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All about words



My Writing Process Blog Tour

Posted by nancyfreund11 on February 10, 2014 at 9:20 AM

I love the way writing and books connect people, and Sylvia Petter’s invitation to do this blog tour made my day. In fact, it gave me just the nudge I needed to re-launch my own dormant blog. I’ve known Sylvia through the Geneva Writers Group for a decade now, and I can assure you, her work and her interests continue to evolve in exciting ways. She’s never at a loss for words, and she cares deeply about the projects she tackles, like her contribution to to the book NEW SUN RISING: STORIES FOR JAPAN published in 2012 to support the victims of Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake. More recently, her flash fiction collection MERCURY BLOBS has been garnering fantastic reviews, including a wonderful comment by Robert Olen Butler, who rightly notes that Sylvia’s work is often very funny, often very moving, and often BOTH. Her blog and facebook and twitter presence are all joys to behold as well.

Do check out Sylvia Petter here: www.­mercsworld.­blogspot.­com

Sylvia posed these four “simple” questions and really got me thinking about how best to answer them… Number two is the doozy. Sometimes the best ways to “learn” ourselves is to try to explain ourselves to others. Thanks, Sylvia for this opportunity!



1.What am I working on?

I’m certainly a bit of a juggler at the moment. I just got my manuscript back from my development editor in France, and am wildly eager to dive in to the revision of my Montana-rancher/Swiss expat novel currently titled EFFORT OF WILL. With a male protagonist, this is a fun and different challenge to write. Also, this is a new editor I’m working with, and I think she’s amazing. But I can’t narrow my focus only to that novel because my debut novel RAPESEED is still very much in its launch phase, so I’m doing a lot of fun publishing things too… book clubs, promotional events, and so on. Next week is a Swedish book club… I have a Swedish teenage boy in RAPESEED, and I’m eager to know what these readers will make of him. If you want to see more on that novel, click over to Amazon

Also, as part of my literacy efforts, I’m doing language support with the International School of Lausanne’s Tanzanian scholarship students, and am heading an international cookbook project in conjunction with that program. We hope to have 100 recipes from 20 countries. As Sylvia mentioned, there’s also a lot of fun stuff going on with the Geneva Writers Group, which just hosted its 9th international writing conference. (230 writers from 40 countries!) Being a panelist on alternative publishing gave me a good chance to speak about publishing distribution in the US and Europe and was a wonderful chance to reconnect with fantastic writers, including my first roommate, Tananarive Due, who was a fiction instructor in the conference. (We were paired up as “cherubs” in Northwestern University’s National High School Institute for Journalism at age 16, and we had not seen each other since. WONDERFUL!) And just for fun, I’ve also launched a little book review channel on YouTube. In fact, Tananarive and I did a 3-minute interview there right before I took her back to the airport. If you’re tempted, hop over and watch.


2.How does my work differ from others of its genre?


Well, this is the wild-card question, because I’m a genre bender already. All my work features children or teens in an adult story. While male writers of literary fiction are apparently permitted (even encouraged) to do this, female writers tend to be corralled into one or the other. If you include the POV of a teen, a traditionalist will tell you to make your novel YA. My novels are not YA. I use language and scenes and dialogue – and plot lines – that just wouldn’t be appropriate for many young adults to read. But I also include a younger perspective, because I write family dynamics, and the younger members of a family matter in that. I think they deserve to have their POV shown directly. And I think as indie and alternative publishing gains ground, the requirements of tradition will continue to fall away, and readers may find they get to read more of what authors genuinely wanted to present – regardless of industry gatekeepers. As long as quality measures up – truly measures up – I believe this is a good thing.



3.Why do I write what I do?

Same answer I would have for why do I write? I can’t not. I’m a lucky, lucky person on this planet to know FOR SURE why I’m here and what I’m meant to do with my time. Writing is on the very short list of things I’m meant to do. It’s how I feel connected to people, to myself, to my self-worth and my place on this planet. I enjoy it, and I know that writing is at the root of much of what makes me feel fulfilled.


4.How does your writing process work?


Oh my. Am I going to try to answer this truthfully? I mentioned juggling above, and let’s just say I’m not yet a master juggler. I’m like one of those jugglers who can get two apples, three apples, suddenly six apples going, and I can even do that thing where I take a bite of an apple, mid-flight, now and then, but apples are often also flying out of range and then I go to grab a bite and it turns out that was no apple – it was a lime. This is the sort of circus act my writing life would be. But I can tell you if I’m home, I’m in front of the computer. Pretty much all day long.



And now I’d like to introduce to you three writers to whom I will happily pass the baton.


Daniela Norris has a marvelous book coming out next month with John Hunt Publishing in the UK. ON DRAGONFLY WINGS: A SKEPTICS JOURNEY TO MEDIUMSHIP is a compelling and moving personal journey from a family tragedy through grief to remarkable new understanding of life’s mysteries. I have unbound respect for this author.



Mary Albanese (following a similar line of thinking) has been working with a psychic and medium in England for years, and has recently published LOVE AND LAUGHTER WITH SPIRIT detailing the work of “modern medium” Lorraine Rees. More recently, Mary has published BERGBUCHLEIN, THE LITTLE BOOK ON ORES: THE FIRST MINING BOOK EVER PRINTED - from 1518 - and her own excellent memoir about mapping uncharted Alaska, MIDNIGHT SUN, ARCTIC MOON.



Lauren Christopher, my third featured writer, is one of my oldest writer friends -- another journalist-turned-fiction writer I respect hugely. Lauren and I studied English together at UCLA, and today she is following through on our student-day promises to write romance. Her new novel, THE RED BIKINI promises to be a fantastic, racy read. I’ve been privy to sneak previews of Lauren’s work, and I’m telling you, there’s a bright new light in romance right now… based in Sandy Cove, where Lauren’s characters are having all kinds of fun and trouble. If a super hot alpha-male is supposed to be at the heart of romantic fiction, Laurie truly puts the alpha in the alphabet. Her stuff is fabulous. And sunny and sandy and surf-y… and indescribably fun.





Categories: writing & publishing, expat, travel, & cross-cultural issues, education & literacy

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