Certain things just go together: spaghetti and tomato sauce; summer and cricket song; December and pine-scented candles. Lattes and words are like that. For we writer-types, one often leads to the other. That’s how it was this Sunday, being a guest on A Latte and Some Words.
I’ve been known to seek out cafes—during their off hours preferably—and create a mini-office, a bubble where time doesn’t pass at the usual pace, the rest of my to-do list is missing, and a space opens that I can fill with my creative surge. These days, I grab my netbook and head to the nearest Starbucks, where the latte is superb, the atmosphere designed for the likes of anyone needing a personal bubble in a public space all of which encourages the Muse to pull up a chair at my table.
This is where Julie Pollitt and I connect, both through our mutual cravings for good lattes, and by virtue of our passion for writing. Julie started her blog several years ago “with the intention of journaling my thoughts and ideas about writing fiction and raising two super-wigly boys. I’m a coffee fanatic and love to write. But life gets in the way with two little ones, and it gets tough to sit down and write. My car seems to magnetize toward Starbucks. Can’t fight it, so I just give in.”
Julie is both a blogger and an author. She finished a contemporary novel several months ago, and is now working on a historical novel set in Denver in the 1860s. Is there synergy between her blog and her fiction writing? “I’d like to attract more readers who enjoy fiction. I’d like to network with them, and with other authors. I think it’s fun to find an author who blogs. You can create a personal connection with that author. And for me, the blog is a way to share some of the research and experiences I encounter while writing.”
Julie and I share is a background in journalism. I wrote for numerous publications including the Financial Times of London, Rolling Stone and the Associated Press. Julie wrote for a small paper in the Four Corners area, and now writes for USA Today and other online sites. It’s clear we both love the research-and-adventure part of creating our fictional worlds.
We also share a sense of spirituality that infuses our writing. For me, each person, and thus each character I write, is on a spiritual journey, whether or not they’re fully conscious of it. For Julie, her spiritual path is more specifically expressed in Christian writing. “I think spirituality factors in quite a bit. I believe that there is hope in the Bible and I want to convey that to my readers. There are so many people struggling with everyday issues, and as a writer we can address those struggles through our characters. Sometimes reading can be an escape from the everyday mundane, giving the reader something to look forward to each time they pick up a work of fiction.”
I think Julie would agree with me that a leading character’s journey must in some ways first be lived, or at least deeply understood, by the author. And with the understanding comes a desire to share the insights we’ve gained. As I wrote my upcoming novel What the Heart Knows, I kept asking myself, “What does my heart know? Am I listening to it? Am I authentically sharing what it has to say?”
For all authors, it’s a thrill to see our book at last between covers, gleaming from bookstore shelves, winking out of book bags, and held in the hands of a reader. But no matter the form, the real joy is sharing something from my heart to yours.
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