Friday, March 22, 2013

End of an Era

Top: the last piece of Caramel Tiger Cake
Bottom: me, Emalee, & Erin with Ally Condie

In February, the Pub Club, our little critique group consisting of myself, my daughter Emalee, and our good friend, the amazing, talented, and hilarious Erin Shakespear got together for the last time. The end of an era was unexpectedly marked by the simultaneous end of Caramel Tiger Cake at the Pastry Pub. The scrumptious cake that came to symbolize the Pub Club was discontinued on the very night of our final meeting and the last piece went to us. Talk about closure! "All good things must come to an end," as the saying goes.


But as per a longstanding pact, Caramel Tiger Cake will live on in each of our first published novels. That should give us renewed motivation to finish those drafts. We owe it to the cake.

On March 1, the three of us met up again at Braun's Books in Cedar City for Ally Condie's book signing. She drew a big crowd, as you can imagine. Afterward, we were invited to an informal Q&A at her sister's house. Ally talked about how she researched and developed the plague for Reached. She also touched on her writing process and the role the editor played in bringing out the best in her.

A few highlights:
  • Ally is both a plotter and a pantser: "I discover a lot of the story as I go."
  • Her solution to writer's block: "I always have a back burner project, another novel I'm writing...I go and play with that."
  • If that doesn't work, she uses reverse psychology on herself. "I tell myself I'm taking a week off" and that makes her want to write again.
  • Ally gets writing ideas as she's falling asleep, and: "Showering is really good for epiphanies." (Running, clears her mind.)
  •  Her editor asks tough, thought-provoking questions during revision. "My editor put me through my paces and I pushed myself really hard."
  •  "There's no politics in the [Matched] story. It's about choice and how we screw up when we have it, but we should still have it."
And there you have it.