Today I have a treat here on the blog – best selling author Samuel Park
. I “met” Sam through blogging, shared his excitement when his book sold, gave my opinion when he chose his author photo. It's so much fun to see blogging friends do well!
His novel, This Burns my Heart
, was recently released in paperback and he has generously offered to give away a copy to one lucky blog reader. Isn’t it a gorgeous new cover? Even more evocative than the original.Sam, I’m so happy to have you here!
Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I remember when my book became an Amazon Best of the Month, you were one of the first people to email me and congratulate me, and I really loved that.Oh, well, I’m kinda nerdy that way. I get ridiculously excited when I see press about people I know. (See my blog post on Friday for proof!) I don’t read a lot of books for grownups, but I have to tell you that I loved This Burns my Heart. There was one scene near the end, where they’re in the park listening to street musicians – omigosh, the longing, the covert thing with the hands – I don’t want to give away too much, but it was so beautifully written. Did it take a long time, getting the prose just the way you wanted it?
I think it's a tricky balance. On the one hand, you have to hold the reader's attention through beautiful language, almost like poetry. And I think this is particularly true nowadays, with all the competition from other mediums, and the availability of so much other (often free) entertainment--beautiful language is the only thing fiction can offer that other mediums can't. But I also believe that in order for the reading to become an immersive experience, the reader shouldn't even notice the language, and just become engulfed by the story.
I suppose in a way I just described the difference between literary and commercial fiction. The goal for me, then, is to find scenes where it feels organic to pause and engage in some beautiful language. Like the scene you're talking about--the descriptions of the musicians and the song involve lyrical language, but they're also embedded within the plot, since that's what the characters are listening to in that very moment. You look for moments where those two things can overlap, or where the fast moving plot can discreetly cede way, for a moment, for a beautiful reflection, or a metaphor.English is not your native language, and yet you have a doctorate and you’re a professor of English. I know you decided as soon as you could read that you wanted to be a writer. What made you want to be a teacher?
I think it started when I was six years old and I would put mine and my sister's teddy bears and dolls in front of me and pretend that I was giving them a lecture. I don't remember what I would teach them, but it must've been pretty engrossing, since they would never move. Also, growing up, I always loved teachers. I was a classic teacher's pet, you know, the one the teacher would put in charge whi
I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it made me to readthis yesterday in Publisher’s Weekly
Because I remember back in 2009, when Katie was depressedafter the SCBWI conference. She thought she had finished writing a fabulous book, but editors andagents didn’t. They liked the concept but thought it needed major reworking.
I remember reading the first five chapters after she startedrevising and thinking, holy crap, if this book doesn’t make it big, thensomething’s wrong with the world.
I remember how excited she was when she had multiple agents trying to sign her,how sad she was when her book made it to acquisitions, only to be turned down. I canhear her voice in my head right now, encouraging me as we both went throughSubmissionitis.
Katie worked for YEARS revising and submitting and revisingsome more. She thought this book was dead. She even wrote a post, almost exactly one year ago, called "The Death of a Book." To have it come back to life, and insuch a big way, it’s karma people. Good things have come to the woman who wroteand revised. And waited.
I am so proud of you Katie, so thrilled that the world isgoing to get to read your book, see your movie and wear your lip gloss! YES! Itcouldn’t have happened to a nicer person.
Read the Publisher's Weekly
story then go congratulate her
A very wise author gave me some advice last year.
"Surround yourself by what you want to become," she told me.
I wasn't really sure how I was supposed to do that. Stalk other children's writers? Randomly call them up and introduce myself?
She recommended that I join SCBWI, so I did. I also started to blog and took a writing class. I finished editing my novel, started querying and found an editor in New York who requested the full manuscript. I attended critiquenics and writer's day events. I entered a contest and won third place.
And now I realize that I've done it. I've surrounded myself by an amazing group of people I didn't know a year ago. I've met some wonderful authors, both in person and through the internet. And I've pushed myself closer to my goal, so close that I can smell the ink on the presses!
I may not have a published book yet, but I honestly believe it's only a matter of time.
