sometimes I talk to myself

Sometimes I talk to myself. No, it’s not a defensive response to the lonely isolation I experience while in a writing frenzy. Think of it more as an occupational hazard. In one of my various information searches, I came across a blogger who offered this suggestion: create a “mock” interview in which you (the author) pretend to answer questions related to your book/writing process/what have you. He provided an example, and I found it to be quite interesting. So interesting, in fact, I’ve done it-more than once. It does wonders if I’m trying to fix holes in a story, find motivation, or remind myself why I endure such agony. Below is a transcript of my latest “interview”, and to set the stage I’ll tell you it was conducted between stops at the grocery store, post office, and my son’s school. But for the sake of fun, let’s pretend I’m being interviewed by Oprah :).
Q: You’ve mentioned how important Still Life was in terms of your decision to self-publish and follow the path of an author. Now, with Part Two slated for publication Summer 2011, can you explain why you continued the story of Julia and Gabriel?
A: When I wrote Still Life, I actually considered it to be a done deal as a gift for my family with no more to follow. Then, The Choice Not Taken materialized, so I went with it. During its drafting, I had many people ask if I was working on another book about Julia, and I kept saying “no, her story is done”. But one day, when I was in final edits of my second book, I realized her story wasn’t over. I knew what happened after London.
Q: Does Muse (a Still Life companion) pick up where Still Life left off?
A: No. It’s a year and half later, and we find Julia has made the decision to move herself and son to North Carolina and live with Gabriel.
Q: And they live “happily ever after”?
A: (laughs) Not exactly. Julia is in the midst of writing her first book about the loss of her husband Ryan and time in London, and Gabriel is starting a new painting. The difficulties of creation not only torture them but haunt their still-growing relationship.
Q: I assume, once again, we get it all from Julia’s perspective?
A: This time I took a different approach and incorporated snippets of Gabriel’s point-of-view as well.
Q: Interesting. What made you choose to do that?
A: He’s too enticing not to pick his brain.
Q: I sense a little crush.
A: He is definitely the most favorite character I’ve created thus far.
Q: Why is that?
A: Gabriel is an Everyman. He’s an extremely talented and successful artist. He’s unafraid to be domestic or show his emotions. He holds a deep connection to the outdoors. He’s handsome, sexy, masculine, intelligent, and oh-so appealing.
Q: Men want to be his pal, and women want to be his lover?
A: Absolutely. He exudes confidence and strength and thoughtfulness which draws people of all ages. Yet, like every human, he has an underlying flaw.
Q: Which is?
A: For as open-minded and logical as he is, he likes to remain within boundaries of his own making. This allows him to pursue his art and also live freely. It’s always been easy for him to draw a comfortable line and never cross it.
Q: Does he cross it with Julia?
A: You’ll need to read Muse and find out!
Q: (laughs) It’s well-known that every writer/author approaches the craft in a different manner. I can only imagine the writing experience, in itself, is also truly unique and personal. Can you explain what the act of writing is like for you?
A: I can try, though it’s a bit like describing how chocolate tastes to someone who’s never eaten it! Writing fiction is certainly a one-of-a kind experience. For though I’ve found the community to be a brotherhood where battle wounds are compared and ideas flow free, every writer walks away with the knowledge that what they do is a solitary act. Personally, when I’m in the middle of writing, I feel like I’m falling in love all over again. I’m thrown back to adolescence where the entire world revolves around the object of my affection. You know those giddy first moments when you can barely contain yourself? When you can’t wait to catch a glimpse or hear them speak? When things are going well with a writing project, there is nothing else I want to do than spend time with it. I want to skip class, ignore my friends, call in sick to work. All I think about are the characters and plot, and everything I see and do reminds me of them.
Q: It seems as if you become quite enamored to the point of stalking (laughs). But aside from the threat of a restraining order, I assume the novelty eventually wears off?
A: Inevitably, there comes a morning when I wake up with the plan to write all day, either because I can or there’s a deadline, and the feeling is gone. I’m numb. I feel nothing. It can happen at anytime, which is a bit terrifying.
Q: What do you do?
A: What I want to do is tell the laptop, “I’m just not that into you.” It’s good at giving me guilt trips, though, so I avoid it instead-put some space between us. In the end, I offer a weak explanation, “It’s not you, it’s me. I’m just unable to commit right now.”
Q: Does the love affair end there?
A: In this case, the old adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” works. After our break-which could be hours, days, or even brutal weeks-I run back, fall upon my knees, and beg forgiveness.
Q: So in the tradition of a happy ending, the writing accepts you back with open arms.
A: It has thus far. But, I’m fearful of the day our attraction might disappear altogether, and our breakup will be final.
Q: And if it is?
A: The very thought makes me a little sick to my stomach.
Q: Why?
A: Because it’s part of me.
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