Friday, June 27, 2014

Author to Author: Paying It Forward

My friend and fellow author Bridget Straub tagged me in a post with the understanding that I would pay it forward as is indicated in the above title. The idea is that as authors, we all introduce our readers to other authors they might not have discovered up until now. We also get to answer four questions that go with being tagged in this blog hop.

1) What are you working on?

I am about to completely rewrite my humourous memoir that I thought I had nearly finished! My lovely hubby just paid for the fabulous Kate Hopper to edit my manuscript and she came back with lots of really great compliments but also a TON of suggestions on how to improve it, which basically mean that I need to restructure the whole thing. It is daunting in the extreme, let me tell you, but I know she is right. It will be a way better book if I do what she says. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

2) How does your work differ from others in the genre?

It is about me and my very strange family so it will be completely mad!

3) Why do you write what you write?

Because that is what the spirits told me to write! If you want to know what that means, then you will have to buy the Write On Mamas anthology Mamas Write and read my essay "The Reluctant Author".

4) How does your writing process work?

I sit down at my computer and open up Scrivener, which is the software where I write my memoir. Then I pop over to Facebook and waste an hour of my precious writing time liking various meaningless posts. I give myself a smack and go back to Scrivener and bring up the last chapter I was working on. Because it has probably been about a week since I last wrote anything, I have to go back and re-read the last chapter to 'get myself back in the zone'. As I do this, I realise how crap my last chapter was and decide it needs serious editing, which I have to do immediately. Just as I am starting to get into the flow, my daughter pops her head round the door and says Hi and then starts chatting about what she's been up to. I try not to look at her but it's impossible. I am so easily distracted. I engage. We have a lovely mother-daughter bonding time until I look at my watch and notice ANOTHER hour has slipped past. I pull a fake surprised face and hustle her out, telling her she is a terrible influence and how dare she disturb my very important writing time. I sit back down and pull up my emails. I spend another 20 minutes or so answering non-urgent nonsense. Another smack and I get back to my editing. I force myself to write for another 30 minutes or so and then my husband creeps in and pretends not to disturb me. I try as hard as I can not to look at him, but it's impossible. I am so easily distracted. I ask when we are going to walk the dog. We spend half an hour talking about where to walk Stubby, what to include on the shopping list, plans for the weekend, etc etc etc. I look at the time and do a double-take with a fake shocked look on my face. My entire writing time has been used up and I still haven't finished editing the chapter I wrote last week! I blame my husband, my daughter, my son (who is still in school) and the dog! Why can't they just all leave me alone??!!

OK - Now to the good bit. Here are some authors you may not have previously known about and where to buy their books:

1. Barbara Alfaro - Mirror Talk

A Catholic girlhood, New York theatre, marriage, and the healing power of humor are interwoven in Mirror Talk's lyrical and often witty reflections.

Winner of best memoir in the nonfiction category of the 2012 IndieReader Discovery Awards.

I loved this book - it is funny, witty, clever, moving and really interesting. I wanted to be Barbara's friend afterwards and I am so glad I am! I highly recommend it - you can buy it on Amazon here and it is only $1.99 on Kindle currently. 

2. Jessica O'Dwyer - Mamalita

Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir is the true story of an ordinary American woman’s quest to adopt a baby girl against almost insurmountable odds in Guatemala.

Jessica is one of the Write On Mamas and I bought and read this book because of that, not expecting it to be the thrilling, seat-of-yer-pants page-turner it is! I laughed, I cried, I cringed, I was excited and ultimately, I was inspired. Fabulous book and a fabulous person. Buy it here.

3. Ingrid Ricks - Hippie Boy

Discover the unforgettable New York Times bestselling memoir about growing up in a dysfunctional Mormon family--and finding escape, adventure, and hard-earned wisdom on the road...

What would you do if your stepfather pinned you down and tried to cast Satan out of you? For thirteen-year-old Ingrid, the answer is simple: RUN.

Such a compelling book. I couldn't put it down. As a result of the huge success of Hippie boy, Ingrid now helps high school students publish their own story collections about the struggles they've endured. All this and she is battling with a blinding eye disease, Retinitis Pigmentosa. She is an amazing person and this is an incredible book. Buy it here.


  1. It will be completely mad - that made me chuckle!

  2. That's a great description of a writing process, Claire! So funny, and, sadly, so true.
    Except in my case it would be "snack" instead of "smack." Another writer's peril...

    Lorrie at

  3. Thanks for the recommendations. And for sharing your process- mine feel non existent these days, but I am sure I will come around.

    1. They are all great books Sue, you won't be disappointed. I have started putting writing in my calendar like a doctor's appointment so I make time for it.