This is the question posed by my blogmate, Kate at Maison Bentley Style. It’s part of a blog hop. I could never say no to Kate. She is the big hearted, ever-so-stylish epicenter of my blogging society; our intrepid heroine and our gracious hostess. She is the pre-scandal Lily Bart; the always charismatic Daisy Buchanan; the nobly independent Jo Marsh of my circle.
What am I working on now?
Despite weeks lost to my well-documented home search and the attendant broker, mortgage, co-op application misery, I am about two thirds of the way through my second novel. First draft, mind you. And, full disclosure, it doesn’t have a beginning yet, nor have I any idea of the route to take to arrive at the ending. But it’s still an easier journey than home buying in New York City.
I also blog twice a week. I never thought I would be a blogger. Even the ugliness of the word annoyed me. But when my first novel came out last year, I caved to the unanimous advice that I needed a “platform” (another ugly word) and gave it a go. Less than a year later, it has become a rabbit hole I slide down merrily with my petticoats round my ears when the workday is done to join my wonderland friends with their wacky points of view who teach me so much and always have my back. What is that saucy minx Dievca up to? I wonder. Is Lia out and about In Brussels? Hope HappyFace313 is happy. Hey whassup, CampariGirl, do you know if CrazyBagLady did one of her drawings today..?
How does my writing differ?
When I was writing Silk for the Feed Dogs, my aim was to write a novel set in the fashion industry that wasn’t worded for idiots, like so many other novels set in the worlds of magazines, fashion, and beauty. I won’t name names. But those types of novels do make me bristle till my teeth hurt.
In my design career, I had occupied a relatively unique spot for more than a decade at the upper end of the Italian fashion industry and I knew the experience would lend a novel authenticity. I had that covered. I just didn’t know if I could write.
So for five years I worked extra hard to make sure I had that side covered too. Umpteen drafts; manuals on writing; analyzing the contents of favorite novels; stalking Zadie Smith…No charges were filed.
When I queried my eventual agent, she admitted she was skeptical reading the synopsis. Turns out my skill does not lie in writing a synopsis. But after reading the manuscript (in three days, bless her) she agreed to represent me. She believed I had achieved what I set out to do: write with depth about the most shallow of industries.
But my second novel has nothing to do with the fashion industry so I am not cushioned by those reassuring guardrails. I am swimming with no water wings (sorry about the double metaphor but maybe take it as symbol that I am twice as insecure about this second one.) At the moment, to be honest, I do not know if my writing differs. But thank you for asking. You’ve probably set me back a good six weeks…
Why do I write what I do?
Choosing the subject matter for a novel is a commitment. You’ll be living in that world possibly for five years. It’s harder to relocate from your fictional environs than it is to up sticks and change apartments in New York City––okay, sorry, I’ll stay on point. I stick to the old adage “write what you know”, so no wizards or superheroes for me. I like a touch of romance but not a love story, a sense of mystery but not a crime, history but viewed from contemporary standpoint. I’ll settle on an idea that allows me to describe. Because I love description. I study photos and images and try to put their beauty into words. I want my writing to be as evocative and transporting as some of the most magical editorials from fashion magazines in which the world’s best photographers, designers and stylists create a compelling narrative without the aid of words.
When I choose blog subject matter, I try to do more than just report, but to write creatively, to work through an opinion. I imagine that I have been commissioned to write small op-ed articles for favorite magazines.
So far the main character in my fiction has always been female although that’s not an absolute, but even a sixteen year old boy would have large traces of me in him. And probably a similar bust size.
How does my writing process work?
I rely on many drafts because I get bored with plotting. I need to walk through it many times to shape it. I read somewhere that my process is like wall papering the stairs while the stairs are still being built. I am lovingly pasting a William Morris peacock and dragon repeat onto the wall just three steps below a triumphant example of builder’s crack.
The rules of this blog hop state that I must pass the torch on to two others so after much deliberation I choose two talented writers, Yakinamac who blogs under the name Mrs Holder’s Legacy, and Girl in the Hat. Over to you, ladies.
My first novel, Silk for the Feed Dogs is available here