…and other information for GUTGAA’s (Gearing Up To Get An Agent) meet and greet. Here are my answers in case you are hopping over from Deana Barnhart’s blog! And if you are not, here are a few things about my writing I’m sharing with some other unagented (pre-published) writers.
Where do you write?
Usually (like now) I write at my desk, a huge, heavy wooden ones that movers hate and I love. My mom bought it for me when I was a lot younger than I am now. I did all my high school homework at this desk while listening to the Mariners lose games in the bottom of the ninth. Or sometimes earlier than that. I had a phone on my desk that I sometimes used to talk to this cute boy at school, the one who took the kids to the pool today so that I could get some time to read my book before submitting it to be read for the Highlights Foundation workshop this fall. (Eek!)
This is not pretty. A messy pile of books, an upturned trash can, a closet stuffed with empty three-ring binders and an ergonomic keyboard I should be using right now. In my defense, we moved into this house three weeks ago and mom’s study is last on the list of rooms to be conquered. I’m trying to convince my husband that a great present for the person who unpacked every other room in the house would be having a professional organizer come and unpack my study. So far, it isn’t working. If you have a good argument for me, please include in the comments below.
Favorite time to write?
The mornings, but it’s usually at naptime or bedtime.
Drink of choice while writing?
Iced tea. I wish it was something cooler, like Jack Daniels.
When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?
Both. I think silence is better, but sometimes I just need the music to keep my brain from running away.
What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?
The inspiration at first came from my grandfather, through his introducing me to the Civil War through the letters of my great-great-great grandfather. Those letters have been an important part of my life and they inspired me to write this book. But the overarching theme in the book came from reading Night by Elie Wiesel and Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi. Both have important things to say about remembering our past, but Primo Levi says something that struck me powerfully: we cannot FULLY remember. If we REALLY remembered, we could never go on. Certainly that is true for a Holocaust survival. Is it true for all of us? That there is some delicate balance between remembering and not remembering that allows us to go on but hopefully prevents us from repeating the atrocities of our history? On an abstract level, my book tries to deal with that question, not only for society as a whole, as the present gets obliterated when people forget the past, but also for the characters on a personal level, as they struggle with the usual middle school issues and learn to embrace themselves and their pasts in their own ways.
What’s your most valuable writing tip?
Delete. Delete. Delete.