The Ingenium Books Podcast: Author. Publisher. Changemaker.

Successful Coauthoring with Tricia Jacobson and Marie Beswick Arthur

December 01, 2021 Ingenium Books Season 1 Episode 45
Successful Coauthoring with Tricia Jacobson and Marie Beswick Arthur
The Ingenium Books Podcast: Author. Publisher. Changemaker.
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The Ingenium Books Podcast: Author. Publisher. Changemaker.
Successful Coauthoring with Tricia Jacobson and Marie Beswick Arthur
Dec 01, 2021 Season 1 Episode 45
Ingenium Books

Writing a book is often a solitary venture. Some might even say it can be lonely. 

It doesn’t have to be, though. Teaming up with another author can make for a better book. It can even change history: just look at how Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward brought down a president with their coverage of and subsequent book about the Watergate scandal in All the President’s Men

Coauthoring a book involves a different process – and the process is different for different coauthoring teams too. In this Empowered Authors Podcast interview, Tricia Jacobson and Marie Beswick-Arthur share how they did it.

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening! Find us wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (@ingeniumbooks) or visit our website at


Show Notes Transcript

Writing a book is often a solitary venture. Some might even say it can be lonely. 

It doesn’t have to be, though. Teaming up with another author can make for a better book. It can even change history: just look at how Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward brought down a president with their coverage of and subsequent book about the Watergate scandal in All the President’s Men

Coauthoring a book involves a different process – and the process is different for different coauthoring teams too. In this Empowered Authors Podcast interview, Tricia Jacobson and Marie Beswick-Arthur share how they did it.

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening! Find us wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel (@ingeniumbooks) or visit our website at


The Coauthoring Process with Tricia Jacobson and Marie Beswick-Arthur 


book, tricia, marie, felt, writing, girls, tricia, manuscript, nova, life, nonfiction, ghost writer, boni, podcast, author, passion, read, nonprofit, journey, bit


Boni Wagner-Stafford

Introduction (various voices) 00:05

Welcome to the Empowered Author podcast.

Discussion tips, insights and advice from those who’ve been there, done that, helping you write, publish and market your nonfiction book. 

Being an author is something that you’ve got to take seriously. 

I’m proud I’ve written a book.

What does the reader need, first? What does the reader need, second?

What happens if you start writing your book before you identify your “why”? What’s the problem with that?

You’re an indie author, you take the risk; you reap the rewards; you are in charge of the decisions. You’re the head of that business. 

Every emotion you’re feeling when you’re writing is felt by every other writer.

The Empowered Author podcast. Your podcast hosts are Boni and John Wagner-Stafford of Ingenium Books.

Boni Wagner-Stafford 00:58

So we have something a little bit different today. Many authors are used to the experience of sitting by themselves in front of the keyboard: just them and their words. It’s a very individual and solitary process. But sometimes, situations arise where you actually work with someone else and you write together. There are lots of co-authored books out there; don’t get me wrong. But it requires a bit of a different process. And that is what we’re going to talk about today. We are talking about co-writing. We have with us Marie Beswick-Arthur and Tricia Jacobson, who have co-written the book called “Nova: The Courage to Rise”. Welcome, ladies.

Tricia Jacobson 01:43


Boni Wagner-Stafford 01:45

So I’m going to start with you, Tricia, since this was your – I was going to say “baby”; that’s really the wrong term. That’s not what I meant. But this is – this started out in your head. “Nova: The Courage to Rise” was something that you had a burning desire to create. Take me back to those beginnings and tell us what it was you were driven to do. 

