Who by Fire. This book has been blazing the blogosphere lately, with giveaways, author interviews and guest posts popping up at many of my favorite sites. The book sounds fantastic – there is crime, there is love, there is family … but is there forgiveness? Well, I don’t know. I haven’t read the book yet, either.
But thanks to the charismatic young author, Diana Spechler – I have to say young, she is younger than me and I am young, right? Right? – you can win a copy!
As a recent winner of the NaNoWriMo challenge, I am intrigued by the writing process of published authors, so after a few polite email exchanges, Diana let me quiz her on her writing.
Our interview is below.
But first … the giveaway!
Just leave a comment – any comment! – on this post by midnight (Calabria time) Wednesday, December 17.
One winner will be randomly selected and announced on Thursday, December 18.
The giveaway is open to anyone with a US address, but I have an idea for you overseas folks.
1) Enter the contest and use a family member’s or friend’s address in the US
2) Enter the contest and if you win, send a bonus holiday gift to a friend or family member in the US
3) Enter anyway. I’ll be in Texas for Christmas and since I am feeling the holiday spirit, I’ll mail it to you myself!
And now … Diana Spechler on her writing process.
What got you interested in writing?
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. I was writing stories and poems from the time I could pick up a pencil. Eventually, I gave up poetry. I was a terrible poet.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
As soon as I was no longer a student, I started calling myself a writer, because I wasn’t sure what else to call myself. But I was self-conscious. When you say, “I’m a writer,” people ask, “What have you written?” and when you have to say, “Lots of things, but none are available for public consumption,” well…it’s embarrassing. Once I sold my novel, I became more comfortable with calling myself a writer. Now I call myself an author, which feels like a promotion.
How do you develop plots and characters? Do you use a formula or do they evolve as you write?
Characters come first. Always. I’m inspired by people I meet. I love quirks and tics. I love strange accents. I love people who use big words out of context. I love when someone’s pants are too tight or when someone has the loudest laugh in the room. I love the lies we tell one another. I love when someone says the wrong thing. I love looking at two people and knowing that Person One likes Person Two more than Person Two likes Person One. My fascination with character is endless, so character development comes much more easily to me than plot. I find plot painfully difficult. I was surprised when I finished writing Who By Fire that I had written such a plot-heavy novel. In the first few drafts, there was no plot.
What books have influenced you the most?
It’s hard to say, but a couple of my favorite novels at the moment are Mystery Ride by Robert Boswell and Rules For Saying Goodbye by Katherine Taylor.
If you had to do it again, what would you change about the writing process you underwent when writing Who by Fire?
Please don’t make me do it again!
The whole time I was writing Who By Fire, I was thinking, Never again will I write a multiple-vision narration. Never again will I write about people who don’t want me to research them (Orthodox Jewish men). But avoiding particular challenges doesn’t make the writing process any easier—new challenges inevitably arise. My second novel is causing me just as much grief as Who By Fire caused me, but for different reasons.
What do you find most challenging as a writer?
It’s difficult to make a living as a writer. I have to work other jobs and squeeze the writing in, which is incredibly frustrating.
What advice do you have for other writers?
Be open to constructive criticism. Don’t be afraid to throw out twenty, fifty, or even two hundred pages; writing is really just lots of re-writing.
That is great advice, Diana and I want to thank you for your candid thoughts on the difficulties and challenges of being a writer.
Now the rest of you – enter this contest. If you can’t wait until next week, you can buy the book now. Right here.
In bocca al lupo!