Instead of arguing about homework and chores, Jennifer Paquette, formerly from Smithtown, and her teenage son, Nicholas Perrotti, banter about dialogue and grammar. On weekends, the pair spend time discussing characters, plot development and more for a mythology series they are writing together.
"The Awakening of Agnostos" (Write More Publications; $9.95), written by Paquette and her then-14-year-old son, is the first in the mythology series, "Myth of the Olympians." Their debut novel explains the Bermuda Triangle and their version of the part the Gods and Goddesses of Mount Olympus had in its creation. The story features 12 well-known Olympians as well as some not-so-familiar favorites from traditional Greek mythology.
"Being Greek I've always loved mythology and was thrilled when Nicholas showed an interest as well," Paquette said. "Our collaboration was very serendipitous. I was answering a call for a fantasy submission the same time Nicholas was reading a very popular mythology series. I'd bounce ideas off him and ask him to proofread parts of the story. Pretty soon, we were writing the story together."
Paquette and Perrotti carved out some time at night and on the weekends to write together.
"I usually wrote for a few hours at night, which worked because Nicholas was available then to brainstorm," Paquette said. "We emailed each other within our apartment. If we had a good chapter going, some nights I could barely get the words from my head to my fingers."
Perrotti, now 16, always enjoyed creative writing assignments in school but never thought anything of it until his mom asked him to proofread the draft of the novel.
"I've always felt I had a way with words," he said. "It was hard to balance writing with schoolwork but I'd always try to find an hour or so each night after my homework to write with my mom."
Perrotti hopes to study law in college, which involves a great deal of writing and analyzing, both skills he developed through writing this book, he added.
Paquette graduated Smithtown High School East in 1980 and went on to earn her masters in communications from Boston University. Paquette and Perrotti currently live in Manhattan.
The duo are working on the next book in the series, "Sea of Strangers," which will introduce new characters, conflicts and adventures. You can find "The Awakening of Agnostos" on amazon.com.