I recently interviewed Meg Tilly for GalleyCat about Gemma, her first novel in more than a dozen years. As we were talking, she told me a story about the story’s beginnings that I knew would be of interest to Beatrice readers who are trying to find their own writing voices, so I asked her to email me more of the details so I could present them to you.
People have asked me how I managed to get inside the mind of Hazen Wood, the thirty-six year old pedophile in Gemma. How was I able to make his thought process so realistic, to figure out what his motivations were? They want to know how it felt to write him; was it hard for me, given my background with this type of predator?
The answer is a complex one. Yes, I had an enormous amount of resistance to writing anything from this man’s point of view, let alone a novel where he is one of two principal characters. I don’t think I ever would have voluntarily chosen to spend even fifteen minutes of my adult life in his company.
The Hazen in my book first came into being in 1999. After Singing Songs was published by Dutton in 1994, I became severely blocked. The reaction from my family to the fact that I had not only written, but even worse, published my memories as a child was…to put it lightly…not pleased. When Singing Songs first came out, only one member of my family was speaking to me.
I hadn’t thought it through, realized how violent their rejection of me was going to be. I figured since the rest of the world thought it was fiction, why would they care?
30 October 2006 | guest authors |
Alan Fox is the director of StoryFocus, a corporate communications firm, and has managed more than 350 publicity campaigns including work on behalf of major publishers, Hollywood film studios, and a wide range of leading companies. He’s also a novelist who chose to publish The Seeker in Forever himself and is using his own publicity background to get the word out. In this essay for Beatrice, he explains how solid PR work isn’t just about knowing the right tactics to use; it’s about having a strategy in place that those tactics will serve.
I have found, through 14 years in the field, that a lot of people don’t understand the true nature of publicity. If you are interested in writing as a human enterprise, and you want to know one of the great secrets of the story industry, then you’ll want to pay attention to this. I have not seen this adequately explained anywhere.
Publicity was born out of news writing. News writing was born out of story.
Most people think publicity was born of advertising. They have totally the wrong picture in their heads. It’s not that at all. To go there is to go in the wrong direction.
It’s sad to see writers work for years and then go wrong.
For a writer of stories, publicity is not going off to fight a strange war in an alien territory. Publicity is coming home. You’re coming home to your finished story. You will find quality. And there you will stand. And you will not let anyone move you.
23 October 2006 | guest authors |