Writing has been a passion of mine since I was little. I wrote stories from the time I learned to write my name, and I remember sitting in my grade school library and looking at the call letters BOE for where my name would fit once I had a book published. Seeing my name on the cover of a book is truly a dream come true. My first book, Chasing the Moon, was published last year, and my new novel, Literaria, was just released last month. Today, I’m going to answer some of the most common questions I get. If you have other questions, please feel free to post in the comments, and I’m happy to respond!!
Of course I could talk about my current books, but you can find out more about them by looking through my site. Would you like to hear what’s next for me? I have a few different possibilities that I’m playing with. Last fall, for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – the challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days), I wrote a book that has some great potential, but because I completed in on only three weeks (yes, I finished a week early), needless to say it’s in pretty rough shape. I’m excited by the story – a conspiracy theory about J.F.K, but the revision of something that needs so much work is a bit daunting for me at this point. I will come back to it, but as many of my writing projects, it needs to marinate for a while before I feel inspired again to tackle it and develop it into something better.
What is really intriguing me more is a fictionalize story about my grandmother. A few days after she passed away (nearly nine years ago), my mother and I found a diary that she kept in the early 1930s. It spanned the years of before she dated my grandfather, when she met him, their courtship, marriage, and birth of their first baby. What comes through is a woman very different from the grandmother I knew. I am curious to explore where my imagination can take me as some means of explaining who she truly was.
I have a hard time defining what type of writing my books are. I would like to classify them as “literary fiction,” but this is a rather vague term, and one that kind of suggests pretention – as though genre fiction can’t be literary. What I think defines my writing and sets it apart from those books it may be shelved with in the book store is that it is eclectic. Chasing the Moon is an immigration story, Literaria at its heart is about mental illness, my NaNoWriMo disaster is conspiracy theory, and the story of my grandmother may best be classified as historical family fiction. This diversity in my writing really speaks more to why I’m drawn to the topics that I am. I write about what I’m curious about or what I want to try to explain. I also write about things that scare me or that I find unnerving or troublesome. I guess it’s my way to making some kind of rational sense out of what is unknown or frightening to me, in order to make it less so.
Many people ask about my writing process. I don’t really have a defined process that fits every project. Rather, each project has its own process. When I was writing Chasing the Moon, I knew needed to finish it quickly and when I had the time as it was my master’s thesis for grad school. I started it Memorial Day weekend and finished it Labor Day weekend. It was a lot to crank out (420 pages) in three months, but at the time, I didn’t have children yet and my life felt much simpler, so I discipline myself to write several pages every day. Years later it went through an extensive revision to get to the condition it would eventually be published in. Literaria was a different process. I had started it and then set the first 30 pages aside for several years before coming back to it. By that time, I had two small children and a full time job, so the only time I had available was the time I could carve out for myself, a Friday afternoon here or a Sunday morning there. Often I feel like I need to be wholly inspired in order to manage to find the time to write. It’s amazing how so many other things can take precedent when I’m not fully engaged in what I’m writing. So, my writing process for my story about my grandmother will look different. Right now I am researching and imagining where I want the story to go. Once I have a better sense of the character, she will tell me the story and the process will develop and the time to write will carve itself out among other parts of my life: kids, husband, jobs, and training for a marathon. Who needs sleep anyway?
I hope you are enjoying the tour! Check out these authors who are picking up the next leg of the trip:
Nick Hupton, author of If I Know It’s Coming, The Ridge, and Stone Ridge http://www.nickhupton.com/
Cynthia Kraak, author of the Ashwood Trilogy and Minnesota Cold http://cynthiakraack.com/