I'm picking a lucky winner FRIDAY to win an autographed copy of M.K. Graff's new mystery The Scarlet Wench--don't forget each comment is a chance to win! M.K. Graff invited me to participate in the World Blog Tour, a chance to talk about my own writing and promote a few authors I know. If you haven't yet, click back to read more about M.K Graff www.auntiemwrites.com and then it's on to ME!
As for me, I've published two novels and co-written a nonfiction guide to writing:
Whipped, Not Beaten
Kicks Like a Girl
Writing in a Changing World
Links to my books are all over this blog.
The first thing people usually say to me after they've heard I wrote a book (or two or three) is, "Wow. You actually wrote a book? What's that like?"
The answer: long, tedious, fascinating and fun. But then you have to sell the book, so it become dreadful.
I'd rather talk about my current project, not the books I've already finished writing. Are other artists the same way? Prefer to talk about the quilt or painting or piece of jewelry they're in the middle of creating instead of the last few they wrapped up? I'm currently working on a Young Adult novel, a huge departure from the humorous stuff I've done. My main character, Kelly Brannigan, is a high school senior who works at a bike shop and lives in a rough end of town. After one of her best friends is the butt of a cruel joke perpetrated by some popular football players, she plans revenge ... everything spins out of control and the consequences become bigger than anyone can handle. The novel deals with a lot of stuff teenagers see--sex, harassment, bullying, social status, peer pressure, drug use, violence. Kelly's a smart young woman, but immature and impulsive. It's fun to write about characters who live so different than me, and challenging to delve into the emotional roller coaster that teenagers ride--I'm more stoic and not much of a Drama Mama as a rule, so getting that dramatic edge and whittling out all of the characters' various reactions through the book has been challenging.
My writing can be classified as "chick lit," but I don't think I write 100% formula. I write humor. I write about ordinary people, not New York magazine editors or Real Housewives. I write about friendships and jobs and relationships with families and finding the sweet spot where a woman's ambitions and her love life fall into place. My books appeal to women and men, which surprised me because I intended women as my audience. I believe the crossover is a result of being funny and developing characters with many layers to their lives.
Why do you write what you do? Ah, that's a good question! I write about what interests me, characters with careers that would be fun (florist, public radio, martial arts). I write humor because I can't help it--there is so much serious in the world. Years ago I remember needing a palate-cleanser after reading a bunch of depressing Oprah Book Club picks and struggling to find anything that wasn't about abuse or drugs or some other horrible misfortune. Life is full of depressing stuff. Then I started writing the kind of books I'd like to read--something fun, light, indulgent that would leave people feeling happy afterwards. So far I've successfully done that.
The other question people usually ask is how or when do I write. The short answer is when I can. I have three kids. I teach, edit, volunteer, run a household and manage a formidable garden. Writing books means plopping my butt in a chair and staying focused on the project for at least a couple hours at a stretch. I'm easily distracted, so I cannot work with any noise or people around to interrupt--which means I usually get my work done during the school year when Team Testosterone is gone. I dedicate a few mornings each week to my latest book. Writing is mostly revising, tweaking and changing things. I think about what I'm working on all of the time, but the actual word count productivity happens between the months of September and March, when I'm strapped into my desk and pushing down the keys on my laptop. I compose, revise and rewrite everything using my laptop. Then I use my writing group for feedback. Then I work on fixing it. Writing a book can take a couple of years. Tell me again how you read my book in two nights?
Next Monday, July 28th, the World Blog Tour will continue with these fine writers:
Mary Petrie over at Minnesota Matron (author of At the End of Magic)
Suzanne Casamento at Question of the Day (author of Fingerprints)
Carolyn K. Boehlke (author of Chasing the Moon and Literaria)
Check them out!