Guest: Author Diane Farr

2015-headshotI am pleased to welcome author Diane Farr. Diane and I met through a mutual writer friend on Facebook, who was also a guest of mine here.

Welcome, Diane!

Thank you, Tonette. I shall try not to embarrass myself.

While I was considering future guests, you jumped to mind since I can’t resist encouraging a fellow poet! (Our Hound is also a poet.) Your first published work was poetry, when you were young. Can you tell us a little about your poetry?
Oh dear. I wrote my first poem at the age of five:
Springtime, springtime
Is so gay
I wish it would always
Be like May.

Fortunately for my future career, I quickly moved on to prose — although it’s true that my first published work was a childhood poem that tickled the fancy of a columnist for the Bakersfield Californian. In the interest of full disclosure, I shall reproduce it here and let you judge its merits for yourself:
The lightning flashes! The thunder roars!
The whole house shakes, clear down to its floors!
The rain is pouring so thick and so fast
That I sit here and wonder how long it will last.
But one thing is certain, be it near or far,
The cause of this rain is a newly-washed car.

It is a sad commentary on the state of our culture that my youthful attempts at light verse were rewarded with publication, when so many actual poets languish in obscurity. If you are among them, please comfort yourself with the knowledge that I received neither fortune nor fame for my efforts —which is possibly the only feature my verses share with the work of real poets.
My father served as my literary agent in those days. He used to rummage through the trash and extract the scribblings I threw away, unaware that my judgment of their worth was the correct one. I actually have a framed letter sent to him by Barbara Walters. It thanks him for sending her his daughter’s “very amusing poem” and assures him that she will read it aloud on NBC’s Today Show someday, if time permits. Did time ever permit? Alas, we do not know. The VCR was yet to be invented.

Most of your novels are Regency Romances. What made you choose this setting for your stories?
“Choose” is an interesting word. I had little choice in the matter, since the reason why I began writing The Nobody was that Georgette Heyer had been dead for nearly two decades, and seemed likely to remain so. I was a Heyer junkie and needed a fix. I’d read all of her books, most of them multiple times, and wanted a new one in the worst way. In my desperation, I sat down and wrote the book I wanted to read: A Georgette Heyer novel with kisses (which are normally missing from her books). Did it supply the needed fix? No. I am not, and never will be, Georgette Heyer. But if you’re a hardcore smoker and Nicorette is all that’s available, you can “make do” with Nicorette. Or so I am told.
Like many new authors, I began by imitating an author I admired and discovered my own voice along the way. The Nobody is highly derivative and, in my opinion, tries a bit too hard. This is because I wrote it for my own amusement and deliberately tried to recreate, to the extent I could, a voice that was not my own. I even wrote it using English spelling (all changed to American by my publisher, because that’s the way they rolled). But in the places where I sounded least like Ms. Heyer, I discovered I sounded most like myself. So I learned. The book was a double RITA finalist — Best Regency and Best First Book — so I must have done something right. But if I had really channeled the Grand Georgette, she surely would have won!
[Wow! Congrats!-T]

Do you write in any other genre?
I was a theater major so, logically, my first “real” publication —the kind where they pay you — was as a playwright. (I still tell my stories largely through dialogue.) Although I am writing another Regency at the moment, my most recent books were contemporary tales. Young Adult Paranormal, I believe is the classification. You know, teenagers with powers.

The Spellspinners is a Young Adult supernatural series. Why did you choose to do a YA series?
My agent asked me to. Really! I am such a wimp.
About ten years ago, the market for historical romance narrowed. Indie publishing had not yet taken off, and the Big Six (I guess they are the Big Five now, more’s the pity) were only interested in publishing “hot” historicals. As I said at the time, and still believe, adding sex scenes to my books is like pouring mustard on ice cream. Nothing wrong with mustard; I’m fond of it. But it adds nothing to the ice cream experience and, in fact, can ruin the effect. So my agent said, okay, if you don’t want to put sex scenes in your historicals, try writing YA.

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How did the idea for The Spellspinners come to you?
My agent said, “How about a teenage witch?” (Note: It’s not an agent’s job to be creative.) I had the sneaking suspicion that “teenage witch” had already been done. Was, in fact, well-traveled territory. But sometimes an idea that leaves you cold can spark one that grabs you. I started thinking “What if…” and Wicked Cool was born.

