I find naming a “favorite” author a tough question to answer. My fiction likes have varied over the years. If I think on a novelist I have liked consistently for the longest, probably at the top of my personal favorites list sits Alan Paton (1903-1988), the South African anti-apartheid author of Cry, The Beloved Country, […]Read more "Name Your Favorite Author"
The other day it was reported American Amanda Knox (who had been convicted in Italy of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia in November 2007, had seen that conviction overturned in 2011, and then saw that overturning itself overturned in March 2013) had sent an email from the U.S. – via her […]Read more "Escaping An Extended Childhood"
NPR is wondering about the difference between “immigrants” and “expats”: Project Xpat: When Do You Become An ‘Immigrant’? Indeed, what is the difference? Opening the piece, NPR asks a Mr. Horn for his definition; he is a 35 year old American in Kazakhstan “teaching a course called Global Perspectives.” Clearly he would have a view, […]Read more "Expat Or Immigrant?"
Here, in mountainous upstate New York, we got about 12 inches (30 cms) of snow last night. Currently, we can’t even hope to get down the drive. We’re waiting for a plow. While we are, how about a photo? A quiet street in Pléneuf-Val-André, Brittany, taken in summer 2010: A rather different climate. P.S. Thanks […]Read more "Inspiration"
Aside from writing, the toughest call to make is probably settling on a cover. An “eye-catching” cover is vital. Initially, though, I had no idea what I wanted, so choosing one started with a process of eliminating what I felt I did NOT want. I realized almost immediately I did not want models. Frankly, when […]Read more "Cover Up"
I have read numerous accounts by writers about how “lonely” writing can feel. You are sitting there before the PC, alone with the page, alone with your thoughts. The lack of an out of home workplace, and the stimulation of colleagues – including annoying ones – leaves you feeling isolated. But I can say that, […]Read more "A Lonely Trade?"
Writing fiction is liberating. If you have spent much of your time composing work that demanded citations and providing lists of sources, suddenly not having to do so is a strange sensation. The page is yours entirely.Read more "Liberated (Until The Next Book)"
A few months ago, I came across a tweet from an American woman. She wrote of how she wanted to read true stories of relationships between American expats and the French. Unsurprisingly, that got me thinking. “Stories” like that, but which are “true?” Hmm. On one level, her observation indicated she could not be alone […]Read more "Weaving Fact Into Fiction"
Hope you had a good weekend. It’s probably no shock to read that producing a book appealing broadly both to men and to women is no easy task. But when writing and faced with the stark reality of that, you have to ask yourself questions. I wondered (and worried) if aiming for “gender balance” – […]Read more "A Man, Writing For Women Characters"
This novel had been in the back of my mind for years. Bits and pieces of ideas were stashed on PCs, to be retrieved and saved on the latest newer PC, and so on. We all think we will write a book at some point, don’t we? A little more than a year ago, though, […]Read more "From Ideas, To Scraps, To Book"
My earliest (non-spouse) proofreader was a close English friend of ours – a woman who has been in book clubs and reads lots of fiction. I had told her I wanted perfect honesty, that I needed to know what she thought. She did not hold back in her critique, but is also the rare type […]Read more "When A Character Takes On Unexpected Prominence"
An experiment: tell select friends and family you’re writing a novel. After surprise diminishes at the statement (meaning, if you have never hinted previously you wanted to undertake such an endeavor), be prepared to hear this question asked by someone (or more than one someone) at some point: “Am I in it?” And your answer […]Read more "An Experiment"