This week, I am touring the good ol’ U.S. of A. (right now my fiance’ and I are probably driving somewhere in South Dakota), and so it seems fitting that I was asked to do a “blog tour.” I was asked by the kind and clever Dinty W. Moore (read his blog tour here), and not only was I honored that he thought of me, I simply cannot say no to Dinty:
Dinty W. Moore is the author of books such as The Accidental Buddhist and The Mindful Reader, as well as about a million brilliant essays that you can read in places like The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Normal School, and Crazyhorse. He edits Brevity Magazine and teaches in the Ohio University’s BA, MA, and PhD in Creative Writing program, of which he is the director.
Impressed yet? Well, he also grows his own heirloom tomatoes and is quite an amazing photographer:
But enough about Dinty. I will now answer some questions about my own writing.
1) What are you working on?
While waiting with bated breath to see what will become of my YA book, THE CHILDREN OF HAMELIN (currently agented by Alex Christofi), I am working on another fairy-tale inspired YA book, as well as an adult book that is very loosely-based on an American folk tale and is set in modern-day New Orleans.
2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I don’t think of myself as a genre writer. I write both YA and adult books. I like writing realistic fiction as well as dabbling with the supernatural and fairy tales.
As far as my YA goes, I tend to push the boundaries with mature content. I recently workshopped a realistic YA novel called BODIES in which the protagonist shaves “down there” and freaks out about razor burn and ingrown hairs. Many writers wouldn’t go there, but I’m always very interested in the standards of beauty in our culture, and how it affects both young girls and older women.
3) Why do you write what you do?
I write about things that fascinate me or make me feel impassioned. I write about things that make the world seem beautiful, creepy, magical, mysterious, or disturbing — or all of these things at once.
I recently read about Elizabeth Bathory, a Hungarian Countess in the 1500’s who killed hundreds of virgin girls and bathed in their blood because she thought it would help keep her young and beautiful. Immediately I wanted to write about her, not just because her story is awesomely creepy, but also because it shows how great the desire is for youth and beauty. I am far from being immune to this desire, even though I know it can be destructive, and so this theme often shows up in my writing.
4) How does your writing process work?
Writing has gotten to be like a job that I go to every day and put in my time. I like to write creatively for two hours or so each mornings, although if it’s rainy and gloomy, I can write for most of the day. When I’m looking for ideas for something new, I go on a lot of walks. I try to read for inspiration. I try not to get nervous about writer’s block, but I usually do.
When I’m working on a novel, I read what I wrote the day before. Then I write a little more. For me, it’s better to write only a few well-crafted pages and call it a day than to force myself to vomit out twenty-five pages of crappiness. A few pages a day will still get the book written, and then there’s less rewriting to be done. I try to stop writing while I’m still feeling a little excited, and I make notes about what will happen next, so that I (hopefully) look forward to sitting down to work the next day.
I struggle a lot with plot, so that’s one thing that tends to slow me down. I make a lot of hand-written charts and notes, and sometimes I use books like John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story to help me think through plot points.
And now for the “tour” part. These fine writers will be posting their writing process blog tour posts next week, so travel on over to see what they’re writing and why:
Tawni Waters is a writer, actor, college teacher, and all-around magical person with a giant heart. Her first novel, Beauty of the Broken, will be released by Simon/Pulse in Fall 2014. Her first poetry book, Siren Song, will be released by Burlesque Press in Winter 2014. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her children and a menagerie of wayward animals. In her spare time, she travels extensively, usually with the purpose of following rock bands, but sometimes to teach writing classes. Since she doesn’t have a personal blog, she will be posting her writing process blog tour on The Burlesque Press Variety Show, where she regularly publishes poems and essays.
Daniel Wallace is a bright and witty Brit in the process of getting his PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee. (Because getting an MFA just wasn’t enough for this guy.) His first novel is represented by Inkwell Management, and he has won several scholarships and contests. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Tampa Review, Fiction Writers Review, HTML Giant, and Air Schooner, and his blog, The Incompetent Writer, takes an instructive look at literature and the writing life.
Attorney and aspiring novelist Lisa Gouldy is close to my heart because, like me, she decided to quit her full-time job to focus (at least for now) on making writing her career. She moved to Seattle not too long ago, where she now does volunteer legal work and is writing a YA sci-fi/fantasy novel. She recently attended the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference and has some great posts on her blog, Planning for Sun, about how to pitch your novel to agents.
Eva, Tawni, and friends, while traveling in Mexico.