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Catherine McKenzie: Why I Write

January 18, 2012 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Although Canadian author Catherine McKenzie’s debut novel was a national bestseller in Canada, SPIN is finally being launched here in the U.S. on Tuesday, February 7, 2012. That’s great news for all readers since it was praised by Publishers Weekly as:

“[A] charming debut…With fresh, fast-paced storytelling and a personable, self-deprecating protagonist, McKenzie whirls a perfectly indulgent tale.”

Arranged, the author’s second novel, will also have a U.S. publication on May 15, 2012.

Catherine was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, where she now practices law. An avid runner and skier, she also sits on various boards and professional organizations, and has taught part-time at the McGill Faculty of Law. However, in today’s guest post, she explains and shares why she writes.]

Why I Write

A while ago, an author friend of mine, who was feeling a bit of writing ennui, expressed the possibility of giving it all up. He was tired of the late nights writing after his day job, and since his books, while critically acclaimed, weren’t selling as well as Dan Brown’s, he wondered why he was putting in all this effort. “I’m not doing this for my ego,” he said, and those words have stuck with me ever since.

They’ve stuck with me though I admit that my first reaction was skepticism. My first book had just come out, and if I’m being honest, the month of January, 2010 was pretty full of ego. (In fact, I dubbed it “the month of me” and was thoroughly sick of myself by February). But at that moment, I remember thinking that the whole act of publishing a book—from writing, to getting an agent, to getting a book deal—had to be at least partially about ego.

And of course it is. But the more I thought about it, and the further I got past my own publication date, I began to understand what he meant. You see, that first novel, that first real novel that you get the agent and the book deal with, that novel isn’t written because of ego. I suspect it might be a little different in every case, but in my own, that novel was written because I couldn’t help myself. It was (often) all I could think about. What was this character going to do? How was I going to get from this conflict to the resolution? How was I going to get the images in my mind, seemingly so clear, down on the page when the link between my brain and my fingers often felt ephemeral. I was, in my own way, like Dylan, trying to capture “that wild mercury sound” in my head with words. And the effort, while sometimes trying and frustrating, was in the main fun.

Now it might have been hubris to think, once all the writing, editing, and endless drafts were done, that someone might want to publish this book. And I might have been seeking to gratify my ego (and have had that ego gratified) when I got an agent and a book deal. But in between those events (two years from finished manuscript to book deal, another six months to publication), there was lots and lots of rejection; lots of blows to the ego. And this mix of gratification and blows continued once my book came out. Because even if you’re Jonathan Franzen—which I make no pretension to be—there are people who dislike your book, who might even hate it. Sometimes those people are book reviewers with access to a large audience of readers. And because we live in the age of social networks and email addresses on author websites, readers can reach right out and touch you with their thoughts, negative or positive, as soon as they put your book down.

This might sound like I’m complaining. I’m not. I am aware of, and grateful for, the amazing luck I’ve had in getting not one, but two books published. But the further I’ve gotten into this process—the revisions, the worry about how the book will sell, the constant feeling that you should be promoting your book(s) somehow, all the time—it’s become less and less about ego.

And I think this trip away from ego is even more true if you’re lucky enough to have the chance to publish a second book (or anything past that first one really). Because those books often feel like they are more about contractual deadlines, and advances paid out, and expectations (real or imagined) about it being as good, or better, than your first book. It feels like it’s about justifying all of these resources being marshaled for you—the editing and marketing and publicizing. I mean, why did you get this chance, when so many others have tried just as hard, or harder, or longer, and failed?

Thoughts like these don’t feed a writer’s ego, but they certainly can destroy it, along with the will, or sometimes the ability, to write. Because, if I’m being perfectly honest, when you’re in the middle of that vortex, you sometimes forget why you even started writing in the first place. Wasn’t this fun once? Didn’t the words fly off the page, the ideas tumbling out faster than my fingers could keep up with them?

So why? Why do I continue to write? I, among the happy few, published writers?

I don’t have all the answers, but I can say this: I write because I see and hear people that aren’t there unless I write them down. Because the fun is there, you just have to look for it sometimes.

