Friday, October 21, 2011

Author Spotlight: Melissa Goodwin and Writing in the Dark

***FYI, for those of your stopping by because of the news (*see my profile! There's something new there!*) I'll be blogging about it Monday. :) ***

Hello all, and welcome to this week's Author Spotlight. I've brought the author, and my loyal blog followers have provided the questions. This week we have Melisssa Ann Goodwin with us. Hi Melissa! Ready, set, go!

The Writing Process
: What do you look at when writing - meaning, window, wall, photos, etc.?
I write with my eyes closed. I know that seems a little weird. I think maybe I was supposed to be a filmmaker, because I always “see” the scenes in my stories as though I am watching a movie. So it’s easier for me to see my movie with my eyes closed. I write at the computer, and I can type pretty fast, but I’m not that accurate even with my eyes open. I make lots of mistakes typing with my eyes closed, but usually I can figure out what I wrote because I remember what I was seeing in my imagination when I wrote it.

(Cool. I get my best ideas in the dark, so this is kind of the same thing!)

The Publishing Process: Has an editor annihilated your absolutely favorite line in your book? Did you take it meekly or fight for your words?
It wasn’t so much that the editor annihilated my line, as that she just took all the fun out of it! It was a line in The Christmas Village, when Grandma explains to Jamie what “piece de resistance” means. But she gives him a playful explanation, not a literal one. The editor wanted to have Grandma give a literal translation. To me, what she suggested sounded like Grandma was reading a definition from the dictionary. BORING. I told the editor exactly what I just said a minute ago, “You took all the fun out of it!” My version stayed. Interestingly, the editor also told me, “I just put things out there, but I like it when writers have their own point of view.” Sometimes writers feel too powerless, and I think this shows that perhaps they should be more confident about sticking to their guns when they feel strongly about it.

Writing Miscellany: Do you fear that your ideas would dry up?
I used to be petrified about this. But then I took a Tom Bird workshop, where he had us sit and write on giant pieces of paper and we had to write from left to right and top to bottom and just keep writing and writing without stopping or thinking or thinking or stopping and keep on going without stopping forever and ever amen. I thought this was extremely strange, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me as a writer. As the hand moved across the page, somehow stuff moved from the brain through the hand to the paper – stuff that I had no idea was in there, waiting to come out. I’m always a little scared before I sit down to write, but I’ve learned to trust in the idea that “if you write stuff, it will come.”

Random or Weird questions: What is your opinion on Pluto no longer being a planet?
I’m a Scorpio, so this was very hard for me because Pluto was one of my ruling planets, along with Mars. But I’ve gotten over it, because, really, who needs TWO planets bossing you around?

Jamie wished that he could live in his grandma's perfect little Christmas village, and now that wish has magically come true. But is the village really what it seems? What stunning secret does it hold? And how will Jamie ever get back home? The Christmas Village is a holiday adventure the whole family will love, filled with suspense, secrets and surprises to the very last page.

Available on Amazon
and Smashwords!
The Christmas Village Book Blog
Melissa's personal Blog


51 comments:

Emily Rose said...

Wonderful interview! I get my ideas at the most random moments - sometimes it's during the day, sometimes it's at night.

Christina Lee said...

That looks like an awesome book to read with my little guy!!!

And Lydia, I can wait to SQUEE with you on Monday (I think...congrats)!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

OMG OMG OMG! How can I concentrate on the interview after I've just saw your announcement in the sidebar? CONGRATS!!!!!

(great interview btw)

Isis Rushdan said...

Wonderful interveiw with Melissa.

I saw on another blog where someone congratulated you on your sale. WOO-HOO! You must still be happy dancing. Good deal in a pre-empt! WAY TO GO!!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I need to try Tom Bird's trick. And you write with your eyes closed? I wouldn't be able to read what I wrote if I did that!

Anne Gallagher said...

Congratulations Lydia! That's fantastic news.

And thanks for the interview. I agree with Alex, I need to try Tom Bird's trick. We used to free write in college but not quite like that.