I see there are three in the series. Is this a complete trilogy, or are you planning on writing more?
The trilogy is complete (Wicked Cool, Scary Cool, Epic Cool) but there are certainly more books to be written. I hope someone else writes them. I am the world’s slowest writer. In my dreams, Amazon picks up The Spellspinners as one of its “Kindle Worlds” and other people write books set in the world I created. I’d love to read Raina’s story, for example, or Rune’s, or even Amber’s … and since there are fifty spellspinners in the world at any given time, there could also be historicals that feature spellspinners. The sky’s the limit. I just don’t think I have enough years ahead of me to write all those books!

Will you be doing any more YA?
I admit, there are at least two YA books among my “starts.” (Every writer has folders full of “starts,” I’m sure.) One is a Regency-set spellspinner book, and the other is a book called Twinset that features a pair of far-from-identical twins. But as I think I may have mentioned, I am the world’s slowest writer. So these books may or may not actually get written!

I read a lot of YA, as do many of my adult friends. Do you hear from your ‘mature’ readers?
I do indeed. It seems there are a lot of mothers out there who screen books before giving them to their kids — and, I’m happy to say, many adults who (like you and me) read YA for pleasure.

I just finished the first Spellspinners book and I have to say, I am really into finding out what happens. You are very good at dialogue, I must say! You have a good balance of describing without over-detailing. Without giving anything away, I am so pleased that you didn’t fall into some of the plot pits that so many writers do; the relationships are much more natural than most. I am not a big Regency reader, but I really want to check into yours since I see what you can do.
Thank you! I’m very pleased to hear that, and hope you enjoy my other books if you pick them up.

How do you do your research on the Regency era? Do your readers ever try to catch you in a mistake? (I hear hardcore Regency readers are notorious for that!)
You are right! Diehard Regency readers are seeking a time-travel vacation, and if you make an egregious error you jolt them rudely out of the fantasy. Thank God for Google — and Webster’s. (Webster’s Dictionary tells you the first recorded instance of a word being used. This helps you avoid anachronisms — like having someone in 1818 greet someone else with “hello.”)
Once I had a situation where someone had to carry a leather bag with handles, like a Gladstone bag. My book was set in 1807 and William Gladstone wasn’t Prime Minister until 1868. So I called it a “Glastonbury bag.” There is no such thing as a Glastonbury bag, but neither my editor nor my copy editor caught it — and, to date, no reader has called me on it either. Sometimes it’s better to make something up than use a term you know is wrong!
[Love it!-T]

shelfie

Diane, you are a native Californian, right? Looking at your bio, I see that you worked for Hanna-Barbera. How cool! You HAVE to tell us about that!
I was basically the idealistic young actress who went to Hollywood and got a job in the industry while waiting for her big break. Hanna-Barbera was a great place to learn the ropes, especially since I was, at the time, concentrating on voiceover acting. What better place to study than an animation studio? My job was hectic, exciting, high-pressure and studded with celebrities — and I loved it. But any job connected closely to the TV networks is cyclical, and after the mad rush to complete any series there’s a lag where you wait to see whether your series will be dropped or renewed. Most of the production staffers were laid off, but I was promoted to work directly in Joe Barbera’s office. (Although I enjoyed the production assistant work more!) I hoped to return to the production side of things, but received a higher-paying offer to go elsewhere. Since production work is precarious, I took the other offer. Lesson learned the hard way: If you’re happy where you are, stay put.

 

Thanks for your time, Diane Farr! Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
I’d be delighted to connect with you and answer any questions you may have on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/dianefarrpage. I practically live on Facebook. Or you can send me a tweet at @DianeFarr. And I wish every one of you — happy reading!
How can they learn more about you and your work?
Website: www.dianefarrbooks.com
Blog: www.bestbyfarr.com
My Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Diane-Farr/e/B000APO0CY/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
My Smashwords author page: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/dianefarr
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DianeFarr
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dianefarrpage

I want to thank Diane for one of the most fun interviews ever! If we had done it in person, it would have gone on forever!

Diane welcomes comments and questions, but she will only be able to check in afterward because,  (cue the violins!), she is on a cruise in the Caribbean at the time of this posting,
(and I am green with  envy.) I hope you will stop and drop us a line.

