Please welcome Audrey to the blog!
Most writers I’ve known say that writing is invigorating, while some say that it’s their therapy.
How does your writing serve you? Do you express your life through the story or does the theme come from your vision?
Oh, therapy for sure!
I think writers are a very internal and reflective group of people. Our brains process differently, and unless you spend much of your time around other who let you talk about your thoughts incessantly, it can get very lonely in there. A computer and a good storyline has saved me probably thousands of dollars in therapy costs – not because I am on the brink of insanity, but because I think we ALL like our creative sides to be heard. My computer listens to everything I have to say, and even corrects my spelling in a very non-judgmental way.
My writing weaves between life expression and vision. When I’m done outlining my major plot points of the story, which are typically the ‘vision’, I go back and fill in my life experiences as character development and subplots. I feel that it keeps a sense of realism to the storyline.
Who or what inspired you to write?
I began writing at such a young age (9-10 years old), that it is hard for me to think of what inspired me. I also thought story telling was something that everyone did naturally, until my high school creative writing teacher took me aside and told me he thought I was a gifted writer. I laughed and asked him if he said that to everyone, because again, I thought everyone had the knack for this stuff. He shook his head. That teacher’s name was Hamilton (Ham) Nelson and he looked like a stoned version of Albert Einstein.
The author who inspired me to write well was Sylvia Plath. Now we all know there is nothing very sexy or romantic about Plath’s only novel, The Bell Jar. Her book is depressing and a bit slow at times, but it sits on my desk through every book as a guide to vivid and scenic writing. She taught me to use all five senses when building a scene, not only what a character sees and feels. Her poetry is brilliant as well, and when I find myself stuck in writer’s block, I snap out of it with the help of her poems.
What are your five “desert island” books?
- The Dictionary – It seems like a longer and more interesting read than War and Peace. Anyone who has read Falling Forward will now see that this sad hobby of the protagonist was inspired by a true story.
- The complete library of Calvin and Hobbes – Okay, not a literary masterpiece. But if I’m going to be on a desert island, I’d rather have adventures with a stuffed tiger made out of bamboo shoots than converse with a volleyball named Wilson.
- Nineteenth Century European Art (3rd edition) – One of the things on my bucket list is to learn to recognize famous paintings and painters. Not only can I do that while trapped on an island, looking at the paintings will keep me connected to the beauty of art. A lot of good can be done to the soul when left alone.
- The Harry Potter Series. – I may be cheating with a series, but they DO sell these as a set, so that makes it okay, right? I am not a Harry Potter fan. The movies were entertaining, but I’m a 42-year-old woman – Wizards and Warlocks don’t really do it for me anymore. BUT, I do admire J.K. Rowling and everything she has done with her life. Plus dressing up like a wizard and shouting Patronus spells may keep the natives away.
- The complete poems of Robert Frost – Much like the art book, I’m going to need a book that dishes me beautiful words and poems on a daily basis. When everything is bleak, a good book or poem can quickly take you to where you want to be.
What is the best way a reader can express their gratitude for the experience they had reading your work?
I’ll always appreciate a good, honest review from a professional standpoint. Reviews help a fledgling author like me feel competent and confident in a saturated book market. But what really stands out above the rest is word-of-mouth. If you liked or loved my book, tell your friends! In my opinion, that is the best and most flattering way to show gratitude. I also like when my readers to email me or PM me via Twitter or Facebook and tell me who their favorite character was. In my new book, Falling Forward, the character Kate seems to be the front runner, which is understandable seeing she’s the protagonist. But a few readers have surprised me with secondary characters! For the record, my favorite character in Falling Forward is a secondary character!
I am always open to conversation with my readers.
What advice would you give a new author?
Never throw away any of your work! Keep it! Even if you have to print it out and stack it in a closet. You may come across a scene in a later writing where you need specific dialogue or a certain place and you’ve already written about it. I have kept every scrap of poetry I’ve written, every screenplay, every short story, and journal for this reason! Keep it! Keep it! Keep it!
Have you done all the things in your book with your partner? That’s what I want to know 🙂
I like to call it ‘research’. ; )
My first book, Orion’s Belt, was a very sexual book. It makes Falling Forward, which has sex scenes too, look like a Sex-Ed pamphlet. My husband – my poor husband – got the brunt of the research of Orion’s Belt. I thought I was going to send him to the hospital. He took it like a trooper though, but could never get used to me writing notes afterward.
Blurb: East Coast vs West Coast
Kate Kleider has it all: Looks, brains and a rising career. The one thing she’s missing is a date to her favorite ex-boyfriend’s wedding. To make matters worse, she’s just moved from the conservative Northeast to Southern California, and is overwhelmed by the beach, bikini sand bonfires around her.
During a company fundraiser, she cannot rip her stare from hunky surf shop owner Jamison Rigby. After a disastrous first meeting fueled by her own inadequacies, Kate swallows her pride and asks him out to dinner. Lucky for her, he says yes. Surprisingly, they hit it off, and one dinner leads to the next, which leads to him agreeing to go to the wedding with her. Before too long, they are in bed together. There is no denying that he is a good influence – she’s calmer and less uptight – but her own baggage coupled with a mysterious feeling that he’s holding back keeps her from making any serious commitment.
