Friday, March 27, 2015

new ideas and fresh voices

Last night I watched the film Stuck In Love and was struck by how different the real world of writing is from the world portrayed in films. In that story a nineteen year old girl writes a novel with the editing help of her father who is a successful novelist (a winner of the Pen Faulkner award for fiction and the author of a best seller). She is frustrated by how much influence her father had on the final product, so she tosses the first book and writes a second in her spare time. She submits the book under a false name to be certain her father's reputation won't influence the response. The book is immediately picked up by Scribner (a major publishing firm known for publishing Hemingway, F.Scott Fitzgerald, Kurt Vonnegut, and others just as famous).

Yeah, right.

The truth is that the publishing industry has for years functioned like most of the other industries in America. Who you know was as important as what you wrote, possibly more important. Hemingway went to Europe where he could gain the influence of people such as Ezra Pound. If he hadn't done that, would his name be as well known today? It's impossible to know for sure.

Later, in the film Stuck In Love there is another first publication mentioned, this one based on a recommendation from a major author who knows the author's father. That example is much closer to the truth.

However, technology has changed the publishing industry. There are still major publishers and best seller lists. Readers who want the books that everyone else is talking about should get their “to read” lists from those places. But every year there are more small presses, some producing high quality work. Readers who want new ideas and fresh voices, should go to those sources when picking their next book.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Listening to Motherless Soul

People often label the process of writing a novel as a solitary task. But there are stages along the way when the task opens up in ways that are amazing.

I'm a member of a critique group that helps me find the sections that don't work as well as I hoped they would, so I can make them work. My wife is a great reader and also helps me polish the work. My publisher edits my work before bringing it out. And when it's read by people I know, I get the joy of discussing what they discovered in my words. All of those moments are fun.

And I just had another one.

The audio version of Motherless Soul was just released. It's read by a young woman from Florida named Michelle Haynes, who happens to have a lovely voice.

The process of creating this work was handled by my publisher, so I wasn't involved. But I listened to the entire reading as soon as I could. It's wonderful to hear someone take my words and make them her own. She always reads clearly and changes her voice for different characters in ways that are subtle, but effective. She puts emotion in areas that are different from the places I would have chosen, so it became a different story than it would have been had I read it. I love that.

I've never met Michelle, but I've shared a project with her and it's one that I take pride in. A sample of her reading is available on the Amazon site. Click here to hear then click on Sample.

Monday, March 2, 2015

New Blog interview and an upcoming reading

I'll be reading from my novels at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro on Thursday, March 5, 7:00 PM. It's a great place to hold a reading with a wonderful atmosphere as well as sandwich plates, craft beer, wine and coffee. Also I've just had a new interview go on line at Marina Neary's site -- Click here to read it.

March is starting out great.