Friday, March 11, 2011

The Best Book I Ever Wrote...


If you written more than one book, how can you choose a favorite? It’s tough but girlfriends tackle the task

Zen Question

I'm tempted to say that the best book I've ever written exists only in a heavy pile of papers at the bottom of my office closet--and this might be true. Just the other day I opened up an ancient lap top and found a file with the first hundred pages of a novel I can't even remember writing. (It was very good!) But as I've only published one novel, I think some loyalty is due. This Little Mommy Stayed Home is the best book I've written to date, truthfully, because it's the one novel that's done something the others, as they gather dust, cannot do. It's been read and enjoyed and, in many cases, made a difference in women's lives. If I had a dollar for every woman who told me that This Little Mommy got her through some of the toughest moments of mothering...well, I wouldn't be rich, but I'd probably be able to buy a very nice, beautiful, enormous container for all the books I've never published (and never finished). Now I'm thinkig Zen: is a book a book if no one reads it?

Samantha Wilde



The Perfect Novel

Authors often say that choosing a favorite book we've written is like choosing a favorite from among our children. But, for me, the latter is actually a lot easier since I only have just one kid... ;) Hmmm, I really can't do it. Each story has stolen a different part of my heart. I poured my love of Austen into According to Jane, my need to help a couple of friends into Friday Mornings at Nine and my passion for travel, musicals and gelato into A Summer in Europe. Maybe the only thing that could top them all for me is a completely unwritten novel because it's brilliant in it's potential, and there's something very captivating about that kind of perfection, LOL.
~Marilyn Brant
Sophomore Effort
Picking your favorite book is a bit like picking your favorite child--I love them all and I don't want to play favorites.
I love them all for different reasons--Moving is Murder because it was a first; Magnolias, Moonlight and Murder because it was so stinkin' difficult to write (got way off track and had to do major rewrites while staring down my approaching deadline) but when it was actually done, I got some of the best reviews I've ever had. But if I had to pick just one favorite, it would be Staying Home is a Killer. It was my second book and I literary did not know if I could write another book. Maybe the first book was a fluke? Obviously, I did finish it and it was a huge boost to my confidence.

Another reason Staying Home is my favorite is because I got to explore the theme of spouses left behind during a deployment--something that I'd experienced myself and found very therapeutic to write about. I was also able to throw in a dog-napping (dog is fine!), ancient manuscripts, and introduce one of my favorite characters, a slick, handsome art dealer.

~Sara


The Most Loveable Book

Asking an author to name her favorite book is like asking a mother to name her favorite child. Some children may be easier, some more challenging, and some may make a mom tear her hair out. But chances are, she loves them all equally. Same with books.
However... I've written a lot of books, and whenever someone tells me they've never read any of my books and asks me where they should start, I usually tell them to read LOVE IN BLOOM'S. This novel is, well, utterly, shamelessly lovable. It's a comedy, it's about food and family, and it was pivotal in making me realize I wanted to write something different. It pushed me in a new, creatively rewarding direction. LOVE IN BLOOM'S sold very well and won a bunch of awards. And it's got this passage about how boyfriends are like chocolate that people continually quote back to me. Readers seem to love this book as much as I do.

Judith Arnold
Great Gatsby Revisited
It's tough to pick favorites, particularly among the published, so I'll go with one that's unpublished: Z, which is a contemporary re-visioning of The Great Gatsby, about a writer who returns to CT after 15 years out in L.A. only to meet a window washer who may or may not be Zorro. It's my favorite because, like life, it has a little bit of everything: comedy, tragedy, romance, and even swordplay.
Lauren
The Book She Can’t Shake

Okay, you know I'm going to say this, so I might as well just spit it out!
My husband always says that whatever book I've just written is my all-time favorite, and I guess he's right. As y'all know (because I yakked about it last Tuesday), I just finished revisions on Little Black Dress (coming out August 23, 2011), and it's totally still under my skin. It's very hard to shake that most recent novel, especially when I've been so immersed in it that it almost feels real. So I'm definitely saying Little Black Dress is my favorite. It took me places I'd never gone before as a writer, dealing with deeper issues than I've ever tackled, and the story really haunts me. Although I'd better shake it off soon as I have more books to write! Anyone know a good way to clear the mental palate???

