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Author Interview with the Wonderful Nancy Klann-Moren

A while back I posted a review of a wonderful book called the The Clock of Life by Nancy Klann-Moren.   And Nancy was nice enough to give us an interview with some insight into who she is, her books, and her writing process!  (Plus, she also recently found out that the The Clock of Life is a finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Awards! Exciting : ) So check out this interview with the wonderful Nancy Klann-Moren:

First let us get to know you : ) Tell us a little bit about who you are.

Over the years I’ve had two husbands, two sons, 5 grand kids, and a whole mess of cats.

I learned to handicap the ponies and take no prisoners at the poker table, from my bookie Grandpa.  On my eleventh birthday Gramps took me to the track, where I ate my first pastrami sandwich and then picked the daily double, to win $657.

I love the folds on the legs of toddlers, a great shower head, convertibles, a 75% off sale, the chatter of morning birds, the Basque country, cheeseburgers, long, long walks along the ocean shore, and the taxi drivers in France―really.

I make primitive wall hangings from found objects collected on walks.  I gather pods and seeds from trees, and pieces of driftwood, and the occasional palm cloth.

I love to make up stories and have been writing fiction for over 15 years.

How did you come with your idea for the book The Clock of Life in particular?

Similar to a novel I’m working on now, The Clock Of Life began as a short story of about 4,000 words.  It deals with friendship, and also bigotry.

One morning while in a workshop at The Santa Barbara Writers Conference, I read my short story. When I finished, the instructor, Sid Stebel, asked what I was doing for the next couple years, because, “What you have written isn’t a short story, it’s a novel.” Because of the weight of the subject matter, I took up the challenge.

The idea of human inequality and how it comes to be has always been a concept I’m unable to understand, so the foundation of that aspect of the book was more emotional than cerebral.  And, it has always been hard for me to stomach the politics of why we went into Vietnam (and most wars since.)  Looking back at those times in our history, it’s clear to me our American protests changed the status quo.

There was a lot of research involved, but I had a ball weaving these two chapters of our history, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, throughout the novel.

Do you have any favorite times or places to write?

I write on the computer, in my office.  The first and most difficult step is sitting my butt in the chair and giving my writing a higher priority than, oh, everything else.  I don’t write in coffee shops, or public places, and I don’t have a musical playlist to write to because I prefer silence.  I “see” the scenes in my head, and “hear” the voices during the conversations.  For me, outside noise gets in the way of the process.

This is a question I have personally, but others may have too (hopefully it’s not just me); when you write have you already fully created your characters (like their whole history, personality, etc.) or do they develop it as you write? You had amazing characters in The Clock of Life, so I’m curious as to what your process was.

As I said before, The Clock Of Life was originally a short story.  In writing that, most of the character’s personalities evolved organically.  I imagined them as if I was watching a film, and they did indeed develop as I wrote.

When I began the novel I already had a relationship with most of them, with the exception of Jason Lee’s father.  Since he died in Vietnam before the tale begins, in the early chapters his life’s story is conveyed by others.  By the time I got to chapter 19, (when Jason Lee finds his father’s journal from March 1965, when he went to Selma to take part in the Right-to-Vote march from Selma to Montgomery) I realized I didn’t really understand the man.  The major events were there, but the chapter read more like a history lesson than a personal journal.

So, I worked up a character study.  In doing so I found out a lot about his personality.  While being kind and compassionate, at the same time he was hot-tempered, impatient, and he was extremely fond of the word douchebag.  I discovered why he felt the way he did about civil rights, and was able to use that later in the book.  That freed me up to write the journal entries with his unique voice and persona.

 I know you have a book of short stories out called Like the Flies on the Patio, tell us a little about that.

Thanks for asking about that.  I started writing short stories as a creative outlet while on long plane rides traveling for my work in advertising and marketing. I love the discipline, with its economy of words.  There’s a magical element about peeling the layers and exploring the characters motives, their decency, and their struggle to make sense of the turns their lives have taken.  Most of the stories in this collection revolve around friendships, real or imagined.  The protagonists and narrators have distinctive voices that are tragic, funny, and poignant at the same time.

 Do you have any other books or stories that you are currently working on?

Yes.  It also started out as a short story.  Without giving away too much, the premise is loosely based on the time a friend and I found an old diary, and went to find the person who wrote it.  This novel takes two women on a cross country road trip.  Their names are not Thelma and Louise, but I’m hoping their story will be just as memorable.

Who are some of your favorite authors to read? Are there any who inspired you?

Ray Bradbury, Flannary O’Connor, Pat Conroy, Susan Cisneros

From these skilled pros I learned that writing can be playful.  I’m drawn to the rhythms throughout their work.  For me, they transform writing from the craft of storytelling, to fine art.

Do you have any advice for new writers out there?

