I’ve been dealing with weird things happening in my life for a while. So him being partially medium, that these things just the cherry on top of my cake, I guess, or whatever you call it. Ice cream. I don’t speak English. You get it.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:13:34
I will say our short story revolved around the mansion we stayed in with a demon that lived in the attic. So do with that what you will.
V.E. Griffith 00:13:50
How much are you writing together? Are you just doing novels? Are you planning a Vella or where are we going?
A.B. Cohen 00:13:57
We are building an empire. That’s the best way to describe it. What do you think? Does that sums it up?
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:14:06
Sure. So together so far, we’ve written and published four short stories within our world. Two of those short stories we wrote separately, but then edited each other’s work. We’ve published one single book in about six to nine book series. We’ve written up to three of those books, and Abe is currently working on the fourth book at the moment. And we have bits and bobs of this story world that we’ve created that we want to continuously make. So we have a plan for, I think, the next five years with at least three, two to three stories coming out within the story world. So more or less, it’s going to be novels. We still love the little side quest, little short stories here and there, but I would say mostly novels.
V.E. Griffith 00:15:00
How do you keep track of everything? Do you keep a story Bible? Or is it all in Notion or do you just keep it in your head and hope for the best? Yeah.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:15:00
It’s a mess. Yeah, it’s a mess.
A.B. Cohen 00:15:20
I organized it. I try.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:15:24
It’s better because of you.
A.B. Cohen 00:15:26
Thank you. I’ll take that. Okay, I appreciate that. No, we just use Google Drive. I think it’s a very good tool. It’s free, convenient, and I mean, things start to become outdated. But funnily enough, a lot of the things stick in our brain pretty well. But we do have like a magic system set up that we follow there. And we have very defined rules and things like that. In fact, the first draft and the outline, which are like the beginning of our process, happened in Google Drive, and then we move it into Word, but that way both of us have full access to it and comments and things like that. So it becomes very interactive in a very interactive process.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:16:22
So with just that, like, I’m picturing one of you is writing a chapter and then the other person’s writing another chapter. How do you write together? Or do you not?
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:16:38
Usually I guess what happens now is Abe is the first drafter. He now currently writes the outline. And then I’ll go in and I’ll add some comments in there and we’ll kind of spruce it up so that we both are like, yeah, this is the right trajectory that we want to go. He’ll write the first draft, then I’ll go through it and I’ll make edits and kind of add in whatever voice that’s like our cumulative voice to the piece. And then we’ll send it off to get whatever edits. And we kind of do this little back and forth about two to three more times so that we can get beta readers in there so that we can get another line edit in there before we get it to the proof reader. And that process has worked out really well. We’re still learning some of the bits and pieces so that we can get a little faster. But I would say that that’s the best method. I mean, that’s the method that I use with Jeff Elkins, with Vella that I use, where he’s the first drafter for all these episodes unless something comes up in which I need to first draft.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:17:40
V.E. Griffith 00:17:43
How does editing work for you as a team? You just go back and forth and hope for the best or bring out the best. Abe, is having English as your second language, is that ever a challenge for you?
A.B. Cohen 00:18:00
I think it’s more of a challenge for JP because he has to edit it. No, I mean, I’ve lived this country for ten years, so I feel confident putting out draft with pretty decent grammar, punctuation and things like that. But we’ll have certain moments where just the language barrier or the friends and backgrounds will hit. Like, for example, there was this one time that was editing book one, and JP said, he’ll be sleeping in the doghouse. We never drafted in a dog. And I just made a big, huge comment like, when are we adding a dog? What’s the name? What’s his breed? We need to figure this out. Like, is the dog going to live? Is the dog going to die? I don’t think he’ll get a dog. I pulled all these comments and then he’s just like, it’s just an expression, it’s just slang. I was like, okay, so we don’t have a dog. Okay, but things like that are going to happen. I think they’re more anecdotal than anything. It’s fun, but from a bigger picture. Before we started writing the first book, we had at least three months of just back and forth and just trying to have a bird’s eye view of where we wanted the story to go. And as we wrote and refind the story also refined our process. At the beginning, I was mostly just a first drafter. Now, besides the outline of first draft, I also try to do at least one I take one round of edits. But yeah, we try to keep it as even as possible because that way we both make sure that our voices there are joint voice is there, but also it helps me keep track of what’s going on for the drafts that I’m going to write. So.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:20:18
Yeah, I would say having Abe go through it after I make some of the edits has really helped because there are some United States midwestern colloquialisms that I’m very used to, and then he’ll highlight them. So it’s not only just the doghouse, but it’s a couple of other things. And we do want this to reach a broader audience. So it is really helpful having someone who doesn’t have English as their primary language or isn’t from the same region as you looking over your work and being like, I don’t know what this means 100%. And in my head, I’m like, everyone knows what this means. Having that so that you’re able to reach that kind of worldwide audience by just rephrasing it, making it something easier for people to understand, is super duper helpful. And then as Abe was kind of leading on there, we’ve come to realize that as Abe is first drafting and that’s why he starts to come back and edit, is if he goes too far out in the drafting stage and I’m making big edits, he doesn’t know what’s happening, so he has to come back. And that’s why we’ve kind of realized that about three novels ahead is the max before he needs to come back and see what’s happened, what’s changed. So that was something that we more recently learned, but it’s been really useful.
