Tag Archives: He’s Gone

Write on, Wednesday: The Benefit of Book Trailers

Standard

By Leslie LindsayWrite On, Wednesday:  Creating a World So Believable Your Critique Partners Think You're Having an Affair

No doubt you’ve heard of a movie trailer, right?  The commericial-style blurb about an upcoming or already-showing movie–a sneak-peak of the funniest/most romantic/endearing/action-packed segments that leave you eager for more.  But a book trailer?!?  What the heck is that?!

Simply put, a book trailer is another means of bringing attention to a book and/or the author.  We live in a media age–from iPhones to streaming videos and music from our laptops, reading is now becoming a little well–mainstream.  Not that I agree with the novelty of it, but I do agree that there is something to say for the efficiency of electronic devices.  Again, it’s still a concept I struggle with. 

If you’re into book trailers, then great!  It’s yet another avenue to reach potential readers.  Here’s a list of “fantastic book trailers and why they are so fantastic:” http://therumpus.net/2013/06/fantastic-book-trailers-and-the-reasons-theyre-so-good/ 

One of my favorites is from Deb Caletti’s HE’S GONE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz-n4-TSDGA Wow–this one starts out almost exactly like the book (see Deb’s interview from last week’s post).  Yet, it’s different–I “saw” Dani differently in my mind’s eye and seeing her in the book trailer through off my perspective and shook my imagination.  While the HE’S GONE trailer had me wanting more, I know, from past experience that movies are hardly ever as good as the book. 

If multimedia platform development speaks to you, consider yourself lucky.  Writers and authors today are expected to do the lion’s share of marketing and promotion of their work–even with agents and publicists on board.  Making connections, reaching out to (potential) readers, and being personable is all an added value to the busy author. 

Are  you a luddite when it comes to technology?  Would you rather just hole up and write your All-American novel while someone else markets your book?  (Son’t worry–I’m right there with ya). Try this writerly assignment instead: 

  • If your book were to be a movie, who would direct it? 
  • What about cinematogrpahy?  Would you have it documentary style?  Close panning of the camera?  Wide-shots? 
  • What soundtrack might you give your “movie”/book?  (a favorite on-going excercise for me to to download songs from iTunes which I think are inspirational for my story &/or character)
  • Who would play the part of your antagonist and protagonist?  What character traits (in movies or TV) do they embody?  Perhaps they are a conglomeration of several characters?  (My “Steve” is Dr. Gregory House mixed with Jerry Seinfeld; my “Joe” is Pierce Brosnan, “Beth” is Claire Danes).
  • Create a collage of your book.  Pull from magazines, catalogs, even on-line images.  Print ’em off develop a “story board” collage.  Images often help create flow.  (I’m actually planning to make “character cards” with an image I think resembles my character along with vital data and goals, fears, etc.  I may even laminate them so I can carry along when I work remotely). 

For more ideas on book marketing and promotion–and making you own book trailer, see:

Coming up Next Week:  Interview with debut novelist Karen Brown on THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS.

Write On, Wednesday: Interview with Author Deb Caletti

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay

I am thrilled to feature National Book Award Finalist Deb Caletti to Write On, Wednesday!  When I came across her latest book, HE’S GONE (Bantam, 2013) it was quite honesty by accident.  Not the kind of accident that occurs between the covers of the book, but one in which you find yourself pleasantly surprised. 

Having a long-standing career writing YA, this is Caletti’s first book intended for an adult audience.  I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

And now, I’d love to introduce Ms. Caletti and her world of fiction:1-80c6806cdf

Leslie Lindsay: Thank you for agreeing to be with us today, Deb.  HE’S GONE totally ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite books.  I fell in love the gritty manner you crafted sentences, the idea that things aren’t always what they seem, the interplay of memory versus reality and the mystery of what really happened.  Can you tell us how you came up with the premise for this book?

Deb Caletti: “The idea for the book came much the same way the book itself begins. I woke up one morning, and my husband wasn’t there. I did that listening you do, where you try to see if the TV is on in the other room, or if there’s the sound of the toaster lever being pushed down. And suddenly there was the What If that often begins a novel. What if you woke up one day to find that your husband had vanished? And while my own was merely out walking the dog, the situation was much more complex for Dani and Ian in He’s Gone.”

“After I had the original premise, I decided to explore the subjects of guilt and wrongdoing, marriage and remarriage, and the way those old, treacherous voices from childhood can continue to haunt us.  During that time, I was doing a lot of thinking about regrets and mistakes.  The thematic question became this: what do us generally well meaning but all-too-human folks do with the wrongdoings we accumulate in a life?  How much guilt should we carry, and why-oh-why do some of us carry so much of it? ”

Leslie Lindsay:  You’ve jumped genres from YA to fiction.  How is that change treating you?  What would you say are the main differences between writing for young adults versus adults?  Why is it important to remember your audience?

Deb Caletti: “I haven’t made a permanent jump – my next book is a YA novel called THE LAST FOREVER, which I think is one of my best – a great book for teens and adults alike.  After that, I’ll be back to another adult novel.  The change in genres just made sense.  My previous nine young adult novels are complex and character driven, which meant my readers are already a mixed bag of ages, with a large percentage college-aged and over.  The crossover has been great for me creatively and professionally.  I think it’s important to shake things up every now and then, to stay fresh and interested in the work you do.”

“The writing process wasn’t all that different from my other books, given their thematic weight. As I writer, what I basically do is put myself in a characters shoes (and mind and heart and bathrobe) and then tell the truth from there.  I believe we are more similar than different – the thrill of new love, the crush of loss, the frustration of your car breaking down on an already bad day – the feeling is the same at eighteen or forty-eight. Love is love at any age, and so is joy and so is sadness. The surrounding elements might alter – a teen might be living in her parents’ home, versus Dani, for example, who lives in that gorgeous houseboat in He’s Gone; the loss might be a boyfriend versus a husband; that car might be Dad’s Honda versus Dani’s own old Audi. But the heart, I believe, is age-neutral – knowable, relatable, and understandable always, and heart is what creates a story a reader connects with.  As a writer, I use the same tools for both age groups – empathy and honesty.”

“That said, I was aware that my target age range was elevated with He’s Gone, and it allowed me to play with more complex sentence structures and deeper themes. There were no fences for me to stay in or out of. It was very freeing. I could just write.  No holding back.  For me, writing within those boundaries is actually in many ways more challenging.”

Leslie Lindsay: Speaking of genres, how do you feel about the term ‘women’s fiction?’   Would you consider HE’S GONE women’s fiction? 

Deb Caletti: “I’m not fond of any of the genre labels that might keep readers away from a book.  “Women’s fiction” puts a fence around the work, which tells a male reader that the book isn’t meant for him.  While He’s Gone has a female protagonist and while the story is told from her viewpoint, some of the strongest responses to the book have been from male readers who’ve really related to the corners of marriage and remarriage that are explored in it. The labels feel a little demeaning to readers.  I trust they can figure out whether a book is for them or not without instructions.”

Leslie Lindsay: Can you tell us a little about your earlier writing days?  Do you have dusty manuscripts under the bed?  How long did it take to get your first book accepted/published?

Deb Caletti: “I studied journalism in college, thinking it was a more “practical” form of writing, and because I understood the odds of making it in this profession. But, of course, I was a creative writer, not a journalist, and the lifelong dream kept following me even when I didn’t follow it.  I started writing seriously when my children were in preschool.  I finally had a hard talk with myself one day and made a vow to “do it,” whatever it took. I actually wrote four unpublished adult novels before my fifth book, THE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING, was published.  I had the unusual good fortune of acquiring an agent after the first book I wrote, someone who believed in me so greatly that he stuck with me through those unsold books.  We actually thought THE QUEEN OF EVERYTHING was an adult novel.  It’s about a young girl who watches her father spiral down to commit a crime of passion, and the content is pretty heavy.  When it got bought as a YA novel, my life in YA began.  I always call it the luckiest accident.  I’ve loved my YA life.  But writing adult novels is a coming-full-circle for me.  And, yes, my agent and I are STILL together.”

5x7_to_useLeslie Lindsay: Do you have any specific writing routines?  Things you have to have “in order” before you start?  (For me, it’s often a clean house.  But if you were to look at my office, you may question my housekeeping skills). 

Deb Caletti: “Given that I usually publish a book a year, there are three jobs going on at any one time – writing the newest book, working with the publisher to prepare the one I’ve just finished for publication, and doing the PR for the book that’s just been released.  So, generally, I’ve got to get right to it.  Step one: fill the coffee cup!  Strong, please!  I check my mail in the morning for any urgent business from my agent, publishers or publicists, and then I write.”

Leslie Lindsay: Would you consider yourself a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter?’  A little of both?  How do you typically go about the process of writing from idea to finished book? 

Deb Caletti: “I know where I’m starting and where I’m ending up, but not necessarily what’s going to happen along the way.  My process is, begin at the beginning and keep going until the end.  It’s a lot like life that way, and also in the way that you figure out quite a bit of it as you go.  You change your mind, you make discoveries.  I start with my basic plot, and then I decide on the themes I want to explore.  I decide which characters are going to make the trip.  For me, writing a book is a therapeutic act, an attempt to understand both myself and all of us poor old souls doing our best to ride the joys and sorrows of life.”

Leslie Lindsay: What advice might you give to an aspiring author with a completed manuscript?

Deb Caletti:This business requires boldness, determination, and passion.  Make that manuscript the best it can be, and I mean THE BEST.  Send out the queries to agents in the way they request, and then send out some more.  If the feedback isn’t what you’ve been longing to hear, fix the book and/or move on to the next one, and the next.  If that book doesn’t do it, don’t get stuck there.  Write an even better book and try again.  This is a craft.  Some successful writers have written five, eight, thirteen books before writing the one that will finally be published.  Too, know what this business really is and isn’t about (key word: business).  Know what it can give and what it won’t likely give.  With that knowledge, guard your heart and GO.  Have the persistence of a dog with a knotted sock.” 

Thank you so very much for sharing your insights and musings with us…and most of all, the gift of your literary work. 

For more information about Deb Caletti and her books, check out these sites & social media:

About the book:
Where to follow:
 

[All images provided courtesy of Deb Caletti and used with permission.  Special thanks to Deb for collaborating!]

Coming up!

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay Write on, Wednesday:  Decontrusting a Novel

I love “coming up” posts!  It means I am excited about something–and life is unfolding in a really nice fashion. 

So, thought I’d share a few upcoming posts I have lined up:

  • Author Deb Caletti pops over to talk about her newest book, HE’S GONE (July 31st), a suspense thriller for adults (she has quite a following for YA, this is a bit of a genre shift).  Have you ever wondered….”What if?”  Seems that’s the basis for this book.  What if he just never came home?  What if you just won a million bucks?  Those what if questions  often spin themselves into great fiction.  By the way, Ms. Caletti’s book has a great trailer.  Ever heard of a book trailer?  We’ll talk a bit about that in the following weeks, too (think August).
  • Another author, Karen Brown will be with us later in August.  THE LONGINGS OF WAYWARD GIRLS is her first novel, but Ms. Brown has published anthologies of short stories in the past.  Reading the book now and I find the language lyrical, the dilemma’s authentic, and the descriptions of summer’s past alluring.  Keep your eyeballs peeled for a mid-August interview with Karen.
  • More tips and ideas from singer/songwriter Matt Wertz
  • Symbolism, theme, and setting for your novel. 

As always, if you have ideas or suggestions for posts, or would like to submit a guest piece, give me a holler at leslie_lindsay(at)hotmail.com

Look forward to hearing from you!!

Fiction Friday:

Standard

By Leslie Lindsay Fiction Friday:

You know how reading a really gripping book can get your creativity flowing?  Well, it worked wonders for me this past week as I dove (quite literally) into Deb Caletti’s book, HE’S GONE (Bantam, 2013). 

While this book is about remarried woman who wakes on a typical Sunday morning only to find her husband is missing, it has little to do with first love, which my novel is about.  Dani (Caletti’s female character) can’t remember them coming home the night before, she’s stumped.  Over the course of 10 days, she recounts every last moment together, the words they said, the moments they shared trying to recreate the possibility of what happened.  I was particularly taken with Caletti’s well-crafted sentences, the gritty language, and overall gripping tale that our lives–and our marriages aren’t always what they seem.

