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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Interview with Bill Kenower--Catching Magic

Last month I spoke to Bill Kenower for Author Magazine. Our half-hour conversation was edited into a short segment for Author Daily Minute, an online repository of interviews Bill has videoed with a wide variety of talented writers. It isn't often that an interviewer's question teach me more about myself than I knew at the start. Before we met, Bill said he didn't like too much preparation because he enjoys showing the process of thought, catching it on film so viewers can witness the author exploring his or her own thoughts. That turns out to be his magic gift.

Bill is a writer himself--a man clearly in love with the power of words, who thinks deeply about the process of creative writing as well as a slew of other fascinating human dilemmas. Consequently, we not only had one of the best interviews I've ever been involved with, but spent another two hours over lunch discussing parenting, healthcare, politics, publishing, and the endless challenge of translating dreamlike images into printed words that hopefully make some sense to readers. If you love writing and books, Bill's blogposts are worth bookmarking. Rich with insight and wisdom, they are a writing education in themselves.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Listening to Readers

I’ve started up a Q & A on Goodreads, ( and anyone visiting this blog is invited to join me there. I sent an email to the people on Goodreads who’d read my book inviting them to give me any feedback on Oxygen. I’ve had some really nice responses, and made a connection with some readers I’d never otherwise meet. But most fascinating to me is the sense I am getting that readers are sometimes reluctant to write freely, telling me whatever they think.

OK, I can sort of get that, because I go all sweaty-palmed and short-of-breath when I get to meet an author I admire. But here’s the thing: without readers there would be no books—or at least no published books. The reader is the client, and I am the service provider. That’s not to say I can take every criticism to heart; indeed letting too much contrary opinion into my writing mind can kill any creative impulses I have. But my own objectivity about my work will always be limited. If I wanted to write in a vacuum, I would have stuck to diaries. If I want to grow as a writer, I need to listen to challenges. And compliments are welcome, too.

There are a thousand reasons to write, and nine hundred and fifty of them are so subliminal I’ll never haul them into the light of day. But one reason I can nail down is the unspoken, even anonymous connection that writing builds within a community of people—the community who choose one particular book over another, because something that intrigued the author enough to spend years developing it also intrigues them. So why, I ask, stop at that secondary level? Why not jet-propel right on into the next reverberation—the reader’s take on it all?

I have to throw in here, at the risk of sounding gossip-prone, that a movie celebrity once used my health club while he was filming in Seattle. I won’t tell you who he was except to mention that he actually did do his sit ups on a slanted plank from the head down position! Enough said. The guy had a security guard present to be sure none of the regular folks (like me) talked to him. The regular folks who made him rich and famous. Now, rich and famous is not my goal, but at least in that instance I decided NOT to spend the eight dollars to see his next movie.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Balancing Life? Hardly!

Thank you to Seattle Woman Magazine and Judith Tingly for this article. It tells more truth about this last year than any other interview I've given. Balance? There is no such thing!

The Tent Camping Book Tour

It's no surprise to anyone interested in books that publishing has taken a huge hit in this economic mess. Big book tours are a rare treat for the biggest stars. I was hugely surprised and honored that Simon & Schuster sent me on a smaller tour for the release of OXYGEN as trade paperback. But I wanted to visit a few more of the fabulous independent bookstores here in the Northwest that I could reach without a plane ticket and hotel room—four children do not travel cheaply. So, we combined a mini-book tour with a family camping vacation—proving that six people can share one tiny tent (with a strategic smudge of flavored chapstick under your nose), and you can use an electric curling iron in a campground bathroom (when the line is not too long). Note that I almost never appear in any family photos, since I’m usually the only one who willing to stop for pictures.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I Love Book Clubs

Well, at last a new blog entry—a link to a blog I just posted for Reading Group Guides. I was offered the chance to write a short entry on any topic related to reading groups, and I immediately knew what I wanted to say, (not always true for me!): both a thanks to the groups I’ve already met with, and an affirmation that talking to book groups is the single best way to bring see a book through all the stages of its life. I’m linking to it here (scroll to June 29, 2009): ReadingGroupGuides

Monday, March 16, 2009

Two Perspectives

La Recesion en USA

Came across this video recently. Too funny! But then I watched it from across the border. Could almost be a trailer for my next novel.