Getting advice on how I should write never worked very well for me because my process is more organic than structured or disciplined. The two things I can say for sure are, don’t give up, and don’t let others make you doubt yourself (or if they do, shake it off fast and get back to your project.) Keep going no matter how long it takes, because it’s the only way it will happen.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yes.  Readers hold the key to any writer’s heart.  Readers are our raison d’être, and I am particularly grateful to everyone who has expressed appreciation for my efforts.

Check out Nancy’s website here and my review of The Clock of Life here.



Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes From Books I’ve Read!

Top Ten Quotes From Books I’ve Read Thus Far

Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

I love finding quotes worth saving and remembering within books.  It’s like finding buried treasure.  Every time you recall the quote it’ll bring a smile to your face or a tear to your eye for some reason or other. And they can mean completely different things to everyone. It’s wonderful! So here are 10 of my favorite quotes (not all of them of course… I don’t really have a ranking system and they speak to me differently at different times):

The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo

People say strange things, the boy thought.  Sometimes it’s better to be with the sheep, who don’t say anything.  And better still to be alone with one’s books.  They tell their incredible stories at the time when you want to hear them.  But when you’re talking to people they say some things that are so strange that you don’t know how to continue the conversation.

The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

 “Did you ever notice that all machines are made for some reason?” he asked Isabelle.  “They are built to make you laugh, like the mouse here, or tell the time, like clocks, or to fill you with wonder, like the automaton.  Maybe that’s why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn’t able to do what it was meant to do.

“You know, machines never have any extra parts.  They have the exact same number and type of parts they need.  So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason.  And that means you have to be here for some reason too.”

The Count of Monte CristoThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

   …and never forget that until the day when God deigns to unveil the future to mankind, all human wisdom is contained in these two words: ‘wait’ and ‘hope’.

Mansfield ParkMansfield Park by Jane Austen

It was a gloomy prospect, and all that she could do was to throw a mist over it, and hope when the mist cleared away, she could see something else.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne CollinsGregor the Overlander by Suzanne  Collins 

Even if times got bad, he would never again deny himself the possibility that the future might be happy even if the present was painful. He would allow himself dreams.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.

Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood, #5)Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

You get older and you learn there is one sentence just four worlds long and if you can say it to yourself it offers more comfort than almost any other. It goes like this… Ready ” “Ready.” “At least I tried.”

The Woman Who Died a Lot (Thursday Next, #7)The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde

“Do I have to talk to insane people?”
“You’re a librarian now. I’m afraid it’s mandatory.”

The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2)The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

“It had flaws, but what does that matter when it comes to matters of the heart? We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways, unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.”

All About Marissa Meyer: Author Inspiration and Signed Cinder Giveaway Time!

Marissa Meyer and Me!

Marissa Meyer and Me!

I recently had the privilege of attending Marissa Meyer’s visit and book signing at the Edina, MN Barnes and Noble.  It took a 3 hour drive navigating through a nice spring blizzard all while suffering from a nasty sinus infection, but totally worth it.  I highly encourage anyone who has the opportunity to see Marissa speak, to make sure they go!  She was humorous, informative about books to come ;), and incredibly inspiring.

I came only expecting a reading from her latest book, Scarlet, but it was so much more.  She explained about how she has grown up writing fan-fiction about the late anime show Sailor Moon and how that morphed into entering writing contests; in particular NaNoWriMo, which eventually (and I say eventually because it sounded like a long and arduous development as the writing, editing, and re-writing process takes a very long time! which was unfortunately reassuring) led to the amazing Lunar Chronicles.  Even as inspiring as all that is, the part I found the most fascinating was that Meyer found writing fanfic within an online community so beneficial. She said it was easier to share her writing online rather than show her uber “private” notebooks to people in person. This is exactly why I started blogging; the feedback from wonderful readers, to know that others are reading are what I have to say even if it isn’t the best writing.  Practice makes perfection or at least a better writer.

Marissa also talked about her upcoming books in the Lunar chronicles; Cress and Winter.  I was glad to know that the books will contain all of the characters from the previous books along with introducing some amazing new ones! A super techy Rapunzel for Cress and Winter will contain Snow White.  Plus she talked of wanting a prequel for Queen Levana and she said she has two other bookish ideas in mind.  One a standalone and another series idea; sooo exciting! And the movie rights have been sold for Cinder, to whom is unknown to us until a later date, so hopefully (please, please, please!) it will be made into a (well-done) movie!! Then she told a couple of twisted fairy tales I thoroughly enjoyed.

Cinder Marissa Meyer Young Adult Sci-Fi Rating: 4

And…Hopefully you already know that Cinder is amazing and if you don’t yet know because you haven’t gotten a chance to read it, hopefully I’ve started to convince you.  So, either way; if you already love the series or are ready to finally give it a try I’ve got a giveaway for you! A signed copy of the paperback edition of Cinder 🙂

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents 13 years of age and older. The winner will be notified via e-mail the day after the contest has ended and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen in their place. Good Luck!

Enter Here!

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