Monday, August 31, 2009


Recently I've noticed that when I see a word or concept that I haven't thought about in a while (or ever), suddenly the word or concept appears everywhere I look. A few months ago, I read Ghostwalk by Rebecca Stott. She used the word palimpsest (of course I had to look it up: writing material that has been scraped clean and used again or something with aspects beneath the surface).

This morning I blogged about perseverance at What Women Write, and now I read a Boston Globe article, (thanks to author Karen MacInerney for the link) about grit. Wish I'd thought to use the word--it's a great one.

Now to take the odd a bit further, the Globe article mentions Isaac Newton and his apple and, yes, you guessed it (or maybe not) Ghostwalk is a story about a woman who digs into a Cambridge professor's murder and learns the victim, while writing a controversial biography of Isaac Newton, uncovered some 17th century ghosts.

I love when odd coincidences like this happen. Especially where ghosts are involved. Has this ever happened to you?

Further synchronicity! After I posted the above, I received an email from Borders; Rebecca Stott's new book, The Choral Thief, is available for preorder.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wake Up Call

Often I wake around 4am and stumble into my office to catch up on blogs or write a few words before the rest of the house wakes up. As my blog reader list expands, so does my knowledge of publishing and the writing craft. I found this morning's gem at Edittorrent.

Now I'm off to question every sentence in my WIP. Again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Q&A with Adriana Trigiani

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing New York Times bestselling author Adriana Trigiani. She's not only a fabulous writer, she's a warm and charming person. See for yourself (and get a chance to win her new book) here: What Women Write

When fourteen-year-old Viola is sent from her beloved Brooklyn to boarding school in Indiana for ninth grade, she overcomes her initial reservations as she makes friends with her roommates, goes on a real date, and uses the unsettling ghost she keeps seeing as the subject of a short film—her first.

Monday, August 10, 2009

With Pain, My Gain

When I twisted my back into a spasm yesterday, I spent the day in the only chair not causing more pain and started reading Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle. And reading. (Thanks to my cousin Carole for the recommendation!)

If someone would have told me I’d be so into a book about a drug-addict porn star who drives off a cliff and suffers burns on 90% of his body, I’d have told them to check my coffee for hallucinogens. I'm on page 285 (out of 465), so I'm still not sure where it's going, but that's the beauty. The writing is so good, I don't care.

It was not unlike the feeling I had while reading Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants. Why should I want to read about a Cornell vet school dropout joining the circus and meeting up with gritty nutjobs? So different from anything I normally read. But every word was incredible. And then, on the back of The Gargoyle, I found a blurb from Sara Gruen: "I was blown away by Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle. It reminded me of Life of Pi, with its unanswered (and unanswerable) contradictions. A hypnotic, horrifying, astonishing novel that manages, against all odds, to be redemptive." Now that she mentions it--of course. Life of Pi was another of those deeply affecting, unforgettable stories. There you go, a trifecta of oddly wonderful novels.

The kind that has me wondering how on earth I can call myself a writer, while at the same time, making me work that much harder to hone my craft. I'd never have spent the whole day reading (well, never isn't entirely accurate) if I hadn't hurt my back, but I'm glad I did. My gain. And my chiropractor's.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Q&A with Jamie Ford

I had the good fortune of interviewing bestselling author, Jamie Ford.

Jamie's an engaging guy and his debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of the best books I've read this year.

Stop by What Women Write to win an autographed copy of his novel.

From his publisher:
In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel’s dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family’s belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice–words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago.

Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart.