If you haven’t heard an unusual number of pens scratching on special notebooks or excessive typing, you’ve been in the wrong place. or you just know the wrong people.
Today is not just November first. It’s the first day of National Novel Writing Month. Where would-be writers are challenged to quit saying that they should write a novel and do it. Quality is to be thrown out the window for this challenge–it’s all about hitting 50,000 words. and if you end up with something that is real publishable material, you’ve got plenty of time after November to work on revisions.
To celebrate its newest incarnation (its 8th year!), I interviewed JD Glass, the author of books such as Punk Like Me, Punk & Zen and Red Light. Her forthcoming book, American Goth, should be out in 2008. Her books are published by Bold Strokes Books, which features a variety of genres–fantasy, adventure, mystery–all with a lesbian twist. In Punk Like Me, the main character, Nina, goes through what can only be described as a journey of self discovery. She finds out more about herself and learns to accept herself, despite the impact of a homophobic society. She learns about love, friendship, and everything that any person should know about. And through all of this, she stays punk. Punk & Zen is a continuation of Nina’s story. It delves more into her musical side as well as continues her learning about what love really is. Through it all, a reader can’t help but to emphasize with Nina. Her struggle is everyone’s struggle, really, and that makes her a concrete character.
Like Nina, JD Glass shares a passion for music and the city of New York. for more information, check her out! (and get her books!) She’s already inspired me. Today I began writing my novel in progress and was surprised to find that I started in first person. Normally I like keeping my distance, but JD’s affected me, clearly. My novel may really may end up a mix of JD Glass and LJ Smith (and would, even with the short month long deadline, kick Twilight out of the supernatural arena. seriously folks, this writer has nothing on LJ Smith.)
so, here’s a word from the wordsmith herself, JD Glass:
When did you start writing?
>>To be honest, I started writing when I was a little kid – I used to make up stories, and after I learned how to actually spell things, well, I started putting them on paper
How much does your real life influence what you write? Are you a “stick to what you know” author or do you delve into ideas that you’ve never experienced and wouldn’t know anything about firsthand but are fascinated by?
>>I think all authors are influenced to whatever degree by real life (such as it is**grin**). I write about whatever I’m moved to write at the time, and certainly the emotions are “real,” so in that sense, I do write what I know. I like to explore concepts of thought, emotion, philosophy – that’s what fascinates me.
Who were some of the authors that inspired you? what about them/their writing inspired you?
>>There are so many! But it wasn’t until I read Susan Smith’s “Of Drag Kings and the Wheel of Fate” that I thought I could really write a book. The sheer poetic honesty…it really got me.
When you write–what is your writing space like? do you have a set writing space or are you a nomad?
>>While I do have a set area in the apartment (I’m parked in front of my computer to do this, in fact **smile**) I write whenever I can – on the bus, waiting on line, whenever something hits me.
Music/no music? (if music, what are your favorites?)
>>Definitely music!!! And faves range – a lot of times I’ll put on a tune that keeps me in the head I want to write about.
Coffee vs. Energy drink vs. Chocolate Covered Coffee beans (which of these–or one that isn’t listed–helps you through those anxiety ridden nights where your writing doesn’t seem to want to happen the way you want it to)
>>I’m a Coca-cola kinda girl (though I never say no to chocolate covered coffee beans). Failing that, I’m a fan of a tall white mocha, or earl grey tea. But that’s usually either to kick off, or to take a break. When I’m “in it” I have to remind myself to eat or drink **grin**
You’ve caught the dreaded bug that all authors seem to catch at one point or another–writer’s block. What’s your remedy?
>>Actually, I haven’t. But when I get stuck, or stall, I make myself sit and write. The only way over it is to go right through it.
What is the shortest length of time in which you’ve finished a book?
>>About two and a half months.
Would you be able to finish a book in a month? (at least the first draft. we’re not talking publishable material, necessarily!)
>>I have – but to make it something readable, I’d need at least another!
Though I believe you should try (as should everyone intrigued by writing!) NaNoWriMo, I know you’ve had a lot of experience writing and are (I’m sure) working on something now (American Goth?)…what would you do if confronted by the one month deadline?
>>Actually, American Goth is in final proofs and will come out in January. I’m currently working on X and it’s my first “thriller” so I’m excited by that.
>>If I were confronted with a one month deadline? I’d ask who’d pay my rent, first! **smile** Honestly, I’d do my best, is all.
Any techniques that you would apply to finishing the 50,000 word novel?
>>I tend to write about double to triple that, so to keep something that small, I’d have to really strip out a lot and basically keep to a bare-bones plot.
Any words of advice to the aspiring novelist?
>>Keep writing! Correct, correct again, write some more, and don’t stop. Take the good advice, incorporate it, read, keep reading, learn from the best out there, and keep going.
Finally, I want to know–what can I expect from American Goth? :-)
>>January! And with a little luck, there might actually be a li’l gathering in NYC when it comes out (so you’ll be there, right **grin**). And…thank you, for taking the time to talk with me and ask such good questions!
final note from me: If I am super scarce this month, do take it easy on me, I am participating in NaNoWriMo, after all! So far I’ve got an incredibly hefty 308 words. :-P