[Although there are some born storytellers who become novelists, most novelists come from varied backgrounds that have inspired their storytelling. In today’s guest post, debut author Sarah Jio shares how being a journalist has fueled her creativity with enough ideas to write one novel, The Violets of March (coming April 26, 2011), and more.]
As my first book, The Violets of March, makes its way into the world, I’ll tell you, honestly, that I’m a ball of nerves: excited, happy, elated, nervous, anxious, hopeful, and the like. (And if you came over to my house right now, you’d see me pacing the floors (with a newborn baby in my arms!) and checking Amazon sales rankings and my Blackberry for email updates a little too frequently.) But I think the biggest emotion I feel today is a sense of joy. Not every person can say they love what they do for a living, and although the writing life isn’t a perfect career, it’s perfect for me, and I’m so grateful to be able to do what I love.
I’ve been writing for magazines for the majority of my career, and while I’ll probably continue forever (I’m a huge magazine junkie, and I love reporting on fun new topics for all the big newsstand glossies—Glamour, Real Simple, Redbook, Health, etc.), I’ve found a new home in fiction, and I plan (and hope) to stay a while. Fiction fulfills me in a way that no other writing work has. I have never felt more passionate, engaged, and challenged in my work as I have been when I sit down to write a story. I also love the freeing feeling of being able to make things up (believe me, after 12 years wearing a journalist hat, this is pretty cool!).
And, just like with magazines, the thing I also love most about fiction is the idea-development process. Nowadays, editors assign me the majority of my articles, but when I was just starting out, I was always coming up with new story ideas and pitching them constantly. And now, I find that all that work sharpening my brain to think creatively about story ideas has parlayed into successful book ideas. Consequently, I think of book ideas all the time, and I find it so much fun. (Just today, I got a great idea for a new book—in the shower!). While a lot of these ideas go nowhere, many have stuck. I’ve already written, and sold, my second book, THE BUNGLAOW, which will be published by Penguin (Plume) in April of 2012. And, I’m a quarter of the way through my third book, which I’m so ridiculously excited about, I can’t wait to tell you about it—and everyone else. As soon as I can, believe me, I’ll be shouting it out from the rooftops. This story has really grabbed onto my heart, and my hope is that it will have the same effect on readers.
But, today, I’m thinking about Violets. I’m sending it out into the world, and hopeful that it resonates with readers in the way it resonated with me as I wrote it. No matter what the future holds, I’m just so happy to be here at this place.
Announcements: For those who have been wanting and waiting to read Holly LeCraw’s stunning debut novel, The Swimming Pool, it’s being released today in Trade Paperback. And for those who may have missed reading about this debut last year, here’s the presentation/review.
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away a copy of The Four Ms. Bradwells by Meg Waite Clayton in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Meg Waite Clayton and The Four Ms. Bradwells. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.