The Follow the Baton blog hop is well underway!
I caught the baton from author friend Wendy van Camp.
When Wendy invited me to take up the baton from her, I immediately agreed. A writer should grab every chance at getting some exposure, and this blog hop is one of the nicest ways!
Let me introduce you to Wendy.
Wendy Van Camp is the writer behind No Wasted Ink. She makes her home in Southern California with her husband and an Australian shepherd. Wendy enjoys travel, camping, bicycling, gourmet cooking and gemology. Currently, Wendy has published two short stories in literary magazines and is working on a steampunk science fiction trilogy.
You can find her here: http://nowastedink.com
So here's my contribution to the Baton Blog Hop!
1. What am I working on?
I just finished a new project today, my first mystery, sort of mystery; it’s really more of a romance. After finishing the Stone Trilogy and its prequels Waiting for a Song (release: June 3rd.) and The Rosewood Guitar (release: September 2nd.) I was ready for a fresh setting, fresh characters, and for a new subject.
The Snows of Sunset Bay has a tie-in to the Stone books though. I couldn’t completely let go of Jon and Naomi. It’s fun to look at them through an outsider’s eye. They come across as nice people, fun people, but also as a couple that really doesn’t need anyone else in their dance of love. I’m forever lured to have normal people meet rock star Jon Stone in an everyday setting away from the stage, where he’s (of course) a more glamorous version of himself.
Sunset Bay is set on the west coast of Vancouver Island, which is totally different from my earlier settings, like New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto. It’s also written in 1st. POV, which was a new experience for me, but a very pleasant one.
The ideas for the sequel are all there, all I need is to open a new Scrivener file and write them down. I want to finish the sequel before I travel to Vancouver Island and the US in September.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
When my publisher and I had our first lunch together we talked about the genre thing.
I said, "The Distant Shore isn’t really a romance.” My publisher nodded sagely and replied, “No, it isn’t.”
I also said, “It’s really hard to write a synopsis for it,” and again she readily agreed. So—we know what my books are not. They’re not romance, not mystery, not crime, and somehow, not even women’s fiction. They’re less than each of these pieces, and yet, taken together, more than all of them combined.
We never managed to really define my novels, however. They still run under the label “Modern Romance/Contemporary Fiction”. I think that’s as good as it gets, genre-wise.
Why aren’t my books Romance?
Because they aren’t. They are more than just romances, which follow a basic formula: people fall in love, they overcome some sort of problem, and then they get their happy ending.
Mine don’t. Mine don’t get their happy ending—or at least not always—and love is a hard, often painful, sometimes even destructive thing. They have to wrestle with it, endure it, and even abandon it, before they understand it. They also have to realize that what they thought was love often is just an illusion, and that the love that’s waiting for them is something else altogether.
There are no sex scenes in my books, at least not explicit ones.
I prefer to stop writing when the first pieces of clothes fall. I respect my characters too much to intrude on their intimacy.
Don’t get me wrong—I can and did write erotic scenes. But I find that my novels are better without them, so I leave what goes on behind closed doors to the reader’s imagination.
3. Why do I write what I do?
Oh gosh, I have no idea.
I’m one of those writers who writes what pops into their minds. I don’t think or plan what I write. There’s a story idea, sometimes just an idea for a setting, and I start to write.
While I do enjoy writing the occasional SciFi short story, when I write a novel, it’s always about real people, and their real problems, dreams, and wishes.
When I began writing The Distant Shore, I wanted to examine the disparities in a celebrities life. I wanted to take the stage image apart and show a very famous, very adored rock star in the solitude of a dressing room before and after a show, and the loneliness that comes with having to live behind high walls to keep the fans away. And I wanted to show him as a vulnerable man with dreams and yearnings, battling with loss and depression. At that moment when he’s ready to give up on life despite all he has, he receives a letter that changes his life and gives him a chance at a new beginning.
I think in the end all stories and all novels are basically about this: new beginnings, new chances, and how they change a person.
The German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki once said, “All novels are only ever about two things: love, and death. Everything else is humbug.”
I think the man has a point.
4. How does your writing process work?
Easy: I make coffee, open a Scrivener file, and write.
Really. That’s all. I don’t like making a drama about it. I wrote Distant Shore while I was supervising the detention room at a local middle school. Whenever I had a free moment, I added another sentence or paragraph. At home, after school, after doing my household chores, and cooking for my family, I’d write. Back then I didn’t have an office. I wrote on the couch in the living room, my laptop on my knees, headphones clamped over my ears, while my family watched TV, or the boys played on the xBox… if that’s how you start writing, nothing at all will ever bother you again while you write.
I’ve written chapters in the boarding area at the airport, on the train, at my publisher’s dining table, on an Airbus 380 en route from JFK airport to Frankfurt, Germany.
I’m writing this on the couch, like my first novel, listening to Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck, conducted by Riccardo Muti.
My hubby brought me an after-lunch espresso a moment ago, and while I’m writing, he’s doing his Saturday afternoon Sudoku.
And as soon as I’m done with this interview, I’ll open that new Scrivener file and start writing the sequel to The Snows of Sunset Bay.
I'm passing the baton to two amazing author friends.
Please meet Faye Rapoport desPres, who's a fellow-author at Buddhapuss Ink LLC, and whose first book, Message from a Blue Jay, will release this April.
Faye Rapoport DesPres was born in New York City, and over the years she has lived in upstate New York, Colorado, England, Israel, and Massachusetts. She has spent much of her professional writing career as a journalist and business/non-profit writer. In 2010, Faye earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Pine Manor College’s Solstice Low-Residency MFA Program, where she studied creative nonfiction.
Early in her career, Faye worked as a writer for environmental organizations that focused on protecting wildlife and natural resources. In 1999, after switching to journalism, she won a Colorado Press Association award as a staff writer for a Denver weekly newspaper, where she wrote news stories, features, and interviews.
Faye’s freelance work has since appeared in The New York Times, Animal Life, Trail and Timberline and a number of other publications. Her personal essays, fiction, book reviews, and interviews have appeared in a variety of literary journals and magazines, including Ascent, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, damselfly press, Eleven Eleven, Fourth Genre, Hamilton Stone Review, Necessary Fiction, Platte Valley Review, Prime Number Magazine, Superstition Review, The Whistling Fire and the Writer’s Chronicle.
Faye currently lives in the Boston area with her husband, Jean-Paul, and their four rescued cats. She is an Adjunct Professor of English at Lasell College.
You can find Faye here: http://fayerapoportdespres.com
Cindy Zelman is a graduate of the Solstice MFA Program in Creative Writing of Pine Manor College. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in numerous journals including Tinge Magazine: Temple University’s Online Literary Journal, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Feminist Studies, Sinister Wisdom, The Whistling Fire, The Huffington Post, TMI Project.Org, and Cobalt Review. Her chapbook: What’s in a Butch’s Purse and Other Humorous Essays is available for pre-order in print or instant download for e-book from Winged City Chapbook Press http://www.wingedcitychapbooks.com. Her short story, “The Cross Dresser,” was recently accepted for publication in Steam Ticket: A Third Coast Review. To read her blog “The Early Draft” and to find a list of her publications, see www.cindyzelman.com.
Her chapbook What’s in a Butch’s Purse and Other Humorous Essays