I was invited take part in this blog tour by Mary Vensel White. She’s the author of HarperColllins’ Qualities of Wood, which has just been released in paperback. After reading her blog entry, I was reminded how similar we are in terms of writing process. I’ll try not to copy her answers!
1) What are you working on?
Right now, I’m more than halfway through my fourth novel, Finding Charlie. This is another book with alternating narrative and fans of my first novel, Monsoon Season, will rediscover a familiar character. (Though it is not a sequel.) In Finding Charlie, Olivia is searching for her younger sister. It opens on that mystery, but the journey becomes much broader than just figuring out what happened to her. It’s a family drama, at it’s core, like most of my stories are.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
What makes this question hard is my love/hate relationship with the term “genre”. I write fiction- but that’s pretty broad, so I throw tags on it like “contemporary”, “commercial”, “literary”, “women’s” and even “book club fiction” to make it more specific. But in doing that, you risk narrowing your audience. For instance, men might be alienated by “women’s fiction” while some readers find the term “literary fiction” a little snooty.
My work is different from other works of fiction in that it’s mine. You’ll find me in it. If you know me well, you might find yourself. Hopefully, I’ve disguised us so we won’t be immediately recognized, but it’s all deeply true. The fact that the stories are fiction can’t change that.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I’ve always written. It’s part of who I am and how I exist. When I sit down to write, I don’t usually know where the story is going. I just have a sense for my characters. I’m not a tortured artist. Figuring out where the story goes is fun for me. Selfishly, I write because I enjoy it. But I also love the connection I'm able to make with a reader.
4) How does your writing process work?
It has changed since getting published. I wrote my first three books without a clear idea that they would be read by anyone besides my mother and a couple of my best friends. The book I’m writing now is moving much more quickly. I have given myself permission to consider it legitimate work so I make time for writing in a new way. I set goals. This month I’m part of a group of writers trying to finish twenty thousand words in a month. That’s like twenty pages a week. It’s hard, but so far I’m on track. (I wish this blog post counted toward my word count!)
These are the writers I’ve persuaded to join the blog tour:
Alice Adams is the author of a beautiful, as yet unpublished novel. I discovered this book on authonomy.com and can’t wait to gift hard copies to everyone I know. You can read about her writing process here. You can also find a fascinating interview with her cat about the real estate market. (She funny.)
Naomi Ortiz is a nonfiction writer working on a book about self-care for
social justice activists. We met a few years ago at a writers’
conference, making her one of my few writer friends from real life.
Naomi will post about her writing process next week on her blog, Think Freestyle, which is wonderfully introspective and provides creative "food for thought" for all kinds of artists.