For those of you who know me and follow my blog, this post is for writing and for the novel I’ve been working on for the past year … it takes a long time and lots of feedback and writer friend help to get a novel to its best. This is another step in the journey made of hard work and long hours of doing what I love most. Thanks, as always, for your support!
Author: Jennifer King
Title: The Golden Willow
Genre: Upmarket fiction
First 250 words for It’s All in the Voice blog hop, May 16-17, by Heather Webb:Read More»
Big News! Today, May 7, a great new novel is for sale in bookstores: CALL ME ZELDA by Erika Robuck. It’s about Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of famous American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (of The Great Gatsby), and about friendships and how they can help us heal.
CALL ME ZELDA is a very special book to me because Erika is my writing critique partner. Her friendship has been one of my life’s greatest gifts.
CALL ME ZELDA is published by Penguin / NAL and has been featured in some really great places:
I have an autographed copy of Call Me Zelda to give away to one lucky commenter at the end of this post (details below)!
What is it about? The story’s focus is on the friendship between Zelda Fitzgerald and a nurse named Anna, and it brings us into the years after the Fitzgerald party, after the Great Gatsby-like craziness. Scott notoriously used Zelda as his writing muse; Zelda famously fell into ruin, and after that, found her way into Phipps Psychiatric Hospital. From there, CALL ME ZELDA begins. Through the lens of friendship, we watch each woman grow and heal in different ways, and strengthen each other over the course of the novel.
I particularly like the way Erika has portrayed Zelda, as sympathetic despite her illness and her famous antics. I also love the tenderness with which she writes about the Fitzgeralds together.
It is a must-read novel, on the ways we fail each other and yet can redeem those losses and support each other as well. CALL ME ZELDA helps shine light and meaning into brokenness, and opens up a new dimension to the Fitzgeralds and their place in history. I believe in its theme, that through friendships, we can become a better version of ourselves.
Personal Rave: Erika is amazing. She is married and has three children (same as me, all boys), and has a passion for historical fiction. She is witty and sharp and compassionate. She has an incredible laugh. Erika is one of those friends I will always count as one of my life’s greatest blessings. Erika’s first novel with Penguin, Hemingway’s Girl, came out in September, which I blogged about here.
Watch: Erika on a beautiful video about CALL ME ZELDA:
To enter the drawing to win the personalized and autographed copy of Call Me Zelda, leave a comment (any comment) below, from 7 am to midnight Eastern time today, May 7. I will email the winner and announce it in the comments on Wednesday, May 8. And if you miss out on winning the copy here on May 7, we’ll be giving away another copy of Call Me Zelda at Great New Books on Wednesday, May 8. Thanks so much!
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” -Ernest Hemingway
Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month?
National Novel Writing Month is also known as NaNoWriMo to writers all around the globe. I’m signed up and actively working forward on my new work-in-progress novel called The Other Side of the Sea. You can see my progress on a bar chart to the right in my blog’s sidebar. The goal is to complete 50,000 words by the end of the month. It’s a big goal, one I intend to make. I will have months of rewriting after November is over, but before rewriting can begin, a writer needs a first draft. That is my goal.
As part of the intense writing going on around my house, this week I’m participating in a blog hop workshop run by Heather Webb, a writer (and now friend) I met in May at Backspace in New York City. Heather is currently running a series on writing a rock star novel pitch over at her blog Between the Sheets. As part of the series, she’s helping novelists with their three sentence pitches.Read More»
“The sea–la mar–was the best sea I ever drew. She was the great beauty who held the old man aloft. Who gave and who took–but who always provided. Who nourished, challenged, and taught him.” -Hemingway’s Girl by Erika Robuck
Last week, one of my most treasured friends in all the world accomplished something extraordinary. Her novel, Hemingway’s Girl, was published by NAL / Penguin Books. This friend is Erika Robuck.
Erika has long inspired me as a writer and as a friend. Her positive spirit and high professionalism have set her apart throughout the publication of her second novel, HEMINGWAY’S GIRL. Over time, I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Erika well, through writing together and sharing funny stories from our similar lives as moms of three sons. I am so thrilled to have her here to talk about writing and her newly-published novel, HEMINGWAY’S GIRL. I hope her words intrigue you, and you’ll want to read her novel, too!
