2013 in Review

2013 saw the publication of my first novel and three short stories. I completed my second novel and am now hard at work on my third (from a separate planned series) and have also written two other short stories and a novella. When I think about how I basically made the decision to jump back in to fiction writing in 2011, I am exceedingly proud of where I am today, and am spurred on to try to break more personal goals in the upcoming year- including finishing my third novel and securing publication for my second novel, novella, and other short stories. I couldn’t do it without everyone’s love and support in these past two years- you all keep me going, keep me trying to become a better writer than I was tomorrow!

 

Merry Christmas, and have a wonderful new year!

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Why I Write: In Third Person

    While presenting ‘Wanakufa’ at Pomona High School this week, the most interesting question I was asked was this:  Why do I write my short stories in third person, when they are very obviously based on real-life experiences?  

    Why not just write essays or fictional memoir pieces in first person? Change a couple of names, maybe some of the smaller details, but make it even more obvious that the stories are less made-up than they seem? It would certainly lend credibility to the stories. No one would be able to say that I had pulled them out of thin air. Even without me coming in to present and explain the story, people would know that these things happened to me, specifically- Elizabeth Rose, and not anyone else. 

   Well, there are a couple of reasons for that. For one, I tend to be a ‘crisis of faith’ kind of writer. I’m not huge on writing stories about when I was on the top of my game. I write about when I was down on my luck, sick, confused, morally challenged, sad, or angry. The other characters in the story sometimes share in that negativity. Sometimes they are the cause of that negativity. These can be people that I met once and never saw again, people I hate, or people that I’ve come to love who were just having a bad day, or I didn’t know them well enough yet. When I write these kinds of encounters in first person, I feel an almost irrepressible urge to explain how I feel presently about those kinds of people. It’s difficult to write in an ‘I’ voice without including what ‘I’ have learned. Putting my own ‘self’ into a third person character helps me create that distance. It gives me the freedom to be able to write both myself as I was, and the other people as they were. Sure, I change their names and normally only the people being talked about have any idea that the story has to do with them in the first place. So they’re protected in that way. But to be honest about how I reacted to them then, I can’t allow the story to become saturated with who I am now. 

   Which is another reason why it’s important for me to write my memories in third person. It’s too easy, when in the first person, for me to write myself as a flawless character. I write myself as the perfect person I know myself to be (even though I’m not). When I create a third-person character who happens to have the same kind of experience that I’ve had, I allow myself to be much more honest about myself. I allow Julia to be horridly arrogant, materialistic, and slightly delusional. Martha is too doe-eyed, cautious and suspicious. Beck is cold, and nearly uncaring to a friend calling out for help. I was all of these things at one time, and in certain situations- in other situations and times I am less so, or more so. I am better able to analyze the memory that I’m trying to work through when I can allow the character to embody the way in which I responded to the situation that I was in- helps me become more harsh towards myself, and more willing to put forth all those little issues that made the situation possible. Creating a ‘me’ without the ‘I’ helps me battle my own ego.

   I don’t write short stories just for other people. Novels, more so. But with short stories, like with poetry, I have something to work out. Old fears. Old trauma. Old questions. New questions brought up that make me think of old memories. Similar situations happening again and again in my life for no apparent reason. My short stories are written as a kind of map for myself- to attempt to see, objectively, where I’ve been and possible figure out where it is that I want to be going. I give them to you all in the hopes that maybe you too will be able to learn something from my own life. 

   Do I think I’ll never write a first person story? No. I’m sure there will come a time when it fits the story. But for the moment, I am not confident enough in my ability to instinctively separate my ego from my writing, and need a couple more years of practice with that. And I need a couple more months practice writing my own stories, from my own experience, before I can conjure up the audacity to make up such concise stories about non-existent people in the first place! So I hope you all will bear with me as I continue to learn, and continue to work things out. I’m grateful for the support. 

Follow-Up Interview

As I prepare for a couple of interesting opportunities in the next couple of weeks (discussing my short stories with local high schools and a radio interview), I was asked back to the Cult of Me blog for a follow up interview. Click here to see what I’ve been up to since I last chatted with author Michael Brookes, what wisdom I’ve learnt since the release of my first novel, and what I’m working on at the moment.

A Dark Twist on a Beloved Fairy Tale That Will Draw You Into Its Clutches!

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A five-star review from Momma Chaos, of Reviewing in Chaos:  (full review can be found if you click that link)

I personally was amazed at how drawn in I was. How I missed some of the signs and symptoms until the very end… This is definitely not a light read. It will pull you in and force you to face the hidden side of humanity. The dark side that we chose to turn away from and pretend it’s not there.

A story of child abuse, self-mutilation, and domestic violence that will wrap it’s tentacles so tightly around you, you will be left gasping for breath. I highly recommend this story and personally can’t wait to read more as Elizabeth takes on other fairy tales and brings new things to light for us to see.

Glad you enjoyed it, Momma! The overwhelmingly positive response to this first novel has left me geared up and ready to go with the rest of the series!

(If you haven’t got your copy of ‘Till the Last Petal Falls yet, it’s available in both eBook and paperback versions now- from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and a couple local bookstores. Check here  for all the possible places you can get yours! If you’re looking to breaking into my work slowly (and cheaply), why not also check out some of my short works? )

He Who Wrestles With God: Now Available!

My newest short story, He Who Wrestles with Godis now live on the hiRSCHworTH magazine website!

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   This short story is another one of my crisis of faith pieces, again inspired by real-life events. This story is part of an online zine and is free to read, so if you’ve ever wanted to try out the style of my writing, here’s your chance!

Things That Excite Me: Local Bookstores (And Wine!)

logo   As of today, the Bookbar in Denver (off of wonderful Tennyson street) now carries ‘Till the Last Petal Falls as part of its local authors showcase. Considering the fact that this store is quickly becoming my own favorite (it’s a bookstore and a wine lounge, how much classier can you get?) I am beyond ecstatic for the opportunity to have my own work on their shelves. Stay tuned for an author event, tentatively to be scheduled in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In the meantime, why not support a new author, battered women’s shelters in Denver, and an innovative independent bookstore all at once and get your copy from the Bookbar?  I’m sure the staff there would love to see all of your bright, shining faces (they are very friendly, I often just stop in to chat- they have a lot of good recommendations, and don’t mind if you just come in for a glass of wine and bring your own book!). There’s even a Little Free Library outside their doors that’s always worth checking out, as well as the paired Wine and Book of the month!