I Must Confess – True Stories of a Writer

This week’s Deb topic is about Confessions! Each of us are sharing something unknown, something hidden about us, our books or our writing process. confess

Today I am going to confess. All the sins of my past, the wayward thoughts and actions that led me astray. It might not be pretty. Feel free to turn your head away or cover up that smirk. I still managed to spit out a 418 page book (and am halfway through the next) so I must be doing something right!

Crystal’s True Confessions

  1. For many years I mostly wrote and published poetry because the idea of taking SO long to write a book was rather unfathomable to me. I want to get stuff done and do it before I get bored. I did snag a Pushcart nomination for one of them so they must have been okay.
  2. I used to drink cheap pink zinfandel when I wrote, after college. I loved the stuff and it was always my writing companion in the early days. Then I met my now husband, who sells wine, and he straightened me out right away. Whew. I had no clue how bad that stuff was until I had the good stuff.
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  3. I’m a freak for video games. Especially deep, intensive story-driven, role-playing ones like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Skyrim, Guild Wars, Witcher, Bioshock, Pillars of Eternity, etc., etc. That is, by far, my big escape from the world. I’d much rather play a video game than watch TV–I would rather be interactive, making decisions, choices, progress of some sort. I would say that video games have  been the biggest writing procrastination for me over the years (since early Atari days, if I am truthful). If I think about how many books I could have written instead of sinking 300+ hours into one game, I get a bit sick to my stomach, sigh. BUT, some of it was research, I swear. Really. A couple of the Assassin’s Creed games have some incredible Renaissance imagery of Rome, Florence and Venice which, surprisingly, have been super helpful to get a feel of what those cities may have been like in that time frame.
  4. There is barely any Italian in me. I come by my obsession from my husband whose family hails from Puglia, plus my research and my many visits there. I have done the genealogy and the DNA and I’m so WASPy that it’s not even funny–mostly British Isles, some France, Germany, Switzerland. But, after much searching back through my family lines on both sides I finally found, back in the 1100s and 1200s, that I’m related to King Charles of Naples I and II (and a bunch of their children), who, interestingly enough, were all French. But going back a little further I finally found a woman who was the first Italian noblewoman to be married to another King outside of Italy. So it’s a LONG way back but there IS the tiniest drop of Italian blood in me.
  5. Back in college, for some reason, I picked up Chesapeake, by James A. Michener. It must have been for some paper I was writing because I slogged through it despite hating it in general. I decided there and then that I hated all historical fiction and I would never read or write any, ever. Ha, ha! Never say never, Crystal!
  6. The most hurtful thing that anyone has said about my writing (to my face) is something I still carry with me. I wrote a short story for a college English course about a pair of twins who were very slightly mentally connected. When one of the twins kisses another and the connection/loyalty shifts, aka coming of age, that mental awareness was lost. My best friend at the time (who, in hindsight, was pretty awful to me in general) said she thought the whole story was “smarmy.” I re-read the story a month or two ago and maybe it wasn’t the most profound piece, but it wasn’t horrible and it definitely wasn’t smarmy. But it hurt me in the deepest way because rather than talking to me about how I could improve it, she decided to put it (and me) down instead. I loved her and I trusted her and she wounded me in the most vulnerable place and she knew it. I’ve carried that with me, the image of her telling me this, and how it felt, for twenty-five years. It didn’t affect my writing in any way but it did help me become a better person when it came to critiquing the work of others. No one should have to feel that sort of horribleness.
  7. feastarcPublishing my first novel is a dream come true. A dream that still feels unreal for me. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, for someone to tell me that they’ve made a grave mistake and that, of course, I don’t have a book deal, who do I think I am anyway? Even holding the ARC (advanced reader’s copy) in my hand hasn’t really helped it sink in. I’m pretty sure I’ll feel that way all the way to launch, and I’m standing in front of all my friends and hopefully a few of you readers, telling you how grateful that I am that you’ve indulged in my story.
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Crystal King is a writer, culinary enthusiast and social media expert. Her writing is fueled by a love of history and an obsession with the food, language and culture of Italy. She has taught writing, creativity and social media at Grub Street and several universities including Harvard Extension School and Boston University. Crystal received her masters in critical and creative thinking from University of Massachusetts Boston. She lives with her husband and their two cats in the Boston area.

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