On the heels of my recent book deals I was invited to be interviewed by writer and poet ROSALIND GUY at her A WRITER’S THOUGHTS blog.
Much thanks to Rosalind!
Also, my books were temporarily down from Kobo…due to some technical changes that required, I believe, some sort of reformatting on the part of my publisher.
All 3 of my novels are again available at Kobo Books. You can click the image below to be taken to kobobooks. (-: Of course, they’re all also available at Amazon and Barnes & Nobles…and other places where ebooks are sold.
Do you ever feel like your world is shaky at best, and volcanic at worst? Do you sometimes sit there and contemplate the ways of the world and suddenly feel like you’re gonna melt into a million tiny pieces? Do you get overwhelmed by the feels?
My whole life, I’ve cried at emotional commercials. My sides hitch when I read a heartrending story. The first time my emotional world well and truly collapsed into a puddle of MESS was when I watched the ROOTS series on TV. That was 1977. I’ve been crying ever since. And I am extremely unapologetic about it. If you don’t like men who cry, fuck you. If you would rather believe that boys don’t cry, go to hell. There is nothing better than a good cry. It’s as liberating as all hell.
When I’m writing a novel, I love to play those killer songs that get me every single time I hear them. I love feeling emotionally destroyed, and I can put myself there with ease…one or two of those old standby songs and I’m a swamp of FEELS needing deep emotional rescuing.
I like to write in this place of vulnerability. I just have to trust that it’s the music making me feel so deeply. If I’m not careful, I will convince myself that I am actually deeply depressed. Actually, I think it’s an extremely thin line between allowing yourself to feel deep emotional connection to a sad song and falling hopelessly into a trench-of-hell depression. It’s a slippery slope, but SO VERY worth it.
One of my last posts for ALL THE WRITE LINES was one I titled NOSTALGIA AND EMOTIONAL SOUNDTRACKS (OR HOW TO CATCH THE FEELS). In that post I talked about some of the songs that most trigger my vulnerable feelings. THE THE’s PERFECT and AND IF VENICE IS SINKING by THE SPIRIT OF THE WEST. Please click on the link I provided in the blog post’s title to read the post. I’ll wait for you to get back. See you soon! (-:
Now, today I thought I would take out the big guns. You know, for those of you who erroneously believe that BOYS DON’T CRY. The one song that can drag me down to the very bottom of my soul is EVERYBODY HURTS by R.E.M. I seriously have to hide the razorblades while listening to this song. It resonates more than anything else I have ever listened to in my history of music listening.
Sometimes, I’ll listen to this song over and over for hours. It puts me in the mindset I need to be in to write teen-angst. That’s what I like to write. I know I’m in my late 40s. It’s just…I understand being an alien attempting to navigate the high school world. I like to relive it in different ways through my YA characters. In order to do this, get myself down into that place where pain lives, I like to listen to the songs that used to put me there. There is something golden about allowing music to transform you.
IN BETWEEN DAYS by The Cure used to knock me out. In the most delightful way.
“Yesterday I got so old
I felt like I could die
Yesterday I got so old
It made me want to cry
Go on go on
Just walk away
Your choice is made
Go on go on
Go on go on
Away from here” ~ In Between Days by The Cure
Fuck. That right there was the mantra of my teen years.
(A little P.S. on The Cure. Their music was able to uplift me every time. A lot of people thought they were mega-depressing, but they were sickly uplifting for me. Even the sad stuff. There was always a smile on my face when listening to them.)
Sometimes, when I really need to plug in to the FEELS, I sit and I listen to the songs I listened to in the 80s. Alone in my room with my shitty turntable. I needed to tape quarters to the needle arm in order for it to work. Three quarters were too many, while two were just enough. One wasn’t enough. Music owns us. It doesn’t matter how old we are. When we hear a song that connects with us on a spiritual level, that makes us go, “YES! THAT’S IT. EXACTLY!” that song will always be with us.
As writers, we get to manipulate ourselves (and our emotions). We can tinker with our emotional landscape until we’re at the exact right ‘place’ we need to be in in order to write a particular scene. I do this by the easiest means available…I listen to music.
Yeah, there’s a lot of talk about SOUNDTRACK OF MY NOVEL. But what you should really be doing is creating an EMOTIONAL SOUNDTRACK to your novel.
By the way, this works just as well tossing out a happy song that makes you smile every time. If you’re writing a happy scene, you can prepare yourself by listening to something that always put a smile on your face. My go to for this emotion was always CAPTAIN SENSIBLE. Boy could make me kick up a smile faster than a rogue car on the Audubon could lose control.
