Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fiction Comes Home to Roost: Making up with the Neighbors by Ellyn Oaksmith

Setting: my cul-de-sac
For me setting is the bird’s next outside my house. Inside the bird warms her eggs, waits to hatch a living thing and watches the world go by. What came first, the setting or the plot? 
Coming from a screenwriting background, plot is king. Screenwriters live and die by the 30 second pitch: “Snakes on a plane!” “Husband and wife assasins!” Laugh all you want but those screenwriters are working today.
My current title, Divine Moves takes place in my own neighborhood, something I've never done. The plot involves infidelity, drug use, snotty teens, a kid possibly setting something very expensive on fire (rhymes with Hercedes) and yes, a stripping grandmother who teaches a grandchild to pole dance. Luckily I have neighbors with a good sense of humor who enjoy my books. 
What I wanted to write was a compilation of every quirky suburban family drama that interested me. But I couldn’t see any other way than to stick it in my own cul-de-sac. In reality we are incredibly supportive, adore each others’ children and celebrate with wine at the drop of a hat. What I found interesting was to throw a grenade into my fictional world (inspired by reality in tone only) and see where the pieces fell.
Did it work? Most people, including my neighbors have found the book to be engaging because the characters felt real and their problems — the tension between public and private and how we deal with failure, is real. At the same time I worked very hard to keep it light. Laughter isn’t the best medicine, it is the only medicine.
And it’s the only way I know how to write.
Thanks for stopping by. This is my first post so I’d like to say thank you to my fellow writers for inviting me. I’m so excited to be part of The Girlfriends Book Club!

A native of Seattle and graduate of Smith College, Ellyn financed her MFA at The American Film Institute by working as a cook on fishing boats in Alaska. After several years as a screenwriter, Ellyn came to her senses and returned to Seattle, where she wrote her first novel, Adventures with Max and Louise, which was pubished in 2012. Her second novel, Divine Moves, was published the following year. She's polishing her third novel, Fifty Acts of Kindness and outlining her first YA novel, Finding Nirvana.
When she can find the right mix of humor, depression and hysteria, she'll write about her years in Los Angeles.
She lives near Seattle with her family and a shelter dog.
For writing news, sneak peeks at new projects and her blog, visit www.EllynOaksmith.com


  1. Ellyn,
    Welcome to the GBC!! We're thrilled to have you here ;).
    And your story sounds exactly like the kind of humorous women's fiction I most love to read. I live in a cul-de-sac, too, and I imagine there's a lot that goes on behind closed doors in our little neighborhood that I know nothing about...but wondering "what if" has kept me intrigued for years!
    Congrats on Divine Moves -- I look forward to reading it!!

  2. I've just installed iStripper, so I can have the sexiest virtual strippers on my taskbar.