Because I must.

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SPIN is available for Pre-order in print and ebook edition.

Go-to Writing Books, II

March 31, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Profiles, Q&A

Before, during and after a work-in-progress, a published/debut author has likely read more than a few books on the art and craft of writing. Whether it’s for motivation or inspiration, favorites must exist to be read and reread whenever the need arises. With this thought in mind, The Divining Wand asked its authors:

What books do you keep nearby or go back to as you’re working?

And this week the following authors replied:

~Robin Antalek (The Summer We Fell Apart):

“While I admire so many great writers whose books grace the shelves in my office, I cannot read or refer to fiction while I am deep into my own fictional world. As a matter of fact I have an occupational short attention span for reading anything while I am writing. Instead I would say I use visual stimulus. I find the works of the photographer Sally Mann, Tina Barney, Diane Arbus, the paintings of Alice Neel, Lucien Freud and John Currin, among many, many others to be so inspiring. For me, looking at these works is actually a different kind of “fiction” there are so many stories hidden in the pictures.”

~James King (Bill Warrington’s Last Chance):

“The Forest for the Trees” by Betsy Lerner
“Coaching the Artist Within” by Eric Maisel
“Self-Editing for Fiction Writers” by Browne & King (no relation)
“Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

~Catherine McKenzie (Arranged, Spin):

“I re-read Jane Austen at least once a year. The Harry Potter series too. If I need something gently, I might re-read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books or the Anne of Green Gables books. I wouldn’t say I go back to them necessarily, they are just constantly in my life.”

~Camille Noe Pagan (The Art of Forgetting coming June 9, 2011):

“For general writing advice and inspiration, I love Stephen King’s “On Writing”. To see how smart humor can be done right, I go to Lorrie Moore’s short stories (“Like Life” is a favorite). But the one book I return to again and again–both when I’m writing and when I’m not–is Barbara Kingsolver’s “Prodigal Summer”. For me, it’s the whole package: great dialogue, amazing description and, most importantly, a wonderful story with the perfect blend of tragedy and triumph.”

~Melissa Senate (The Love Goddess’ Cooking School, The Mosts YA, The Secret of Joy, the rest in Bibliography):

“I constantly reread four on the craft of writing: Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott; On Writing by Stephen King; Making A Literary Life by Carolyn See; Escaping Into The Open by Elizabeth Berg. I love craft books. Not so much for the exercises or how-to, but for the comfort, the yes, this is hard.”

~Wendy Tokunaga (Midori By Moonlight, Love in Translation):

“Since I’ve been busy doing teaching and manuscript consulting, I’m tending to have a lot of craft-of-writing books on my desk, which are always helpful to consult, whether it’s for my students, clients or myself. Some of my recent favorites are: “Hooked” by Les Edgerton, “The Modern Library’s Writer’s Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction” by Stephen Koch, “The Making of a Story” by Alice LaPlante and the classic “bird by bird” by Anne Lamott.”

To be continued….

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Announcement: Happy Debut Day to Lori Roy and Bent Road!

AND

With a major thank you to Rebecca Rasmussen’s publisher, Crown, there are now two copies of The Bird Sisters for the Giveaway. The winners are Jennifer Gravely and Hira H. (Enamored Soul). Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and one book will be sent out promptly, while the other book will be Pre-ordered for its release on Tuesday, April 12th.

Fictional Characters as Best Friends Forever, V

March 17, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Authors' Favorites, Profiles, Q&A

No matter the age or stage in life, a best friend forever could be made at any time and the same appears to hold true for bonding with fictional characters. Whether it’s in a children’s book or a chapter in a YA or adult novel, there are those characters who — if only real — would be chosen as our BFF.

With this in mind The Divining Wand wondered who the authors felt close to, and asked:

What fictional character would you choose to be your BFF and why?

And, in this final week, our authors replied:

~Stacey Ballis (Good Enough to Eat, The Spinster Sisters, Room for Improvement, the rest in Bibliography):

“Eloise. No question.”

