The Novelists' rebuttal to "The Novelist"... A humorous answer to Elle Magazine.
(Fri, 18 Apr 2014)
When Elle Magazine did a spread of a wardrobe feature of a "Novelist" (with a total price-tag of about $7k)... Some of us novelists reacted, (read: laughed), and author Lynne Kelly gathered our responses. Here is our rebuttal. I promise it shall amuse, enlighten, and entertain.
The Author's Wardrobe For Real
You'll note my offering sticks out like a great, black hole. *snicker* I am infamous for my Victorian Gothitude. But even all my corsetry combined would not add up to a $7K outfit (which would
wipe out more than one of my advance checks in one fell swoop). No, the working author is not living Sex and the City style, that's Hollywood. (No way could Sarah Jessica Parker have afforded that
beautiful Manhattan apartment on a columnist's salary alone). We're living, working, struggling artists, and while I'd not trade the author's life for anything in the world, let's be real about
But, writing aside, all this does make me think I need to start my Gothic Style Guide feature I've been meaning to do for quite some time...
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Writing Process Blog Tour! Eterna Files, YA and more: In which Leanna explains why she does what she does...
(Mon, 14 Apr 2014)
Thanks to YA author Lynne Kelly for getting me involved in the Writing Process
Blog Tour! Here we answer some basic questions about our process. The questions may be basic, but writing a book is far from it, and every author's process is as unique and as individual as the array
of books throughout history. I love talking shop, so here goes....
What am I working on:
Book 2 of The Eterna Files, a Gaslamp Fantasy saga set in featuring two rival teams of secret agencies between New York, each
tasked with finding the ‘cure for death’ on behalf of their respective governments. A teaser novella for the series launches this fall and book 1 launches February 2015. Close on Eterna’s heels,
my acclaimed, award-winning and bestselling Strangely Beautiful saga (also Gaslamp Fantasy in nature) re-releases. Both series are with Tor/Forge. I’m having such fun with The Eterna Files, which
takes and runs with all the themes I’ve been working on throughout my career; the spaces between life and death, the fine lines between faith, belief, spirituality and doubt, the arcane, the
magical and the unfathomable mysteries of the human heart. I’m so in love with infusing the paranormal into a ‘realistic’ Victorian world and I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to do so book
after book. Some of my Magic Most Foul characters will appear in Eterna, and in the finale of the series, The
Double Life of Incorporate Things, I introduce two of Eterna's stars. I love weaving all my characters through different series to show them all from different angles.
2. How does my work differ from others
of its genre:
I love this question because it’s in my particular brand of Victorian Gothic Fantasy that I truly hope to make a lasting
mark. Readers and reviewers tend to compare my books to 19th Century Gothic authors rather than contemporary authors, mainly because my style
borrows so heavily from my Gothic forefathers and foremothers. While I don’t utilize the density of 19thcentury style, between my themes,
interests and the bent of my language, my work is entirely entwined with a dark, dramatic, dare I say ‘strangely beautiful’ tradition.
What I attempt, while honouring and valuing my Gothic forefathers and foremothers, is to allow for my female characters to
have a broader range of experiences and agency in my work. Most women in the traditional Gothic are victims and/or trapped by their material confines of the age, of expectations, mores, roles and
more. The women of my novels are tasked with saving themselves and others, rather than being a less dimensional plot device.
3. Why do I write what I do:
This is closely tied to how my work differs from others of its genre. I feel called to voice the Victorian Era that I love so
deeply, but to do so via a modern lens, and allow for voices that would have been marginalized by the constraints of a classist, excessively patriarchal society. I do so not because I think our
society ‘knows better’ than the Victorians (we have just as many skeletons in our modern closets as they had in theirs, in some ways more insidiously considering the pervasiveness of modern
technology), but I do have current freedoms and platforms a Victorian version of myself would have chafed heartily against. So much of the freedom, laws and safety we take for granted today were
changes born of the constraints, injustices and traumas of 19th century pedagogy, changes that people fought and died for.
And yet, we live in a new gilded age in terms of income inequality and the rapidity of technological advancement mirrors the
industrial revolution in an uncanny way. There are beautiful ways to parallel the past and the present and those connections keep me coming back time and time again to the themes of my work and
the fascinating complexities of the Victorian era and the resilient human spirit throughout time.
4. How does my writing process work?
*Chortle* I am entirely haphazard. Such a pantser. While I have to know a general arc and trajectory of where I'm
going, every book is as mysterious to me as the last. Every book is new, every book's process feels like I'm back to square one and every time I wonder if I can cobble a book together out of the
quilt pieces laid out before me. The only common theme is that I write non-linear, out of order, I write the scenes that compel me and keep me up at night. (Beloved characters are the
I write what I want to write first, daydream about all the things the book needs, and eventually I put in all the connective
tissue, which is the most exhausting part of the process, making all those pieces make sense. That's when it feels like work. The initial process of the book is like taking a vacation into a
foreign land and I'm seeing it through the eyes of my characters, it's rather magical, really, but then the connective tissue is where the muscle comes in, and the editorial part of my brain
needs to make the hard choices about making sure none of my characters have run away with the storyline too far off the core course, which has happened a few times in my career. That's where
critique partners and editorial staff come in so handy, as a book that's only seen your eyes and mind alone just isn't as capable of a story as it is when it's gone through multiple
revisions and some trusted viewpoints.
All in all, writing books is what I love most in life and feel is my purpose in life, and so writing process, for me, isn't just something I do, it's something I live. And I hope
you'll enjoy my books!
DARKER STILL (Magic Most Foul book 1: http://tinyurl.com/darkerbn )
THE TWISTED TRAGEDY OF MISS NATALIE STEWART (book 2: http://tinyurl.com/twistedbn )
THE DOUBLE LIFE OF INCORPORATE THINGS (book 3: http://tinyurl.com/tdloitaz )
I tag my darling Alethea Kontis, award-winning, NYT Bestselling author and
certified Princess on this tour, catch her responses next Monday on her
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