Guardian angel Mr. Blue Sky provides comic relief and cultural relevance in "You, Me & Mr. Blue Sky," a new novel by husband and wife Craig Lancaster and Elisa Lorello. He's not an angel as you know it, with no physical form, little opportunity for meddling in lives and an intense love for classic sitcoms. 

"He's not ethereal," Lancaster said in a phone interview this week. "He's a little cranky sometimes."

Sure, the pair said they could have written a passable middle-aged romance without Mr. Blue Sky. But the book is better for his wit and commentary on the action.

"He was really the glue of the book and the experience," Lancaster said.

Lorello and Lancaster, who are both writers in their own right, had pondered the idea of working together if the right project found them. The idea of exploring how a relationship comes to be and told through some sort of divine being that would become "You, Me & Mr. Blue Sky"  came to them on a road trip. The roles were cast, Lorello as shy divorcee Linus, Lancaster as guarded gym-owner-to-be Jo-Jo and both as Mr. Blue Sky. They considered it a challenge to write a romantic character of the opposite gender. 

The story formed organically, with each writer adding a chapter at a time. 

"There are revelations when you're sitting there at the desk and trying to find your way," Lancaster said. 

To make it work, Lorello said they had to be trusting and open to changes the other might make as well as instinctive about where their partner might be taking the story. 

"It was almost like telling stories to each other as we were taking turns with these chapters," Lorello said. 

Lancaster said the process felt natural. When drafting his other work, he almost always begins at the beginning and ends at the end. 

"I'm too afraid of ending up with a novelistic Frankenstein," he said, "stitching together these parts."

Though Lorello did rearrange the ending a bit, they consider the project a success, with crossover in both "readers and brow-beaters" of their individual works. 

"It was nice to know in that we are partners in life, we make good writing partners," Lorello said. 

Thematically, Lancaster said "You, Me & Mr. Blue Sky" focuses on sentimentality. It's a little schmaltzy and a humorous reflection of love and real life, making it a departure from his "family dramas set in modern-day Montana." 

"I've written a lot of those, but I don't feel that's my mission as a writer," he said. "I don't think about legacy. I'm just a dude that occasionally writes a book."

Rachel Hergett is the editor of Ruckus, the arts and culture publication of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. She can be reached at rhergett@dailychronicle.com or (406) 582-2603.

Rachel Hergett can be reached at rhergett@dailychronicle.com or at 406-582-2603. Hergett is on Twitter at @hergett.