Part III. Caroline was so generous with her time in this interview. Following is the final segment. Enjoy!! (click here for Part I)
Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like? (cont.)
Once I have the synopsis, I write a first chapter. I can’t go on without a good first chapter because often, when I am in the middle of the book, and I feel it’s a mess, I need to go back and say, “Well, I wrote a really great first chapter, I can’t give up now, can I?” And I don’t.
Then comes the writing. I write and rewrite, sometimes up to 30 drafts. And I show it to about 4 different readers. Then it goes to my agent, and she usually wants some rewrites. Then it goes to my editor who always wants rewrites. But I love the rewriting process. To me, that’s the real creativity.
Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters ?
A. I do a lot of character work. I make maps about the characters trying to figure out what’s haunting them? Where are their hidden scars they need to heal? What is it they want and how is it different from what they really need? (That’s my Rolling Stones method of writing!)
Q. What inspired your story/stories ?
A. Usually it’s a question that has been haunting me for years. How do we forgive the unforgivable was the question that sparked PICTURES OF YOU, though I was also mulling over my phobia about driving. To me, the worst thing in the world would be to kill someone in an accident, and so I began to write about it, thinking I could heal myself that way. IS IT TOMORROW asks the questions, how do we become a part of a community that doesn’t want us? I was thinking about what an outcast I was as a child because I was Jewish, asthmatic and very smart, in a community that was Christian and working class and suspicious of anyone different.
Q. When is your next book coming out? (or) What are you working on?
A. IS IT TOMORROW is coming out May 7, 2013 and CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD will be out sometime in 2014 or 2015. I sold it on the basis of a first chapter and a synopsis, so I have a lot of work to do!
A. I don’t like the word genre because I think it compartmentalizes women. I refuse to use the term women’s fiction, commercial or literary. I tend to think a good book is a good book is a good book!
Thank you so much for these great questions!
BIO: Caroline won First Prize in Redbook Magazine’s Young Writers Contest for her short story, “Meeting Rozzy Halfway,” which grew into the novel. The recipient of a 1990 New York Foundation of the Arts Award for Fiction for Into Thin Air, she was also a National Magazine Award nominee for personal essay, and she was awarded a 2005 honorable mention, Goldenberg Prize for Fiction from the Bellevue Literary Review, for “Breathe,” a portion of Pictures of You. As a screenwriter, Caroline was a 2003 Nickelodeon Screenwriting Fellow Finalist, and is a recent first-round finalist in the Sundance Screenwriting Lab competition for her script of Is This Tomorrow.
Caroline has been a judge in both the Writers’ Voice Fiction Awards in New York City and the Midatlantic Arts Grants in Fiction. She teaches novel writing online at both Stanford University and UCLA, as well as working with writers privately. Caroline has appeared on The Today Show, Diane Rehm, German and Canadian TV, and more, and she was featured on The View From The Bay. She lives in Hoboken, New Jersey, New York City’s unofficial sixth borough, with her husband, the writer Jeff Tamarkin, and their teenage son Max.
Start your month off right!! DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS. INTERVIEWS with other best-selling AUTHORS! A SERIES, “The Writer’s Corner”
I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview once a month . I have invited such luminaries as: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal, Mark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Caroline Leavitt, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.
So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create! Mark Childress is our April author. Robert McCammon is scheduled for May. Caroline Leavitt is June‘s author. July features Rhys Bowen. Sue Grafton is August’s author and September will feature Tasha Alexander. Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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