A.B. Cohen 00:21:39
Yeah. And I’ll say to add a little bit to that as well, it’s a learning process. We just trash like 60,000 words of our book four, because it was like, yeah, whoopsies compare because I had to go back to things. But I would also say that co working with someone who does speak English, who’s as talented as JP, allows me to lose a little bit more because I’m not a self conscious about writing something. I’m more of. I’m just going to write these and then JP is going to be able to fix it. He knows what I mean and I just sent his way. So definitely it gives me a lot of freedom to work with him and his talents. It’s cool.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:22:35
How long do you think it takes from the I have the idea we’ve hashed out some stuff and now I start writing the draft until, hey, it’s finished.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:22:51
Well, we just published our first book, it’s 2022. And I think we started writing that late 2020. But we’ve been able to kind of condense that time each time we’ve moved forward. We want to get to a pace where we can publish three books a year with this series so that we can work on other projects if we need to. And whatnot but what that means is that, like, four ish months from start to finish and I don’t know if we can do it or not, but we’re going to try.
A.B. Cohen 00:23:29
Yeah. And what JP’s not mentioning here is that he is really good at underestimating how quickly we’re going to be able to publish. I remember when we started in 2020, I was working on the first draft and he’s like, oh, yeah, I think that we can publish by November of 2020. And I’m like, oh, that’s so exciting. Here I am two years later. It’s kind of like that, but you learn. I also think that we both know that we want to put the best work that we can out there, and that has always been our priority, and we’ve preached to that. So we don’t care if it takes a little bit longer. It’s just a matter of putting the best work that we can.
V.E. Griffith 00:24:31
Ms. Catherine and I are both three story Method editors. And JP, of course, we met in Cleveland, where you became one as well. And I know Abe you’re going to become one, and I’m looking forward to meeting you when I go to Cleveland this year to be there. How heavily do you lean on the Three Story Method? Is it something you plan against or is it something that you edit against? And I’m seeing your faces and I’m excited to hear the answer.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:25:10
Why don’t you go ahead, Abe?
A.B. Cohen 00:25:13
Sure. Three Story Method is bread and butter. It’s literally it has given us the Bible that we use to write everything we write together. It’s a very self intuitive process. I think that it yields very fast phase books, very moving books, focus a lot on care, choice and character growth. So, yeah, we use it tremendously. And we met in Authors on a Train, which preaches to that. But, yeah, we use it to define all our outlines. And if I got a penny for every time JP tells me I feel like the choice here can be stronger and it’s part of, it’s part of the process, for sure.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:26:12
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:26:18
Well, that’s good, I guess. Do you think you’ll ever reverse the language? So you will go with publishing it in Spanish and then you’re doing the edits to make sure it fits well, not maybe the edits, but definitely part of the translation.
A.B. Cohen 00:26:42
I think that, yes, we’re definitely planning on publishing in Spanish. The way we’re doing this is JP is spearheading a little bit more the audio portion of the series, and I will spearhead that translation into Spanish because a huge portion of my audience is Spanish speakers and although a lot of them speak English, Spanish, [inaudible because of a quality issue] so I think that that’s definitely in the cards. My idea is to translate it with the software and then go through, edit it myself and then hire an editor, like a Spanish speaking editor, to give it a final maybe approved as well. But yeah, definitely we’re going to take advantage of my Spanish although it’s a bit rusty, but you never forget Spanish. It’s such a sexy language.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:27:38
Yeah, I would say that having Abe able to speak Spanish has moved that translation to the top of the list, generally, like I’ve heard, and I kind of agree with it’s, German, French, Spanish comes about fourth, fifth. But I think that it makes it super easy and super obvious what our choice is going to be for translations. Just because of the barrier to entry for us is so low with above and his wonderful talents.
A.B. Cohen 00:28:08
Yeah, we’ll see how it goes. I’ve never done it before, but it will be okay, hopefully.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:28:08
I think so.
A.B. Cohen 00:28:08
We don’t have any doghouse expressions, so I’m going to have to figure that one out.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:28:18
But good luck.
A.B. Cohen 00:28:19
We’ll see. I might just create a dog for the Spanish version.
V.E. Griffith 00:28:27
But you’ll have to get a new cover then, too.
A.B. Cohen 00:28:31
Maybe. It all depends. Depends on the destiny of the dog. We’ll see. Okay, I’m going to stop because I don’t want to start talking about murdering dogs. It’s the joke. Okay. Me and JP have very dark humor. Yeah, he says this.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:28:49
He says this. He has the dark humor.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:28:51
Maybe the dog’s the demon.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:28:56
The demon in the attic is the dog.
A.B. Cohen 00:29:00
Full circle. JP.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:29:07
So we know that your book is at least out, so where can we find it for people?
