I’m participating in my first blog hop, the Lunar Love Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Bookworm Lisa. The blog hosting my book is Laurie Here and we are giving away 2 signed paperbacks and 2 e-books to the four lucky winners who enter the drawing on her blog! I did this interview for the hop, Laurie is one of the many kind and generous readers I’ve met on this book writing adventure!
Each chapter in this book is in the voice of a different character, all of them family members of the main character, Bobby, who is in a coma. Was it difficult to write from the different age and sex perspectives of so many characters and then also change your writing style in the novel Bobby was finishing?
It wasn’t really difficult, but I did find it best to work in one voice at a time. In other words, I rarely jumped from say, Chloe’s 4 year old perspective to her mom to her grandpa’s voice, it would have been confusing to have so many people wandering around in my head all in the same day! As the narrative of the 24 hour period of Bobby’s life unfolded, having multiple points of view was inevitable and became central to the theme of connection. Writing from Bobby’s viewpoint was unique since he was bedridden, in a coma, and was deteriorating both physically and mentally as the book progressed. The murder mystery he was finishing was a little tricky since that was a different genre and I was narrating it in another author’s completely different style of writing…come to think of it, this was actually a very complicated book to write!
Are any of the characters based on people you know? How do you think you would get along with the main character, Bobby, if you met him? Do you think he would want to hang out with you?
More than being based on people I know, each of the characters in this book seem to be the embodiment of a small part of me. Of course, there are some moments and traits plagiarized from the lives of people in my life, but when the book was done I realized many of the characters were fleshed out pieces of my own personality, which was totally unintentional but not surprising I suppose since I created them! Bobby however, is the least like me I think, and no, he probably wouldn’t be interested in hanging out with me. He’s a young man in his 30s, a successful (somewhat arrogant) writer, a poker-playing-beer-drinking-cigar-smoking guys-guy, while I am a rather reserved middle-aged woman, a first time author who doesn’t smoke cigars, drink beer, and who hates playing cards (although I do like solitaire). The truth is, while I like Bobby and think he made for a compelling protagonist, we are very different and I was actually relieved to get his ADHD, testosterone driven persona out of my head by the time the book was finished!
You mentioned connection as being part of the book’s theme, can you explain what you mean?
By “connection” I mean the idea of shared humanity. What I hope the book acknowledges is the notion that while people may be different, live in different countries, speak different languages, practice different religions, in many ways we are connected by the same universal needs and experiences. The obvious desires for adequate food and safe shelter go without saying of course, but we also long to love and be loved in return, we all hope that our story is relevant and worthy of telling, and most of us want to make a contribution that matters. We all experience grief, vulnerability, joy, courage and fear. These are obviously multifaceted ideas so my goal as a writer was to simplify and narrow the focus of these themes. Bobby is the nucleus of my narrative and was the first character that came to me, I then simply sat back and watched to see how the lives of his family intersected and orbited his story.
Without spoiling the ending for those who haven’t read the book yet, did you know before you started writing the book what happened to Bobby all along and why he was in the coma?
No, I write like Bobby, without an outline, and I had no idea where the characters were taking me. When the final chapters began to move in that direction, I actually tried to steer the story another way and look for a different ending. I wasn’t sure I was comfortable finishing in that particular place and time. But again, I like to let the story reveal itself and once it started down that road I couldn’t think of a way to change it and have it all still make sense. History belongs to all of us, it becomes a part of a collective consciousness. It shapes us, and just as the characters in the book are connected to one another and to history, I believe it is only natural for artists and writers to express this consciousness in their work. Freedom of imagination is essential to all the arts, so in the end, I decided I would allow my imagination and the characters in the book to lead the way then I went back after I wrote the final chapters so the timeline worked with the ending the characters claimed for themselves.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m happiest when I’m doing something creative. I love photography, I sell stock photos at iStockphoto.com and Getty.com and contribute regularly to the online photo sharing website, Instagram. I design and piece quilt tops to relieve stress, I recently finished a quilt for my new grandson and I make children’s quilts for a great organization called Quilts for Kids that donates handmade quilts to children’s’ hospitals and women’s shelters. I blog occasionally, tweet, and Facebook and I enjoy book club meetings with friends and going out to dinner for a monthly girl’s night out with another group of old friends. For exercise, I practice a little light yoga and Pilates, mainly so I can keep up with my two grandkids when I babysit! My husband and I travel occasionally and in the summer we hang out by the pool and work in the garden.