 

 

Posted in Anthologies, author interview, author's life, authors, big plans, blogging, book covers, Books, careers, characters, connections, experiences, favorite books, Guest, Guest author, honors, inspirational people, Life, poetry, publishing, Random thoughts, The Author Life, Tonette Joyce, traditional publishing, Uncategorized, writing, youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

My Newest Favorite Military Author

 

Cornelius Ryan Joins Exclusive Company

By Jeff Salter

On these pages, I’ve previously highlighted the remarkable Rick Atkinson (author of the Liberation Trilogy) and I believe I’ve mentioned Stephen Ambrose (most famous for Band of Brothers but my favorite is Pegasus Bridge). Atkinson and Ambrose are indeed at the very pinnacle of my list of fine authors of WW2 non-fiction… and to their elite group I now add Cornelius Ryan. [Note: within the realm of WW2 FICTION, my clear favorite is Jeff Shaara.]

Bless his heart, Ryan died over 42 years ago (1974) and for most of this time I knew him only as the author of two war books which were converted into excellent war movies. I’ve seen each movie many times over. These are, of course, The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far. But I had never taken the time to read the books themselves… and what a treat I’ve been missing.

ryan-cornelius-1

Let me begin with a little biographical capsule of Ryan, born in 1920 in Dublin. He was inspired to write by his favorite English teacher, Frank MacManus. As a youngster, Ryan played the violin; as a young adult he worked at Collinstown Airport and dabbled in amateur theater.

By his early 20s, Ryan was already a war correspondent. Initially covering the air war in Europe, Ryan flew along on fourteen American bombing missions. He then joined Patton’s Third  Army and covered its actions until the end of the European war. He transferred to the Pacific theater in 1945.

According to Wiki: “On a trip to Normandy in 1949 Ryan became interested in telling a more complete story of Operation Overlord than had been produced to date. He began compiling information and conducting over 1000 interviews as he gathered stories from both the Allies and the Germans, as well as the French civilians. In 1956 he began to write down his World War II notes for The Longest Day: 6 June 1944 D-Day, which tells the story of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, published three years later in 1959.”

Along the way becoming a friend of President John F. Kennedy, Ryan published three best-selling books before his cancer death at 54.

bridge-2-far2

A Bridge Too Far is the book I’m just now finishing.

Says an Amazon review: it’s the “masterly chronicle of the Battle of Arnhem, which marshaled the greatest armada of troop-carrying aircraft ever assembled and cost the Allies nearly twice as many casualties as D-Day. In this compelling work of history, Ryan narrates the Allied effort to end the war in Europe in 1944 by dropping the combined airborne forces of the American and British armies behind German lines to capture the crucial bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem. Focusing on a vast cast of characters — from Dutch civilians to British and American strategists to common soldiers and commanders — Ryan brings to life one of the most daring and ill-fated operations of the war. A Bridge Too Far superbly recreates the terror and suspense, the heroism and tragedy of this epic operation, which ended in bitter defeat for the Allies.”

Wiki states: “The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine and the river remained a barrier to their advance into Germany until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees, and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden to form a foothold over the Rhine ended Allied expectations of finishing the war by Christmas 1944.”

My analysis

What has impressed me about Ryan’s account is the futility of a poorly planned mission: on one hand, the courage, sacrifice, and endurance of the troops committed to battle and the civilians caught in the crossfire. On the other hand, the apparently casual acceptance (by higher-ups) of every setback and a seeming willingness to forsake the military and civilians in harm’s way. It was a terrible plan that Montgomery wanted and almost nobody else cared for. But, as he often did, Monty got his way. Too hasty, too incomplete, too optimistic, too short-sighted. The planners lacked information on the enemy strength and the Dutch terrain, they refused to believe info and intel from the Dutch civilians and refused to accept assistance from the Dutch underground.

Pinning all their hopes on the element of surprise, the Allies experienced more surprises than the Germans did. Among the huge failures were the poorly functioning radio sets, the lack of coordination among airborne units (two American, one British, and one Polish), between airborne units and the ground elements, and between all units and their own HQ. Not to mention poor coordination and communication between the distant planners/overseers and the air forces (back in England) who would deliver parachutists, gliders, supplies, and would provide bombing and strafing missions.