V.E. Griffith 00:29:14
Does it have a title?
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:29:18
Yeah. So it is Dark Pawn a paranormal academy urban fantasy. And you can find it on Amazon, ku. Ebook and hardcover. Or paperback, not hardcover. Yeah, that’s where you can find it. You can also find it at a local bookstore in Rockford, Illinois, or in Stockton-On-Tees across the pond.
V.E. Griffith 00:29:43
How did you swing that?
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:29:47
There was some Facebook promo that was what is it? The Green Dragon is the bookstore and they were looking for books to stock up for indie authors, so contacted them and sent them over some copies.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:30:02
That’s pretty awesome.
A.B. Cohen 00:30:04
Yeah. I always wanted to be in the UK.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:30:08
Yeah, there it is.
A.B. Cohen 00:30:10
It’s pretty cool.
V.E. Griffith 00:30:16
Catherine, you had another question?
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:30:18
Yeah, I was just going to ask, what is the book about? Give us a little briefing of it, either one of you.
A.B. Cohen 00:30:28
JP is better.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:30:30
Oh, okay. All right. So it is an academy urban fantasy. So we have the tagline, what if you discovered magic the night your father murdered your mother? And it’s really a story about a person discovering their magical gifts that they may or may not have had beforehand, and having to deal with the trauma of such a terrible start to their discovery of magic. And there’s demons and secret societies and a magic system based off of the Kabbalah.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:31:08
Just a few little things to throw in there.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:31:10
Yeah, Little cookies.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:31:14
I will agree. That was a great elevator pitch. I’m kind of curious to hear what age elevator pitch is, though.
A.B. Cohen 00:31:23
Yes meow. Okay. My elevator pitch will be something like girl that discovers magic the night her father murdered her mother. So she has to go on a quest to discover what the heck is going on. Meanwhile, she’s trying to learn her powers, which revolve around Jewish kabbalah. And, yeah, she’s brought into this dark, secret society where she doesn’t really know who to trust and who she shouldn’t trust, so she better watch out. Was that okay? Now. I’m still refining it.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:32:06
One of my favorite things about this series is that Abe is Jewish and I’m more on the occultist side of things. And we were able to kind of find this common ground among the Kabbalah. And it’s really fun being able to represent a Jewish main protagonist because I don’t really see that that often. So it’s been really fun kind of talking with Abe and kind of pushing him to bring this character and have their religion be a part of them in some form or another within this story has been really fun.
A.B. Cohen 00:32:41
Yeah, I would agree that also that I love that JP was cool with me just putting Judiasm in her identity. And Leah. Her name is Leah Ackerman. So, yeah, very Jewish. [inaudible because of a quality issue] JP was cool with us going with the Jewish protagonist route because it’s not something that you’re used to seeing. You don’t see a lot of urban fantasy books that follow a Jewish character. And it gives for two things. It allows to explore what Judaism [inaudible because of a quality issue] and how that identity affects your decisions moving through this rocky plot that we built her. But I also would add that I know that JP loves to write queer, and it’s also part of his identity. So we’ve made it a point to make sure that we include characters from the LGBTQ plus community. And we love people. Honestly, it’s the best way to put it. We just love how people with different backgrounds, different identities come together and bring different perspectives to the table. So we’ve always felt very strongly about that, about them being a part of Leah’s journey. So it’s been an experience to create all these characters with weird backgrounds and just roll it out. Yeah, it’s very refreshing, I would say. I love when I’m writing a first draft now, it came up, it’s like I wake up to hang out with all these cool people that I usually wouldn’t be exposed to. It’s awesome.
V.E. Griffith 00:34:55
All right, so where can our listeners find you guys?
A.B. Cohen 00:35:02
Am I not supposed to say bless you in a podcast? I’m sorry.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:35:02
Oh, you can do that. That’s fine.
A.B. Cohen 00:35:02
I saw you sneezing, so I said bless you.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:35:08
Thank you. Okay, so you can find me https://www.jprindfleischix.com. IX is for the 9th, which I am. And you can also find me on Serial Fiction Show. It’s a podcast about serial fiction. serialfictionshow.com and also Write Away Podcast, which is a show about writing craft and witchy topics.
A.B. Cohen 00:35:36
Yeah. And you can find me abcohenwrites.com with an S and the end, abchoenwrites.com. And also on instagram @a.b.cohenwrites. You can A dot B dot cohen writes. It’s fun. Love to hear from new followers and hope everyone joined this torture of a plot that we created for our characters. Should be fun. Am I being too dark? I feel like I’m being too dark.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:36:10
It’s a dark urban fantasy. You’re fine.
A.B. Cohen 00:36:13
It’s a dark fantasy.
Miss Catherine M.H. 00:36:15
It’s acceptable. Well, thank you all for joining us.
V.E. Griffith 00:36:21
Thank you very much.
J.P. Rindfleisch 00:36:22
Thank you for having us on.
V.E. Griffith 00:36:23
A.B. Cohen 00:36:25
Thank you for having us on. This is super fun.