Thursday, June 3, 2010

It is Getting Real

It is. It really is. Today my wonderful editor sent me the Reading Group Guide for EXIT THE ACTRESS. First the Discussion Questions. It was strange and surreal to see the book broken down into discussion topics. To see it quoted and questioned and unthreaded theme by theme? It was marvelous.

Then came the Book Club Activities. Suggestions for recipes and ways to make the two dimensional reading experience a three dimensional practical experience. I actually tried to make several of the recipes--they are all real Restoration era recipes--but they turned out terribly--flat macaroons and fizzy eggs. That is most likely due to my appalling lack of culinary sense rather than a historical hiccup.

And lastly came the Author Questions. I have to send them back next week. I am trying to think of what I would want to know from an author but my mind seems to have gone curiously blank this side of the curtain. How did I choose my heroine, my story, my style? Why, when how, who? It is difficult to convey just how unexpected it all was. The format, the subject, the period. Each element of the story just presented itself as fait accompli without bothering to ask for my input. Like guests who show up at the door with bag and baggage and move right in.

These elements were wonderfully determined. If I tried to throw one out at dinner it would show up at the breakfast table the next day and slurp its tea loudly to show it was not scared. If I tried to invite my one of own friends over to join the plot the elements would put her bags politely on the doorstep and call her a cab. This book wanted what it wanted and ran me over if I got in the way. I really liked that about it.

20 comments:

  1. All I can say is that you are making me want to read your book NOW!!:D

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  2. thanks guys! i am just going through the pass pages now--the pages that are laid out in type just like the book--and it is so exciting! i am so happy i am sending it out into the world to wonderful readers like you!

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  3. How satisfying! When's your release again?

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  4. I can't wait! This is really interesting. Who broke the book down into the discussion components? Did you have any input into these Bookclub activities or does it come from the publisher? And Author Questions. Are these questions you have to create or questions you have to answer. Sorry I'm asking so many questions, but I'm sure you understand my complete interest! :-)

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  5. This is so exciting! To know the author and the process of the book getting to its final perfection is amazing :) I'm already looking forward to your book!

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  6. This is so exciting! You must be thrilled!

    It's been exciting also reading your thoughts through this process! Look forward to finding a copy on the shelves at my bookstore!

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  7. wonderful! i am also so looking forward to having a copy in hand! it must be so satisfying to have these questions make a complete circle for you, at least, it seems it would.

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  8. caroline, it is set for february but i do not know the exact date. when is your pub date?

    june, there could never be too many questions! i had nothing to do with it! it arrived in my email this morning. it is interesting to see the characters analyzed and the book quoted and the themes pulled out. i have to answer the author questions and can edit the rest but i did not write it. they did a really good job of separating out the thematic lines.

    kals, that is so sweet! it is wonderful to be going through it with you guys!

    ariel, so am i! yes from student to professor to writer answering questions for readers--it is a complete circle! xx

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  9. beth, thank you for your fantastic enthusiasm. it makes me so happy!

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  10. God, Priya, this is soooo exciting!!! And surreal I do *not* doubt - I hope you have a large hat rack, since you seem to have worn them all!
    Author questions... personally I am a process nut, I *love* finding out how, when, where a writer wrote the novel. I can't wait to read yours - this is really like being a pillion passenger - it's so cool that we're all getting to come along for the ride too!

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  11. September 2011.

    I'm re-reading a Touchstone/S and S book as I await my edits (PIONEER WOMEN: VOICES FROM THE KANSAS FRONTIER -- brushing up on the era before I jump back in with re-writes). I didn't realize this imprint does both fiction and non-fiction.

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  12. I really can't wait this your book is out! If the writing you demonstrate in your blog is any indication, it will be well worth reading. Congrats.

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  13. How bizarre! If anyone broke down my writing into reading guide questions I think I'd find it the most exciting, but the craziest experience. How weird that must have been! But wow, all the same.

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  14. caroline starr rose, a september release is terrific--congratulations! yes, touchstone does marvelous historical fiction. they do all of philippa gregory and sandra gulland and all my favorites! i have not read pioneer women--are you enjoying it?

    grad, that is so sweet of you to say that. thank you. eight months until february!

    bethany, it was a bit surreal--like studying for an exam on something you wrote--but fun!

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  15. Just hopping by to say, hi.
    Kelly Bookend Diaries
    http://bookenddiaries.blogspot.com

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  16. Yes! The author unearthed in her grandmother's attic hundreds of first-hand accounts given by pioneer women. It's a pretty remarkable read (and a fabulous way for me to re-enter the mental place I'll need to do for re-writes).

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  17. how wonderful. it is all written in primary documents or did she assimilate it into a single narrative?

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  18. She's compiled the women's experiences into categories: school life, cow towns, domestic life, etc. The index includes a list of all interviewed women, their age at interview, age of emigration, and KS community. AND she found this stash while an under-grad (and then went on to publish). Remarkable!

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  19. This is so exciting! I'm so looking forward to reading your novel.

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