This is my second writing process blog hop in as many weeks, but Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds: A Novel, asked me if I’d like to participate and how could I turn her down? She is a great writer and I am quite honored she asked! (Have you seen her book? It is gorgeous!) Plus, I do have another book I’m working on so the answers will be a bit different even if the questions are the same. See for yourself…
What am I working on/writing?
I have always refused to talk specifics about whatever book I am working on, feeling that talking about it alleviates the urgency to write it, but in May I wrote about a book I’m writing that deals with the trafficking of teenaged girls. And this month I’m eager to share I’m working on another book that is completely different. It asks the question: is the grass really greener on the other side? It explores marriage and friendship, small town mentality and the pursuit of dreams. I actually secretly call this “my break-out book” because I love it so, which I’m guessing is a bit nutty because I should expect my first book to put me on the map, not my third – or possibly second as it might beat the trafficking book to the bookstores. I could argue that I’m just being a realist, but no one has ever accused me of being realistic!
How does my writing/work differ from others in its genre?
This seems like such a marketing question to me and I’ve come to realize with the publication of Trespassers that marketing is not in my skill set. I hope the book will be better than what’s out there, that the perspective is fresh and the details are compelling. I hope that people are left with the understanding that everyone has hard choices in life and those choices are often handled differently that what others may perceive as the right way to live life.
Yeah, maybe we should just move on…Next question!
Why do I write what I do?
Many years ago, I got to experience an inside glimpse of a family where the parents divorced and the mother left the children with the father and moved to Paris. I didn’t know the family well enough to know the reasons behind this new family dynamic, nor could I ask. But the question really stuck with me. What would make the mother leave her children with the husband? Why did she give up custody? This novel tries to answer the questions I couldn’t ask.
How does my writing process work?
I started this novel years ago and I got about 125 pages in and stopped. I’ve picked it back up and tried to start again, but I’ve been so enamored of the beginning that I haven’t wanted to change it, which has made it hard to get anything new down on paper. But I think I’ve finally found a way to make it work and so I’m anxious to get started on it again. Part of my problem has also been that because I think of it as “my break-out book” I’m fearful that what I put on paper can not live up to how great it is in my brain. Talk about putting pressure on oneself! Of course there is that catch-22: if I don’t put it on paper, how will it ever live up to its nickname?
I used to think I could only write late at night because that’s what I did before I had a husband and kids. But this past November I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and wrote 50,000 words during the month of November. And I learned that I no longer need to have quiet and solitude. I learned that I can write while the kids are sitting next to me watching a movie or while my oldest is in his Tae Kwon Do class. This revelation has been a relief because I knew that by the end of the day when the kids are finally in bed, I wasn’t really at my most creative. And if I couldn’t find the energy at night, then logically I’d have to find it in the morning, but the kids are often up at 6 and I’m not exactly a morning person.
Also, I should probably mention that although I love the look of typewriters like the one pictured above, I write on a MacBookPro. So no need to start a crowd-sourcing event to keep me supplied with typewriter ribbon! However, crowd-sourcing to keep me in chocolate (and perhaps ice cream) is always an option!
Next week’s writer: Cara Meredith
Cara Meredith is a writer, speaker and musician from in the greater San Francisco area. She is currently writing her first book, tentatively titled, A Hundred Times an Hour: A Memoir of Belief and Disbelief, when she’s not on a hunt for the world’s greatest chips and guacamole. She loves people, food, reading, the great outdoors and her family. She and her husband, James, currently live in Pacifica, California, with their almost two-year old son, Canon, and a second little boy set to make his appearance in August.