~Eileen Cook (The Education of Hailey Kendrick YA, Unpredictable, What Would Emma Do? YA, Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood YA, and Fourth Grade Fairy ages 9 – 11 coming April 19, 2011):

“There are so many great characters to choose from. How do I pick just one? I’ll go with Charlie from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory- he’s got a never ending supply of chocolate after all.”

~Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition]):

“I cannot think of any better BFF than the lovely Luciana Vetra! She is the star of The Botticelli Secret by Marina Fiorato, and I have never been so captivated by any character! She is a part-time model and full-time prostitute in 15th-century Italy with the most hilarious look at life via her inner dialogue. She is irreverent, foul-mouthed and so earthy it is a sheer joy to see what she does next. I would love to share a cup of espresso with her at a little piazza in Florence…although I am sure she would give me three reasons, Ragione Uno, Due, Tre, why I should pay and then leave her alone!”

~Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt):

“Oletta Jones (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt) for her wisdom, and Tom Wingo (The Prince of Tides) for his wit and sarcasm.”

~Judy Merrill Larsen (All the Numbers):

“I think Elizabeth Bennett would be a hoot. She’s smart and funny and sarcastic–and also, deep down, a romantic.”

~Lauren Baratz-Logsted (most recent The Twin’s Daughter YA, and middle grade addition The Sisters Eight Book 6: Petal’s Problems, The Education of Bet YA, Crazy Beautiful YA, Sisters 8 series Book 5: Marcia’s Madness):

“From my recently released novel The Twin’s Daughter, I’d pick Kit. He’s the most purely heroic character I’ve ever written.”

~Catherine McKenzie (Arranged, Spin):

“Elizabeth Bennett. Because she is awesome. And maybe I could steal Mr. Darcy from her.”

~Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars, The Life You’ve Imagined, and The Things We Didn’t Say coming June 28, 2011):

“Can I have all four of the Ya Yas from THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD? If forced to pick one I guess I’ll pick Vivi. I’d hate to be married to her, but she’d be a helluva friend. I’ve been a fan of that novel since long before my own publication.”

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Catherine McKenzie and Arranged

March 07, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books

Although not the book’s subtitle, the question of WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? appears on the front cover of Catherine McKenzie’s (Spin) second novel Arranged. And its answer is told within the pages.

With an insightful and wry perspective on modern romance, the author puts a twist on those thirtysomethings — or any age groups — looking for a home, family and marriage. Because, after all, it is finding someone/anyone to share that ultimate relationship that presents a challenge.

“Aha?!” No, Catherine admits that the idea for the novel didn’t come to her as a full-blown storyline. Instead it followed her normal creative process of gathering bits of pieces from here and there. For example she did know a few couples who had arranged marriages and, of course, what facts had been gleaned from watching The Bachelor. This information, combined with wondering who would participate in either, whirled around in her mind until it became Arranged:

Anne Blythe has a great life: a good job, good friends and a potential book deal for her first novel. When it comes to finding someone to share it with, however, she just can’t seem to get it right.

After yet another relationship ends, Anne comes across a business card for what she thinks is a dating service, and she pockets it just in case. When her best friend, Sarah, announces she’s engaged, Anne can’t help feeling envious. On an impulse, she decides to give the service a try because maybe she could use a little assistance in finding the right man. But Anne soon discovers the company isn’t a dating service; it’s an exclusive, and pricey, arranged marriage service. She initially rejects the idea, but the more she thinks about it – and the company’s success rate – the more it appeals to her. After all, arranged marriages are the norm for millions of women around the world, so why wouldn’t it work for her?

A few months later, Anne is travelling to a Mexican resort where in one short weekend she will meet and marry Jack. And against all odds, it seems to be working out – until Anne learns that Jack and the company that arranged their marriage are not what they seem at all.

Of course there is Praise for Arranged, but the real proof of what a relevant, clever, and refreshing tale this is can be found at the HarperCollinsCanada site where you’re invited to Browse Inside. Please take advantage of the publisher’s generosity for there is more to read than merely browse here.

