My advice: If you want to write, don’t ask for anyone’s permission. Listen to the inner voice that’s telling you that you have something to say and no one but you can say it. If that voice is loud enough, it will drown out all the others.
This post is part of a blog post relay, which the beautiful and talented Donna Trump invited me to join, and this is me in my office after hastily pushing all of the stray books and papers out of sight:
Question #1: What am I working on now?
I’m working on a novel about the biblical Queen Esther, an orphan who was taken into the harem of the king of Persia in the 5th century B.C.E. and went on to become queen. In most retellings she’s beautiful, and that’s why she wins the king. But the king has hundreds of beautiful girls, so there’s something else about Esther. In my novel she’s smart and she’s on fire in a way that the other girls aren’t. She must stand up to the most powerful advisor in the empire and sway the king if she wants to save her people from genocide. This book is a sort of biblical The Other Boleyn Girl with a touch of Game of Thrones.
Question #2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?
It differs in that in some manner it addresses the hopes and fears I personally had when I wrote it. All of my experiences and influences up until that time play in role in the characters I created and the world they lived in. The protagonist of Sinners and the Sea went on a voyage I needed to go on—a search for identity, strength, and finally coming to terms with what she saw as a defect. She realizes that her “defect” has saved her life.
Question #3: Why do I write what I do?
Most writing involves characters who are somehow outsiders and my writing is no different. I write about people who feel out of place and are trying to figure out how to be at home in the world. They’re grappling with how to live, and how to connect with others. Their immediate circumstances are usually different than mine but we have the same struggles.
Question #4: How does my writing process work?
“Process”—haha! I drink caffeine and start typing. Some people have rituals or times of day they like to write, but I just write. I try to avoid writing one line, reading it over, writing another line, reading over those two lines, writing a third line, reading over the three lines… Sometimes I’m more successful than others. Sometimes my writing sucks and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t believe in writer’s block. Or actually, I do believe you can be blocked—by unrealistic expectations or not having the humility to write something really shitty and have it exist in the world for however long it would be before you could edit it. I’ve certainly worried that someone would find the rough draft of my current novel on my laptop and not realize it wasn’t the final product. So I try not to have any life-threatening accidents that might result in someone coming to my residence to gather my things while I’m not around. So far so good!
Here are three lovely writers whom I’ve invited to join this tour. They will post their entries on April 28:
Heather Fowler is the author of the story collections Suspended Heart (Aqueous Books, Dec. 2010), People with Holes (Pink Narcissus Press, July 2012), This Time, While We’re Awake (Aqueous Books, May 2013), andElegantly Naked in My Sexy Mental Illness (Queen’s Ferry Press, May 2014). Fowler’s People with Holes was named a 2012 finalist for Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award in Short Fiction. This Time, While We’re Awakewas recently selected by artist Kate Protage for representation in the Ex Libris 100 Artists 100 Books exhibition this February and March in conjunction with the 2014 AWP Conference. Please visit her website:www.heatherfowlerwrites.com
Stephanie Landsem writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins, medieval castles, and cathedrals around the world. She is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and three fat cats. She is the author of The Living Water Series—The Well, The Thief, and The Tomb—biblical historical fiction published by Howard Books/Simon & Schuster. http://www.stephanielandsem.com/
S. J. Schwaidelson spent twenty years as a working children’s playwright, wrighting age appropriate musicals that challenged kids but appealed to general audiences. Currently, she is juggling three projects: editing Dream Dancer, an action-adventure novel, working on a piece of Biblical commentary for the transition between Joseph and Moses, and writing her wonky blog, The Wifely Person Speaks. http://wifelyperson.blogspot.com/