Tricia Jacobson 02:12

Sure, of course. Well, it started when I launched my nonprofit, the Beauty in Everything Foundation. At the Beauty in Everything Foundation, we’re committed to offering the resources and tools that girls need to thrive. And it was through the development and the growth of the nonprofit that I had that burning desire to reach more girls. And I wanted to make a greater impact in their lives. And so I actually felt a great conviction to write a book. I felt completely inadequate. Obviously, could not have even considered going this route without the help of Boni and then, later down the road, Marie. I don’t honestly know what I would have done without either of you. But so I initially started out the book-writing process, focused on writing a nonprofit – or I’m sorry, a nonfiction – just kind of laying out the life lessons that I passionately wanted girls to read and grasp and, you know, just introduce into their own personal lives. And it’s just a passion of mine that I’ve had forever. Being a girl mom, it intensified that passion. So, you know, went through writing the initial manuscript with a lot of Boni’s help and direction. And it was, you know, a process I wasn’t prepared for or, I guess, it was a wonderful process; it just, at times, took me by surprise. Obviously, battling that idea that, you know, who am I to write a book? This was a topic I was passionate about and I wanted girls to genuinely live a life where they not just survive but thrive. And it was trying to understand how to get that across to them. And obviously, it was towards the end of the first manuscript – you know, all along through the writing process, I kept feeling a tug of, “This isn’t what teen girls want to read. They want to read fictional and, you know, it should involve characters,” and so you know, if you remember, Boni, you and I kind of threw around the idea, yes: threw around the idea of introducing some characters into this nonfiction book and how can we weave these characters in while also maintaining the nonfiction element of the book. And it became apparent to both of us that we had to do a full shift: a pivot from nonfiction to fiction. And it was some – it was interesting to see how it evolved. But, you know, part of making an impact, I feel like you have to be ready to pivot at times, you know. And so we made that pivot. Obviously, writing a nonfiction was a little daunting in itself but to consider this idea of a fictional book and I’m not good at dialogue and how are we going to, you know, pull this one off? And then in comes Marie. Boni made this beautiful introduction with Marie and I just felt like, truly, everything laid out the way it was supposed to. And this book is exactly what it was meant to be. And I obviously couldn’t have done it without either of you.

Boni Wagner-Stafford 06:05

So – and we’re going to talk more about what the book is in a moment; I promise we will – and, yeah, it was a very, I would say, intense at times but interesting journey that you and I walked together to get to the point where it’s like, “Oh, I have just the woman.” Marie, tell us a little bit about your background, not just as a writer but as a writer too. But so we’ve got – we’re talking about, in case it wasn’t clear enough from listening to Tricia – which I’m sure it was – but this is a book intended to help underprivileged, at-risk teen girls: to give them the tools and the belief that they could change things for themselves. Really, that’s what it was about. Okay, so Marie, then we, then – tell us your background.

Marie Beswick-Arthur 07:00

Yeah, like, well, first of all, everything Tricia says, that is – thank you, it’s amazing. But I was going to say that no idea is – no book is formed unless there’s passion, which Tricia has; intention – and I believe the power of her intention and her passion and her values just basically, you know, you were like a guide and it knocked on my door and all the things that I have done in my life just were perfectly set up to serve Tricia and to serve, ultimately, the girls that are going to be helped by this book. So it’s the intention and the passion that started all of this. And that’s all down to Tricia. My own background? Strangely enough, I just started writing and reading when I was four; I just happened to just sort of know how to do it. And I had a career in social work. So – and have worked hand in hand with lots of volunteer agencies as well, within what we used to call the Child Welfare, the Family Services Department. Was a mom myself: a mom of a native or Aboriginal, Indigenous person – son – and then two biological children. And again, lots of volunteers with teen moms. And so I felt, when you brought that opportunity to me, that I could bring some of the things that I’d experienced to the book. And when I read the manuscript in nonfiction, I just couldn’t help but thinking of Coelho and how, you know, in his allegorical novel, “The Alchemist”, he was able to show people a journey: take people on a journey and show them versus tell them what to do. So that’s, yeah, that’s (crosstalk).

Boni Wagner-Stafford 09:01

Yeah, well, fantastic. So it was really this incredible synergistic confluence of everything. It just kind of went, “Click, click, click, click, click.” It fell into place. So really quickly, “Nova: The Courage to Rise” and the background to the choosing of the title: we have to go back to the choosing of the character names that – Tricia, you had come up with these two character names when we were still trying to merge these character stories a little bit into that nonfiction book. It’s kind of funny when I think about it now but it made perfect sense at the time. But you came up with Stella and Aurora. So we have the two girls, Stella and Aurora. And of course, both names have kind of star qualities. And so that’s kind of what led us to the book title of “Nova”, which, you know, so it’s all this universal stuff. And then we have the premise of the story. So Tricia, tell us a little bit about what’s happening with Stella and Aurora in “Nova”. And then we’re going to get to the co-writing part of it. But I just want listeners to have a sense of what kind of story this is.

Tricia Jacobson 10:25

Sure. So do you want – do you want me to go into kind of how the names were chosen and then a little bit or just (crosstalk). 

Boni Wagner-Stafford 10:34

Whatever you’d like. Whatever drives you. Whatever … Whatever ... Yeah.

