Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Five Questions Answered by Bestselling Author Chevy Stevens

If you're looking for a great summer read, Chevy Stevens' second novel arrives JULY 5. It's a book that's been called riveting and suspenseful and a worthy follow-up to her first best seller. And she had some great answers to my FIVE QUESTIONS only another writer would ask!

1.What kinds of things are on your desk or near your work space to inspire you?

This is such a great question, and one I’ve never been asked. Let’s see, I have to take a look around. Well, first I have a huge vision board in one corner, which is covered with inspirational photos and phrases that I’ve cut out of magazines, or handwritten myself. One wall is covered with a whiteboard and the plot for my third book is drawn out, with photos of characters on it for mental imagery. I also have a belt buckle on my desk that says “Chevy” which belonged to my father. I have a photo of me and my brother when we were kids, which is inspiring my third book, and I have a photo of my husband and me on our wedding day. Above my desk I have a cork board that’s covered with some special cards, a photo of my grandfather who was a pilot and an author, a quote a friend gave me about believing in ourselves. Then there are some quotes I’ve written out for myself, like “There’s always a way” and “Don’t quit before the miracle happens” and “The best novel you can ever write will be the result of small sustained efforts repeated over and over.”

2. Describe the last page/chapter you wrote.

Right now I’m working on a section in the book about a cult that my main character belonged to when she was a child, which is set in Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island.

3. Who is your favorite fictional character from any book you’ve ever written--or read?

That would have to be Peekay from The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay. I read the book for the first time many years ago and I connected with him instantly. His voice, his thoughts and feelings, stayed with me for a long time.

4.What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a book club or bookstore?

At my local grocery store, which has a book department, I stopped to introduce myself to the book manager before Still Missing was released. I got part way through my explanation of who I was, and she said, “Oh, my God! You’re Chevy Stevens!” Turns out she had read an early copy and loved the book. It was the strangest and funniest experience to be “recognized” like that.

5. Name a word you’d like to put into one of your upcoming books.

“Nefarious.” I have no idea why, but as soon as I read this question that word popped into my head.

So there you have it -- I discovered our mutual affection for the book POWER OF ONE -- and at Chevy's insistence have created a vision board for my next novel.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

How is Teaching like Visiting a Book Club?

Realized recently how similar it feels to visit a book club and teach a writing class. (This comes after back-to-back stints at BackSpace and Philadelphia Writer's Conference, with lots of book club visits, bookstore visits, and a journalling workshop or two . . . Phew. I'm tired. Thinking #bubble bath)

Why the similarities? It's the wonderfully high level of intellectual discourse in some book clubs. The discussions about character, motivation, plotting and symbolism in book clubs like the one I just visited in Staten Island at the Barnes & Noble are as stimulating as anything discussed or taught at a writer's conference.

Which makes me think: should aspiring writers join book clubs, if they can find one that's more focused on books than on cocktails? Yes. Particularly if they want to write women's fiction. If they find the right group, they'll have a built-in focus group for their novel -- and a group that will be proud to have a writer within.