Friday, July 20, 2007

From My Eyeball View

Update: Peg Phifer tagged me for this same meme! So,this is my reply for that. See her blog with her answers to these questions over at the Pegboard/Foxy Works!

I regularly read fiction writer, Robin Lee Hatcher's blog, I Was Just Thinking. She's an author I enjoy reading, and her blog is entertaining with everything from how she writes to who she thinks is doing well on American Idol. She has spiritual insights and shares things from her life like moving or downsizing her home.

She didn't tag me for this meme, but she did say it was ok to take it from her. I'm going to tag some people, but I would love to read what other people have to say on these questions. If you don't have a blog, feel free to share an answer or comment in the comments section. If you do, I'll enter your name into a drawing to win a Love Inspired title, The Heart's Forgiveness by Merrilee Whren. (Go here to read an excerpt.)And check back here every Friday for my "Eyeball View" and a free book drawing.

Here are some questions and I'm at just the right time of my life to answer them.

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to?
The one book (any book) that I hope to finish is a novel. I have played with the formula, plot, characters and still haven't felt I was telling "my" story--the story I should be writing. Everything I have come up with seems silly or not me or over my head.

When I started writing, I wrote children's stories--bunches of them. All of them were based on things from my own childhood. But children's stories "don't sell" and hardly anyone is buying them, and agents aren't taking them on. So, that's when I started to think about the perspective from which I could write in a women's fiction story--and looked at books with the perspective of a child, or else an adult who looks back. A Girl Called Zippy by Haven Kimmel was inspirational to me. This blog was born because of all this searching and writing and frustration.

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?

Like any other writer, I love to read. I read fast, I read everything. Because I'm a book reviewer and a book doctor/reader, I have taken the whole day to read.

But, I've given up almost all of my book reviewing since I'm working on my own fiction, so now I can choose anything I want, not something that is "assigned." For a while, this really baffled me. I mean, I didn't remember what I loved to read. I had forgotten the thrill of searching for a book that I just couldn't put down, because I wanted to read it--not because I needed to or had to.

Make suggestions. I will take a look at any nominations for my free day read. I'll let you know if I will take you up on it. I have a strong leaning to romances. The last book I read that I loved was In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner.Oh, and IF I DO read the book you suggest, I'll put it up for a drawing, if I like it.(How about that?)And I'll send the nominator a $5. gift certificate to Amazon.

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)?

A Royal portable typewriter that my mom had. You had to change the ribbon (messy) and try and use this correction stuff or start all over again. Or you could use correction paper that was super thin. You had a typewriter eraser with a little brush. It was a pain!

I learned to type in high school. My typing teacher was the business department teacher, Mr. Harbit, and he raced cars on the weekend. (He worked on them himself.) He would say, "Your typewriter is like a fine, racing machine." Mine was like a fine racing turtle with that analogy. But typing is the most useful classes I have ever taken, bar none.I'm much faster now, too.

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month?

Wow. Varies, but I have read up to 3-5 a week (so guesstimate of 20.) It depends on what I'm reading for, what deadlines I have. When I was doing my column, "On the Bookshelf" for Montgomery's Journey magazine each month, I'd need to read that many so I could pick 3-4 to write reviews on. I read both fiction and nonfiction, too, so I had to keep my hopper full.

5. What's your most favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned? By far the PC (my own computer.) I can't imagine doing writing without MS Word program. I got used to using MS Word 2003 and that was the best. This MS Word 2007 has me doing too much on the learning curve--it slows me down. Plus, a lot of people, including editors, haven't been able to open it, so I have to save it in Word 1997 just so they can. What a pain! (Notice that I like painless writing.)I prefer typing to writing by hand. If I can get away without writing by hand, I'm all for it.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don't read historical fiction--shame on you.)

I adore historical fiction. Just when I think I have read a period I like the best, then some great author writes another book in some time period that I like, as well. It's really all about story. If you tell a good story, what difference does it make what historical period? I had never read anything about the tobacco brides in the 1700s early America, but Deeanne Gist changed all that with A Bride Most Begrudging. Siri Mitchell took me into two time zones (contemporary and medievel France) with her Chateau of Echoes. I loved Catherine Called Birdy by Karen Cushman set in 1290.