Jennifer: Thank you, Erika, for taking the time to chat about your new book, HEMINGWAY’S GIRL. It’s been a busy time full of many rewards for the years of hard work, including being selected by Target as an Emerging Author Pick. Congratulations!
What influenced you to write HEMINGWAY’S GIRL? Is there a story inside the story that begs to be told?
Erika: There are so many stories within the story that it’s hard to say which wanted to be told most. Very simply, I love Hemingway, and I want to inspire people to read or reread his work. I find some of his stories beautiful and brilliant like THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA, and other writings like TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT reflective of the darker, uglier aspects of his personality, but all have value.
Personally and thematically, I’ve long been interested in the relationship of the rich and poor, and in the mistreatment of marginalized members of society. I found Hemingway’s Key West a rich environment to explore those conflicts, and remind people about a forgotten place and series of events in history.Read More»
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Suess
Last week, my middle son graduated from the 5th grade. Sometimes, moving up from 5th to 6th grade isn’t a big deal, but at my sons’ school it is. They celebrate the jump from Elementary to Middle Schools as if it’s the huge accomplishment it is. They’re no longer kids– they’re young adults.
At their school, at every Gathering (school assembly), a student reads a book in front of the whole crowd. Usually, the chosen book is a short picture book, with the illustrations projected for the audience to see, too. But at the 5th grade graduation gathering, the principals read Dr. Suess’s famed book, OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO! And when I heard it read in front of a diverse crowd of budding children and important people in the audience, I remembered just how important books really are.
Books inspire us, move us, expand our ourlooks, take us on journeys, and show us a world of possibility outside our front doors.
I love to read. It’s true. And as a writer, it’s even more important that I read — to learn, grow, and become as a writer.
This year, I challenged myself to read 50 books in 2012. A tough goal, but I’m really enjoying it. It’s fun for a reader. (Who needs tv? Okay, except Downton Abbey …) I’m well on my way to meeting the goal. Now, at almost halfway through the year, I’ve logged 30 books so far (and a few extras). I keep track over at Goodreads.
My family and I have collected a few wonderful piles of books to read this summer (photo, above). For my soon-to-be 10-year-old, many Avi books. My 11-year-old has found his niche reading about basketball, in non-fiction or fiction. And my 13-year-old reads the most, on ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and other Percy Jackson-like stories. For me, I’m excited to read books I’ve heard so much about but haven’t read yet, like THE LIFE OF PI and Ann Patchett’s STATE OF WONDER. For my husband, we’ve collected a few Le Carre novels and Madeleine Albright’s new PRAGUE WINTER.
Other must reads for this summer:
- THE UNFINISHED WORK OF ELIZABETH D by Nichole Bernier
- upcoming in September, HEMINGWAY’S GIRL by Erika Robuck
A few great readers’ resources and links:
- Shelf Awareness: A great site and bi-weekly newsletter with news on the latest reads.
- Goodreads: the Social Media Facebook-like site for readers
- The Book Reporter: recent reviews and recommendations for readers
What books are you most looking forward to reading this summer?
“Unquestionably the best of all writers conferences, this two [three]-day annual conference has leaped to the top with its emphasis on quality, not quantity. There are no formal pitch sessions. Instead, you’ll have the opportunity to attend quality workshops and mingle with some of the best editors, agents and other publishing professionals in the industry in a comfortable, non-aggressive atmosphere.” – Bibliobuffet
In the last week, I’ve traveled from Prague to New York City and back. And while it’s so good to be home, it’s even better being home with the new bundle of information I gained from the writing conference I attended in New York City. BackSpace Writers Conference filled my mind with a well of new ideas.
Out of all of the writers conferences I’ve attended over the years, BackSpace was by far the best.Read More»
“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last week, when my family and I were on vacation along Italy’s Amalfi Coast (no internet access to speak of), my dearest friend and writing partner, Erika Robuck, passed along a writing challenge: to post 7 lines from the 77th page of my novel. It’s one of those tag-your-friend challenges and so oodles of novelist friends have been posting teasers from their latest work.
The online world of writers and writer friends has turned out to be one of my most treasured networks of friends, especially since writer friends know what the inside of my head is like (filled with thoughts, stories, and connections of obscure things), and embrace the writing journey alongside me as I work toward publication and life as a career novelist.