Anne, Jack and the supporting cast of vivid characters — including friends AND family members — have a good sense of themselves and an even better sense of Anne. They’re witty, wise and believable as they try to shed light on Anne’s dating/relationship failures. However one must realize the truth for herself and this protagonist is no exception. The revelations she makes though, along the way, are both charming and confusing, supporting Catherine McKenzie’s message.

For, within the fantasy world of fiction, the author’s hope is to convey how limiting it can be to believe that there is only one person out in the world for everyone — a soulmate. Instead of predestination there are romantic choices and, for her character of Anne Blythe, there may even be an alternative method to discover that choice.

Catherine’s writing is a combination of light, funny, and profound as she tells the story of how a single woman thinks love should be as easy as a fairy tale. In other words it’s all magic, there’s no need to work at love. Except when faced with the invitation of an arranged marriage where, based on a compatibility quotient, there is allegedly no need for love. Common interests, respect, and friendship statistically create successful bonds, so what’s love got to do with it and does it even belong?

The unexpected twists of this novel are brilliant yet not surprising considering the flawed, very human characters. And — with prominent themes of loneliness, loyalty, trust, and friendship at its core — the reader can expect a tale of truth as well.

Taking on a modern day dilemma with a possible solution from an age old tradition, Catherine McKenzie offers readers a delightful experience of exploring what real love is and means. Arranged can be purchased through Amazon.ca, please do so….you will more than enjoy!

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[Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters is at #14 this week on The New York Times Bestseller List. And on March 21st Eleanor begins her West Coast book tour, please check her website’s Events for details.

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Catherine McKenzie’s Arranged in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, . Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, March 9, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

Guest Catherine McKenzie on
Can I make a book a bestseller?

March 01, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Guest Posts

[Catherine McKenzie (Arranged, Spin) had one of those “Aha” moments that Oprah frequently talks about and, also like Oprah, she decided to recommend a few books worthy of more attention. In today’s guest post, the author explains the who, why, and where of her cause and how you can help as well as benefit too.]

Can I make a book a bestseller?

Authors these days are bombarded with a constant message: social media is the place to be to sell books. Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads etc., you’ve got to be on these sites to build awareness, and awareness = book sales.

But is this one of those truisms that nobody’s verified? And how exactly is one supposed to be on all these media? If I want to sell my book should I be on Twitter all day narrating my every action? Should I merely go on once in a while when I have a big (preferably funny) thought? Do I have to thank the person who gave my book 1 star on Goodreads for buying my book and telling the world they hated it? And do I really have to accept that Facebook friend request from the man who claims he’s an author but looks like he just escaped from lockdown?

I suspect no one really knows the answers to these questions, and there’s certainly no instruction manual. So what’s an author to do? Keep your head down and keep writing, I expect. But in the meantime, I was intrigued last year by the Facebook campaign to get Betty White to host Saturday Night Live. It’s old news by now right: someone started an “I bet” group on Facebook and hey, presto, there she was cracking wise about the very people who’d got her there a few weeks later.

And this got me thinking. Was it possible to show a direct relationship between social media and book sales? Could I “bet” a bunch of people on Facebook and make a book a bestseller? Well, sure I could try. Why the hell not?

So I did. I started a group on Facebook called “I bet we can make these books bestsellers” (I call it the Author/Reader Effect for short – a riff on the Oprah Effect), and chose two books by Wyoming author Shawn Klomparens as the first test subjects. I also started a related group on Goodreads just to cover all my social networking bases (alas Twitter only has lists, not groups – so far!)

I chose Klomparen’s books, Jessica Z. and Two Years, No Rain, because they were the best books I’d read in the last six months that hadn’t gotten the attention I think they deserve. Also, I didn’t want this experiment to be about me. I was doing this in the name of science!

So, now what? Well, the Facebook group has approximately 3,450 members including authors James Frey, Tom Perrotta, Tish Cohen, Katherine Howe and Cathy Marie Buchanan. The Goodreads group has over 400 members. This year, I’ve branched out and have been adding two new books a month and run frequent giveaways to help spread the word (in fact, we’re giving away 35 books right now! This months’ books are Husband & Wife by Leah Stewart and The Wilding by Benjamin Percy). And I’m pretty sure that I’ve introduced some great authors to some great readers. But no Oprah like powers. For now.

