Monday, February 2, 2009

Guest Post: Nancy Warren

Hi Amy and friends. Thanks so much for having me.

One of the saddest things that happens to writers is that we lose the
ability to read a book purely for pleasure (which is likely the reason we
got into writing in the first place). We read with a critical eye constantly
delving into process. How did the author invoke this response in me? Why did
this scene move me so much? (Or why didn't it move me at all?) What a fresh
and exciting metaphor. Or, ouch, what a tired cliché. How did the author get
away with it? I suspect the same thing happens to avid foodies who go on to
become chefs. They stop eating purely for the pleasure of food and begin
deconstructing every meal. Sad but inevitable, I suppose, that once you've
peeked behind the Great Oz's curtain, you can never again experience the
magic without being aware of the little man manipulating all the buttons and

I'm a huge fan of Jane Gardem, the British novelist. I love her novel Old
Filth about the life of a man born in Malaysia in the early 20th century,
sent to England for schooling, who ends up a judge in Hong Kong and retires
to Dorset. Filth stands for Failed in London, Try Hong Kong. I recently
learned that Ms. Gardem plans a sequel to this novel which is very exciting
news. Anyway, on page 45 of my copy of Old Filth I came across this gem.
Betty, the wife of Old Filth is missing her book club meeting. "The writer
they were studying (studying!) was driving all the way from Islington to
interpret her novel for them. Betty thought that she ought to have better
things to do. It must be like discussing your marriage with strangers."

With Betty's comment in mind I feel a little foolish discussing my newest
book. I'll just say that it's a Valentine's romance. A Harlequin Blaze about
a workaholic management consultant on a project in a surfing town on the
California coast. When she goes in to a restaurant/bar for dinner on her own
the place is so crowded she has to sit up at the bar. Only then does she
realize it's Valentine's Day and she's the only onesie in the place. Except
for the bartender, laid back surfer by day, bartender by night, Johnny. The
book's called Under the Influence and very sadly involved extensive research
into 1: beachside surfing towns and 2: cocktails. What's a writer to do? For
more, come visit me at


Beth Kephart said...

This is a wonderful post—full of the truth, and full of great humor.

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