Interested in how HE’S GONE sparked my own creativity?  Here’s an excerpt written just last evening that will go into Slippery Slope (working title). 

“I can’t sleep.  The sheets are all baggy and sweaty.  Joe lies next to me, the hill of his shoulders lifting up with every inhale, a valley with every exhale.  He says I am his ocean, deep and pure.  Love can move mountains. 

The notebook I bought for these interrupted nights rests on the bedside table, amid the reading glasses, pens, and catalogs.  We write to taste life twice.  God, I love that quote.  Hearing the words pour from my internal dialogue, seeing the letters fall on the crisp paper, the sweet taste of those letters.  They pop-sizzle-pop like cheeries on my tongue, encompassing all of my senses.  Yet, I can’t make myself roll over and reach for it. 

My eyes glance back at Joe sleeping peacefully in the moonlight. It’s amazing how much the human eye can see in a darkened space.  Rods and cones, pupils and irises.  The mind’s eye.  Is he dreaming?  Of what?  His body is splayed like an exclamation mark, a warning.  What, Joe goes on inside of your mind as you are drifting into sleep, when you are stuck in that limbo land of awake-not-yet-asleep state?  Are there microcosms of thought twisting around an impetus of me and our family? 

Are there strobes of light and color gnarling, shaping, molding images of sprightly love?  Innocence and remembering.  Her. Your first love. 

I groan and reach for my notebook.  I’ve got to get these ideas down.  I pick it up; it feels of cool—malleable—those thoughts and ideas bending, my brain molding the thoughts into words I can transcribe. 

Joe mumbles something in his sleep.  It doesn’t sound like anything intelligible.  He huffs and jerks the sheet away from me, rolling his body onto his side, facing away from me; two lovers split, a bifurcation.  I swallow and twist my legs to the edge of the bed, dangling them over the edge.  Inhale, exhale.  The room smells of sticky, sour sleep.  The notebook beckons me.  Open me.  Write onto my pages.  Your secrets are safe here.

I lean forward snapping the notebook into my grasp.  The problem with words, once spoken they can never be retracted; once written they remain forever, like fingerprints on a heart. 

In the master bath, I flip on the light, close the door.  My legs are wobbly and weak, I let my body slide down, broken and confused.  The notebook falls from my hands, a splat on the tile, splayed open to a blank page.  I lean forward, rubbing my face in my hands.  The thoughts need to go away.  They need to get out my head.  I take the pen from the coiled binding of the notebook  and let my hand flow along the pages.  I have no idea what I am thinking, no idea of what to write.  My mind seems to know something I do not. 

1868.  You and me.  In the English countryside.  Stonewalls and moss.  Gray-blue skies.  Flowers and clover.  Violet.  Secret rendezvous.  Violent.  A class difference.  A life-long chase.  A marriage.  A binding.  A contract.  You promised. Steve.  SFK.  ILY.  Make the thoughts go away.  Violent, violet.  Again.  Violent, violet.  Again.  Violent, violet.    

Again.

My eyes assess the words, they mean nothing.  My head pounds, a loud banging, pulsing between my ears.  I am spent, tired.  Bound and broken on the floor. I reach up and grab the doorknob, stretching with my fingertips.  It feels so far away.  I press my body on the door, twist the knob.  The door opens and the weight of my body pushes me forward into the room.  I lay there for ten seconds, two minutes.  Honestly, I don’t know how long my body lays prone. 

I stir to the sound of Joe’s snoring.  He says he doesn’t snore, but he does.  The wind blows through the crack in the window, the curtains dance, moonlight falls on my bare legs.  I stand, ruffle the wrinkles from my nightshirt and shuffle to the medicine cabinet.  A past dental procedure.  Vicodin.  It glows like an amulet, a promise of good fortune.  It’s old, but I don’t care.  Maybe the half-life has expired; it’ll be less potent now.  I twist the child-safety cap and pop a pill into my mouth.  I turn the facet on, tip my head and cup my hands as I slurp the medication into my body.”

[Remember, this is an orginal work of fiction.  Copying or distributing as your own is strictly prohibited.]

For more information on Deb Caletti or HE’S GONE, please see:  Product Details(image retrieved from Amazon.com 6.14.13)