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Off the Menu Review and Guest Post

What an exciting and historic night!! While the country is getting ready for a new administration, I am celebrating my own historic (albeit not with as wide an audience) moment by conducting my own author interview with Christine Son who is visiting my site as part of the TLC book tours.   It is like having my own holy trinity--- getting to participate in a historic election, having the author of a book I really enjoyed visit my site, and being part of a virtual tour!!

Before we get to the interview, I am going to give my review of the book.  Basically, this book is a good fit for anyone who has felt torn between what he/she should want and what he/she actually desires.   I gave a summary and talked about reading this book during a Sunday Salon post.  Even though the three main characters had different struggles, I could relate to all of them.   Whitney is an attorney in a stressful law firm environment who is yearning to have her voice heard through her singing.  Audrey wants her mother's approval and blessing as she moves forward with her engagement.  Hercules is a successful chef who struggles to have a good relationship with her father.   Who has not wondered about their career path? Who has not felt frustrated when the introduction of their partner to the family has not been smooth?  Whose life is not marked with constantly trying to improve familial relationships?  My favorite part of the book was seeing the relationship between the three women deepen and broaden.  I liked the way the author captured the transition from feeling fearful about sharing too much to reaching a level of comfort where they could not only share their feelings, but support each other in a meaningful way.

Now, please join me in welcoming Christine Son!! (APPLAUSE, WHISTLES, CHEERS!!!!)  I decided to ask her questions about her writing process and how her life has changed since she became published.

1. How do you balance being a writer and a lawyer?

It can be difficult sometimes, trying to balance what feels like two full-time jobs. Actually, being a lawyer and being a writer can feel like more than two full-time jobs. But I really enjoy both, so I try to be patient and deal with things as they come. For example, if I'm on a creative streak, I'll spend more time writing, whether it's at night or early in the morning or all weekend. And if I have a hearing (like I do today!) or a trial or just a whole lot going on in the office, then I have to be patient enough to put my writing to the side for the moment. I'm rather impulsive and impatient by nature. I always feel like I have to do this now. Now, now, now! So that urgency motivates me to do both, I think. Also, I'm quite the insomniac, and my mind's always going, so if I'm just going to lay in bed, I might as well get up and do something, no?

2. Before writing, do you have any special rituals or practices to get into "the zone"?

Hmm, special rituals or practices. No, I don't do anything to get into "the zone" of writing. But I will procrastinate for a bit before I actually put words to novel! I'll play ten games of Spider Solitaire. I'll fiddle on Facebook for a while. I'll check email and read the news and horoscopes and just about anything to delay the actual writing. Maybe in a way, that is preparing myself to get into the zone of writing, although if you mean "zone" as a zen-like state (akin to the endorphic high of running, maybe), I'm not sure that I have ever been able to anticipate those. Writing is a strange thing. One day, I may sit and stare at the computer for hours and then write 20 words, all 20 of which are awful. The next, I may spit out five pages of what I think is perfect writing.

3. How do you contend with writer's block?

Writer's block--oh, dreaded writer's block. One writer I know once said that she never gets writer block because she always knows what she's writing (kind of circular, no?), and I thought, "how nice for you." It was a bit like hearing, "oh, I just can't keep on any weight," or "I have so much money, I really don't know what I'm going to do with all of it." I have writer's block on a pretty regular basis, and maybe it's because I will vaguely plot out what it is I want to write before writing and then change my mind midway through my novel. When I'm stumped, I will take a break for a few days, mostly so that I don't go insane with frustration. A lot of times, I'll find that I don't know what needs to come next because what I've done with a particular character (whether her personality or her plotline) isn't congruous with who she is, or who she needs to be. So, sometimes, writer's block signifies that I've taken a wrong turn somewhere. And I'll reassess what this character's function is, or what the backbone of the book is supposed to be, or what it is that I want to say with the book as a whole. In other words, a lot of times, I'll step back and look at the novel panoramically and try to figure out what the point of it is. Which jogs my memory as to why this character is in the book at all. And sometimes, I'll see what needs to come next in a random moment in the car or in the shower or in my dreams. I love the HP commercial with Gwen Stefani, in which she talks about the creative process. It's not something you can switch on or off. It just happens. And she says, "it's just that simple. And it's just that hard." I love it. It's absolutely true.

4. What has surprised you most about becoming a published novelist?

Well, so many things surprised me about becoming a published author. I'm surprised that I am a published author, for one! Ha! The entire process of publishing, how long it takes, the editorial expertise from my publisher that I wasn't expecting but am thrilled to death by. I'm surprised by how supportive my friends are (I don't know why I thought they would regard it as just another thing, that they wouldn't quite appreciate how hard I'd worked or how difficult it is to become published). I'm surprised that I am even more anxious to get my next novel finished or that I'm thinking of my third while I'm finishing up my second (I guess I thought that once I reached the mountain top of publication, the urgency would abate a bit. It hasn't). This is a great question, but I'm afraid I don't have a very coherent answer. Verbose, yes, but not terribly coherent. I'm just so grateful that all the hours I've put into my writing has yielded something, and that I get to meet wonderful bloggers like you who read my book and like it! That's what surprises me (and tickles me to bits) the most and the best. When I hear from readers who say lovely things like, "I loved it!"

Thank you so much Christine!!!!!!

Christine Son’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, November 3rd: Literarily

First week of November: Estella’s Revenge e-zine

Wednesday, November 5th: Beastmomma

Thursday, November 6th: Book Nut

Friday, November 7th: Ramya’s Bookshelf

Monday, November 10th: Pop Culture Junkie

Tuesday, November 11th: 8Asians

Wednesday, November 12th: Savvy Verse and Wit

Thursday, November 13th: In The Pages

Friday, November 14th: She is Too Fond of Books

Monday, November 17th: Planet Books

Tuesday, November 18th: B & B ex Libris

Wednesday, November 19th: DISGRASIAN

Thursday, November 20th: Booking Mama

Monday, November 24th: The Literate Housewife Review

Tuesday, November 25th: Feminist Review

Wednesday, November 26th: Diary of an Eccentric

For more information, check out these sites:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Off-Menu-Christine-Son/dp/0451224175/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207789330&sr=8-1

FAQ: http://www.christineson.com/faq.php

Blog: http://authorchristineson.blogspot.com/

Posted on Wednesday, November 5, 2008 at 1:44AM by Registered Commenter[beastmomma] | Comments5 Comments | References1 Reference

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Reader Comments (5)

This is my first time to read an author interview on a blog. Have to say I quite enjoyed it. The questions were ones I would have liked to have come up with myself! So thanks Beastmomma
November 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnita
My pleasure Anita. I am glad that you enjoyed it.
November 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbeastmomma
Great questions. I feel I learned about what makes an author tick. It's really fun to see "behind the scene". Thanks Beastmomma - nice work.
November 6, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChristi
Thanks for stopping by Christi. I really appreciate your kind comments.
November 6, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbeastmomma
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