Long time! Oy. Day job and June, in general, were rough. Many highs and a couple lows. I owe an explanation in another blog post but for now….THIS. I was invited to participate in The Writing Process Blog Tour by Scott Springer, another Sacramento writer. He kindly wrote about me and my little ebook in his Writing Process blog post. His new book, Bound by Blood, comes out in September! Thank you, Scott. (And I’m sorry I’m posting this late!) x
My Writing Process is an ongoing blog tour in which authors blog about their own processes by answering four basic questions and then pass the baton to other authors. The questions and my wordy answers follow.
What am I working on?
In truth, I’m working on procrastinating but I have been working for a few, slow years on a book I wrote about my experience in beauty college. I’d been working in a government job I heavily disliked and at the time, my mom was nearing the end of her eight-year battle with colon cancer. I knew that I didn’t want to return to the dirty, lonely cubicle I had been in for 14 months when I lost her and decided to do something drastic: I enrolled in beauty college.
My dad’s reaction: Hey! Great idea!
My mom’s reaction: What.
My girlfriends’ reactions: I will be your model!
My brother’s reaction: Whatever.
My guy friends’ reactions: Will you introduce me to your single classmates? (I was too old for them, apparently.)
My coworkers’ reactions: I’m so jealous.
Anyhow, I told my disapproving mother that I was going to write a blog about my year in beauty school. Every day, I would write. It would be just like Julie and Julia, the blog turned into a book and then into a movie. I was going to write my first book. Mom was dubious, all the way up until I lost her. I could never tell her why I did it, though. I didn’t want her to know her impending death was tearing me up inside and I needed a change.
To quote a favorite book of mine, “My mom was the love of my life.”
So, anyhow…working on Draft #3218 at the moment of Hair AmErica. First, an ebook. Next, Oscar-winning movie with Jennifer Lawrence playing me with fantastic hair. I may write a romance into the screenplay though because the only love affair I had in beauty college was with my State board final preparations. It ended with a happy divorce.
(Tangent: I do have an outline for a picture book based on my experiences grading student exams about ten years ago and the silly answers the kiddos would write that would deserve high marks but didn’t receive them based on stupid educational standards. And an intermediate fantasy book about SLEEPING. The idea works, I’m telling you. You just have to wait, though.)
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
Ehhh…I don’t know really how it’s different than others in its genre except that I haven’t read anything else like it. I write what is called creative nonfiction or narrative nonfiction. Or…memoir. I learned recently the different between “memoir” and “autobiography,” actually. (You’re about to learn something useless here.) A memoir is written work about a period of your life, not your entire life. That would be an autobiography. So, I’m currently writing a memoir about my year in beauty college. I can just see all the heterosexual males lining up to buy my first copies. Truth: my dad read the entire blog as it was happening. He loved it, and he’s also biased. When writing a book, you’re supposed to do some research first. You’re supposed to find out if others have written what you’re wanting to write about. You might find some competition or learn that it’s been tried and failed. I have only seen one other mainstream book written about beauty college, and that was Kabul Beauty School. I started reading it years ago, and while it was good, I didn’t finish it. It also takes place in AFGHANISTAN. My book takes place in SACRAMENTO, so I think I’m golden, that is, if I can ever get this book finished. And this is still a work of nonfiction. I am writing about myself. But it’s not a “how to” book. That’s why it’s called creative or narrative nonfiction: it reads like a novel. So I’d like to think.
Why do I write what I do?
I have no deep answer for this. I even Googled other writers’ responses to this question to get ideas. It should be easy to write about myself; my books are memoirs. However, I write what I know, which is about things that have happened to me or things that I have done. I have difficulty answering questions about why I write these things, and the only thing I can think of is that quote I see people post often on Facebook by Toni Morrison:
“If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.”
She was probably referring to literary fiction, but I’ll take it. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to read a book about beauty school, but I think people can relate to being stuck and looking to something else for happiness. This book about beauty school also deals with death, grief, cancer, volunteerism, politics, love, friendship, and grace…though that description may make the book sound way better than it actually is. That is my biggest fear at the moment, that no one else will think it’s great. It will be dedicated to my mama, so that makes it superb.
By the way, my mom always talked about how she wanted to write a book. A mystery. She lacked the confidence and time, though. This is why my pseudonym includes the original spelling of her maiden name, is now attached to my first book, a book about online dating. I feel like online dating is a bit of a mystery…as in you never know what you’re going to get. x
How does my writing process work?
I don’t have a process. Clearly. I just write when I can. I save every draft by dating them so I know which version is the last one I worked on. I do have some whiteboards with outlines on them that have half-wiped clean accidentally during the four moves I’ve made in four years. My desk is a mess, as is the living room coffee table which adds to my procrastination, I know. I sometimes write for other websites for free with the promise they will send people to my blog and then book for purchase, but that has not proven to be fruitful, so no more…for now. I have been trying to submit a few query letters a week for representation for the hair book. I am about to do the same for my now award-winning ebook based on my online dating experiences in a blog called So Many Tools in the Internet Shed. Anything to leave my cubicle farm. I think the dating book makes an excellent bathroom read. xx __________________________________________________________
I’ve invited two writers to participate in this tour thingy. (It should have been three but had a difficult time hearing back from people and I owe poor Scott a blog post!) You may want to follow them. They’re pretty interesting and diverse.
Josh Fielder writes as Hack Kerouac. (Just select the link there so you don’t have to spell “Kerouac.” You’re welcome.) I met Josh in an interesting way. He wrote an amazing post not long after the Newtown shootings that was shared endlessly throughout Facebook. I stalked him and added him and then won a dog collar from his side business for a dog I never got. He had gained many fans (and stalkers…real ones…and not me) and started blogging about his experiences as a cab driver, gaining MORE fans. That blog is about to become a book, and he’s about to embark on a national tour in his RV with his sidekick dog, Izzy. Check him out.
Edward Medina. I met Edward in a writing group on Facebook, and he’s done a LOT. Lemme just post this from his profile because I couldn’t say it any better.
Amazon bestselling author Edward Medina is a native New Yorker who was raised by his mother and grandmother to believe that life is an adventure best lived to the fullest. To that end he has lived his life on the edge of creative possibility.
Well, that doesn’t exactly say what he’s done, but I had to include a line about his mama and his grandmama. Trust me though, his canon is full of creative goodness. Okay, here’s a little more:
Amazon bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic steampunk adventure novels, short stories, and poems. Find Edward HERE.