Sunday, August 5, 2007
Writers in their own words-GCC
Today, I'm offering another installment from The Girlfriend Cyber Circuit--today's guest is Ellen Meister author of Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA.
The paperback version will be in the stores this Tuesday and it's the perfect almost-back-to-school-but-not-just-yet summer read. Meet Ellen through my interview below:
1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book? Are you more driven by plot or by character?
The idea for the book came to me at a PTA meeting. I had only recently decided to stop procrastinating and pursue my dream of writing a novel, and as I smiled at all the other moms, it occurred to me that no one had any idea I had this great dream. In fact, no one in the room knew I had an inner life at all. Then it occurred to me that everyone there could be feeling something pretty similar. As soon as I had that thought, I knew I wanted to write about these types of women--to explore the pain, passion, heartache and joy hidden beneath facade of the perfect suburban housewife--and do it with humor and compassion.
From there I set out to construct a plot around an event that could affect the community as a whole and the women as individuals. Eventually, I got the idea to bring a Hollywood movie studio to their town, and select their schoolyard as a possible location for the filming of a George Clooney movie.
As far as your second question, I do think my writing is more character-driven, despite the fact that the book is plot heavy.
2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?
Well, I have three protags and choosing a fave would feel like singling out one of my children. I will tell you that the one who surprised me the most was Ruth. She's the brash, wealthy character I created to show that even the women who seem to have to all--designer house, designer clothes, designer car, etc.--can be hiding unimaginable pain. In some ways, she represented the type of woman who had always intimidated me. But as I got to know her, I found that she had this giant heart, and I really came to love her. Talk about cathartic!
3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?
I admire writers who can bang out a messy first draft and then go back later and edit. There has to be a certain freedom in that. My process is a bit more ... let's say, "retentive."
I always compose on the computer, and try to get each paragraph as perfect as I can. Once I have the draft complete, I print it out and edit it again in hard copy.
4.) What's your favorite part of writing?
Those two words: THE END. Talk about satisfying!
5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?
Write the story you most want to read. That's a paraphrase from J.D. Salinger, and of course it wasn't directed to ME, but it felt like it was.
So, there you go . . . another great pick for your reading fun!