--Susan McBride
http://www.susanmcbride.com/

A Heavenly Endeavor
I wrote a book set in Heaven that my agent and editor initially hated but I get re-writing until they finally liked it. It was about a greeter in Heaven who goes down to Earth and discovers everything she needs to know about life in Beatle’s songs.
I loved coming up with my own version of Heaven where angels drink ,lust, drink champagne and follow gossip. It was hardest book I ever wrote but also the most fun.
Karen Neches
http://www.karenneches.com/

The One That Comes Next

My favorite book is always the one I'm about to write next. But since I haven't written that book yet, and only my debut novel is available in stores and online right now, I'd say, definitely go with 32 CANDLES.
Ernessa T. CarterAuthor, Blogger, Totally Fierce Nerd

My Red-Headed Stepchild

My favorite book right now is Children of the Waters because it is the ignored, red-headed stepchild of my 2 novels, and it's a great book that deserves more love! Yes, I am its mother and I am biased. But many reviewers agreed with me. You can read an excerpt on my site. Also, it has one of my favorite characters of all time: Fletcher, a senior-citizen marijuana dealer! I think the subject matter of race might seem heavy and scare people off, but it's not a heavy book really. There's lots of humor and lots of warm-hearted, but real, discussions about what separates us and what unites us. It hurts my heart that books by white authors that deal with race (like The Help) are embraced, but books like mine and Substitute Me by our own Lori Tharps that have racial issues as a subject matter don't get the same welcome.
Carleen Brice
Borrowing From Life

My favorite book I've written is one that isn't published (yet). When I have more emotional fortitude I'll go back to the manuscript and fine tune it and work on strengthening the sister's relationships in the book. It's called FAMILY CHARMS and deals with three sisters who get a letter from their estranged mother twenty years after she left them with an invitation for a trip around the world to see where she's been and "walk in her shoes" before deciding if they want to reunite with her at the end of the journey. It's loosely based on my own childhood and the reunion with my mother. And, yes, we are estranged again. But that's another story, entirely. –

Malena Lott

Tugs at the Heart Strings

Hmmm, favorite book I've written. I think it's SLIM TO NONE. This book evolved from two other books as I tried to make it higher concept, and in so doing I think I gave it a lot of depth and emotion that was lacking in earlier versions of it. At first I set out to make an empathetic protagonist, since my protag in my first novel was viewed by some as not so empathetic (I like to say she's just a strong personality LOL). I loved the evolution of my protagonist's character in Slim to None and loved that she was able to transcend things that had been really holding her back in her life. I think it's a fun read and it tugs at your heartstrings too. Oh and you get great recipes with it!

Jenny Gardiner

Can't Choose
My favorite book that I've written? That's like asking who is my favorite Beatle? If I say Paul, I immediately feel bad that I didn't say John. Or it's like asking me which of my three children I love the most. Depends on the day. (Or who has sent me the least number of texts).
As for which of my four novels is dearest to me? Hmmm.... I adored A LITTLE HELP FROM ABOVE because it was my first and the journey to reach that milestone day took so many years. But what about my second novel, CLAIRE VOYANT? It had so many twists and turns that even I didn't know how it was going to end until I got there and the final twist blew me away. Then FATE AND MS. FORTUNE tugged at my heart because it was such a great love story- so full of irony and history and lots of surprises. But then I wrote DEAR NEIGHBOR, DROP DEAD and laughed my ass off writing the twisted tales of the neighborhood odd couple, Mindy and Beth, and now I miss them so much I am thinking about ways to bring them back... And two weeks ago I finished writing HANNAH'S HELP HOTLINE, my first novel for girls. This is a funny, heartfelt and empowering story about a psychic 7th grader who becomes a class "advisor" until a strange prediction changes everything. I hope it connects with young readers who are wondering how you ever find the nerve to speak up and reach out.So which is my favorite? Like a good mother, I know there is only one answer. I love them all equally. Depending on the day.

