Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guest Post: Julie Halpern - Where, How, and When I Write

Today Julie Halpern, author of Don't Stop Now which I reviewed last week is joining us with a guest post about her writing.

Where, How, and When I Write

Now that I am working on the big revision of my fourth novel (the sequel to my first!), I’m trying to remember how I managed to write any of my novels.  The hilarious part is that I quit my job as a school librarian last year to be home with my daughter.  I thought this would also give me more time to write, seeing as I would only have to balance two careers instead of three.  As if.  Now that I am MOM full time, I can’t seem to find any time of day where I am WRITER.  This is scaring me a bit.  So I thought I would look back at how I wrote my first three novels and see if this inspires Writer Julie to come out and play.

Get Well Soon – I should first mention that I write all my novels by hand into regular notebooks using regular ballpoint pens.  I am a terrible typist, and the blank screen combined with the flashing cursor and squiggly lines makes writing a book straight into a computer daunting.  I wrote the first half of Get Well Soon on my train rides from Chicago into the suburbs and back when I worked at an elementary school.  When summer came, I signed up for two hours a day in a private study room at my public library.  There, I finished the second half.  So disciplined I was!

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder – I signed on for this book with my editor when all I knew was that I was writing a “friendship novel.”  It was pretty daunting to be paid for a book and then having to write it.  I used the ol’ bland-walled library room to write this book, although the starkness and rips in the chairs started getting to me.  Obviously, though, it brought enough focus to write a book.

Don’t Stop Now – This was the first book I wrote after I had my daughter.  She was a power sleeper, so I wrote the book during my summer off in the wee hours of the morning before she woke up.  Okay, she slept until 9:30.  It all worked perfectly, until…

Get Well Soon: The Sequel (actual title to come) – My daughter seems to now sense when I’m working in the morning.  On days when I’m not working, she’ll sleep until 8:30.  Sometimes I have to wake her up.  On days when I’m trying to work?  I’m lucky if she stays down until 7:30.  I have no idea how I wrote my first solid draft, in my house, during baby sleeping times, but now that I have the first big revision to tackle?  I’m struggling.  I don’t like the pressure the baby monitor puts on me.  It’s like I’m constantly listening for her voice to break the flow I’ve got going with my writing.  Really, the only time I’m going to be able to write well from now on will have to be a) when my daughter is out of the house (hear that, Grandma?) or b) when I lock myself in my bedroom closet.  I’m seriously considering the latter.  Because I have a deadline, and I’m not getting much work done.  Did I just hear something over the baby monitor?  Guess this blog post is done.  Sigh.

Thanks so much for joining us today Julie - I really enjoyed Don't Stop Now and you can find my review here.

About the Book:
On the first day of Lillian’s summer-before-college, she gets a message on her cell from her sort-of friend, Penny. Not only has Penny faked her own kidnapping, but Lil is the only one who figures it out. She knows that Penny’s home life has been rough, and that her boyfriend may be abusive. Soon, Penny’s family, the local police, and even the FBI are grilling Lil, and she decides to head out to Oregon, where Penny has mentioned an acquaintance. And who better to road-trip across the country with than Lil’s BFF, Josh. But here’s the thing: Lil loves Josh. And Josh doesn’t want to “ruin” their amazing friendship.
Josh has a car and his dad’s credit card. Lil has her cellphone and a hunch about where Penny is hiding. There’s something else she needs to find: Are she and Josh meant to be together?

About the Author:
A native to the Chicago suburbs, She have been a school librarian for more than ten years (old much?).  She live with my sweetheart husband, illustrator Matthew Cordell, and their gloriously large Siamese cat, Tobin.  In her spare time she like to read, watch TV, play Sims 2, and travel.


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