Draft nine of my heart-project has taken me three months of raw, no-shortcuts, hard work. I have never reached a ninth draft before. I don’t know many other authors who have revised their work this many times, and I certainly didn’t expect to be one of them. I have never put so much of my time, energy and soul into something. I have never held onto this kind of hope and belief in a project as I have with The Young Volcanoes of Tenemere. I’ve never held onto this kind of belief in myself.
#TYVOT has officially landed. Well, on Goodreads at least! It’s finally listed, in all of its semi-finished glory, a beautiful statement in the Goodreads database. It all feels so real. After so many years of working, of dreaming, my novel is coming to life. Publication is coming (on Nov 1st 2018, if I can afford everything in time!) When I saw my book up there, and by extension my swanky new Goodreads author profile, I did have myself quite the moment. Not only did I feel the excitement but I felt validated for the first time. I have always felt more comfortable calling myself a writer, as opposed to an author. But now I’m feeling like I should be owning that title, because hell yeah I’m an author and I worked damn hard to be able to call myself that.
“I am a haenyeo. Like my mother, and her mother before her, like my sister will be one day, her daughters too – I was never anything but a woman of the sea. Neither you nor any man can make me less than that.” This novel captivated me in a way I really wasn’t expecting. I had been looking for some more Korean-based WWII lit since I my disappointing affair with Pachinko left me gasping for a story I could connect with more easily. If you had similar feelings towards Pachinko, read on my friend, because White Chrysanthemum could end up being the story you’ve been searching for. ______________
Just as we have a tendency to literally judge a book by its cover, we humans subconsciously judge an author, and their work, by their photo. This knowledge is primarily what made me avoid getting head shots taken. Ever. You can’t use Snapchat filters on a professional photograph, I told myself. Anyway, I’m self-publishing, I just won’t include an author photo and bio in my book. Then I remembered marketing is a thing. If I want to post blurry #writerlife selfies on Twitter that’s my business, but if ever want to be considered for a book signing event at Waterstones, I’d likely be needing something a little less casual for their promotional material.
“When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me. One was the usual birds and bees. […] The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me.” This book should be required reading. Not for schools, for everyone. The premise is simple but powerful, the characters are every day people but they are excellently written. The message is one we’ve heard a million times before but we still haven’t heard it enough. The story follows sixteen-year-old Starr, a private-school student who has always felt out of place. At school, she is one of the few black students. Back in her neighbourhood, she is mocked for going to school outside the area – with white people nonetheless. Although she feels like she lives in two different worlds, she’s determined to prove to herself that both of her lives can co-exist.