A recent quote from my blog “Emily Winslow Talks to Strangers”:
I am not in control of my inspiration
It’s very fashionable, and practical, to rail against the idea of “inspiration.” Writers I respect talk about discipline and hard work and consistency, and how absurd and indulgent it is to depend on inspiration. “Butt in chair,” they say. “Fingers on keyboard.”
But I’ll confess: I’m not above inspiration. After weeks of being utterly distracted from working on the next book by the demands of writing promotional stuff for the current book, I sat down this morning to finalize invitations for all my upcoming events. And ended up writing some lovely words for a character that had previously stymied me instead.
Glad to have the words; now behind on invitations. See-saw. I wonder what words will come out of me tomorrow.
And on Wednesday I fly out to the States for a month. I’ll be WORDS bookstore in Maplewood NJ on Friday June 4th at 7:30–hope to see some Deb readers there!
ETA–And the winner of last week’s book giveaway is Cindy Larsen, who I will email today
Call for 2011 Debs. Starting June 1st, we will be accepting applications for the 2011 Debs. All the info is on the sidebar, or click here for the application. Please spread the word!
Deb Sarah’s first book review will be published in The Washington Post newspaper on Wednesday, June 2. Check Sarah’s Facebook page for the review – and if you join her page, you can enter frequent giveaways of terrific new releases. Next up is Allison Winn Scotch’s about-to-be-released The One That I Want.
Deb Joelle is back from her Oregon & Washington book tour and she had lots of fun. You can read about it and find a list of the bookstores where she signed stock on her website and view the slide show here.
Please welcome new agent Chris Kepner of Victoria Sanders & Associates to the Ball today.
Chris is a native of Buffalo, New York and a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Starting as an intern for Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, Kepner joined Victoria Sanders & Associates in May 2008. According to his mother, Chris has had a book with him ever since he could hold one. From the Hardy Boys Mysteries and Goosebumps, to Kurt Vonnegut and Ernest Hemingway, Chris’s passion for literature has always been strong. With very eclectic interests, he is open to all types of books as long as the writing is exceptional, though he tends to gravitate to literary fiction and narrative nonfiction.
Welcome, Chris, and thanks for blogging about social media today!
I’ve lived twenty-five long years now, and certain things become apparent to one who is lucky enough to make it this far. Being one of the “old-timers,” I believe I have license to reminisce on days gone by, things we enjoyed once that have faded into the ether, or changed beyond recognition.
Facebook, for instance. Boy, in my day that sure was something.
It was the autumn of 2004, the time of the carefree and the exuberant. I happened to be studying abroad in London that semester, but the ubiquity of the Internet ensured that the blue Facebook wave crashed on our shores as well. I remember it like it was yesterday—I was in a computer lab with one of my roommates checking fantasy football stats, when he turned to me and asked if I’d heard of “this Facebook thing” yet. I replied that I hadn’t. He urged me to check it out, though qualified his endorsement by saying it was in fact pretty stupid, just to save face in the event that he was on the wrong side of a lame fad. He urged me to just try it, that it was addicting and I would soon be hooked.
And I was.
Most everyone in my undergraduate class of 2006, as well as the other pre-baccalaureate classes of 2005, 2007, and 2008, was either already on or joining by the hour. It was like Woodstock for the tech generation. We were free to document the debauchery of our formative years through text and photos (and soon videos as well.) It was one great shadowbox homage to liberty and youth.
But, as all things tend to do, it ended.
Somewhere around the autumn of 2005, the beginning of our senior year, one of my friends announced that he was closing his Facebook account because he’d heard that potential employers were looking at applicants’ profiles as part of the hiring process. Well, that just started a frenzy of untagging photos and adjusting privacy settings. And shortly after that it was announced that our beloved site was to be opened to the public. Our wonderful little island on the web was being threatened by outsiders, and it was like the lights turning on at the end of the party of the year.
Pretty soon people started using Facebook to market themselves. This was appalling to me, and I raged against the dying light of the site’s ideal. For it wasn’t supposed to be about money or fame—it was supposed to be about friends and fun.
I guess we all have to grow up eventually, and now that I’m in the publishing industry (and I’ve accepted that the Facebook I knew and loved is gone for good) I can see that there is real value in utilizing the site to connect with and build an audience. I’m an “old-timer,” as I said, so it’s been difficult for me to make the transition from a fun-based Facebook experience to a business one.
At present, I still prefer that authors contact me by the “old-timey” method of electonic-mail. Query letters, along with the first three chapters pasted into the body of the message, may be sent to email@example.com. I’m mainly interested in literary fiction and narrative nonfiction, but take a look at my profile on GoodReads (http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3608411-chris-kepner) to get a better idea of my tastes. And I’d love for you to check out my blog, The Writer’s Advocate, at http://chriskepner.wordpress.com.
A special thank you to The Debutante Ball for asking me to guest blog!
I fancy myself a bit of an anglophile. Now that I live in Canada, I can use the British spellings without everyone calling me pretentious or a wannabe-Brit. We even use the British pronunciations for words like process (proh-sess), scone (scawn), and basil (I have no idea how to write this phonetically). I love Brit-coms like Keeping Up Appearances and As Time Goes By and it’s not unusual for me to say something like, “I could really do with a cuppa.” (cup of tea)
So, if you’ve read Deb Emily’s book, The Whole World, you can imagine how quickly I was sucked into the setting! In fact, I think I might’ve had a pot of tea per chapter. And my husband almost wore out his bike tires making runs to the village for scones.
