Friday, August 30, 2013

Writing Strong Suspense: The Difference between Speed and Tension in Story

An Interview with Mystery Writer Hallie Ephron

The Boston Globe calls her novels "gripping" because of her real and nuanced characters, and Hallie Ephron's first love is mystery and suspense, although her last three novels cross over into women's fiction.   

She says she likes to write stories "inspired by personal experience with a creepy twist."  This week Hallie talks about the difference between speed and tension in story and how strong suspense comes from a combination of the two, engineered just right.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Are You Getting Enough Listening Time in Your Life? The Value of Silence for Book Writers

I've been reading a wonderful book this week, by writer Terry Tempest Williams, called When Women Were Birds:  Fifty-Four Variations on Voice. 

When Terry's mother died, she left the legacy of several shelves of journals, and she asked Terry to read them after her death.  Terry was astonished when she opened the first, the second, each journal, to find the pages were completely blank.  When Women Were Birds is a meditation on the meaning of this extraordinary experience--and also on the value of silence, the blank page, in the life of a writer.

I'm reading this amazing book while retreating at a cabin in the mountains.  I give myself this retreat time each August.  I allow myself as much silence as possible. 

Silence means hearing the call of two pairs of nesting loons from the lake down from the cabin, the loud red squirrels and Blue Jays, the creak of trees in the wind, and the crackle of the fire in its old stone hearth in our cabin's main room. 

Slowly, these sounds allow the silence in me to emerge.  And with the silence, an emptiness that makes way for new ideas.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Do Your Creative Brain a Favor: Write What You Love, Not What You Know

Guest Post by Rosanne Bane 
Rosanne Bane is a Creativity Coach and author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance (JP Tarcher). She's a veteran Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center and other art/writing centers. For more of Rosanne's brain-based advice for writers, visit her blog.

Some writers don't write because they don't know what to write. They've been misled by the conventional wisdom that you should "write what you know." How stultifying, how limiting, how uttering boring!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Guerrilla Marketing for Book Writers: Winning Ideas from Mystery Author Nancy Wood

It's been over a year since Nancy Wood's novel, Due Date, was published. It's been quite a journey for this first-time author, trying to figure out book marketing. 

If someone had told Nancy that she'd be spending as much time on marketing as she spent on writing, she says, "I wouldn't have believed them. But it's true. And, if someone had told me that I would enjoy book marketing, I would have looked at them as if they had a screw loose!"

But Nancy says that's true too, and an unexpected gift.  

Book marketing has been a lot of fun. She's met many, many authors, writing in a variety of genres, and has read dozens of amazing books. She's had the opportunity to cross-promote, helping other authors promote their books and be promoted in return. And she's been able to connect with readers as well.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

Finding Your Way to Great Characters--An Interview with Three-Time Novelist Jay Gilbertson

  Jay Gilbertson says he began dabbling in the mysterious world of novel-writing while running his hair salon in NE Minneapolis.  Though a voracious reader, he noticed that he had a large client base of single, beautiful, successful women who were not looking for a companion.
     They were content being single and many had forged strong relationships with their friends who really were family.  Jay felt there was not enough in the literary world that supported this and set about to create a series.  
Full Moon Over Madeline Island, though easily enjoyed as a stand-alone novel, is the third in his series.
  And yes, he says, there will be more.   

Last week Jay was interviewed in the Huffington Post, and he also joined me this week on Madeline Island, for our week-long book-writing retreat.  Here are some insights on how he brings his quirky characters to the page.