Saralee Rosenberg
http://www.saraleerosenberg.com/

Damaged Goods

I was going to go with the obvious and say BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. But then I realized that’s only because it’s the book that made it out of the drawer and onto store shelves. It’s kind of like preferring the kid who brings home an A to the one who busts his butt to make a B… or C. That said, I’d have to say DAMAGED GOODS. This manuscript, which thoroughly earns its title, wins my heart and gets an A for effort. It was my first crack at book writing, and the one that proved I could do it—flawed as it may be. And now that I know things, SO many more things than when I first wrote it, I think about rewriting it. Who knows? It could end up at the head of the class!
Laura Spinella

Book of the Heart

I've written four books. So far. Only one has been published. So far. Asking which is my favorite is sort of like asking which of my kids is my favorite. The honest answer is it depends on the day. Or my mood. Or what said kid/book has just "done." Or needs. Right now, I'm madly in love with the manuscript that's on submission as I write this. It needs me the most (well, and some fairy dust to land on it too, I'm beginning to think). But, the book that I hold dearest in my heart is ALL THE NUMBERS. My debut. My first-born. The book that made the dreams I've had since I was 8 years-old come true. That book that made me an author. Like many debut novels, it has shadows of my life. I grabbed people I know and love and "fictionalized" them and put them in situations I hope none of us are ever in. And then I pulled them through to the other side.

Judy Larsen

Doggone Good Book

I've written twelve books and my favorite is my last book, a picture book called, THE BLUE HOUSE DOG, (Peachtree Publishers/August 2010). It was inspired by a New York Times story that ran in 2001 about a homeless dog wandering around a suburban part of New York City. He was, “part German Shepherd, part something else,” and he was smart enough to find food, and win the hearts of the locals. They offered him hand-outs and cared enough about him, not to call Animal Control and risk having him picked up and sent to a shelter where his fate would most likely have been doomed.

It took nine years for THE BLUE HOUSE DOG to come out and it was truly a labor of love involving a bumpy patch where it was orphaned after my editor at Simon & Schuster left to start her own imprint elsewhere, leaving it homeless, like the dog himself. Although inspired by a true story, THE BLUE HOUSE DOG is a fictitious account narrated by a young boy named Cody who lost his beloved puppy to an unexplained ailment. The boy was wounded by his loss, just as the homeless dog was wounded when his owner died. Both learn to trust again, and the healing process is a long, slow dance that ultimately brings them together.
“Dogs find their way inside you, and you want to keep them there,” Cody says. The homeless dog, once called Bones, renamed Blue because of his one blue eye, who plays a “hide and seek game” with Cody, ends up at Cody’s side. “I don’t need a leash, he stays right next to me,” Cody says. At the end, the dog catcher doesn’t come to their neighborhood anymore because there are no stray dogs there anymore.
“Blue likes it that way,” Cody says, “and so do I.”

Girlfriends news:

Marilyn Brant's Friday Mornings at Nine is the B&N General Fiction Book Club novel for March! The online discussions are going on here:
http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Fiction-General-Discussion/bd-p/FictGeneral
everyone is welcome!

Skipping a Beat got a lovely review in the Washington Post and was just put on O Magazine's list of Titles to Buy Now for the April issue.

Big news from Carleen Brice: The movie Sins of the Mother based on my novel Orange Mint and Honey won an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding TV movie and Jill Scott won for Outstanding Actress in a TV movie for playing the role of Nona in my story!! I walked my first red carpet and went on stage with Elizabeth Hunter, who adapted my book for TV and Damon Lee, the producer.

Laura Spinella has an interview and book giveaway running at http://numberonenovels.blogspot.com/
Girlfriends are among the top 50 novelists blogs here. Lots of other great blogs to check out: http://mastersinprojectmanagement.com/the-tales-of-tale-tellers-the-top-50-novelist-blogs/
Lit Coach gave Girlfriends a shout out as being a great blog: http://thelitcoach.blogspot.com/p/lit-coachs-guide-to-great-blogs.html

3 comments:

  1. What a fun group post! Thanks for doing these, Karin, and showing us more sides to all the Girlfriends. And big congrats to Marilyn, Sarah, and Carleen! Yeeha! Never a dull moment around here, I swear. :-)

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  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE Laura Spinella's words about Damaged Goods. I've got 2-3 on the shelf, including a memoir I won't publish, and a novel I might clean up one day. But somehow Laura's words gave me permission to love the ones that might not ever get published... the ones that aren't currently the "bun in the oven." I really enjoyed all your posts, girls!

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  3. Thank you, Susan Cushman!! What a lovely comment! I have to admit, it's strange to see the words "Damaged Goods" in print... even on a blog! lol
    It sounds as if many of us are suffering from favorite child syndrome regarding our books, published or unpublished. Maybe this blog will inspire us and other writers to dust off the discarded ones and give them another chance!
    Lots of great stories, girlfriends! I enjoyed reading them all!

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