However, someone else has their eye on Kate. Wealthy businessman Nicholas Payne hires her company to represent his new West Coast marketing campaign. Like Kate, he’s an East Coaster, shares a love of bird watching and is very successful. The attraction is mutual, although she has to keep him at arm’s length since he is her client. When Payne offers her a job at his company, Kate is alive with the idea of moving back East and maybe dating someone more like her.
The ball seems in Kate’s court until her past reared its ugly head causing Kate to rethink the direction of her life. Will she stay in California with a man who is her complete opposite? Or will she return to the Northeast, and back to a life she is used to?
Among the bills and junk mail I spied a glossy tan envelope with a blue anchor watermark. It had to be chock-full of bad news. I should’ve waited to open it because I was running late, but my fingers didn’t agree with my logic. Seven stories down in my apartment building parking lot, my boss, Glenn, was sure to be honking his horn and cursing my name. Instead of taking the time to pull my hair back into its usual braid, I slid my fingers under the flap of the envelope. The dreadful contents scattered on the counter and I picked out the frilliest insert and began reading:
Together with their families
Margot Bernadette Rousset
Brian Alan Vandercook
Invite you to share in their joy
As they are united in marriage
Saturday, September 20, 2014
The Argonaut Hotel
San Francisco, California
My ex-boyfriend was getting married to her. For three years, I’d told my therapist that I was completely over him and wished him all the happiness in the world. Yet, seeing the damn pretty stationery made me want to gouge my eyes out. I tossed it next to the sink and hid it under my American Birder magazine.
Downstairs, Glenn was having a fit. As I approached his car, I could see him cleaning his glasses and yelling at his boyfriend, Warren. He always cleans his glasses when he’s angry, and when he’s livid, he runs his hands through his perfectly straight, Japanese hair. He tapped his watch as he saw me approach.
“Sorry I’m late.” I tossed my duffle bag in the backseat and followed in behind it. “I got some bad news.”
“You mean there is worse news than showing up late to a charity event where we’re one of the sponsors?” Glenn snapped. “It had better involve death.”
“Worse than death.” I strapped myself into the seatbelt. “My ex-boyfriend Brian is getting married.”
Glenn looked as if a million hateful words were about to spill out of his mouth, but then he turned forward and put his car into drive. He had every right to snap at me for being late. Since his promotion and our company’s expansion from Pittsburgh to Newport Beach, California three months ago, he had been under the gun by corporate to perform. He’d invited five of us from Pittsburgh to come with him—his original team of marketing and advertising experts—but only two of us agreed to relocate.
His expression softened as he drove.
“I’m sorry, Kate. I know you really like him.” He knew I had a hard time with relationships. “When’s the wedding?”
“September twentieth. In San Francisco.”
“Are you going?”
“Of course. He’s the closest thing to love I’ve ever felt.”
Warren’s head snapped around. “Wait a minute…is this the Brian? Your college sweetheart?”
I nodded, and for the first time in years I felt tears well up inside me. I closed my eyes to stifle them and leaned back in the seat. When I lived in Pittsburgh, Brian and I texted a couple times a month. He only mentioned he was thinking of proposing to her once, and that was more than two years ago. When I moved to California, his texts consisted of asking for my new address and telling me his application with the District Attorney’s Office looked promising. With no more talk of an engagement, I’d hoped he had given up on the whole thing.
But why would he give up? Margot is beautiful, successful, and independent. Even her name screamed elegance: Margot Bernadette Rousett. She is perfect for him. And worse—he is perfect for her.
Glenn’s eyes met mine in the mirror. “You know, the sun of California has a way of burning the cynicism out of bright, beautiful twenty-eight-year-olds. A new Kate may rise from the ashes.”
I smiled out of politeness before staring out the window. A new Kate. I already thought I was the new Kate. We pulled into a beachside parking lot full of people wearing gym clothes and stretching. Glenn thought it would be a great idea for our company to get its name out there by becoming a sponsor for a charity run. He pulled up next to a large canopy tent with our corporate logo, Carrier & Rogers Marketing. Then he waved at a stunning young brunette with enormous breasts that spilled over the top of her tight, pink V-neck shirt.
“Kate, that’s Brenda, the administrative assistant from Dr. Buckley’s office.” He turned and faced me. “We’re sharing a tent with them. Grab the crates from the trunk and see if she needs any help getting these people signed in.”
I grimaced at Glenn.
“I don’t think there’s room under the tent,” I said snidely. Glenn looked confused until I cupped my breasts together and propped them up under my chin to simulate hers. He rolled his eyes.
“Kate, Dr. Buckley is a plastic surgeon specializing in breast augmentation. You’re going to see a lot of those today.”
A lot indeed. After helping Brenda and her ample bosom stock the tent with boxes of T-shirts and runners’ numbers, I noticed everyone in line was very well endowed. The only ones who weren’t were men, but they filled up their eyes with all the cleavage. Just when I thought I’d seen the largest pair of breasts, a new pair would eclipse the last. It was freakish.