One of the questions I ask myself regularly is “What would a real writer do?” This question has led me to submit stories to journals and contests, apply for fellowships and scholarships, and generally build a writer’s life. In November, a Middle-Grade focused blog I have been reading for years announced that they were looking for some new contributors. This is a blog I love. A blog that’s inspired me. A blog that’s filled with writers that impress me.
So I read the call for applications and asked myself the question I always ask:
What would a real writer do?
Sometime in December, I received an email that started with “We are happy to announce…”
My interview was part of her 2017 Debut Author series. Check it out and discover my favorite flavor of ice-cream and some of the 2017 debut novels I’ve enjoyed reading so far this year. You might also learn a little more about my novel, THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN, while you’re there.
And be sure to read Jessica’s interviews with the other debut authors she’s featuring this month. There are so many great books coming out in 2017 – you’re going to want to make a list.
Surreal Moment – January 1, 2017 Klamath Falls, OR.
I know a lot of people spent a fair amount of time in 2016 wishing the whole year would die in a fire. And I know a lot of people are entering 2017 with trepidation. I spent New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrating both. 2016 – The Year I Got a Book Deal and 2017 – The Year My Book Comes Out.
I have to admit, I’m filling a little bit giddy over here thinking that in just four months my novel is going to be in bookstores and libraries and (fingers crossed) in the hands of happy readers.
I’m running into 2017 bright-eyed and busy-tailed. I hope you’ll be joining me.
The lovely and talented Melissa Roske interviewed me for her blog series – Ask the Author. Melissa’s questions came straight from The Proust Questionnaire – and when she’s says she’s putting you in the hot seat, she’s not lying.
Surreal Moment – November 30, 2016
Klamath Falls, OR.
I had a marketing call – with my agent, my editor, and the marketing person at Albert Whitman. They told me all the exciting things they have planned like ARCs, and blurbs, and reviews, and even a place on the table at ALA in January. Then they gave me a list of people – real people – in charge of publicity and marketing and social media for my little book. They even gave me their email addresses – so they actually want me to contact them. I feel like I’ve crossed through some secret passage into the publishing world.
April 25, 2017 is getting close, y’all. Can you believe it?
I had such high hopes on November 1st. Hopes for bursts of inspiration. Hopes for daily writing. Hopes for a complete draft of the novel I have been struggling with all year.
Then I had middling hopes. Hopes that I could manage to pull the great ideas I have for this book a little closer. Hopes that the plot would come together somehow. Hopes that I could hit the voice I’ve been aiming for, that I could nail the characters that I know are in there, that I could find the funny and maybe-kind-of sad story that seems to be hovering just out of reach.
Near November 28th I had low hopes. Hopes for just a few more sentences. Hopes for just a single word that sounded real and true and maybe kind of close to the thing that’s been living in my head.
And at the end I had desperate hopes. Hopes for a magical burst of inspiration and clarity. Hopes for a visit from the genius Elizabeth Gilbert mentions in her Ted Talk. Hopes for a whirling dervish of words and ideas that would spin this novel into its possible self – full and complete, and well, just a little bit wonderful.
The genius never showed – or rather, the genius showed – just not in the cobbler’s elves way I had hoped for. So instead of 50,000 incredible, magical words, I ended up with around 20,000 words and several pages of notes that together I think might lead to a complete – and maybe even good – new novel.
So, I failed NanoWriMo. But my NanoWriMo failure – though painfully real – ended up being a bit of an win for my new book. Not an easy fairy dust kind of win. Not by a long shot. But maybe one that’s a bit inspired – the way something built and torn apart and built again is somehow made better by the sweat and tears and little bit of blood required to create it.
Surreal Moment – October 20, 2016 Fly the Point. Draper, Utah.
I’m reading through the Swanky Seventeens Facebook group where one of the author’s mentioned she just found her book up on Amazon. So I click over to Amazon and type in The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan – because why not? AND IT’S THERE. With my name and a bio I don’t remember writing and a PUBLICATION DATE and a PREORDER LINK.
PEOPLE CAN ORDER MY BOOK you all!
A thought that immediately makes me feel like throwing up.
I am standing outside the door of a hotel conference room having an *actual conversation with TWO New York Times Best Selling Authors about cover art – theirs and MINE.
*Note to readers: an actual conversation means I’m an active participant. I’m not just standing silently, smiling and nodding. I’m saying real things that make other people nod and smile and say real things back. Un-freaking-real, right?!
I had the best time speaking at the High Serenity Ranch Writer’s Retreat in Sprague River, OR on Saturday, Oct. 29. Sponsored by Klamath Basin Writers, this event brought writers of all interests together in a lovely setting to write, share, and get inspired.
I ate beautiful food, talked with wonderful people about writing and creativity and life, wrote short pieces in response to fun prompts, and even put together a plan for my writing goals. And I got to share my experience on this writing road – from dealing with rejections, figuring out next steps, and finding the the very best friends and colleagues to share the journey with.
I’m so happy they asked me to present and gave me the chance to meet so many wonderful writers. Thanks to everyone who attended – and extra love to Laura, Perri, and Jo for putting the retreat together and letting me tag along.