Matthew MacNish said...

The fact that you posted something else on the same day of your big news just proves your humility, and how awesome you are.

Go Lydia!

Old Kitty said...

Awww the book sounds so adorably intriguing! Yay!! Good luck Melissa!!

I need to get a great big piece of paper and do that Tom Bird exercise too!! Yay!!

Thanks Lydia!! Take care
x

Little Ms. Fun said...

LOL @ the Scorpio comment. I wonder how she feels about the additional horoscope sign...Oh astrology!

Writers block should never be feared because life always has new experiences. Those new experiences should trigger the creativity in your writing.

Suze said...

Lydia, congrats on the pub date!!

Clarissa Draper said...

I am so excited about your news! I also had problems concentrating on the interview. However, I just loved the interview! I have never thought about writing with my eyes closed. How cool. I totally understand the desire to see the scene in your mind while you write. I'm going to try it someday soon.

salarsenッ said...

Back in high school, I had an English teacher have us use Tom's continuous writing exercise. I thought it was a waste of time, but I was amazed at what I wrote. Hmmm...I think I'll have to try this on my own, again. Thanks for the reminder. Best of luck to you, Melissa.

BECKY said...

Love the interview! Especially Melissa's comment: "...because, really, who needs TWO planets bossing you around?" :)

Oh, and congrats on the book!

Michael G-G said...

I'm with Matt MacNish.

Thanks for introducing me to Melissa.

Becky Mahoney said...

Eeeee, congratulations!

lbdiamond said...

Hi, Melissa. Love this interview. Congrats to your success!!!

Lydia--WOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! OMG, OMG, OMG! SO happy for you!!!!!!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lydia - fantastic news .. so well done ..

and Melissa's book does look such fun ..

Cheers Hilary

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Melissa..your book sounds wonderful. Good luck and lots of publishing success.

Lydia..just read your publishing news. Thrilled for you. Way to go, girl!

Linda Gray said...

WOW LYDIA, CONGRATULATIONS!

Great interview, too. Melissa's writing insights are wonderful, and I totally agree with her about Pluto--who needs two bossy planets? Not any Scorpio I've ever met.

cherie said...

Great interview! I like how she stuck up for her fave line.

and, Lydia...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! SO AWESOME! Can't wait for your book to come out! <3 <3 <3

Krispy said...

Love Melissa's answer to the Pluto question!

CONGRATS AGAIN, Lydia!

Heather said...

Congratulations on your news!!! That's fantastic! I'm doing the happy dance for you!!!

And thanks to Melissa for this great guest post. I love that she writes with her eyes closed, that is awesome.

Ghenet Myrthil said...

Great interview!

And even greater news! Congrats!!! Can't wait to hear more about it on Monday. :D

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Hi Everyone! Sorry I'm a little late to the party - had computer trouble this morning. First - Lydia CONGRATULATIONS on your fabulous news, and many thanks for having me here on your blog. Everyone, thanks for the kind words and comments - I'm delighted to meet you all.

LD Masterson said...

Doing a happy dance for your good news.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Great author profile, and I love that book cover!

(and psst... Big Fat Congratulations, my friend!)

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Thanks Jennifer! Check out the youtube video trailer too -it's pretty cool.

Lydia Kang said...

Oh and by the way...my Blogger background totally died today! So have a new one. :)

Thanks for coming over Melissa!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great interview - I love how you stood up to keep the fun in that line - makes sense!!

And Lydia - SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!! I'm so thrilled for you!!! Happy dancing way up here in Canada and sending virtual hugs and cupcakes!!

Accidentalwriter said...

Really enjoyed the interview. Some great strategies for combating the dreaded writers' block. I've often wondered how my writing would be impacted if I lost my sight - this interview has added another dimension to the manner in which I will approach my work...so thank you.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Jemi, thanks! I knew I just couldn't let her change it. I just couldn't! It wasn't a French lesson, it was a funny line in a kid's story!