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Reminder: Beginning today, March 1, 2011, MaNIC MoMMy is hosting March Madness Book-A-Day Giveaway! You’ll have an opportunity to win a book from one of many TDW authors as well as several other authors who may be new to you. Every day there’s a winner and, at the end of the month, a GRAND PRIZE WINNER. Interested? Please click the link for details.

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Anna Fields’ Confessions of a Rebel Debutante in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Anna Fields and Confessions of a Rebel Debutante. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

The Revealing of Catherine McKenzie

February 23, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

After her success with debut novel Spin in 2010, Canadian author Catherine McKenzie’s second novel Arranged — released in early January 2011 — fulfilled her dream. For ARRANGED hit the Globe & Mail’s Canadian Bestseller list at #10 on January 22, 2011! And how appropriate for a determined, dedicated writer who campaigns and believes I bet we can make these books best sellers — books by other authors, that is. (More about this site next week.)

In a two sentence description, Arranged is: A wonderful romance of bizarre coincidence that tugs at the heart. It’s a refreshingly new take on love far from the conventions of love, where you take leaps and bounds of faith to trust that karma will be kind.

And Praise:

“Catherine McKenzie’s ARRANGED is a satisfying and entertaining romance that puts a very contemporary twist on old-fashioned ideas about marriage. I inhaled it in an afternoon, rooting for its heroine to fine the love she longs for.” – Leah Stewart, author of Body of a Girl and Husband & Wife

“A novel that explores what happens when what you think you want collides with what you really need. Catherine McKenzie’s Arranged is a rare book: smart, funny, honest and absorbing.” – Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy

The Divining Wand has scheduled a presentation/review of Arranged for Monday, March 7, 2011 but, between now and then, let’s meet the author through her “official” bio:

CATHERINE McKENZIE was born and raised in Montreal where she now works as a litigator. When not serving on many professional associations, she teaches part-time at McGill University’s faculty of law. Her bestselling first novel, Spin, was released to critical acclaim in 2010. Arranged is her second book.

And now it’s time to get to know more about Catherine, up close and personal:

Q: How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A: I only need one: hectic.

Q: What is your motto or maxim?
A: Don’t plan your life; live it.

Q: How would you describe perfect happiness?
A:Being curled up with a great book.

Q: What’s your greatest fear?
A: Snakes. I hate snakes, I hate ’em.

Q: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A: Hard to choose one place, but a cabin on a lake sounds pretty good. Or at the base of a mountain wouldn’t suck either.

Q: With whom in history do you most identify?
A: I’ve always been partial to Mary Queen of Scots. She got a raw deal.

Q: Which living person do you most admire?
A: I don’t generally “admire” people, but can be blown away by people’s actions and deeds.

Q: What are your most overused words or phrases?
A: It’s funny because; just; that.

Q: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A: I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut. Or a professional tennis player.

Q: What is your greatest achievement?
A: To be lucky enough to be in a position to have people want to know these types of things about me.

Q: What’s your greatest flaw?
A: Taking on too much.

Q: What’s your best quality?
A: Answering this question would change previous answer to “arrogance”.

Q: What do you regret most?
A: The path not chosen.

Q: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A: Steffi Graf.

Q: What trait is most noticeable about you?
A: I talk a lot.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Han Solo.

Q: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A: Darth Vader.

Q: If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A: Andre Agassi. “I followed your whole career, and I loved you book.”

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve?
A: Being asked how I have time to write.

Q: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A: Reading. Watching TV.

Q: What’s your fantasy profession?
A: Astronaut.

Q: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
A: Intelligence. Humor. Good dental hygiene.

Q: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
A: Pasta.

Q: What are your 5 favorite songs?
A: Impossible question to answer.

Q: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A: Equally impossible.

Thought-provoking, thoughtful, and always ready for a new challenge, Catherine McKenzie is a fascinating author to follow on Twitter and become a friend on Facebook.

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Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of Kristina McMorris’s Letters from Home in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Kristina McMorris and Letters from Home. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is tonight at 7:00 p.m. EST with the winners to be announced here in tomorrow’s post. If you enter, please return tomorrow to see if you’re a winner.