Before you sit down to write, go ahead…manipulate yourself. Have fun with it. You can be the master of your emotional landscape. You might discover that it helps your writing immeasurably.
I am beyond thrilled to announce the sale of my 5th novel, Burn Baby, Burn Baby, to Andrew Buckley at Curiosity Quills! Huge thanks and appreciation, once more, to my agent, Stacey Donaghy of DONAGHY LITERARY GROUP! Burn Baby, Burn Baby is a young adult novel. Here’s the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement on the sale:
And, once again…a huge thank you to the organizers, volunteers and my fellow writers at the MUSKOKA NOVEL MARATHON! Burn Baby, Burn Baby will be my 4th Muskoka Novel Marathon novel to be published (Sebastian’s Poet, The Reasons, and, Half Dead & Fully Broken were also MNM novels). Burn Baby was written during the 2012 MNM. It’s gotten to the point where I’m not quite sure I can even write a novel without doing it in a marathon setting.
The Muskoka Novel Marathon, for those who do not know, is a novel writing marathon that takes place in Huntsville, Ontario, every July. It’s a 72-hr marathon and there are usually about 30 writers on hand at each one. The writers each write a novel during the course of the weekend marathon. The most important part…it’s a fundraiser for literacy. Every writer in attendance gets sponsorship pledges, just as one would do for any fundraising marathon. All funds go to the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka Literary Services. The tagline for the marathon is, WRITERS SUPPORTING READERS. Over the course of the marathon history, there has been close to $100,000.00 raised to help fight illiteracy. That, in itself, is worth it. But the benefit to the writers in attendance is IMMEASURABLE! It’s truly a magical weekend. I would recommend the novel marathon experience to writers everywhere.
This announcement comes on the heels of my announcement for the sale of HALF DEAD AND FULLY BROKEN!
Burn Baby, Burn Baby will be published in the Fall of 2014.
Speaking of frogs, my grandson is well and truly obsessed with them. He hasn’t met a frog he doesn’t love.
In fact, he’s in love with the colour green itself. He sings songs to the colour green. For Edward, I believe it would be extremely easy to be green.
As for being me…it’s often hard. This is true of life in general, of course, but what I’m talking about here is my writing life. It’s not easy. Particularly in the winter. It’s hard to catch the spark, if you know what I mean. It’s even harder when you feel obligated to finish a project. And at the moment I’m feeling particularly obligated to finish a certain project that shall, here, remain nameless.
Let’s just say it’s when you most need a project to be taken care of that that project fights you tooth and nail. Every step of the way. Just when I think I have it by the tail, it struggles itself away from me. And this isn’t even a real deadline. There’s nobody standing beside me with a gun to my temple telling me, “WRITE! FINISH IT! NOW!” It’s just little ole me, wanting to get it done. Although, the mother of the little man who loves green is waiting to read the rest of this particular work-in-progress. And she’s not exactly subtle about it.
I don’t know what it is about this project. Usually I just thrash about until I’m finished a story. I don’t particularly think about the next turn in the road…I just take it. I don’t brag when I say this. I have just been extraordinarily lucky when it comes to writing a novel. I don’t outline, and mostly it’s just a struggle to keep my hands moving as fast as the story that floats by on the movie-screen of my mindscape. But this story, it’s different. The first three quarters came to me at a shocking pace. The last third is not surrendering to me as quickly as I would like it to.
This infuriates me. This makes me question my ability to write. This makes me kick and scream somewhere deep inside of myself. Yes, I even admit to being overly dramatic on the subject. I may have even stood out in the street in the middle of the night, looking up into the cold dark stratosphere and screamed,
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Maybe. I might have done that. I might not have done that. There’s no video footage, so one cannot be entirely sure.
Listen, I just want to put this one to bed. I just want to write those golden words at the end of the journey.
Those words are heavenly to the writer. They signify the end of a long arduous trek. Oddly, they also signify the death of a loved one. As heavenly as it is to write those words, it is also slightly tragic. It’s you stepping away from characters you loved spending time with. It’s you telling them, “Goodbye.”
So, yeah, it’s hard being me. It’s frustrating. I may not be green, but that doesn’t mean I can’t sing the blues every now and again.
I know what you’re thinking. Cry me a freakin’ river. Well, I am…so there. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to give up. I’m going to beat this thing. I WILL win! This manuscript has nothing on me. I will NOT fall to pieces.
Actually, that’s the perfect song for how I feel about my WIP.
I fall to pieces, each time I see you again.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate my manuscript. I just want to conquer it. Sometimes we writers need to declare war on our projects in order to get to the finish line. Tonight, that’s what I’m doing. This means war….