This past week I was asked “how was writing One More Moon different from what I’d experienced writing the last book?” It’s a curious question – one that I find myself reflecting upon now and certainly something that I was not overly conscious of when I was writing. Had I considered the difference, would it have changed the way I wrote One More Moon?
Old habits are hard to break. I can’t say the way I approached the writing changed much – the way I researched, my daily routine, the thought process. I always take my craft seriously. Even though this was a different story, little else changed. One initial reviewer noticed. But, no one else did and I never gave it much more thought.
I realize now that it’s very obvious. The difference? My first book, A Smile in One Eye, is told by a man, my father. I tried to put myself into my father’s head and explain his world from a man’s perspective. My new book, One More Moon, is told by a woman, my grandmother. I had to find her voice, understand the world from her vantage point, and speak the words she would have said. I honestly can’t say that I purposely tried to write one with a male voice and the other with a female voice. I didn’t instinctively prepare or choose my words differently. I wasn’t aware of the nuance – I hope this was because I didn’t want there to be one. I didn’t try to express their emotions or how they said things differently simply because one was a man and the other a woman. My aim was to portray and project the individual characters as I knew them. I wanted them to be real.
Now I wonder how readers will react. Do readers prefer books written in a woman’s voice versus a man’s? Did I make these characters authentic? Should I have used a different pen name? Will their voices stand up to the scrutiny of my readers? When put to paper, what does distinguish a man’s voice from a woman’s? Is there a stereotype that one is supposed to follow? As One More Moon rolls out in the coming weeks and months I am sure I will learn many of the answers. Readers have a way of being very direct in their observations. They will tell me the answers.