Tricia Jacobson 10:39

So there is a song by Alessia Cara that talks about how as, you know, we’re stars; we’re beautiful. And everyone is so unique. And we all serve a great purpose, right? And so I wanted to pull in this theme – the star theme – into the book, which brought to me the names, Stella and Aurora. I just felt like those names fit perfect into this theme of stars and trying to help girls understand that they, too, are stars and they, too, are beautiful and they, too, serve this greater purpose. And we want to help them find what that purpose is in their life. And so that’s how the names came about. Aurora is this down to earth girl, 17 years old. Stella, she’s very quirky and also 17 years old. And they just go through this journey. And it, you know, the storyline is how they go out on this camping adventure. And it takes them on a quest. And through this quest, they learn to discover self-love and self-worth. And along the way, they learn different life lessons through the mother tree. And there’s this beautiful spoon that Marie introduced into the story as well. Which is just so cute. In fact, I’ve had a few people, since, who have read the book, they told me, “Oh my goodness, I actually used to look into a spoon as a child and look at my reflection.” And, you know, so these elements just – I just think it makes the story so fun. And as some have said, quirky, which is also fun, especially for teen readers and … But I just love how through this whole journey, it ties in these life lessons that we had set out to – I had set out to – you know, provide for these girls. But instead of, as Marie said, telling them, it takes them through this adventure of growth and I just think it’s a beautiful story. And I’m now really anxious for girls to not only read it but to hopefully apply these life lessons to their own life. 

Boni Wagner-Stafford 13:17

Yeah. So I would say that this – your co-writing journey, the two of you, I would say that it’s not typical. And which is one of the reasons I think it’s so interesting in how it came together. So from the publisher’s perspective, watching this manuscript come together, it was incredibly magical. It was not fraught with many of the usual, “Oh, this person wants to go this way and this person doesn’t really get it; it’s not going that way.” This was really smooth and easy and really, everything fell into place. So kudos to the two of you but I think it also speaks to the depth of the passion and the very clear purpose that there was for the book. But – and Marie, you’ve done a lot of writing with people, for people, ghostwriting: I’d like to get you to talk about this co-writing experience and what it made you think about when you have – when you were looking at it and comparing it to your other – I’m not asking you to denigrate any of your other experiences; that’s not it at all – but just you know juxtapose for us what that was like, this process, versus some of the other projects that you’ve been on where you’ve been either writing with or for.

Marie Beswick-Arthur 14:46

Yeah, I think this is why this is such a great opportunity to have an interview. Because this is not the typical. People who are going to enter into this can make this the typical. I would love to sit with Tricia some time and just spend a whole afternoon with her. But have we done that? No. It’s – this is what this experience has been like. It’s like the, I always say, for every book – I have about 40 books under my belt: different people from Hollywood to Costa Rica to London, England. With this one, it was really interesting that right off, right from the beginning, I understood Tricia’s intention. And I think that’s because you saw what we had in common. And I always tell people, “The book is already written; you just need to go and get it.” And I believe that. And sometimes that’s a massive leap of faith because you wonder what you’re going to write when you’re at the keyboard. But the thing that I thought about was Tricia sent me the song. And Tricia, right from the get-go, is so open-minded about ideas. She doesn’t lock herself in. So I was a little bit scared when those first three chapters came to me and I sent them. I’m like, “This has to be a risk I take because I know these girls kind of told me this story. If you want to put magic around, you know, ability as well – because it is very much a combination of learning and magic, I think – and I think that all about all art. And when she sent me the song, I listened to the song. And then I wrote three chapters. And I read the manuscript first. And then we put that manuscript aside; we kept the characters and we wrote the manuscript. And what I felt was they – so this is a good comparison for your question; long way to get to it: but lots of girls run away. Lots of children run away. These girls weren’t running away; they were running toward. And I think that’s something the three of us did as a team, was we basically did not try to run away from anything; we ran toward the message and said, “However we can get this out, the best.” One – the last thing I’ll add is, I kept picturing what Tricia had asked me to do because we didn’t meet a lot of times. Not now. Hardly at all. 

Boni Wagner-Stafford 17:19 

No. No, it was twice, maybe three times. Yeah.  

