I’ve been asked to try something new on my blog – a blog roll! It does sound like some kind of breakfast item, doesn’t it? But in this case it’s an opportunity for authors of different genres to respond to questions about their unique writing processes.
Pam Jenoff, the author of several wonderful novels, including the upcoming GRAND CENTRAL and THE WINTER GUEST. Five years ago, one of the reasons I was so excited to become a member of the MIRA author family was because how enamored I was with Pam’s books. I was lucky enough to meet Pam in person recently after years of communicating via email. I wasn’t disappointed ~ Pam is as smart and engaging as her novels!
1. WHAT AM I WORKING ON – I’ve been busily preparing for the release of my upcoming novel, LITTLE MERCIES and I’m currently working on my next novel, as of yet untitled. I always find it difficult to describe projects that are in their early stages but I’m delving into the intricacies of friendship, marriage, and how we can never truly escape our past.
2. HOW DOES MY WORK DIFFER FROM OTHERS OF ITS GENRE? I attempt to do what all authors hope to do ~ create fictional worlds where readers want to spend a little time. People ask me all the time how my books are categorized and I never quite know how to respond. Are they literary, mysteries, thrillers or emotional family dramas? My hope is that they are all of these!
3. WHY DO I WRITE WHAT I DO? I’m intrigued by the idea of taking a fragment of an idea and examining it from all angles in order to see the different directions I can take the story. I’m especially drawn to writing about regular, everyday people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. For example, in LITTLE MERCIES, main character Ellen Moore, a typical mother, like so many of us, struggles to find the balance between her personal and professional lives. Ellen finds that one moment of distraction can have life-altering consequences and she turns to her family and friends to see her through a very difficult time.
4. HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS WORK? I ponder and think over a writing idea for a long time before placing pen to paper. Then I put pen to paper. Literally. I always begin my writing projects by buying a brand new journal or notebook expressly for my next project. I usually write the first fifty pages or so in longhand before I transfer the words to the computer. By beginning my novels in this way, I feel as if I’m able to find unique voices of each of the characters I create. I return to this special journal whenever I find that the words won’t come. Returning to paper and pen somehow seems to help me get me back on track with my writing.
AND THE OTHER PART OF THIS QUESTION, HOW DOES MY WRITING PROCESS NOT WORK? I have a lot of notebooks and journals stacked up around my house! Sometimes I have so many notes and ramblings in different journals it can be difficult to keep my ideas straight in my head. I tend to change my mind about some pretty important details while in the middle of writing a novel. I can choose to tell the story from the point of view of one character and then add three more. This leads to changing the point of view from first to third person and then back to first person. Needless to say, I create quite a bit of extra work for myself, but it’s all part of the process.
WHO’S NEXT –
Lesley Kagan – Lesley Kagan is one of my favorite authors and I especially love her novels WHISTLING IN THE DARK and GOOD GRACES. Lesley has this magical ability of making her characters come to life on the page. Lesley’s newest project, a novella entitled THE UNDERTAKING OF TESS will be released this summer. I’ll be first in line for this one!
Suzanne Redfearn – I had the opportunity to read Suzanne’s wonderful novel, HUSH LITTLE BABY, and was absolutely entranced. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
Paula Treick DeBoard – I met Paula in NYC for Book Expo America after I had the chance to read her touching and thought provoking novel THE FRAGILE WORLD. Watch for its release at the end of October 2014!
Gudenkauf (One Breath Away) is back with a riveting, fast-paced story. Ellen Moore, a social worker and harried mother of three, is bowed under the weight of her caseload of suffering children. Her life is shattered when, engrossed with an emergency case, she accidentally leaves her 11-month-old daughter in a hot car. Suddenly her baby is struggling for life, her employers are accusing her of child neglect, and her marriage is under tremendous strain. The breakneck pace of Ellen’s disintegration is tempered with alternating chapters from the point of view of ten-year-old Jenny Briad, who has a loving but ne’er-do-well father and a mysterious past. This work combines page turning intensity with deep questions about priorities and the sacrifices women make in their lives. The portrayal of the frenzied speed of a mother’s life leading ultimately to tragedy is similar to Lisa Genova’s Left Neglected, but with the additional horror of every parent’s worst fear: harming their own child. VERDICT
This novel is full of hope, despite a sometimes harrowing focus on abused children. Recommend to those looking for a quick read with lots to discuss; ideal for book groups.
“LOVED this book. Little Mercies is one of those books that immediately draws you into the story. The main character could be me or you or the neighbor next door, caught in an unimaginable nightmare when one small mistake has life-altering consequences. This book is described as a powerful and emotionally charged tale about motherhood and justice, but that barely scratches the surface. I enjoyed how the author tells the story from two perspectives and alternates between each main character until she eventually intertwines the two storylines. I can’t say much more without giving away the plot, but this is a story that will resonate with every mother and one that leaves you wondering, What if…”
Jo-Lynne ~ via Goodreads
“A story of motherhood, guilt, and redemption, Little Mercies examines our deepest fears and highest hopes. Gudenkauf’s prose is searingly raw, as Ellen’s confusion, guilt, and pain are laid bare. Thrilling and emotionally tender, this novel, with its driving pace, will appeal to fans of Lisa Scottoline and Jodi Picoult.”
I’m so excited for the launch of my newly updated website! Special thanks goes to Two Dames Design for the great new look. I hope you are able to take some time to browse the site – as always comments are welcome!
In honor of the launch of my new website I wanted to share some of my favorite author websites and blogs. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
I was first introduced to Caroline Leavitt through her novel PICTURES OF YOU and fell in love with her writing. Her newest, IS THIS TOMORROW, was one of my favorites of 2013. Leavitt is insightful, funny and hugely talented.
Chris Bohjalian – I love all of Bohjalian’s novels, but THE NIGHT STRANGERS truly gave me the shivers. I consider myself a somewhat jaded reader and don’t get scared easily – this book scared me!
Candace Millard’s RIVER OF DOUBT is nonfiction that reads like fiction. This account of Theodore Roosevelt’s trek down the Amazon River is breathtaking.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s website is interactive, creative and fun!
I could go on and on about Sandra Dallas – one of my favorite authors of all time – and I will in a future blog post. Dallas, as her website states, is a “Quintessential American Voice.” I have read each of her novels, but my favorite continues to be THE PERSIAN PICKLE CLUB.
Barbara Kingsolver’s THE POISONWOOD BIBLE wowed me and then I read THE BEAN TREES – her first novel. Love, love her books.
These are just a few of my favorites. Please visit my blog often for more about what books I currently have my nose in and my general musings on life.