Sunday, December 7, 2014

It's the little things

OK, I haven't updated this blog in a while, and as it is now December, I thought should post at least once more in 2014. (Note to self: update blog quarterly in 2015!)
Evergreen trees in the snow - just because!
A while back, I participated in that "10 books that stayed with you" list on Facebook. One of the people whom I had tagged to participate in the list-making later mentioned in her comments that she should have also included my first book, Fortune Cookie, on her list. As you might imagine, I was hugely flattered.

Before I was published writer, I had "delusions of grandeur" and assumed I'd be famous and that my words would touch thousands of people. And of course, I'd get to go on Oprah and my books would be bestsellers. Instead, it seems that my words have touched much tinier numbers. But that's OK, as a small press Canadian writer, my audience is not exactly large. However, hearing from the handful who have been moved or affected by my work has made my writing efforts feel meaningful. In the same vein, I have another "fan friend" who reads Fortune Cookie every year as her "end of the year" book, which is both humbling and massively gratifying.

So what I'm trying to say is: for writers like me, it's the little things that make the writing process all worthwhile.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Writers Blog Tour: I’m Up!

Carrianne Leung, author of the Toronto Book Award nominated, The Wondrous Woohas tapped me and Lisa de Nikolits to take part in the next stop of the ongoing Writers Blog Tour. 

I must say that I’m grateful to Carrianne for giving me this much-needed kick in the keyboard, as it’s been an unduly long time since I last updated this blog. I promise my subsequent update won’t be after quite such a long interlude. Hey, I've even half-written my next post. Honest! 

 So, without further ado, here are my four Writers Blog Tour questions and answers.
What am I working on?
I’m currently creating a young adult novel (working title - Overshadowed) that’s essentially a parody of Twilight and other popular YA fantasy books. The novel’s protagonist is a snarky 15-year-old science nerd named Veronica, whose mother just happens to be the author of an internationally popular fantasy series for teens. Veronica HATES her mother’s books, which feature helpless female characters and teenagers who transform into zombies and werewolves for daring to engage in sexual activity. Things get wacky when it appears that Veronica is falling for a pale and brooding transfer student named Theo, and Veronica begins to wonder if she is somehow recreating the story line out of one of her mother’s books. 
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Hmm, interesting question as everyone's work differs in some way. For this project, I would say that the writing is mainstream YA fiction meets feminist literary fiction meets the fantasy genre, so I guess that’s a bit different. The book aims to be funny (I hope) and doesn’t take itself too seriously. Veronica makes for a somewhat prickly protagonist rather than a straight up heroine, but she does kick butt in her own special way.
Why do I write what I do?
I’m not sure I really know the answer to this question. I write what I write about because “something” is compelling me to do so. Sometimes, this is a particularly clear and strong urge but often it is not. At times, I write what I write because the project makes me happy, and at other times, it’s because I have something I feel I MUST say. In the case of my Overshadowed project, I’m writing it because, as a feminist, I’m somewhat horrified by the popularity of the Twilight books, what with the series’ regressive politics and all. But mostly, I'm working on the book because I find it fun and it makes me laugh.
 How does my writing process work?
It depends. My “process” is all over the place, depending on what else is going on in my life or how I feel about the particular project I’m working on. I tend to write a lot of “semi-comprehensible” notes about my ongoing writing projects, but rarely work from detailed outlines. I write best in the mornings, but I also work well with actual looming deadlines, because I don’t think ever quite got over my “finish homework only at the last minute” syndrome. I do have a terrible tendency to want to polish and edit my work at too early a stage, rather than just ploughing through the early drafts. I’m trying to correct this tendency because I think it will improve my process over the long haul, but it "ain't easy" as they say. My favourite parts of the process are those “aha” times when I’m not “over-trying” and ideas and characters and plot points just seem to organically emerge from me. I just wish those eureka moments happened more often! But hey, the ebb and flow of creativity are a writer's lot in life.

Richard Scarsbrook is up next on the tour, so watch his blog for updates. Please also check out Mary Lou Dickinson's Blog Tour post. Lisa and I both tagged her on the tour, but Lisa got there first!