Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guest Post: Author Lou Aronica

Greetings everyone - today I have author and now publisher as well, Lou Aronica, whose book, Blue comes out today. I am currently in the middle of reading Blue and really enjoying it.  The characters are engaging and the plot has me hooked.  So let's hear more from the author himself on writing Blue.

There’s a strategy that poker players use known as “going all in.” I’m not a poker player, so I’m working from second-hand knowledge here, but I’m under the impression that this strategy involves putting all of your chips in the pot with the goal of winning big or getting knocked out of the game. One of the reasons I don’t play cards is that this gambling concept is largely lost on me. Even if I had only two dollars left to bet, I’d raise by the minimum in order to forestall the end of my run.

However, with my new novel, Blue, the notion of going all in suddenly resonates with me. I’ve been in the book world for a long time, having stints as Deputy Publisher of Bantam Books and then Publisher of Berkley and Avon, and I published my first book as an author in 2003. I’ve invested at least a bit of myself – and sometimes a great deal of myself – in every book with which I was ever associated. Blue, though, takes this level of commitment to entirely new heights. For one thing, Blue took me six years to write. The longest I’ve ever taken to write a nonfiction book is a year and a half, and the longest it had ever taken me to write a novel before this was nine months. With Blue, though, the story came to me in layers, and each layer required a substantial revision of the entire text. More significantly, though, I invested a tremendous amount of myself in this novel. Many of the things that matter the most to me form major themes in Blue. The relationship between fathers and daughters. The consequences of divorce. The necessity of and power of imagination. The quantum possibilities (if you’ll excuse the term) of belief. While none of the major plot points in this novel correlate to my life, I am all over the page in Blue in a way I’ve never been before.

I knew from the start that my investment in this novel was greater than my investment in any of my previous books. For the longest time, I just accepted this as the case, but after finishing Blue, I felt the need to ask myself, “Why this one above all that came before?” With my nonfiction, the answer was simple. I write all of my nonfiction in collaboration with others, so by definition those experiences could not be as all-encompassing as my experience with Blue. What of the other fiction, though? It took me some time to understand this, but eventually I realized that my feelings about Blue stemmed from a confluence of events: I was finally ready to talk about many of the things most important to me, and I finally had learned enough about writing fiction to adequately dramatize these things on the page. I think the primary reason I feel so connected to this novel is that I feel that I finally have enough command of my skills to convey what I really want to convey. (And yes, I do realize that I’m opening myself to all kinds of criticism and even ridicule for saying that, but that’s an essential part of “going all in,” isn’t it?)

I have always loved writing, but I’m unashamed to say that I’ve loved writing Blue the most. This was the first time I’ve moved all of my chips to the middle of the table. I certainly hope fate isn’t holding four aces.

Thank you so much for joining us today Lou and also for "going all in" with Blue.  I will have a post featuring Blue up later today and hopefully a review as well.