To put it succinctly, hardly anyone could communicate directly with anyone they needed to reach in real time. What little info that moved at all, was fragmented and woefully out-of-date. Vitally needed supplies landed more in enemy territory than among the Allies desperately waiting. The weather in England delayed or cancelled flights of reinforcements, supplies, and attack support missions. The Horrocks vanguard of tanks and armored vehicles – confined to a single highway barely sufficient for ordinary traffic – spent most of the nine-day battle bottled up and unable to advance. That left the valiant airborne divisions scrambling and sacrificing to hold their objectives for the relief that never came.

Initially overjoyed at the sight of Allied parachutes and gliders, Dutch civilians naturally assumed Allied ground troops were on the way immediately. Indeed, the Allies could have exploited the surprised Germans if they’d acted quickly — but everything bogged down.

Expecting “liberation” (from German occupation) by the Allies, instead the Dutch faced reprisals and months of deprivation and suffering. Many Dutch cites were reduced to rubble; many civilians were left without homes, property, and food. Market Garden was a dismal defeat both for the Allies and the innocent civilians who happened to be caught between two warring enemies.

longest-day-2

Just a quick word about Ryan’s other major book, which “endures as a masterpiece of living history” (says an Amazon reviewer). I finally read this one a few months ago.

Look at what Robert McNamara has to say about it: “A true classic of World War II history, The Longest Day tells the story of the massive Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Journalist Cornelius Ryan began working on the book in the mid-1950s, while the memories of the D-day participants were still fresh, and he spent three years interviewing D-day survivors in the United States and Europe. * * * Ryan was enormously skillful at weaving small personal stories into the overall narrative * * *. [S]ubsequent historians, dutifully noting its accuracy, have relied heavily on Ryan’s research for their own accounts.”

My Final Word

I may not be able to back this up, but it’s my impression (having read numerous books on WW2) that – prior to Ryan’s 1959 epic – most authors writing on battles and campaigns went solely to the official sources, including the published accounts of generals, public officials, and formal historians. Of course, Ryan also mined those sources exhaustively. But as I see it, Ryan shook things up by additionally interviewing soldiers, airmen, sailors – up and down the ranks – on BOTH sides… as well as civilians in the affected areas. Many of the military histories (prior to Ryan’s 1959 masterpiece) read almost like a detailed account of a chess match — where the decisions were analyzed and the results dissected, but the humanity was overlooked. In Ryan’s accounts, you can feel the tension, fear, pain, hope, despair, and (yes) even humor at times. Without Ryan’s successful approach, I wonder if Ambrose would have hit his stride. Without Ryan and Ambrose, I wonder if Atkinson would have discovered both voice and audience.

My hat’s off to my new buddy, the late Cornelius Ryan.

[JLS # 320]

Posted in author interview, authors, Uncategorized, World War II | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Guest Author: Kathy Bosman

kathy-purpleshirtThis week is set aside for guests, and I decided to ask fellow Clean Reads author Kathy Bosman to join us. Last year she put out a call for short stories with a theme of second chances. The theme intrigued me, and I decided to join in with my story “Flowers for Maddy.” Three other authors – another Clean Reads author E. A. West, and South African authors Leenna Naidoo and Pravina Maharaj – also responded to the call, and I’m amazed at the energy and drive each person has given to the project. The anthology has been available on Amazon since last November, with all proceeds going to the Hope in Christ Orphanage in South Africa, where Kathy lives. I asked Kathy to share with us how the idea for this anthology came about, and she was kind enough to respond. Here she is:

 

What Inspired the Second Chances Anthology
by Kathy Bosman

When I first wrote His Treasure, my story in Second Chances – A Love Anthology, I never envisioned what would happen with my little story. It was inspired by my editor of The Album series who said she’d loved to see a story about Bridget, one of my secondary characters. So, I wrote the story and it was great fun, especially researching the treasure hunting hobby which I’d like to try out one day.

I announced to all my author friends on Facebook that I’d like to form an anthology of stories to put His Treasure into. I’d worked with other indie anthologies and found it to be an interesting experience. The response was quite positive, and after E.A. West’s suggestion of making the proceeds go to charity took off, we became way more focused as a group. It’s as though the idea of donating to a charity made the authors extra-enthusiastic about promoting and working on the project. Which only goes to show the heart of the authors.

