I’m very pleased to be on two fantastic book blogs. First, there’s a lovely review of Amity & Sorrow on River City Reading where Shannon says, “Though much of the novel is not easy to read, Amity & Sorrow digs to the depths of human connection in an eerily compelling way.” And on Book-alicious Mama, there’s a Q&A with the lovely Jennifer Smeth. Here, we get to talk about the best (and worst!) things about writing, the nature of cults, and planning dinner parties for the dead. They are both fantastic sites for readers and writers. Please give them a visit and click your way around to find recommendations and book news – I do! Thank you, Book-alicious Mama and River City Reading. I’m so very grateful for your support!
Posts by ukpr
How many drafts does a novel take? It depends on the novel and it depends on the writer. I seem to be an eight draft kind of girl, so far. Here are my eight drafts, each one started in Scrivener, exported to Word and tinkered with there. Most drafts were typed over from scratch with the previous draft at my elbow, as a guide, a ghost, of what had come before. There’s the Jigsaw Draft, which is a scrappy floor plan, unreadable to anyone but me. There are three full drafts before the draft my agent read, then a draft from her notes that I sent out to my first readers, Beta readers, and then the draft that came from the reader’s notes. There in the prettiest ribbon is a clean copy of the draft my editor read and, below, that same draft pulled apart and scrawled over, scavenged and cannibalized to incorporate her notes and thoughts and feelings.
I like to start over. I like to abandon my words and keep looking at the nut of the thing inside them and behind them,coming at it from different angles, again and again, sure I can do better. But, there comes a time when the brain says, Wait – what? Again?
How many drafts will the brain allow? I’m still scratching away at the story I want to tell, digging in, pushing back, so I’m not there yet. But I’m close. I’m almost there. I can feel it.
The Prophet’s Daughters is the title for Amity & Sorrow with French publisher, Presses de la Cite. I’m very excited to share the cover and the first chapters of the book – in French!
And here is a Trompe l’oeil of the book cover – that’s what the cool kids of Presses de la Cite do with their jackets!
I grew up with a love of libraries. Show me a writer who didn’t. I loved the hush of them, whether in the cool and shade of the old, dark wood library of my LA hometown or the heat and dust of the mobile library permanently parked in the car park of the small desert town where I spent every holiday. I loved card catalogues and flipping through their typed entries, the swish and click of the drawers. I loved the pocket that held the ticket for the book, where you could see all the people who had checked out the book before you, or not. I loved the date stamp. Mostly, I loved walking down the shelves and picking a spine at random, convinced the universe had put that book there for me to find at that very moment. I still believe that.
I fell in love with random books found on many a shelf in the children’s section: Andrew Lang’s many colours of fairy books; Witches of Worm + The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder; Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E. L. Konigsburg; anything and everything about witches, Indians, the American Revolution, magic doors, dinosaurs, girls who went away to boarding schools. I fell in love in the adult section, too, grateful for librarians who let you check out books too old for you. They know that Jane Eyre is perfect for a twelve year old and that, maybe, The Old Man and the Sea isn’t, but that you’re trying to grow. Before I left LA, they built the most glorious library downtown, filled with art and light and books, before they knew that people would want to be in downtown LA again. The library led the regeneration, as they always have. These are my temples, these libraries.
Release your inner librarian with your own home library kit. A friend on Twitter sent me the link to this and I think it is about the best thing ever, after tea. I particularly like the book they chose to advertise their kit. I don’t know who the makers are, but I love them. Happy stamping!
Hurrah for Amity & Sorrow, out now in paperback with Little, Brown. I’ve spotted it on the Barnes and Noble site, Amazon, and even my family’s shop in South Pasadena (that’s my mom in the chair, there). It will be on the shelves at Target next week. If you spot it, do let me know!
In this month of self-loathing and abstinence, I, too, have succumbed to dieting. Digital dieting, to be precise. Pop over to the Booktrust blog to see how Morgan McCarthy and I get on with limiting our internet usage while trying to write through this long, dark month. Can we do it?