Wednesday, October 12, 2011
In any case, here we go. The fifth and final guest post telling the story behind the story of You Are My Only has now gone live out there in the blogosphere. This one appears on a blogger site that I find visually fascinating and deeply textured, like the best designed Project Runway dress (I'm thinking Mondo crossed with Anya). This blogger (who is herself a fine writer) describes herself as a pain in the you know what (but I rather love her), has a close relationship to Hicklebee's (she's the resident blogger), wears tiaras, and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. I do not know if she dances.
Post 5 begins like this:
If you’ve been following these blog posts, then you understand already that I don’t write my books in some preordained sequential fashion. I don’t outline a plot; I don’t consult the trends; I don’t go with the fashions. I write about what will not let me sleep, and over time, and through countless drafts, the separate aspects of my obsessions knit themselves into a story.
One of the things that was keeping me awake at night while I was working on this book was the stories I kept reading about urban explorers—those fascinating souls who explore abandoned buildings, often illegally, and create entire underworlds within them. For many years, a northeast Philadelphia asylum known to many as Byberry was a favorite haunting ground for these folks. This gigantic structure had been left to rot after being shut down in the 1990s, and the urban explorers (or “cavers” as they are sometimes known) had taken over—held rave parties there, ridden their motorcycles through connective tunnels, dug through the patient records and film reels and all the wild and disturbing “stuff” that had been so haphazardly left behind.
Your job is to find this post and to also find the four other posts that very kind bloggers have lodged on their blogs. If you do that—find all five posts, put the links on your own blog, and send me proof of your cross linking in any comment box by October 24—you will be entered into a drawing. The two randomly chosen winners will each win a signed copy of You Are My Only as well as an opportunity to have 2,000 words from a work in progress be critiqued by yours truly. For the full details go here. Winners will be announced October 25, the day that You Are My Only launches.
Here, again, are the clues.
Post 4 is housed at the psychodelically-hued (we know that isn't a real term) home of a certain chick who loves lit. I met this wonderful person at the BEA this past summer. She was part of the awesome gang of many who surprised me with a YAMO blast a month or so again. The post you are looking for begins like this:
Those who know me know that I’m only intermittently good at devising titles.
Undercover was called Come Back to Me, for example, until Laura Geringer asked me to please think again on that one. Still Love in Strange Places was named by my son moments before the W.W. Norton catalog was going on press. Nothing but Ghosts was my title, thank you very much, though there was a slight (we ignored it!) problem—I’d used the word ghosts in a previous book title (Ghosts in the Garden). The Heart is Not a Size and House of Dance were titles of my making, and I proudly claim them.
Post 3 is titled "When Emmy called I listened," and tells the story of my discovery of Emmy Rane. Why she is. Where (in part) her story came from. It is posted on a site that is beloved by so many of you, a place where the color turquoise lives, a blog developed and managed by a young woman who is an orthodontic assistant by day. The post begins with these words:
You Are My Only is a book told in two voices—that of a young teen named Sophie and that of a young mother whose name is Emmy Rane. Emmy Rane’s voice has been with me for a very long time. She was inspired, in part, by a moment, long ago, when I noticed a small child left untended by his mother. I have one of those apocalyptic imaginations (for better or worse, and most times, in real life, that would be worse—just ask my son), and instantly I was imagining things. The sudden stirring of a storm. The evil intentions of a neighbor. A big fat wasp with a ready sting. Somebody, I thought, please rescue that boy!Post 2 appeared on September 21 on the site of a woman who has consistently made my life a sweet an good place, and who is indeed a friend to us all. That post was called "Opening the Door to Cloris and Helen," and it started this way:
I’ll be honest. Cloris and Helen are two characters who have been living with me for more than a decade. That’s right. I carried these two dear souls, these more-than-best-friends ladies, through a variety of novels I’d been writing. They were bird-obsessed in one book (not so strange, since all of my books have at least one character who is obsessed with birds). They were digging a huge hole beneath their house in another. In an early version of the book that became You Are My Only, it was Cloris who had been committed to the asylum.Post 1, finally, ran on September 9 on a blog with the clever subtitle, "Looking better in black since 1234." It was called "The (furious) metamorphosis of Sophie" and it began like this:
Several years ago I began to write a novel for adults that had a certain Sophie as its focus. She was in her late thirties and her boyfriend, Vin, had recently left her. She was alone, a writer, and trying to piece together the unresolved oddments of her past. Strange things were being left on Sophie’s doorstep—signs, masks, even a pot of soup—and the only thing that Sophie knew for sure that she was being lured to an abandoned asylum on the other side of the woods by people she wasn’t certain she could trust.Finally, for those of you who have actually read to the end of this post, but do not wish to track every post down, then I offer you this: Link to this YAMO Treasure Hunt Final Installment page on your blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter, send me proof that you did, and you too can be entered to win the grand prizes.
Huge thanks to There's A Book and My Friend Amy for making this hunt possible. For more about the book, please view the trailer here.