Blood, Guts and Peanuts: What it’s Like Writing with Ted Dekker?

Guest blog by Tosca Lee
Our guest today is Tosca Lee, author of Demon: A Memoir and Havah: The Story of Eve. She is also the co-author with Ted Dekker of the NYTimes bestseller Forbidden. The next book in that series will be out this Summer. A sought-after speaker and former Mrs. Nebraska, Tosca was a senior consultant for a global consulting firm until turning to writing full-time. She holds a degree in English and International Relations from Smith College and also studied at Oxford University. Please visit her web site at
(Reposted with permission
People ask me often what it’s like writing with Ted. “Is he weird?” they say. “Does he really paint his nails/eat small children/write from a dungeon?”
Of course he’s weird. As weird as anyone else who grew up with cannibals. As strange as your average seven million bookselling novelist who lives mostly on peanuts and barbeque in Texas and, you know, speaks an obscure language known only to remote tribes in Papua New Guinea.
Or as weird as you and me.
And yet, the questions persist. “He scares me,” author friends confess in low tones.
He scares me, too. Because, you know, it’s just not healthy to eat that many peanuts.
Snippets of the work day, below. It’s up to you in most cases to guess who’s saying what.
“So, I accidentally killed ___ in this scene.”
“WHAT? That’s not on the outline.”
“Dude. It was his time.”
“You gotta let him go, man. Let him go.”
On iChat:
“What’ve you got for lunch?”
“Um, sandwich (holds it up).”
“Oh man. That is way better than my V8/Greenfood shake/Cheetos.”
“You seriously live on that?”
“So far.”
“Look. This is what I think we need to do.”
“I don’t like it.”
“What? Why not? It’s brilliant.”
“Why not?”
“Because I don’t.”
“Okay, this is what needs to happen now.”
“I don’t want to do that.”
“But it’d be cool.”
“I said let’s do it.”
“You’re supposed to defend your position.”
Some days, Ted’s wife, LeeAnn, comes up to talk to her husband. She leans in to say hello, waving at the screen. She’s always gorgeous, put together and made up.
Without fail, I’m wearing the same t-shirt I wore yesterday. And, truth by told, the day before. Except that I had one of my ever-present polar fleece tops on, so no one knew it. At least no one can smell me.
 Ted: “Check out the UK version of Forbidden. Look! It’s so cute!”
Me: “You said ‘cute.’”
“They have to kiss here.”
“Is this a kissing book? Can we skip that part?”
“They have to kiss.”
“I hate it when they kiss.”
“You write it.”
“I think ___ should happen here.”
“Yes. Or I’m going to say you pick your nose in my status update.”
“You’re being difficult.”
“No I’m not.”
“You are.”
“No I’m not.”
“I’m calling your wife.”
“Okay. Okay, okay.”
 Ted: “Every time I talk to you you’re eating.”
“I have to go. I have a workout.”
“Me, too.”
“I don’t want to. It hurts.”
“Let’s call in sick.”
“Why’d you change that? It was great!”
“We’ve been talking about TV shows for 45 minutes.”
“Yeah. We need to work.”
“Yeah, let’s work.”
“Did you see The Walking Dead?”
“That last scene you did was really cool.”
“Yeah. Except that you kind of went on and on.”
“And then you used a semi-colon.”
“And you have this habit of—”
“I thought you said it was cool?!”
“You’re eating peanuts again.”
“No I’m not.”
“I can hear you crunching.”
“That’s not crunching.”
“I always make that sound.”
“Because you’re eating peanuts.”
“It’s hard work making stuff up.”
“I’ve written 30 books. Don’t talk to me.”
“You done with that scene yet?”
“You done yet?”
“You done yet?”
“I’m hanging up.”
“So, listen. I need to ask you a really uncomfortable question.”
“Um. Okay.”
“I’ve been wondering this for a year and a half.”
“So I know you grew up with cannibals.”
“Did you uh, ever eat anyone?”
“Not that I know of.”
“No. No no. I know who we need to kill. It’s ___.”
(Choked up)
We got so choked up we had to come back later.
Via text:
“Are you up?”
“Are you awake?”
“Awake yet?”
“I’m going to kill Rom.”
“I’m here. I’m here. Don’t touch anything.”
“I think we should have the old guy pick his nose.”
“We can’t have him pick his nose.”
“Everyone picks their nose.”
“He can’t pick his nose.”
“You pick your nose.”
“I’m writing this thing about what it’s like to write with you. Wanna read it?”
(Screen-sharing ensues)
“This is great. Just make sure they know it’s you picking your nose and not me.”
“Uh huh.”
Find out what Frank Peretti had to say about writing with Ted Dekker in a previous interview: HERE.