Sunday, May 12, 2013

When Writing is Who You Are by Deb Caletti and Giveaway!

[Pre-post rambling]: I am SO excited to share this guest post with you guys today, not only because I absolutely worship Deb Caletti (author of some of my favorite books, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart and The Nature of Jade) but also because it really resonated with me on the craft of writing. I hope you guys adore it as much as I do!

Having Deb over at Books à la Mode is HUGE for me (I'm silently screaming in ecstasy... actually, I'm very audibly screaming in ecstasy—you just can't hear it over the internet) so without further ado, TLC Book Tours presents...

Page Count: 352
Release Date: 14 May 2013
Publisher: Bantam (Random House)

“What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?”

The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone.

As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

When Writing is Who You Are

Like most authors, I knew I was a writer early on, from about the age of seven. I knew it because I would rush to my room to write down these stories I had to tell. I knew it because on long car rides I would look at the dry yellow hills of the Bay Area and the sagging barn roofs and I would feel something that needed words, words I wanted—no, again, had—to reach for. I knew it because of the way books moved me, and even the way the library did. I knew I was an observer, who sat at the edges of things and described them in order to understand.

When I was about eight or nine, my father brought home a typewriter from his office. I claimed it for my own. I didn’t do much with it, really, but I loved it. It was heavy and important. Maybe I felt some inborn affinity to it even though it was foreign to me, some connection from the past or future or who knew, like a person who visits the land of their ancestors and finds the place already there in their bones. Around that time, too, I began to win writing contests at my school. It was heady stuff—blue ribbons and readings in front of the whole assembly, the elementary school equivalent of a book deal and NPR. A peek into the possible grandeur this thing I did (no, this thing I was) held in store.

I continued to write, always wrote, stories, plays, lyrics, more stories. But what grew alongside my writing was fear, fear and the good reasons for it, too—knowledge of the impossible terrain toward publication, peaks that would be too high for me, the big cumulous doubts about my talent overhead. I studied journalism when a journalist was the last thing I was. I kept only my toe in the writing waters because it was too cold and maybe I couldn’t even swim.

And then one day, actually one day, I got sick of myself, of all of the head-talk and no action. I was thirty-two. I made a serious deal with myself: Do this thing. No matter what it took, starting now. I taped a quote above my desk, by Nietzsche: “Become who you are.” You’d think becoming who we are (no matter what that is) would be the simplest, most natural event, wouldn’t you? But more often than not, it’s the most difficult. Facing what you are and owning up, choosing to live forevermore in that kind of authenticity... It means no more excuses and no more hiding and no more diversions and dishonesty. It means jumping in the water, or setting off over that terrain, choose your metaphor of choice. Too bad about the fear, is the point. Just, too bad.

Fast forward through the years of work and the unpublished books and the agony of not yet, and pause now on a life of being who I am once again. Sagging barn roofs that make me feel things, for which I today, find the words as a regular part of my work. Observing on a daily basis, the keys of the typewriter (now laptop) my accepted, ordinary homeland. And I am convinced, convinced that this all happens when the motives are pure, when it’s not about blue ribbons or delusions of grandeur but instead is the cell-deep, meant-to-be truth finding its way to the page. When it’s not about who you wish you were or who you’re too afraid to be, but who you are and always have been. When that seven- or nine- or ten-year-old self takes out that old typewriter and finally, at long last, begins to do the honest work.

About the Author

Deb Caletti is an American writer born in San Rafael, California. She was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the recipient of other numerous awards including PEN USA finalist award, the Washington State Book Award, and SLJ Best Book award.

Deb grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and earned her journalism degree from the University of Washington in Seattle. When Deb is not writing books or reading them, she is a painter and a lyricist, and speaks widely to audiences on writing and life as an author. Deb lives with her family in Seattle.

A series of television films based on Caletti's novels is currently in production.

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Deb, it was amazing to gain some insight on what writing is for you and how integral it is in your life now. Seriously, if you see this, you are literally one of my asdfglkjsdfavorite authors—which I've already said a several and a half times already—so THANK YOU for joining us today! ♥


We've got one print copy of He's Gone up for grabs to one lucky Books à la Mode reader! To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below :) Here's a fun comment prompt for extra entries:
Deb explained to us how writing is a part of her core... What made you or how did you realize who you are?
Please make your comment meaningful and encouraging to the discussion. Comments only containing "Thanks for the giveaway" or one-worded answers will not be awarded the additional entries.
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