Expected Publication Date- late August 2013
Guest Post - Inside the Mind of the Author
Inside the mind of the author is a lot of stuff swirling around that often doesn’t seem to connect to anything else. It could be today’s to-do list or a reminder to look something up or an observation of someone that won’t go away. It could be a book or article we read that stimulates us to think more about a certain topic. It could be a memory that won’t let go. When two or more of those little swirly pieces somehow lock onto one another and a mental connection is made, that’s usually the start, for me, of a new novel.
Among the swirly bits going round and round in there, for this author, is the phrase ‘what if?’ ‘What if’ is the start of a question that tends to take me right into a new writing adventure. I ask myself what if? all the time. What if a woman from the year 2000 went back to November 1963 and had a chance to save President Kennedy from assassination in Dallas? (The answer to that question became FORWARD TO CAMELOT, the 50th anniversary edition of which is being published this fall.) What if a girl came from Maine to New York City in the early 1950’s, looking for a career in show business, and found herself solving mysteries there, a la Nancy Drew? (The answer to that question is a girls’ book series set in 1950’s New York show business.) What if a woman with no previous experience was suddenly tapped to manage a high-level political campaign and developed a personal relationship with the candidate? (The answer to that is THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, which I expect to publish next year.)
Those interlocking connections, for me, are the genesis of new stories. I don’t worry much about what genre they’ll fall into. I’ve written both fiction and nonfiction in a wide variety of genres: history, mystery, fantasy, biography, romance, sports, etc. What I do care about is that the ‘what if’ question leads me to new revelations, which lead to more questions. Having those questions come up and finding answers for them, as screenwriting guru Syd Field once observed, is writing.
For me, though,in order for two random thoughts to lead eventually to a novel,there has to be a way for me to invest myself in them personally. I realized just a few years ago that virtually every novel I’ve written has some version of me as the heroine. (Narcissistic, I know, but apparently true.) Amanda in STEALING FIRE is the young me; Cady in FORWARD TO CAMELOT is the glamorized, idealized version of me--the woman I wish I could be; Lindy in THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL is the older, more experienced me. There has to be something in those random thoughts which randomly (or not so randomly) lock together, that can lead to some sort of character arc for my heroine. (Yes, I have heroes in my stories, and they often drive the action, but my heroine has her arc as well.) When those random thoughts come together, ultimately there has to be a lesson my character can learn that will take him/her to a much higher level than they started on.
That’s the difference, I suppose, between random thoughts that entertain me for a few minutes and then flutter away, and the ones that tug at me enough to become a novel. The ones I can learn from, the ones that can make me a better person, become a novel, and the process of writing it changes me every time. (I can’t begin to imagine how really prolific writers with a hundred or more novels handle their changes. But to each his own!) I know that each time I type a final sentence, the person who types it will be significantly better than the person who started it. And maybe that’s the ultimate narcissism: knowing I’ll get better from going through a process I (mostly) enjoy, telling someone else’s story, makes every stumble along the way well worth it.
“How do you recognize your soulmate?
In glittery 1980’s Los Angeles, Beau Kellogg is a brilliant Broadway lyricist now writing advertising jingles and yearning for one more hit to compensate for his miserable marriage and disappointing life.
Amanda Harary, a young singer out of synch with her contemporaries, works at a small New York hotel, while she dreams of singing on Broadway.
When they meet late at night over the hotel switchboard, what begins will bring them each unexpected success, untold joy, and piercing heartache ... until they learn that some connections, however improbable, are meant to last forever.
STEALING FIRE is, at its heart, a story for romantics everywhere, who believe in the transformative power of love.”
STEALING FIRE was a 2012 quarter-finalist in the amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
Susan Sloate is the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including Realizing You(with Ronald Doades), a recent self-help novel, and the 2003 #6 Amazon bestseller, Forward to Camelot (with Kevin Finn), which took honors in 3 literary competitions and was optioned by a Hollywood company for film production.
She has written young-adult fiction and non-fiction, including the children’s biography Ray Charles: Find Another Way!, which was honored in the 2007 Children’s Moonbeam Book Awards. Mysteries Unwrapped: The Secrets of Alcatraz led to her 2009 appearance on the TV series MysteryQuest on The History Channel. Amelia Earhart: Challenging the Skies is a perennial young-adult Amazon bestseller. She has also been a sportswriter and screenwriter, managed two recent political campaigns, and founded an author’s festival in her hometown outside Charleston, SC.
Stealing Fire was a Quarter-Finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and combines autobiographical experience with her lifelong love of the musical theater. She is proud to be distantly related to Broadway legend Fred Ebb, the lyricist for Cabaret,Chicago, All That Jazz and New York, New York.
Visit Susan online on her Website.