WOW – another book trip! We left Kitty Hawk Monday morning making stops in Alexandria, DC, Leesburg, and Richmond before finishing this morning in Hertford, NC with about 60 members of the Albemarle Plantation Women’s Association. Back to the OBX by 3pm Wednesday.
Have book club? Will travel!
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.
I love to meet with book clubs and community groups – whether in person or via Skype. And, I think the participants agree. The discussions are lively, compelling and thought-provoking. Although One More Moon will not be released until February, 2018, here is a review of my first book, A Smile in One Eye: A Tear in the Other by one book club member.
“What a great book and story line throughout! I loved the way the difficult and challenging life stories unfolded throughout the book. This family faced multiple hardships, losses, and the tumult of world conflicts in a manner that grabs your heart no matter what generation is depicted. I found myself longing to know them better, but by the time I finished, I felt I did know them all. Having Mr. Webster and his wife at our Book Club turned a great book into a fascinating one, as he shared the process of developing his writing of the story! I plan to read it again, now that I’ve met Ralph and Ginger!