Friday, October 19, 2007
Writers in their own words-GCC
Remember being in junior high? Unless you were one of the "it" girls, nothing felt right--even your skin felt like it was designed for someone else. Renee Rosen has written an amazing book, Every Crooked Pot, partly, at least, drawing on her own experiences from those days.
Here's what folks are saying about this fabulous debut novel--
“… a beautifully nuanced tale about an extraordinary family and an even more extraordinary young woman. Not since Myla Goldberg's Bee Season has a first novel so deftly captured the complexities, joys, and frustrations of daughters and their families. It's hard to believe this is a debut – Rosen's voice is already as good as it gets. Keep an eye out for this rising star." Sara Gruen, New York Times #1 bestselling author of Water for Elephants
“In a debut novel that could easily have been published as a…memoir, Rosen looks back at the life of Nina Goldman, whose growing up is tied to two pillars: a port-wine stain around her eye and her inimitable father, Artie. The birthmark, she hates; her father, she loves. Both shape her in ways that merit Rosen's minute investigation....”
Booklist (starred review)
And here's Renee, in her own words:
1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book?
Even though Every Crooked Pot is somewhat autobiographical, I never thought to write about growing up with a strawberry birthmark over my eye until I enrolled in a week-long writing workshop with Michael Cunningham. Michael gave us an exercise about childhood memories and I jotted something down about how my father once used my eye to get out of a speeding ticket. That incident is what inspired the opening scene of the novel. That was the starting point and from there, the characters took over and starting telling their own story.
Are you more driven by plot or by character?
Definitely by character. The entire story in Every Crooked Pot grew completely out of the characters. They ran the show from start to finish and each time I tried to impose something on them, they wouldn't go for it.
2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?
Without a doubt it's Artie. Just the fact that he's a color-blind carpet salesman makes me smile. Even when he's making Nina crazy, she can't help but love and adore him and I felt the same way as I was writing about him.
3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?
In terms of process, I've been told I'm an 'organic' writer in the sense that I never outline. I start with a group of characters and let them lead the way. I'm also a chronic reviser. My first few drafts are choppy at best. It's only after I go back over the material time and time again that I can get the texture I'm looking for. As for my environment, I do most of my writing at home--though the past few months, I've done my share of wrting in airports and hotel rooms and the occasional friend's couch.
4.) What's your favorite part of writing?
Once I have a working draft down I love revising. I can revise forever. For me that's where the nuances come in along with the little telling details.
5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?
An agent once told me that if you hear the same criticism about your work three times, you have to pay attention to it. But, if you get three different responses to your work, then you're probably onto something!
Check out Renee's blog, too.