by popular request
January 25, 2013
…I am re-posting this guest blog post. The other reason is that this hellacious deadline is keeping me from writing more on the blog. So: One of the most frequently-asked questions is "Where do you write?" So here you go!
My writing spot isn’t a particular space so much as it’s a state of mind. I have to get quiet in my head and step into the world of the story, and I’m there. This can happen at home in my favorite chair, seated in a waiting room or airport somewhere, on the ferry, on the patio or at a friend’s house. It often happens on vacation, when I’m not supposed to be working at all.
I had The Goodbye Quilt mostly written in my head by the time I’d dropped my daughter off at college back in 2002. All it took was to transcribe those thoughts and emotions into the shape of a novel, and the story of Linda and Molly emerged. That’s oversimplifying the process a lot, I admit, because I’m not one of those writers who sets down words as if taking dictation from God. I tend to ruminate, rewrite, throw things out, regret the things I’ve thrown out, talk to myself, get frustrated…The process is hugely entertaining to me, but never easy.
In my fiction, I seem to return to life’s deepest themes again and again, whether I’m writing about a mother and daughter on their final road trip, or a couple falling in love…or falling apart. The stories that emerge celebrate all the loves that fill a woman’s life–family, friends, lovers, children, even pets.
The Goodbye Quilt is a deeply personal book, but Linda isn’t me, and Molly isn’t Elizabeth. Real people are too messy and random to make for good fiction. Linda is every parent who has ever said goodbye to a beloved child, and Molly is every young person who has ever struggled with finding her own way in the world.
The Goodbye Quilt is my gift to readers. There’s lots more for readers on my web site. Click