Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Meet An Artist Tuesday

Please welcome Julie Eberhart Painter, who is the Champagne Books author of Mortal Coil, Tangled Web, and the 2011 Book of the Year, Kill Fee. The sequel, Medium Rare, released December 3, 2012.  Daughters of the Sea, a paranormal, is coming Jan 25, 2013 from MuseItUpPublishing.

Julie’s web site is at www.books-jepainter.com.

Q) What inspired you to write this story?
Years ago I saw a feature on the Polynesians settling in New Zealand. It was called Nomads of the Sea and showed how the navigators read the waves to find safe islands in the South Pacific. In New Zealand they become known as the Maoris. We have visited Tahiti, Easter Island and NZ many times and are familiar with the indigenous peoples and their history.

I thought what a neat idea if a young exotic looking American woman discovered she was related to these romantic and spiritual people. My heroine is haunted by this discovery; and there was my story.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
Originally about three months, and then several years of mental marinating.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
Creating emotion and developing characters.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
Not in the fridge, but from the pantry, we just threw out a 30-year-old bottle of Tabasco sauce.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
This month, my cozy mystery, a sequel to Kill Fee, which took home Best Book for 2011 from www.champagnebooks.com, gave birth to Medium Rare.

My work in progress is a family story featuring a male nurse "raised right" in the American South in the 60s, and a liberated, ambitious woman from Main Line Philadelphia. CONFLICT.

Forbidden Words: orienting or disorienting

I just came off an early edit using a publisher-provided list of 20 forbidden words, all considered weak sisters. I expected to see “like” on the list, but didn’t. The Valley Girls must have landed.

Being a repeat offender, I began by searching and replacing words: examples:

Will be; had; as though; very, where Mark Twain suggested substituting damn. Believe me, damn can get an editor’s attention.

Then I went “But” hunting. After three days of working the forbidden 20, I came to the conclusion that my manuscript no longer made good sense. It had lost its orientation; its timeline was confused—not to mention confusing its cross-eyed author.

Back at the keyboard, I started from the beginning. Keeping the weaklings in mind, I rewrote the whole book. That worked damn well.

Since I’d wasted one of the days removing “and” from a manuscript full of not only “ands” but “hands” and “islands,” I became aware of all the little weaknesses one can include when galloping along telling a story: a story that is usually like a thumbnail sketch, enchanting, but flawed.

I use that example here because I was trained as an artist in clay, charcoal and water color. My art teachers wanted decisive, strong, passionate and clear purpose. Does that sound familiar to us writers?

Art is art as in “the arts.” Make it strong.

As a romantic suspense and paranormal writer, I suggest we all go “but” hunting, and let the Valley Girls, “like” it or lump it.

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