I’m so glad the anthology authors agreed with my suggestion to donate to Hope in Christ Orphanage in Ingogo, South Africa. They were the first people I thought of, purely because I know the couple who run the home and have seen the work that they’re doing at the orphanage. I’ve watched how they took over the project after the devastating fire destroyed the previous home and claimed the lives of their dear mother and nephew and niece. The dedication they showed over the years before the building project even started, in spite of the greatest odds, and the way they managed to obtain funding to build the first house and dining area, reveals that they are people of rock-solid character. Besides that, Joann and Andrew are humble, down-to-earth people who don’t at all make you feel like they’ve arrived. They’ve always been dedicated parents, and I knew they would carry that love forward toward the children under their care. And they are doing just that.

But it’s also not easy. They rely on funding to survive—for themselves as a family and to run the home and look after the orphans. And, in Africa, it never comes easily. So, I was thrilled when everyone agreed to help them. Whatever we can give toward their home, even just a little, works toward making the world a better place.

Blurb:
second-chances-cover
When a couple falls in love, sometimes their relationship doesn’t work out and they part ways. One day they may meet up again. The sparks fly. The hurtful memories rise to the surface. Is it possible for them to heal the rift between them and start all over again? Can they have a second chance at love? Or is it too late? Find out in this feel-good anthology of five unique, sweet romances. All proceeds go to charity: HIC Children’s Home, Newcastle, South Africa.

Second Chances: A Love Anthology is available at Amazon.

Read more about the anthology at our website and Facebook page.

 

Blurbs for individual stories:

Escaping the Past” by E. A. West:

When Felicia Coronado’s soon-to-be ex-husband kidnaps her daughter on a remote mountain road, she must rely on the assistance of a group of soldiers in the area for a training exercise. She’s stunned to discover the soldier in charge is the high school sweetheart she never thought she would see again. Lieutenant Mark Benson never stopped loving Felicia, even after she dumped him before their senior prom. Now, six years later, he learns the truth behind why she left him. Can he forgive her for the past and give her a chance for the future once her divorce is final, or will he help find her missing daughter and leave Felicia behind?

 

“Giovanni’s Christmas Bride” by Pravina Majaraj:

Italian billionaire Giovanni Ferruccio had sworn never to forgive Brennan Shaw for breaking off their engagement and marrying his cousin Anthony.

Five years later, when fate delivers a widowed Brennan and her young son Luca to Giovanni’s door, he is determined to discover the reason for Brennan’s betrayal. But after one too many kisses under the mistletoe, Giovanni realises he can’t let go off Brennan and wants to make her his Christmas bride.

 

Flowers for Maddy” by Patricia Kiyono:

Maddy Benning’s life has been full of missed opportunities. She’s had to settle for commuting to local colleges rather than attending the school she and her high school boyfriend had chosen, and spend all her time either working or taking care of her mother. She’s resigned herself to a life void of excitement and love. Meeting Jake again opens new hurts—but can it lead to new joys?

Jake Warner gave up his teaching position to return to his Lake Michigan hometown and care for his father. But it looks like the job is more than he can handle on his own. While looking for appropriate care, he runs into a girl from his past. Years ago, their parting had been painful. But was there more to the story than he’d realized?

 

“His Treasure” by Kathy Bosman:

Bridget is the new chairlady for the Treasure Hunter’s Club, a hobby she’s taken up to fill the loneliness after breaking up with her boyfriend Dale. The magic has left her life too, or so it seems, because the magic matchmaking photo album told her Dale was the right man for her. So when her ex-boyfriend walks into the club meeting, she’s barely able to make her speech. Dale can’t believe he’s in the same room as the woman who broke his heart and made him lose interest in dating. Being together for a night might be too painful to bear.

 

“Three Million’s a Crowd” by Leenna Naidoo:

Munro Calliston needs to win a few million. Vivian Francis needs to win back Munro. The TV reality show Treasure Seekers seems the perfect route to a win-win situation…But can two so very wrongs ever make things right?

 

Posted in Anthologies, Guest author post, Patricia Kiyono, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments

We May Not Fit These Images

I found out that all of us here at 4F,1H are pretty much of one mind when it comes to writing attire.
I think we can all agree that ‘comfortable’ is the operative word of the week.

The question I posed for this week was: What do you like to wear when writing and what is the most unusual thing you have worn while writing?

This may not have been the most exciting topic I suggested.

