Sunday, November 24, 2013

Book Review: Daughter's Keeper

This is the third book I've read by Ayelet Waldman and it is probably my favorite. It also happens to be the first of the three that she wrote, although she has also penned a series of mystery novels I have not read.

Daughter's Keeper is told in multiple third person narration, which is an extremely effective way of getting the reader to become emotionally attached not only to the main character Olivia, but also her mother, Elaine. We are even forced to sympathize with the boyfriend who gets Olivia involved and arrested for his illegal activities. We find ourselves understanding Elaine's fiancee's inability to support her.

Waldman is expert at her depiction of the complicated mother/daughter relationship. Every interaction between Olivia and Elaine is thick with their history of built up resentment and guilt, an intense love that can often overwhelm and feel burdensome, the competing desires to please and to hurt complicating every moment.

I particularly enjoyed the glimpse into the world of mandatory minimums. Waldman uses her real life experience as a public defense attorney to serve as the backdrop for this story. Olivia is a fictional example of all the real people failed by our justice system's disastrous war on drugs.

I'm excited to see that Waldman will be releasing her fourth novel, Love and Treasure, in April. I have already added it to my Amazon wish list.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Nano - Week Three

So you may notice I never did a blog for week two. My parents came for a visit and I took the week off from writing. And I never did that research. And I broke one of my Nano rules and started reading a novel: Daughter's Keeper by Ayelet Waldman. It's good.

But it's okay. Because, although I didn't add to the word count, I did spend that time thinking about my story and when I sat down to write yesterday, I knocked out 930 words. Now, that does not meet my self-imposed daily quota, but they were good words. And when I read over what I'd written last week, I could see what I had. The distance was good for me.

So I have written 7,931 words in the first twenty days. In the next eleven days, I plan to set aside writing time every day, but I'm still not putting pressure on myself to meet a certain word count. I'm satisfied with the progress I'm making.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Long Thaw - Preorder Now!

My second novel, A Long Thaw, is now available to pre-order on Amazon! It will be released January 16th.

Cousins Abby and Juliet were born into one big, close family. But when Juliet's parents divorce, it tears the family apart and sends the girls in very different directions.

Juliet grows up too quickly, forced to be responsible for her younger sisters as well as an alcoholic, single mother. Abby grows up a pampered, sheltered only child.

As women, they try to mend the rift and come to terms with the way their shared history connects them, in spite of the years apart.

Told in alternating narrative, A Long Thaw explores how the two women are shaped by the traumas and triumphs of childhood. It's a story about the power of secrets and the unbreakable bonds of family.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nano - Week One

So I got it in my head that 1,000 words a day was a good target. Seven days later, I have 7,000 words which feels great, but the story is coming out very dialogue driven - like a skeleton that will need to be filled in later with the flesh and guts and meat of the story.

Also this week, I had to read through the proofs for A Long Thaw (which my publisher is releasing in January) and it confirmed for me that the heart of a good story is in the narrative.

So in the interest of finding a balance, I'm releasing myself from the pressure of daily word count requirements. I'm going to spend the next week doing research and letting it all ruminate so I can figure out who my characters are at a more reasonable speed. Anyone can write 50,000 word in thirty days. Making them words someone will want to read is trickier.

I'm not quitting Nano. For me the best thing about it is that I've made time to write every day, and I will continue to do that. I'm going to spend the next week writing more the way I typically do and then I'll compare at the end.

How's your Nano experience going?

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013!

For those of you who don't know what NaNoWriMo is, check out this post from the first year I participated. Let's just say, it's going to be a busy month of writing.

Like the last time I did this, I'm not following the rules. I'm starting with a novel I've already begun and I'm not worried about getting exactly 50,000 words in 30 days. For me, the object is to get writing. Last time, I got a little over 11,000 words. If I can double that this time, I'll be psyched.

To that end, I'm changing a few of my habits this month.
  • Skipping the news: I'm kind of obsessive about this, so it is going to free up a lot of my time, but it's also going to be really hard. I'm alerting all those close to me that I'm going to need an email or phone call if some huge news event happens. I already don't have cable so I got all my news off the internet.
  • Pajamas all day: Okay, not every day, but some days. I'm kicking off day one in my yoga pants... that I slept in.
  • Easy dinners: I don't pretend to be a fancy cook, but this month I'm going even more bare bones. No cutting meat or chopping veggies. If the recipe requires more than 20 minutes of prep, I'll save it for December. 
  • No more reading: I finished my last book and review for the blog last night. 
That's a good list to start. I just reactivated my account at and may have to limit the time I spend there. They have forums and twitter links and pep talks and notices for local events. It's like Facebook for writing nerds. You can connect with me there- I'm Katie78.

So if I write fewer blogs this month, it's because I'm busy writing my next novel.