Accidental, I actually had this revelation one day, that even if I went blind, I could still write. It was kind of a weird thought, but somehow comforting! Thanks for your kind words.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Lydia - thank you for having me here. Your followers are terrific, so supportive and engaged. And fun. Feel like I've made some new friends today.

Emy Shin said...

It's really amazing that you wrote with your eyes closed. :)

And THE CHRISTMAS VILLAGE sounds really great.

julie fedderson said...

Great interview, love the Pluto answer. And congratulations on the official announcement!! Looks dang good in print, I tell ya.

Nancy said...

I am typing this with my eyes cosed so I am curious how it will look. But I appreciate the tips she gave and think your news is wonderful as well.

(not too shabby in the re-read, only one error)

Carrie Butler said...

Great interview! :)

Oh my goodness! Congratulations! :D I'm so happy for you!

Shelley Munro said...

Fun interview. The Christmas Village sounds charming.

Amie Kaufman said...

Firstly, flipping out over your news and you better be blogging the whole story on Monday, because we want DETAILS!

Secondly, great interview! I write with my eyes closed too, sometimes -- but I really like the advice of Melissa's editor. Have your own point of view, defend your story where you need to!

catherinemjohnson.wordpress.com said...

That is so quick! So happy for you, can't wait for details. Congrats!

Great interview and so happy you stuck to your guns with that edit, thanks for the advice on sticking up for yourself.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Emy - thanks! I have to edit right after, so that I remember what I was writing if I can't read it!

Julie - as planets go, Pluto was kind of a pain anyway...

Nancy- I can't read a word you wrote! :-)

Carrie: Thanks!

Amie - a kindred spirit!

Shelley: Thanks to you as well.

Cathering - her statement was eye-opening for me too. She wants her writers to know who they are and what they think, not just say, "yes, ma'am" to everything she says.

Pleased to meet you all.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Oh! Perfect timing! While we were sleeping....The Christmas Village became available as Kindle E-book on Amazon. So here is the link:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Christmas-Village-ebook/dp/B005Y3R8TE/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319294259&sr=1-3

Giovanna said...

Way to gooooo! I just see that you are going to be published, so happy for you, well deserved.

Munk said...

Great interview Melissa and Lydia.
Seeing scenes is believing scenes.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've tried writing with my eyes closed, as well; it really did help to visualize the characters and the setting.

I love the sound of The Christmas Village! I always enjoy looking at those miniature towns . . . though Jamie's sounds a bit sinister.

(And I believe a huge CONGRATULATIONS, LYDIA! is in order!)

Kathie Papasso said...

Congrats Lydia!
Great interview!!
Love Melissa's book, I just got it in the mail and anxious to start it.. have adeadline on two paintings I'm workig on so wil get into it next week for sure!! Can't wait!!

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Munk: Yes, Stephen King says to sit with eyes closed and visualize before writing - I do that, but then I just start typing...

Golden Eagle: I know there is bit of "ominous-ness" (did I just make up a word??) to the lead and the trailer, but it actually isn't sinister. It's just that it's not ALL Christmasy - there's adventure too..so...don't be scared!


Kathie: Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Can't wait for you to read it - but finish those paintings first!! BTW, have I ever mentioned how GORGEOUS your work is?

Nas Dean said...

Great interview. Loved reading, thanks for sharing Melissa!

Now off to read Lydia's profile for her news...

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Thanks Nas, nice to meet you! And so excited for Lydia too!

Tracy Jo said...

Awesome interview! I love that you write with your eyes closed. I have caught myself doing that same thing or completely zoning out looking at the wall. Love that you stood up for your words. I am a Scorpio too! I am off to Amazon now to check out your book. Thank you!!

Leslie Rose said...

Love the "make a movie in your head* technique. It speaks to the visual demands of my brain. WOW-WOW-WOW Lydia, congrats on your book deal. Fantastic news.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

Tracy Jo - thanks for the kind words and I hope you love the book. Scorpios rock.

Leslie Rose - yes, I guess I'm totally a visual person. It's always been that way - movies in my head. Odd duckie, I am :-)

 
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