Here, a couple of links to friends’ blogs with their teasers:
Erika Robuck, whose upcoming HEMINGWAY’S GIRL will be published by NAL/Penguin in September
Kimberly Brock, whose debut novel THE RIVER WITCH has just been published last week
Hallie Sawyer, whose WIP is on the historical Kansas orphan train
Sarah McCoy, whose THE BAKER’S DAUGHTER was released earlier this year
Jenna Blum, whose stunning novel, THOSE WHO SAVE US, continues to be a bestseller, and her second novel, THE STORMCHASERS, ties into her love for stormchasing
Okay– now for my 7 lines from page 77 of my novel-on-submission, WATER LILY. Actually, I stretched it to include 12 lines, so it makes more sense …Read More»
au·thor/ˈôTHər/ : A. The writer of a book, article, or other text. b. One who practices writing as a profession.
One day about six years ago, I was deep in the process of writing my first book, and the UPS man pulled up at my house. He brought a package to the front door, from my publisher, Tyndale House. After holding my Boxer back from tackling her favorite Man from the Big Brown Truck, my three boys helped me tear into the package. I’ll never forget what waited for me inside the box.
I had recently received news that Tyndale had contracted with me for the book, and the package was a congratulations follow-up. Inside the box, I found a hefty white coffee mug and a textured white book. The word “Author” had been printed in simple black typewriter font on both the mug and the book. As soon as I saw them, my eyes misted over.
It made it real. I was an Author.
Since that day, I’ve kept my pencils and pens in the mug, at the corner of my desk. And, every so often, I flip through the wonderful book Tyndale sent, the book about being an author.
For those of you who are not writers, the process of writing a book may seem different or mysterious. And for those of us who are writers, we know the tremendous amount of life and love and effort that goes into creating a book or a novel. It’s all-consuming at times.
I’m steeped in research for my next novel, and have been thinking about what goes into writing a book. So, in the midst of this past cold and rainy Prague weekend, I worked with my oldest son to create a video that is inspired by the Author book. I’ve titled it Author: A Video. It’s five minutes long and is filled with color photographs and simple I-statements, about the life an author lives while writing a book.
I hope you enjoy it!
PS. A big thanks to the great 13-year-old at King’s Might Productions for his computer savvy! ***The purpose of this video is for personal and non-commercial use and sharing with author and writer and reader friends. Thanks to Microsoft Office Clipart for free use of its photos for this project.
“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.” -William Faulkner
The seeds of my novel WATER LILY started two-and-a-half years ago, as I juggled visas and packing slips through the whirlwind of my family’s Trans-Atlantic move to Prague from Ohio. My life was chaotic pre- and post-move, but being able to work on one thing, a story, during a time of intense transition was a necessity. And so began WATER LILY.
Then Prague entered my life and my well of inspiration filled to almost bursting at the seams. Beautiful Prague has had a generous hand in Water Lily‘s development.
For the past many years, I’ve written on novels, all of which have been pushed into a writing drawer. But Water Lily is the story that has held on and kept with me. I love the characters and the story. With each rewrite of Water Lily, the story stakes became higher and the characters more complex. And last week, after years of drafts and intense recent work with my wonderful writing partner, I finished the final draft of Water Lily!
The writing journey and the path to publication is a long one, but it’s one I’m very excited about. Following, the pitch for Water Lily:Read More»
- Originally published on January 11, 2012; republished after cleaning website
“Our truest responsibility to the irrationality of the world is to paint or sing or write, for only in such response do we find the truth.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
I have always loved to read, and yet some books I’ve read linger in my memory long after I’ve turned the last page. Why? I’m not exactly sure, but that the language tucks under my tongue and the story and protagonist move in ways that long intrigue me. Since it’s January and the dead of winter here in Prague, and since I choose to spend much of my free time reading by the fire (it’s really dark in Europe right now!), I’m posting quotes from 10 favorite classic works.
“A Christmas frost had come at midsummer; a white December storm had whirled over June; ice glazed the ripe apples, drifts crushed the blowing roses; on hayfield and cornfield lay a frozen shroud: lanes which last night blushed full of flowers, to-day were pathless with untrodden snow; and the woods, which twelve hours since waved leafy and flagrant as groves between the tropics, now spread, waste, wild, and white as pine-forests in wintry Norway.”
- Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre