Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Writer: Lisa Dale

From time to time I'd like you to meet some of my writer friends. Here's what Lisa Dale, author of the new book, Slow Dancing on Price's Pier, told me about her writing life:

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

I have two workspaces: one for writing, and one for the business stuff that goes along with writing.

The latter is a mess right now—notebooks everywhere, bits of paper, strewn pens…my “mother ship” computer crashed two nights ago. It’s now at the infirmary for computers (Best Buy) drinking chicken soup, doing Pilates, and praying they don’t give it a lobotomy (aka wiping out my hard drive). In the meantime, my laptop is doing double-duty.

When I work on my novels or any creative writing, I write in bed. Curtains down, door closed, nothing to distract me or make me feel like writing is ever “work.”

2. Describe the last page/chapter you wrote.

While I can’t talk about my new fiction project yet, I can tell you I’ve been doing a lot of promotion for Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier—interviews and whatnot. Kelly—yours is especially fun! Great questions!

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

It’s early as I write this and I haven’t had my tea yet. So I’m not sure who my favorite character from all of literature is. Maybe Mrs. Dalloway?

I can tell you that my favorite character that I’ve written so far is Thea from Slow Dancing on Price’s Pier. She kind, warm, passionate, and because she owns a coffee shop, she knows a lot about coffee (which was really fun for me because I got to do a lot of research about coffee).

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

I can tell you about a life lesson I learned at a library when I was in middle school. I’d borrowed (and loved) Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, then returned it. A few weeks later, I got a call saying that I still owed the book. Then, later, they called again. I was a painfully shy middle-schooler, so I gathered up all my courage and walked myself to the library like the general of an advancing army. And when I got to the counter I told the librarian that I no way, under no circumstances, still had that book and that they’d better take it off my account. The librarian’s eyebrows just about jumped off her head. I tried to pat myself on the back about—for once in my life—being firm.

Sure enough, a few weeks later, there was the book—right under my bed. Boy did I feel silly bringing it back. But I did apologize, and that actually took more guts than anything!

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

Defenestration. It means the act of throwing someone out a window. I love it, but have never had much use for it!

Thanks Lisa! Visit Lisa's blog for more on her book and life as a writer.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Perfect for the week College Acceptance Letters Arrive . . .

And now, the answer to the question that stymies me whenever I speak to a group of high-school-age writers: “What should I major in if I want to write novels?”

Major in statistics. You’ll learn the odds of getting published are roughly three zillion to one.

Major in economics. You’ll understand why the publishing companies will never put you on a book tour or run an ad for your book in The New Yorker.

Major in law. You can fight Google and everyone else who wants to offer your book as a free download.

Major in journalism. Your future will appear so tenuous your parents will beg you to be a novelist instead.

Major in history. You’ll unearth enough material that you won’t need to invest in research and travel, which you’ll never make back on your advance.

Major in drama. Being rejected during auditions will make being rejected on paper seem like child’s play.

Major in forensics. When you inevitably end up writing for a hack TV crime show, you won’t have to work too hard.

Major in English. That’s what all the English majors would tell you to do.

Major in computer science. You can invent something with a better name than “vook.”

Major in Spanish. It will help your parents understand your Hemingway-esque desire to run with the bulls.

Major in psychology. Trust me --it’s easier to work through daddy issues on the couch than on the page.

Major in Phys Ed. Most first-time authors are attractive and fit. (Oh, don’t tell me you don’t look at those author photos!)

Major in music. Since you’re going to be singing the blues your entire life, you may as well be in tune.