Stories have arcs. Characters have arcs. Writers have arcs. We write, we get better at our craft. We read, we get better at our craft. We interact with other writers and our readers, we get better at our craft. Whether you are a professional writer or just starting out. Hobby or career. We are all in this together. Welcome.

Contact: Elena Hartwell - elenahartwell@gmail.com and visit me on the web at www.elenahartwell.com

Spotlight on Jamie Ford

My name is James.
Yes, I'm a dude.
One is Jamie, one is his great-grandfather, Min Chung, 
who later changed his name to William Ford (long story...)
I’m also the New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweetwhich was, in no particular order, an IndieBound NEXT List Selection, a Borders Original Voices Selection, a Barnes & Noble Book Club Selection, Pennie’s Pick at Costco, a Target Bookmarked Club Pick, and a National Bestseller. It was also named the #1 Book Club Pick for Fall 2009/Winter 2010 by the American Booksellers Association.
In addition, Hotel has been translated into 34 languages. I’m still holding out for Klingon (that’s when you know you’ve made it).
My new novel, Songs of Willow Frost was published September 10, 2013. And I'm also working on a YA (Young Adult) series that even my agent doesn't know about...yet.
On the personal side, I'm the proud father of more teenagers than I can keep track of. Yep, it's chaos, but the good kind of chaos.

Jamie Ford can be found on:
Twitter +Jamie Ford 
Instagram Jamie4ord

The Interview of Author Jamie Ford -- Part II

Scroll Down for Part I

How has fatherhood impacted your writing?
I have a houseful of teenagers and aside from the normal teenage drama (running to the store to get tampons, Midol, and Ben & Jerry’s) they challenge how I think about writing and my place in the world.

By that I mean, I have a son who is majoring in music and a daughter majoring in art—and those are daunting careers, but it makes me think, “YES—someday the Rolling Stones are going to die and Ai Weiwei is going to die and dammit, someone is going to have to fill that cultural void when they’re gone!”

I get so immersed in the story that I’m writing at any given time that I occasionally forget how important the arts are.   

What do you know now, after publishing your second novel, you wish you'd known before you published your first?
I wish I’d started taking Norwegian lessons. Seriously. For some reason I’ve had tremendous success in Norway where HOTEL was the #1 book for four months. (And I can assure you, at no time during the writing process did I ever pause, bask in the reflective glory and think oh, yeah, this is gonna rock it in Olso!)

I’ve been to Norway twice now, been to every major city, and even a few of the smaller fishing villages. And I do love ratfisk, which I’ve been told is less appealing to foreigners than lutefisk, so I have that going for me.

Final Words of Wisdom
Books are the written record of the human condition. Librarians, editors, and bookstores, curate that work. Retail websites, not so much.

So support your local bookstore.

The Interview of Author Jamie Ford - Part I

Tell us about the road you took, to publish your first novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.
Imagine THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy––a dark, devastated wasteland (the publishing world), wandering (querying), starving, being stalked by hungry survivors with cannibalistic intentions (agents), but somehow making it to a stronghold of resisters (Random House). That pretty much sums it up.

How do you approach writing historical fiction?
I always start with a premise then dive into the research. The book I’m working on now is set between the two worlds fairs in Seattle (1909 and 1962), so my office is littered with old newspapers, books, yearbooks, maps, programs, sheet music, photos—you name it. I tend to hoard “stuff” and then notate it all for reference. Then once I feel immersed in that world (I stop just shy of wearing a vintage suit and banging away on a manual typewriter), the writing begins…

What are you working on now?
I don’t have a title yet, but it’s a novel about a boy who was raffled off at the 1909 worlds fair in Seattle (true story). And no one knows what happened to him. So I’m telling his tale. Also, it’s a love story. I even start the book by saying that. Here’s the opening paragraph in all its unedited glory:

This is a love story. Those are the words Ernest Young read aloud to no one in the dusty, single-volume library of his mind. As he sat alone, perched on the corner of his crisply-made twin bed, waiting for a reporter to show up, he thought about what to tell this curious stranger—what to leave in, what to leave out, and what bits he could stitch together to hide the details of his peculiar childhood. Ernest straightened his tie. He’d never been good at distorting the truth, except once, when he told a perfect, one-carat lie to the person he’d loved the most––a deception that’s lasted more than forty years.

Check Back June 15 for Part II