Marie Beswick-Arthur 17:22

I know. Whereas I have worked on memoirs where I have spent a year and a half, every two weeks, with a client and then done the book. And that’s more than – that is very typical. But what I imagined was how it would be for a 14-year-old riding the subway in New York and how it would be for someone in, say, Nebraska or Western Canada, to be taking the bus home from school and pulling out this book. Right to even what should be on the cover, in case they were embarrassed to open it. And that’s – I think that’s what happened, was we just all had the same intention. And it was just there saying, “Grab me, girl.” These girls have gone through so much and will continue, just like the rest of us. We’re all imperfectly perfect. And there’s just so much that Tricia had to share. And to bring it to them in – through dialogue, of all things, which Tricia said I was – she was weak in dialogue. And I feel that’s my strength. So we matched that together and managed to just make this work.

Boni Wagner-Stafford 18:35

So we had, Tricia, you had a – essentially the manuscript was very close to done. I mean, you know, we were still working with some of the mechanical things but I, if I remember correctly – and I’m going to get the numbers wrong – but I think there were 26 specific lessons. Everything, you know, ranging from body image to social media to friendships to, you know, all of those. So 26 lessons. They had all been written. I think there was, I’m guessing – again, I’d have to go back and check – but I think there was almost 40,000 words. Maybe it wasn’t quite that long but I think there was 40,000 words and we’re kind of like, “Okay, here it is,” except the reader that we’ve identified and the person that we want to help, as we as you were explaining at the beginning, this isn’t quite right. So we had a manuscript that went to Marie; we were able to come together super easily on what the passion was. And then Marie takes the manuscript away and says, “Oh, here,” in – it felt to me like 24 hours – in 24 hours, “Here’s three chapters. Here’s how I think the story can go.” And I’m like, “What? Already?”

Tricia Jacobson 19:43

You know, I’d like to add something too. It’s through the whole manuscript writing process, while it was in the nonfiction form, it was like there was so much I wanted to say and I could not figure out how to say it. And then in comes Marie. And I feel like it was almost like she encompassed me for a moment. And everything I wanted to say that I didn’t know how to say, Marie said it. And I’m like, “How did she do …?” It was almost like, literally, you used the word “magic”, Marie: I genuinely feel like this energy between the three of us was magical. And as a result, there’s a beautiful book that was so magical. I mean, I’ve had a few people who are adults read it. And they call me crying at the end; they’re just so overwhelmed. And they, I mean, it’s so – I truly feel like it spreads magic. And it’s really blown my mind: this whole process of not only how it’s come together but I just feel like it was all meant to be. I mean, it really still blows my mind when I think about it. 

Boni Wagner-Stafford 21:01

Yeah. And then there was the decision. So this is something else that – and, you know, pulling the covers back on the process behind the scenes – but it’s very common for authors to hire ghostwriters. Marie, you do that a lot. I have done that in the past. And when – Tricia, when you and I started talking about, you know, “Geez, maybe we need some help on the fiction, maybe. If we’re going to turn it into fiction, we probably need some help.” That is what we were originally thinking, was let’s pull in a ghostwriter. And that was the premise that led us to you, Marie, as a very accomplished ghostwriter with absolutely the perfect background. But it was, I think it was because of how the process unfolded. And because of that magical nature, it was like, you know – and Tricia, you and I had the conversation, “I think we need to invite Marie’s name to be on the cover.” It just didn’t …

Tricia Jacobson 21:58

You’re absolutely right.

Boni Wagner-Stafford 21:59

And that also doesn’t – that’s not typical. It is super common for ghostwriters to stay in the background and anonymous and there’s nothing wrong with that. This project just felt different. It just had that feeling. So as the publisher representing Ingenium Books, as the publisher of “Nova: The Courage to Rise” – and I just even love “the courage to” – like, “Oh”. Anyway. Yeah, this is a bit of a gushy podcast. Whatever. We’ll have to get over it. But it just felt so right. Anyway, as the publisher of “Nova”, super proud and to have both of you involved in such a awesome project. So we – I want to, Tricia, I want you to tell us now what the plans are for the book. And then there’s some exciting news that we’ll go to at the end. But so what are you planning to do with “Nova”?