If you have been visiting the Hound and the other Foxes, you know that none of us seem to fit the image most people have of writers. Jeff doesn’t suggest he ever reminds anyone of these images:

NPG D6851; Percy Bysshe Shelley by William Holl Sr, or by  William Holl Jr, after  Amelia Curran

Percy Bysshe Shelley

jonathan_swift

Jonathan Swift

or :

robert-louis-stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson

And none of we Foxes would maintain anyone’s ideas of women writers, such as:

 

jane-austen-2

Jane Austen

mary-shelley

Mary Shelley

nor even this:

she-devil

Meryl Streep as a Romance Writer in “She Devil”

I usually dress in slacks, (not jeans; I have never found them comfortable), to write. My tops are loose blouses in warm weather. I wear pull-over shirts in cool/cold weather, or sweaters, and often layers.

And normally, I have on my ballerina-type slippers, (with or without socks, depending on the temps).

Casual as that all is, I can’t feel ‘sloppy’ and be creative. My colors have to coordinate.

I wrote  when I worked during my lunch breaks in “service black & white” and an apron. I write recipes or descriptions for my other blog in aprons at home. I have typed away while dressed for Halloween, complete with bat diddly-boppers on my head, while waiting for trick-or-treaters. I have made a quick few additions that suddenly occurred to me while in my coat, waiting for The Husband. (Yes, sometimes it is the wives who have to do the waiting and the husbands who make a couple late).

I am not a person who can get up and hang around in their nightclothes. I can’t think of sitting down at the computer, (where I do most of my writing), in the morning if I am not dressed for the day.

When I was homeschooling my sons, a young reporter from New York was in this town on a Summer internship and asked to come in to do an article on us. Try as he might, he could not get us to say that the boys did their schoolwork in their pajamas. I didn’t think that my sons would do their best and brightest of they weren’t up and dressed. (Years later, the fellow was up for a Pulitzer. I wondered if he manipulated any testimony or stories. I hope he outgrew that sort of ‘journalism’.)

However, I have actually done what I consider some of my best work at night and in my nightgown.

My husband works second-shift, 3PM-11PM.He gets in anytime around 11:16 or shortly after. We go over the family news of the day, work of the day, world news of the day and often relax watching some show, (or something online), so I get ready to relax before he gets in ( I can also drop out to bed or doze off if I need to, since I get up much earlier than he does.)

When I am alone in the evenings, excited and on a roll, I slip in for a shower, get into something comfortable and type my heart out. I don’t feel like I have to watch the clock, or stop; The Husband understands when I need to finish a thought/scene/idea.

I have to admit that I like to look nice even at night and if I feel the need to be comfortable in the day, I certainly need to feel very comfortable at night. I have a number of types of over-robes and dusters, in various weights and fabrics, suitable for differing temperatures. Along with my ballerina slippers, (of which I have several pairs), I’m good to go.

I have no idea why it makes such a difference to me as to when I am in my nigh clothes as to how productive I feel. Maybe it’s the shower, maybe I feel untosled; I am not sure.

Oh, and sometimes, I wear a cat.

wearing-bella

Do any of you still conjure up images of fancy-pants writers?

Posted in author's life, authors, careers, Family, inspiration, Life, The Author Life, Tonette Joyce, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Dressing an Author

 

Er… I Mean, “How Do We Picture Authors Dressed?”

By Jeff Salter

After I saw the magazine ad posted by our Monday Fox, it dawned on me that I actually do have a mental picture of what famous authors look like… at least in the sense of their apparel. Mostly my assessment has come from dust jacket photos (which, of course, don’t always depict that individual in the act of writing, but DO most often have that individual carefully posed).

Most of those images I recall were of male authors sitting back in their study chairs typically smoking a pipe or cigarette. Their clothing? Well, often a suit or sports jacket… or sometimes a sweater.

You didn’t see many bare arms in author photos unless the subject was Ernest Hemingway.

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Samuel Clemens was a (sometimes cynical) humorist, so the well-known photo of him writing in bed was surely his way of poking his reading public in the eyeball.

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An image that jumps to mind of female authors is the venerable photo of Barbara Cartland, dressed to the nines, in her lushly appointed parlor, holding some teeny canine pet. Cartland appeared moments away from sweeping out the door to a grand ball.

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One of my favorite author photos is of my hometown hero Walker Percy, who is seated (relaxing) in an Adirondack chair in his Covington (LA) back yard. I searched for that picture but couldn’t locate it [though I found a similar one where he’s relaxing on a small bench].

