For the second year in a row, I am turning over the blog to guest posters for the month of December. And for the second year in a row, we’ve had a great response–thirty-three requests for spots! For the next month you’ll be hearing from writers, editors, and other pros on a variety of topics. I always let the guest writers choose their own subject and give them carte blanche while they’re here. There are no limitations on topic or language, and this time we’ve got everything from favorite words to sexsomnia! Since I will be hunkered down doing revisions on the first of my new books for NAL/Penguin, I am turning comments off for the month. Most posters will include links to their own sites if you want to follow up with them. So, I wish you all the best of holiday seasons–peace, prosperity, good health, and a fabulous start to 2015. See you in the new year!
Today we welcome Pam Jenoff. (This one surprised me a LOT when it popped in my inbox. I expected Pam would be promoting one of her fab WWII-era historicals, but she went a different way, and I was really appreciative of her kind words. And for the record, she’s much more put together than she thinks!)
A Writer’s Salute to Glamour
I’ve long wanted to write a post about the glamorous writers and there is no place more fitting to do so than on Deanna Raybourn’s blog, as she was the very first one I met. I am one of those writers who is barely able to get out of the house with clothes on. Even when I pull myself together for work, it is without jewelry or accessories, wearing the same pair of clunky black shoes. I would like to blame my lack of style on having two jobs and three small children. But the truth is, I have always been like this. My heyday was 90’s grunge, the uniform of my misspent Cambridge youth flannel shirts and baggy jeans. And with the kids, it has only gotten worse – I just bough a lipstick and it was my first in five years.
In the early years, I assumed that all writers were like this. We were introverts, after all, people who went to our desks still in pajamas and stumbled out blinkingly into the daylight after hours of writing, hair a veritable birds nest.
Then I met Deanna. It was the fall of 2006 and we were at New England Booksellers’ Association annual convention Providence, Rhode Island, she a huge debut with Silent in the Grave and me a much smaller first time author. I’ll never forget stepping into the hotel lobby and meeting this woman with flowing yet perfectly coiffed raven locks, a stunning red dress, and heels up to there. She could have stepped right off of a movie screen. I was floored: could women really write such beautiful prose and at the same time look so phenomenal?
Over time, I learned that there were others like Deanna, who could write the books and look fabulous while doing so. For example, Lisa Barr, author of Fugitive Colors, is another stunner and has become my guru in all things writer-style. I often stand before the mirror getting ready for a book event and asking myself, “What would Lisa do?” And my fellow authors in the anthology Grand Central: Original Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion are collectively the most beautiful group of authors ever. These include gorgeous southern belle Karen White, adorable Sarah McCoy, stunning Kristina McMorris, elegant Alyson Richman, beautiful Erika Robuck, stunning Jenna Blum and several others. In the months leading up to the anthology launch at Grand Central Terminal, I was completely daunted at the prospect of standing alongside them – in period appropriate dresses, no less. These women patiently schooled me – the “plain sister” as I dubbed myself — in all things vintage, and didn’t hold it against me when I still struggled to get it right.
I’d like to say that I have been transformed by meeting these amazing women into a glamour-puss of comparable stature. Truth is I still have more children than pieces of jewelry and I still fail to make it out of the house most days without something spilled on my shirt. But I do manage to wear a dress to most of my book events (what would Lisa say if I didn’t?) And I have newfound appreciation for trying to bring the whole package as a writer to the table.