Tricia Jacobson 22:59

Sure, yeah. I mean, you know, obviously, trying to get it into the hands of as many teenage girls as possible. But really, the ultimate goal at this point is incorporating it into the nonprofit. And the nonprofit, we offer what we call the Beauty Box and we send it out monthly for free, filled with feminine and hygiene products, hygiene tips and inspirational messages. And our goal is to get a book in every box that we send out monthly. The idea of, you know, touching the lives of disadvantaged girls: want to make sure that we get the book into their hands. And this is just the path that would open that door, I think, better than anything. Sure, we can, you know, get it into bookstores – and we are – and we can, you know, do a lot of marketing and PR – and we will. But ultimately, it’s to get it into the hands of disadvantaged girls. And this is the best path, at this point: connecting with other nonprofits and different foundations throughout the country. They kind of partner up and take that role on as well. So that’s really the ultimate goal.

Boni Wagner-Stafford 24:19

Cool. And yeah, we’ll have lots to say about that. And lots of activities going on in the backend. Anybody that is listening to this, that wants to know a little bit more about “Nova”, maybe you want to help: certainly reach out to Tricia. Tricia at or me, Boni, at We’d be happy to get you connected. I won’t share your contact information, Marie, without advance permission. But the exciting news is that – and we’re recording this in the third week of October of 2021. And the publish date is – it’s available for pre-order now. This podcast is likely not going to publish until just around the publish date, which is November 15. But already we’ve had some pretty good news. Like a couple of awards. Tell me, tell me, tell me, Tricia.

Tricia Jacobson 25:14

Yes. So we were notified first of the International Impact Book Award, which I think in and of itself is so exciting: the fact that this book is and will make an impact on the lives of girls. And I really will venture to say adults as well: I mean, you know, caregivers, mothers, grandmothers, aunts. I just believe they will end up reading it as well. And so that is such an incredible award to receive. And I know, I feel very honored. And then the second award that we were notified of last week was the Firebird Book Award. And just, I mean, completely, just so honored and thankful and grateful that, I don’t know, that we’re just, you know, “Nova” is being recognized. And it’s not that Marie or I – either of us – need to be recognized. I mean, Marie was going to take on the role as a ghostwriter and I certainly don’t need recognition. But it’s the fact that it’s going to open up doors, you know, to get the book out there more. We’re just so thankful.

Boni Wagner-Stafford 26:29

Yeah. And the other really fun thing – as we’re running up to the end of our totally subjective and self-imposed time limit of 30 minutes of each podcast – but we’re producing the audiobook of “Nova”. And we haven’t had time to give you an update, Tricia, but we’ve – the auditions for the girls and the tree and all these characters, it’s super fun. We’ve just got a couple more pieces to nail down and then we’ll be able to say, “Okay, here are the voices we’re going to recommend.”

Tricia Jacobson 27:06

Oh, I can hardly wait. 

Boni Wagner-Stafford 27:08

Yeah, that’s going to be super fun, too. Okay, any last thoughts? Marie? Did I forget something really important? I usually do.

Marie Beswick-Arthur 27:15

You surprised me that we have another award. So that’s …

Boni Wagner-Stafford 27:19

Yeah. Congratulations. 

Marie Beswick-Arthur 27:21

I just love what – that’s great. I love what Tricia said, though. I mean, again, let’s just go back to intention. It was just, it’s such an honor to have my name on the front of this book because I am such a behind-the-scenes person. But I genuinely recognize that both of us, we’re not worried about awards. We – I think if Tricia’s name wasn’t on the front and my name wasn’t on the front, we’d just still be happy to be out there making a difference. And so I think that, let’s say that speaks highly of the three of us in terms of what we want out of life and our experience in life versus, you know, and just that whole lesson that good things come to those who persist and who serve. You know, it’s just not a faith-based message for me; it’s just a life message and I’m thrilled to be part of it. I don’t think you provide anything, Boni. 

Boni Wagner-Stafford 28:15

Awesome. And Tricia, last words?

Tricia Jacobson 28:18

Yeah, I just, I’ll say it forever and ever. I truly could not have accomplished this project without both of you. Honestly, you truly are angels sent to me. And I genuinely believe that, so I truly can’t thank either of you enough. Thank you.

Boni Wagner-Stafford 28:39

Awesome. Super honored to be involved. Lots of good stuff going around here and we will take it. Absolutely. Thank you very much, Marie Beswick-Arthur and Tricia Jacobson. Tricia is the author of “Nova: The Courage to Rise” and Marie is the contributing author for that project. And Ingenium Books, of course, is the publisher. We’re just lapping it all up at the same time. So, yes, again, thank you so much. And we will be talking again.

Tricia Jacobson 29:11

Thank you, ladies. Thank you.

Boni Wagner-Stafford 29:16

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