I’ve had a few photos taken of me while I was actually writing but none of these are handy and none have ever been transformed into digital images. You’d get a kick out of the one (1973) of me in my barracks room at Thule AB (Greenland) because I was sitting back in my chair and smoking a pipe! Ha. [I’m also wearing a new bathrobe my wife sent me while I was at that remote station.] Two un-posed photos I recall are one from my perch at the Hammond Daily Star (1969) – me in short-sleeved shirt and tie – and one at my editor’s desk at the Cannon AFB (NM) Mach Meter (1972) — me in my “1505” khaki uniform. Wish I could locate those pictures to share with youse guys.

More to the topic

So, for today, I guess I’ll focus on what I’m typically wearing as a retired librarian writing (more-or-less) full-time — i.e., the past 10.5 years in Possum Trot KY.

fleece-warm-up-pants

Okay, here is the shocker: on warm days I’m wearing cargo shorts, socks and slippers, and a t-shirt.

t-shirt-array

On colder days, I switch from cargo shorts to fleece britches (what some people used to call gym warm-ups), and add a long-sleeved Henley for my upper body. If it’s really cold inside, I’ll add a blue denim shirt but leave it un-buttoned.

There, my secret is revealed. And now that there’s so little remaining mystery in my writing apparel… maybe my leagues of readers and fans will buy more of my books!

Questions:

If you’re an author, what do YOU wear while writing?
If you’re a reader, what do you imagine your favorite author wears while writing?

[JLS # 319]

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Comfort spurred cteativity

comfoek we’re talking clothes. I tend to dress for comfort now. I wear jeans and t-shirts. Don’t get me wrong I wear dresses and skirts but not while writing. If I write on a Sunday, which doesn’t happen often because that’s a day spent with family in between two church services, I’ll change out of my church clothes before I write.

 

Most of my writing happens late at night. I wrote Love Overcomes while sitting cross-legged in bed with my blankets arranged around me like a nest. That got me in the habit of writing in comfort. The story was written in 30 days. I was so happy with it. It felt like being surrounded by comfort spurred my creativity.

 

I now write either from my dining room table or my bedroom. Even thought the dining room is the warmest room in the house I am still always cold. I often have arm warmers, a thin long sleeved shirt, a t-shirt, and a shawl or scarf.

However when I go to an event I dress up. For my first reading I bought a new black dress with bell sleeves, because I knew I would be talking with kids and suspected that I would be sitting low I wore leggings under it. Good thing I did too because I Sat on the steps while I read.

 

I recently started sewing so I am getting into making my own clothes which means I get to decide what fabric and style I can make. I have Christmas material set aside to make a skirt for next December. I get to be as creative with my clothes as I am with my writing so by this time next year I am certain that my wardrobe will change.

 

Do you dress   for comfort or style?

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So what are YOU wearing?

Unfortunately, my answer to this question isn’t very exciting. I wear clothes. Layers of them.

I know you were expecting me to say I write in couture evening dresses and full makeup. If you want me to do that, you need to buy more books. Designer fashions and stylists slightly exceed my thrift store budget.

While I’m not a style icon, neither am I a person who can stay in my pajamas.

My usual wardrobe consists of jeans, multiple layers of t-shirts, and a cardigan. The color scheme ranges from gray to purple to a rare magenta. It’s boring.

At a recent thrift store venture, I found five cardigans, all in the purple spectrum except for the cream colored one that is very similar to the one I have in the donation pile. I did add one my previous purple cardigans to the pile.

I’m usually cold, so I dress in layers and lately I’ve added a scarf to my wardrobe. While it might look dramatic or artistic, (because it often holds the only non-bland color and pattern I wear), it’s really because my neck and shoulder muscles get tight when I’m cold.

I love skirts and maxidresses, but they aren’t always practical. But my kids no longer require me to sit on the floor and I have recently discovered that you can wear tights or leggings under them without being frumpy. (Because not being frumpy is SOOO important in my wardrobe. <snort>) Yay for being warm!

When I actually sit down to write, it’s usually after my run, so I’m wearing my sweaty running clothes because I am too lazy to shower and change (and if I did, I wouldn’t have any time to write because it would be bedtime.) To fight the cold, I have a heating pad and a blanket.

What do you expect writers to wear?
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