Friday, 12 March 2010

Knowlton Literary Festival

partly cloudy, extremely mild, temps 9

A good day at work. As I wrote the scenes it became clear what some of the themes of the book are - and how the actions and reactions of various characters are inter-related. This might sound odd, but it came as a surprise to me. When i started the book I knew the main actions...who died, who did it, why. Some of the major branches. And some roots. But how they intertwine, and some of the other themes come as a happy surprise. I basically just let the characters talk, and their natural reactions lead me to a deeper and deeper understanding. Of them, of the book.

It's a fascinating process. Both like painting a portrait - done in broad strokes at first, then more and more detail...and like digging a well...staying on one theme and going deeper and deeper.

What always surprises me is that so much is a surprise. But it also makes writing the books such fun. I'm hoping when you read them you're constantly surprised...cause God knows, I am writing when them.

Not sleeping so well these days. Never do when writing. or editing. Odd really, because I don't feel really, really stressed. I sometimes do, when writing...I've certainly been far more stressed writing. But so far so good with this one. But when I go to sleep it's hard to turn the brain off. To stop thinking. So I wake up about 3am...not worrying, thank heaven - but just sort of restless.

And then, like Maria in sound of Music, I think of happy things. or was that Mary Poppins? Either way, julie Andrews is my sleep mentor.

As I say, I finished writing early today, then Michael and I went off to Knowlton. I needed to meet with Danny at the bookstore - sign some books - talk about the upcoming Knowlton Literary Festival...the weekend of July 18th. The first one. Very exciting. If you're in the area - or can be - you'd love it. Knowlton is a VERY pretty village. And you'll get to meet Danny and Lucy. And me.

Phoned the Mounts to see if they'd like to meet us for lunch in Knowlton, but they were out. But met our friend Jack and his 93 year old mother, and joined them for lunch.

Jack told a funny story about his mother's last dog, who was a shih tzu. Apparently they had difficulty telling its front from it's back. Made all the harder since the dog had a habit of kneeling down, with his head on the floor and bottom up.

Heading off now to watch BBC World News. Thank you for all your kind words to the Mounts. We're having dinner with them tomorrow and I will pass them all on.

You're very kind.


Jeanine said...

I actually snorted when I read about the shih tzu -- am still laughing.

Please give the Mounts my sincere sympathy about Tara. I think I am safe in saying that the only things in the world I love more than my dog and cat are my husband, kids and my new granddaughter, Madeline. I truly believe that losing a pet is next to losing a child.

I love reading about your writing progress and your everyday process. I used to think that you were "living my life" but I now realize that I could never live up to your life. You are a very special woman with a very special talent. It's so wonderful to know that you love and appreciate the life you are living.

Can't wait 'til Bury Your Dead is available.

Anonymous said...

It's exciting to know your characters have wills of their own, and that they surprise even you. Thank you for sharing the inner works as you create.

Reen said...

It's hard to think about a dog's leaving. I cannot imagine being without Kendall... yet I know. God bless the Mounts.

Your books have helped me to deal with great loss and the tragedy of evil, as you reveal the kindness that does exist.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all -

Jeanine, I'm so glad you're enjoying the writing process and looking forward to Bury Your Dead!

Hi Anon - are you a writer too?

Hi Reen - what a very beautiful thing to say. Thank you!

Barbara C. said...

Does the Knowlton literary festival have another official name? I did a search and couldn't find a web page for it. I'd love an excuse to visit that lovely part of the world.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting to read that you find it hard to turn your brain off when trying to sleep after a day of writing. I am just the opposite. Hardly anything surfaces in my mind about what I am writing, consciously. I think I must have a very quiet mind. It never seems to "race" like other people's. Thank goodness there is something under the surface. Like a fisherman, I just have to put in my line to that subterraneon life.

Fun to talk about writing.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Barbara,

No, there's no website yet...but you might contact Brome Lake Books and ask Danny and Lucy for details. I know they're in the process of inviting authors, so the programme isn't pinned down yet.

And hi, Anon,

It's interesting how we all come at it from different directions - or perhaps struggle with different realities. How lovely to put the line in and be able to come up with wonderful things from the depths of yourself. Beautiful.

Reen said...

Maybe next year you will come to the Tucson Festival of Books! Lesa Holstine was there, but then she lives just north a few miles- a lot closer than Knowlton. Still it would be great.