But I rarely have been disappointed when I've chosen Civil War and pre-Civil War periods. I also like Biblical fiction (or set in those time periods in those settings.) I really liked Robin Lee Hatcher's Coming to America series, which is late 1800s/early 1900, too.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?

Ahhh.One book. Hmmm.Well, as just a kid, I loved any animal story. There was one about this family who had a pet raccoon, who got into trouble, called, Looney Coon. I also devoured the biographical fiction about "real" kids (I read them all--from Abraham Lincoln to Annie Oakley and beyond.)I also loved reading Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories.

Mr. Rosen (in 6th grade)read to us Edgar Allan Poe stories and that was a pivotal year for me in reading books. I went from a very conservative Christian school setting(with many restrictions--I had never even heard of Nancy Drew!) to a rural public school--but here was Mr.Rosen reading Poe and he had a totally different worldview--he was Jewish. That was also the year we could buy cheap books from Scholastic and I was allowed one to two of those each time.(Something like 95 cents a book.) My favorite acquisition that year was My Life and Hard Times by James Thurber and I still own that copy. Love/loved it.

Then, the summer I turned 13, my mom gave me her hardbound copy of Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.(Still have that, too, but it's a little worn.) I read that thing in less than 4 days (solid reading) because I was afraid she would take it away from me, thinking better of it. It was revolutionary for me. I was left breathless. Scandalous.

After that, she let me read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. That was it. I read To Kill a Mockingbird no less than 20 times as a teen. I absorbed Harper Lee's tale as if it had happened to me and I was Scout. When I started writing in college, I had professors tell me that my stories sounded like To Kill a Mockingbird--the same voice. Well, duh. I had become Harper Lee!

So, to say that there was one book I remember is like saying,"Which of your children is your favorite?" Sheesh. But these are what I remember--they stand out.

So, now I tag Cara,Camy,Sabrina,Delia, Sarah and Nancy. If Karen and LeAnne want to do this, I would love it (though it might not fit your blogs.) Also, if one of you other readers wants to do this, I'd love it if you'd leave a note to let me know so I can read it.

Copy the questions above and fill in your own answers. Then, tag someone else!(Also, check these blogs for their answers. Cara and Delia have filled theirs out, already.

Check back on Tuesday,too, as you still time to enter my drawing for Lucy Adams' 52 Hymns book, closes Monday, July 23,2007. I'll announce the winner in the drawing for Lucy Adams' book, 52 Hymns on Tuesday. (Follow this link to find out how you can enter.)


Delia said...

WooHoo! I love being tagged for memes! And this is a great one. Thanks, Crystal.

Crystal Laine said...

LOL, Delia, I WILL remember this! (I like doing memes, too.)

Someone already beat me to Camy, so everyone link on over to her and you'll see hers.


Cara Putman said...

This looks like a fun one. I wondered when I'd get tagged though you aren't leaving many for me to tag LOL

Cara Putman said...

As to your request for books to read, one that I read lately that surprised me was The Restorer by Sharon Hinck. I am not a fantasy person, but I LOVED this book. And Colleen's Abomination is fantastic!

Crystal Laine said...

I love fantasy and I do have Sharon's book. I haven't gotten Colleen's book yet, but plan to.

Any more suggestions, anyone? Anyone?

(Cara, you always are reading good things!)

Camy Tang said...

Haha, here's my answers:

Reader Writer Meme

I suggest MY book for your day of reading (you knew I couldn't resist, right?)


LeAnne Benfield Martin said...

We've been friends for years but I didn't know all this about you. I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. Loved it! I even prepared a pop quiz for the class about halfway through it. (Other kids did too! I wasn't nerdy or anything.) My quiz was too hard, the class said. I had read that chapter so much I knew it backwards and forwards. No wonder my quiz was hard for the rest of them.

Thanks for tagging me. Fun!


Crystal Laine said...

LeAnne, I loved, loved, loved To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes. Maybe I could've passed your quiz?? (ha)
That was a life-changing kind of book for me.

I've enjoyed reading everyone else's answers on their blogs, too.