My Writing Process Blog Tour
Long lost acquaintances and relatives! Aren’t they grand?
I contacted my step-cousin, Whitney Stewart, to share notes on publishing today. Whitney’s is an impressive and fascinating story, and her books beautiful and imaginative. Her most recent project is a search into the disappearance of her husband’s Uncle Reiner on the Russian Front in WWII. Here is a link to read more about that:
During our email conversation Whitney asked if I’d be interested in participating in “My Writing Process Blog Tour”. What better way to connect with other authors and readers? I am to answer four questions on my writing process, and then introduce you to two other authors, whom I hope you’ll check out, too.
Below are my answers to the four questions, and an introduction to Meeta Kaur and Mary Adler. I hope you enjoy “meeting” Whitney, Meeta and Mary as much as I have.
Thank you, Whitney, for the invitation. I look forward to more conversations!
What am I working on?
I am promoting my debut novel, Bittersweet Manor. Promotion is a very different process than writing. It requires me to reach out to others and, finally, discuss the ideas I have been playing with for years. That is a wonderful opportunity. I love the interaction.
The part I don’t like so much is the technological aspects: having to twitter and facebook and figure out how to encourage people to write reviews (ugh) and how to reach more people? Friends of friends of friends . . . and strangers.
But that is what publishing today requires and so I am having at it as best I can.
I spent the summer focussing on readings on the East Coast and am now organizing a West Coast tour, which will consist of a train ride across country and, I hope, a visit to the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA.
I also have two books in the works. A nonfiction memoir titled Darwin’s View: One Breath After Midnight. It is about my husband’s and my (perhaps quixotic) adventures in off-grid living in New Hampshire . . . and my subsequent war against global climate change. I am using Don Quixote, War and Peace and, of course, chickens to give it thematic structure. The book is a fun challenge for me as I haven’t written nonfiction (which thus requires research) in a long time.
My next novel, Mother Daze, is about a woman who is trying to save democracy, and her dying mother, too. I have it fully outlined. I “know” how it is to roll out . . . but there is the writing of it, during which I am sure much will change. But I hope that the main character’s name will remain the same. Eloise.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I find this question so hard perhaps because it is so simple. Every writer works to develop his or her own voice. Thus, it differs (one hopes) from others. It took me well over 10,000 hours to find mine but I have it now. It is a thoughtful, worried, at times, amazed-by-life voice.
Because I tend to draw heavily on my life experiences in both my fiction and nonfiction, my writing tends towards my own sturm und dram: a degree of anxiety balanced by humor . . . and my search for home. All three books mentioned–Bittersweet Manor, Darwin’s View, and Mother Daze—have that at their heart: Home. The search for home. The being home. The saving of home. Be it a house, the world, or a state of mind, that is what my writing explores.
Why do I write what I do?
Writing is how I think. It is how I soothe myself. It is how I keep some sense of control and organization. The process of writing is vital to my self-explorations and discovery.
How does my writing process work?
My writing process requires overcoming the chaos in my brain and the mayhem of my life. I work best when in a routine without interruptions. Discipline and focus. I have them both. But I also have two cats. Seven chickens. Family and friends. Life. It’s what happens when you plan it.
A perfect day for me: get up at 5:30 with the aide of my cat, Nick, meowing for desperately needed attention. Together we do downward dogs and make my daily cappuccino. Into the office for five hours. A break for lunch with my husband. Then back in for an hour or two of reading. An hour to practice the flute.
These perfect days rarely, if ever, happen. The clamor in my brain takes over. And the cats are growling at each other. The chickens need to be let out of their coop. I surf the web researching. One or the other cat needs a belly rub. An oh so pressing email. Oops! It is 10AM. I go out to see what Carl is doing. A phone call or three. Lunch time. And off I go on an errand. I try to get three hours of writing in; that usually takes me six hours. Who has time to read or practice the flute?
And yet somehow the writing gets done. I start with ideas and then whittle them into some semblance of a story. I write long stories. They end up being books. Or nowhere because I have too many ideas fighting to be written and so I get blocked. I raise the level too high instead of remembering Ockham’s Razor: simple is best. I must ever remind myself not to complicate things.
Ba-da-bing! My Writing Process Blog Tour continues: I would like to introduce the two authors whom I have invited to join me on this tour. They will post on Monday, August 18th. (I will link to them.) I hope you’ll join us for the ride!
(Ah, technology: for some reason Meeta and Mary’s links are not linking. Fortunately, you can just copy and paste their links!)
M. A. Adler’s writing career began when she was about six years old with the publication of a newspaper about the daily life of her family. When her grandmother discovered the neighbors reading it, she promptly suppressed it and confiscated the remaining copies.
When she went to college, an academic advisor discouraged Adler from studying journalism because she was “too nice.” Adler proved she wasn’t by becoming an attorney and then a dean at a medical school. She wrote agreements and position papers and speeches, the odd article for local magazines, but longed to write the mystery novel she had been researching for years. Her female detective was to be a photographer, so Adler took photography classes as background research. Three years later, after Adler’s photographs had appeared in the invitational exhibit “Northern Ohio Women in Photography,” her husband reminded her of the reason she had taken photography in the first place and asked her whether she was still writing a book. Hmmm.
After her family moved to northern California where Adler had lived when she was young, she forced herself to stop researching her novel, taught herself to “sit” in front of the computer, and finally wrote In the Shadow of Lies: A Mystery Novel.
When she is not researching her second Oliver Wright mystery and drawing complicated plot diagrams, Adler does Canine Scentwork with her brilliant partner AndyPandy, an “All-American” dog, enjoys her children and grandchildren, and bakes pies for her husband while asking herself: what would happen if Oliver …?
You can read more about Mary at her website http://maadler.com or at her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/maadlerauthor
Meeta Kaur is a creative writer and the managing editor of the anthology, Her Name Is Kaur, Sikh American Women Write About Love, Courage, and Faith published by She Writes Press. Kaur looks forward to several community discussions on Her Name Is Kaur across the United States and beyond. She also looks forward to becoming a student of craft again to write her next full-length book, and expand upon her roles as a speaker and teacher. Kaur loves spending time with her family, staying completely and utterly challenged as a mother, cooking, swimming, hiking, traveling, and wants to settle into a sense of “home” within herself.
You can read more about Meeta at her website: http://sikhlovestories.com/reserve-your-copy-of-her-name-is-kaur/
Her facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/SikhLoveStoriesProject