Thank you, Mary. I'll keep you posted :^)
There's an old cliche that says it takes a village to raise a child. And I'm not a mom, so I don't know if that's true--though it does seem to be that most moms could use more help than they have. At least a couple of extra eyes or arms, even though that might make them look like an alien...
*imagines a bunch of women running around with additional appendages*
Um...what was I trying to say?
Oh! Right. Sorry, my brain's a little loopy today--but I do have a point, I swear. And it's that I don't know if it takes a village to raise a child, but I do know that it DEFINITELY takes a village to write a book.
The whole 'reclusive writer' thing is wrong. I'm sure there's a FEW exceptions, but most of the time--even when I look at history--I see writers flocking around each other. Just look at neighborhoods like Saint-Germain-des-Pres in Paris. They had Les Duex Magots:
Now we have the Blogosphere. It's where I found all the awesome people I now lean on extensively--and I would be lost without my backup. LOST!!!!!
So I thought I'd take a minute to give them a shout out, and to show the world (or, well, the few thousand of you) just how much help this silly blonde girl needs to make a book happen.
One of 'The Sara(h)s'--my core CPs. Not only are our blog names thesorized versions of each other (and yes, thesorized is not a word--but Sara and I have decided it should be), but I can't even begin to tell you how many times we'll suggest the same thing within seconds of each other during a brainstorming chat. She's got a sharp eye, is AMAZING at cleaning up my clunky, wordy sentences, and I know she sees my projects the same way I do. So whenever I consider a major change, she's my go to girl. I can always count on her to help me figure out what's right for my book. Bonus: she never complains about reading things multiple times, which is good, because she's now read my drafts about as many times as I have.
The other Sara(h)--though certainly not lesser, by ANY stretch of the imagination. I'm not sure anyone puts more happy faces, lols, or compliments in a critique, and I swear she loves my characters more than I do (I've even turned her into a cougar, at 21-years-old, no less). She's also been known to ship special 'revision Twizzlers' all the way from Canada to keep me going. But that's not to say she goes easy on me. She's awesome at spotting mistakes, and it was with her guidance--and repeated reads (when she was in the middle of finals) that I FINALLY nailed the hardest scene in my book.
Considering how crazy-insane-hectic my March is (and it's only the second day--AHHHHHHH!!!!) I have a feeling I'm not going to have time for a proper San Francisco Writer's Conference post. But they say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So here ya go. 11,000 words on the highlights of my San Francisco trip!
A mini Bookanista reunion, with the Uber-Fabulous Cory Jackson, Carolina Valdez Miller and Veronica Rossi. Don't you love how we all wore black???
I...don't know why. Carol brought these masks. She made us pose in them. I'm sure there was a reason. I'm just not sure what it was... :D
Proof that Cory is the coolest person on the planet: SHE DRIVES A CONVERTIBLE MINI COOPER. Which she used to give us an awesome tour of the city.
The famous "Painted Ladies"
What you can't tell in this picture is HOW INSANELY COLD IT WAS!
Also...I love how tired I look in all the pictures. I couldn't seem to sleep while we were there. I blame Carol. I'm not sure why. But I do. :D
A picture I try to take in every city I go to. Me: in front of Tiffanys. It's like the mo
Yes--I'm back! BURIED from being gone for 5 days. But back! And OMG you guys--I had SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun at ALA.
It was hot. And exhausting. And I almost missed my flight there thanks to some major traffic (had to sprint through the airport and everything). But it was SO worth it because LOOK AT ALL THE COOL PEOPLE I MET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I FINALLY GOT TO MEET ELANA JOHNSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(and she is EVERY bit as awesome as I knew she would be!)
That's me with Kirsten Hubbard, Courtney Moulton, Carolina Valdez Miller and Veronica Roth on Bourbon Street, where a huge group of us met to hang out.
Did I mention it was a HUGE group?
Far, far too many cool peeps in this picture. How many do you recognize?
This is me with Jo Whittemore, Elana, and her lovely editor Anica Rissi at the S&S Party
With PJ Hoover and Jay Asher--two of my favorite members of my Laura Rennert family--at Cafe Beignet. Mmmmmmmm...beignets
With Tere Kirkland--who was a GODSEND for us, since she lives in NOLA and could tell us good places to eat. She is probably so sick of us texting her!
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