Writing Rituals, Secrets, and Superstitions, V

February 10, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Profiles, Q&A

Yes or no? For every writer there are intangible elements — personal habits — that allow the mind to roam and find its comfort zone when the words aren’t flowing. To take a look at what some of these practices include, The Divining Wand asked its authors:

Do you have any unusual writing rituals, secrets or superstitions that always work when all else fails?

This week provides the final responses, including one from new TDW author Catherine McKenzie:

~Stacey Ballis (Good Enough to Eat, The Spinster Sisters, Room for Improvement, the rest in Bibliography):

“Never underestimate the power of a nap, particularly with the television on. The weird midday dreams that sneak in can be very inspiring. And if nothing comes, at least you are well rested.”

~Dee DeTarsio (The Scent of Jade [Kindle Edition]):

It’s “show and tell” on video.

~Tawna Fenske (Making Waves debuting August 2011, Believe It or Not in January 2012, and Let It Breathe August 2012):

“Chianti. Sangiovese. Sometimes Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.”

~Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt):

“I go for a walk in the woods.”

~ Shana Mahaffey (Sounds Like Crazy):

“I have all three. First, because I am inspired by my grandfather, Joseph McGrath, especially since on his deathbed I promised if he’d help me from the “’other side,’” I would dedicate everything I write to him. He was a writer and a coach. At the start of each day, I touch his old IBM Selectric for good writing when I begin. When I begin, I always close my eyes, imagine him there, and then start. For when I am really stuck, I keep his old sweater in my office. I will wrap it around my neck on those occasions where slogging through mud in cement shoes is easier than writing.”

~Catherine McKenzie (Arranged, Spin):

“Nope. I use many things depending on the day. A certain song. A certain place. And to crib from James Frey: When all else fails, I turn to Dylan. And when Dylan fails, I call it a day.”

~Keetha DePriest Mosley [formerly Reed] (Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern, More Culinary Kudzu: Recollections & Recipes from Growing Up Southern:

“At one time I would have found this infuriating advice but the one thing that always, no matter what, always works, is writing. Sometimes I take a break from the project I’m working on to do something different, such as write a letter to a favorite teacher or an ode to caramel. I remind myself that playing with words is fun, that writing is fun. Writing something – anything! – helps jolt anything loose that has me hung up: doubts, that evil internal editor, or just a thorny plot snafu.”

~Ivy Pochoda (The Art of Disappearing):

“I stare at my bookshelves.”

~Kristina Riggle (Real Life & Liars and The Life You’ve Imagined, and The Things We Didn’t Say coming June 28, 2011):

“I’m not the least bit superstitious about my writing, but I have been known to switch from the keyboard to writing longhand on paper when I’m really stuck. Not so much a secret or a ritual, but it’s a little trick that jumpstarts a sluggish brain somehow.”

~Lori Roy (Bent Road coming March 31, 2011):

“I have no secrets or superstitions, but I do drink green tea whenever I write, and I generally write with my feet propped up on my desk.”

~Kim Stagliano (All I Can Handle: I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism):

“I prefer to write on an old laptop while propped up on pillows on my bed.”

~Leah Stewart (Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, Body of a Girl):

“I change my surroundings–go from my office to a coffee shop, say–and switch from the computer to pen and paper.”

~Therese Walsh (The Last Will of Moira Leahy):

“Yes, to never, ever talk about my secret rituals. Just kidding. I don’t really have any—unless lucky pencils count. For The Last Will of Moira Leahy, I used a whole box of natural pencils by Focus (#2s, of course). For my current project, I’ve been using angular soft-to-the-touch pencils by Dixon . When I feel stuck in my manuscript, I almost always transition to pencil and paper to work through the problem.”

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Announcement: The winners of Lauren Baratz-Logsted’s The Twin’s Daughter are EJ Knapp and Heather. And the winner of the Sisters 8 Series, including Petal’s Problems is Megan. Congratulations!

Please email diviningwand (at) gmail (dot) com with your mailing address and your book(s) will be sent out promptly.