A friendship forged over lockdown online Scrabble between two strangers living 140 miles apart has led to a unique writing partnership.

Tim Greaves, from Eastleigh, and Rebecca Xibalba, who lives in Canterbury in Kent, have just published their eighth novel since their unusual meeting in 2020.

Their paths crossed in the virtual world when Rebecca randomly challenged Tim to a game.

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While they were playing, Tim and Rebecca started using the app’s chat message feature, quickly discovering that they shared a passion for horror movies.

Tim told the Daily Echo: “I couldn’t believe that out of all the thousands of other players on the app, I’d met someone who’d actually heard of some of the obscure horror films I mentioned, let alone seen and enjoyed them.”

The pair started calling each other for an occasional chat, and before long a firm friendship had been forged. When lockdown restrictions were lifted, the first thing they did was arrange to meet.

Rebecca added: “During one of our conversations, I happened to mention to Tim that I’d had an idea for a horror film years ago, but I’d never done anything with it. When I roughly outlined the story to him, he said I ought to get it on paper and that he’d love to help.”

Several months and countless hours of telephone conversation later, a script for a survival horror film called The Break was complete, followed soon after by Reset, about a Government conspiracy in the midst of a deadly outbreak and Misdial, in which a woman attracts a stalker.

Daily Echo: Authors Rebecca Xibalba and Tim Greaves

All three movie scripts have since been adapted into novels.

Two years on, the Xibalba-Greaves library has swelled to include five more titles, including The Well, a compendium of short stories, each with a sting in the tail, 3.2.1, Hazelwood and Madness Maketh the Man.

The pair have just launched their eighth novel, False Widow, about a woman who, on face value, is a pillar of society, but in fact she's deceitful and self-serving.

“I can’t tell you any more at the moment, you’ll have to buy the book to find out what dreadful fate awaits her," laughs Rebecca. 

More novels are in the pipeline.