Hello Alissa, and thanks so much for inviting me to talk today about writing and my new brand-new release Life After 6 Tequilas.
Here’s a question: How many times have you finished a book with a satisfied sigh and thought, I could never, in a million years, have written this book, because I don’t know all that STUFF?
Aspiring writers are told, over and over, to ‘write what you know’. How, when you don’t know anything? I’m in awe of people who write fantasy.
Have you ever been stuck under the Polar ice cap with Mr. Universe in a nuclear submarine that’s about to explode? Or run for President, married a sheik or won the Grand Prix? Have you led barefoot men into battle, built an aeroplane out of coconut shells, dived on a wreck of a Spanish galleon, or performed brain surgery? No? Me either. Note to self: Must. Get. Out. More.
As with so much in life, writing what you know starts with the little things. In my brand new book, Life After 6 Tequilas - just released by Thornberry Publishing on 4th March 2013, details at bottom of page – I portray some of the conflicts and stresses of ordinary life, and hastily add that the realistic issues faced by my characters are – I hope – lightened with a chick lit angle and accompanying, essential dash of humour.
I placed the book in a familiar setting, casting my heroine as a regular middle-class young working woman in London, so similar to many I know. My heroine, Beth, juggles single motherhood with full-time work. Her son, Jacob, is nine months old as was my grandson, Sam, at the time of writing. They are peas in a pod – the most pleasurable research I’ve undertaken to date, particularly the swimming lessons.
The story’s set in 2011, so I used true, current and traditional events to mark the passage of time. This backfired because I soon realised I had to wait until the end of the year before I could finish the book – otherwise I’d be writing what I definitely didn’t know!
The reference Armistice Day, apart from being relevant to the story, is a tribute to the British armed forces, past and present who gave, and continue to give, their lives for our freedom.
Moving on to calmer subjects, like furniture (LOL, as they say), Beth’s boss has an antique partner desk similar to one my father had when I was a child. He did all his writing there and unfortunately sold it when he moved – it’s gone out of the family but it’s there, forever, in my book.
Plants in Beth’s tiny garden are pulled, gasping, from my own repertoire of long-suffering hydrangeas, hellebores and dead clematii.
A piece of jewellery is similar to some my daughters own, and Beth’s painted plates and green-stemmed wine glasses are the ones I coveted years ago in Italy, and still regret not buying.
In conclusion, like your characters, each event and object has a past life, present impact and, possibly, future repercussions. If you add what you know about them, then you add rich, colourful, personal detail to your story. Old hat and I-never-go-anywhere to you, but fresh and interesting to your reader.
As for the new cafe called ‘Cupcake’ in Wandworth, I wish such a place existed!
It’s been great to be here, Alissa. Thanks so much for inviting me. I’d love to hear other writers’ comments on the task of writing what you know. Readers are most welcome to join me on:
Twitter https://twitter.com/Ginagina7Pinterest http://pinterest.com/ginarossiwriter/#
Life After 6 Tequilas by Gina Rossi is available in ebook format from Amazon. Paperback coming soon.http://www.amazon.co.uk/Life-After-6-Tequilas-ebook/dp/B00BO1RP8E/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1362379144&sr=1-1