Deb Emily has written a book full of fascinating characters and a mystery to pull you into the story, but I have to admit, the descriptions of Cambridge, the observations of the people, especially from an American point of view, and the sheer Britishism of the story, got my heart racing. I loved the history of the buildings and architecture. I actually went to Cambridge a few years ago, so I had this sort of mental foundation of what the city looks like and all of the wonderful descriptions brought it to life for me. I could see the pavements and the umbrellas and arches and windows and old buildings. I walked the street with Emily’s characters and saw what they saw. But the thing is, I think even if you’ve never been there, the writing is so visual you can’t help but see it. I also expect that Deb Emily will be getting a lot of email from people saying things like, “After reading your book, I just have to see Cambridge for myself. I bought a plane ticket and I was wondering if when I’m in town you might fancy a cuppa.”
Congratulations to Deb Emily on your release! It’s a beautiful feeling and I hope you’re enjoying it and having fun.
As a youngster living a very sheltered life and being forced to attend a strict Catholic school, I always dreamed of escaping abroad and attending a college where I’d be exposed to new and exhilirating experiences. I only got as far as Gainesville, Florida..a mere 6 hour drive from my hometown of Miami.
While my college experience was quite satisfying (my parents still think I NEVER partied and always used their money for books -lol) I always yearned for that life-altering culturally diverse educational challenge. After reading Emily’s book I feel like my “foreign school angst” has been quieted. I lived the experience vicariously through American transplant students Polly and Liv. “The Whole World” is set in enchanting England, with the friends attending wordly Cambridge University (where the admissions committe would surely use my transcripts for target practice!) With its rich and complicated history, England happens to be one of my favorite countries –and when you add in juicy secrets, girlfriend rivalry, and a hot British student named Nick, I immediately became this book’s number one fan! My heart actually felt pain when Nick disappears and the girls are questioned by the police. Throw in parental conflict, mystery, and a close friendship gone wrong, and you’ve got yourself a brilliant novel. Long live England, the Queen, and a riveting debut!
To purchase your own copy of “The Whole World,” Click Here
There are many reasons you’ll love THE WHOLE WORLD.
Great sentences, for example. Like this one: “We kissed a kiss like we hadn’t since we were pissed on cheap wine and empty stomachs.”
And sensuous details, such as: “Clicking heels against the wood floor, a vaporous smell of drink. I clambered out from under the smooth sheet and itchy blanket to fling myself at the woman who’d just walked in the door.”
And truths: “Books and privacy and time are a heady mix.”
In fact, it’s truth that drives the earnest characters in THE WHOLE WORLD. They seek the truth about the past, the present, and relationships. And those searches send them — and the reader — spiraling into surprising secrets.
It’s a book of crisscrossing lives and unexpected danger. I found myself feverishly turning pages, needing to know how the narrators’ lives would intersect. As I read each narrative, I was rewarded with another piece of the puzzle. Only when I read the very last page — when I got all the pieces, snapped them together, and stepped back — did I realize what the puzzle shows. What a satisfying moment!
Reading this mystery is an atmospheric experience. The setting is so crucial, so vividly expressed, it’s almost a character itself. I strongly related to the themes of displacement and belonging, which Emily examines unflinchingly in her beautiful prose.
Please join me in congratulating Deb Emily on a revelation of a book. May it, and its successors, know much success!
Even though Emily and I live in different countries, we met in person – very briefly – months ago. We both happened to be in New York, and we literally stood on a corner outside Penn Station, chatting in the cold, before we headed off to our respective meetings. But when we parted, I was holding something special in my hands: An advance copy of her new book.
I knew even before I cracked the cover that I’d love The Whole World – because I’d already come to love Emily’s elegant, thoughtful voice in her Deb Ball posts. But I wouldn’t be able to read it for a few days. I had lots of work to do, and the cocoon of the Metroliner train linking D.C. and New York is one of my favorite places to dive into writing and editing.
Well, it couldn’t hurt to just peek at the first page, could it?
Three and a half hours later, the train was pulling into the station and I was closing the cover on The Whole World. It was riveting, and well worth playing hooky from work. It’s easy to see how Emily flexes her skill as a creator of puzzles (a pretty cool job in its own right!) to parcel out clues and intriguing threads in her story’s narrative. As the train shifted on the tracks, so too did my feelings for each narrator in Emily’s book. No one was quite as they seemed. Everyone kept me guessing. I literally could not put this book down.
You will love this beautifully-written, mysterious novel – the opening image of the turning bicycle wheels has stayed with me, months after I read it – and it’s a perfect gift for Father’s Day, too. You can buy it here and read more about Emily on her website.
Emily, congratulations – on this book and on your next one, too! I’ll be eagerly awaiting it, and in the meantime, I’m buying my own copy of The Whole World so I can re-read it.
Everyone – please remember to comment this week and you’ll be automatically entered into a drawing for The Whole World!