I’m completely honored that Theresa has asked me to write a guest post for her wonderful blog. And she has been completely generous, telling me that I can write about anything I want to!
How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly is my seventh book and is populated by a wild, wild cast of characters. So I’d like to ruminate on my creative process and the fact that for me, characters usually come first.
I freely admit: I’m character crazy. I love my characters and probably find them more fascinating than anyone else. But that’s okay. Writers birth their characters into being and then we love them—even the scoundrels—as if they were family. Being plotless, of course, is the great curse of the literary writer. I have to ruminate on the pulse points, as I prefer to call plot, long and hard.
The best writing occurs when the pulse points of my characters’ lives arise organically from the page. Books contain an internal logic and if you try to impose an exterior order on the novel, you end up with a melodramatic plot or—even worse—a mechanical one.
Without a doubt, I am my own worst enemy. I will walk around for years with characters in my head, doing research into their issues and the times they lived, and I will try to force a plot upon them. I will grow ever more nervous and manic, and when finally I am at my wits end, I will sit down to write—utterly terrified—and if I have any brains at all on that particular day, I will remain silent and let the characters do the talking. They know the plot. My job is to listen.
The characters in How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly have been speaking to me for about five years. I am so, so happy that now they can speak to my readers too!~~Connie May Fowler, www.conniemayfowler.com
How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly
Author: Connie May Fowler
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Women's Fiction
Synopsis: (from author's website)
Set amidst the lush pine forests and rich savannas of Florida’s Northern Panhandle, HOW CLARISSA BURDEN LEARNED TO FLY tells the story of one woman whose existence until now has seemed fairly normal: she is 30-something, married, and goes about her daily routine as a writer. However, it is soon discovered that ghosts, an indifferent husband, and a seemingly terminal case of writer’s block are burdening Clarissa’s life. She awakes on the summer solstice and, prodded by her own discontent and one ghost’s righteous need for truth, commences upon a twenty-four hour journey of self-discovery. Her harrowing, funny, and startling adventures lead Clarissa to a momentous decision: She must find a way to do the unthinkable. Her life and the well-being of a remarkable family of blithe spirits hang in the balance.
Clarissa Burden is a character you can't help but love She's an amazing woman, but sadly, she doesn't realize how special she really is. As Clarissa makes critical decisions and grows, one cannot help but cheer her on. She is a character that will stay with the reader long after the story has been finished.
This novel has an incredible and empowering message. It tells how easy it is to slide into a life we would never chose, but when it happens slowly, we don't realize it until it's too late. Clarissa's journey will have you at the edge of your seat, will make you laugh, sometimes cry, and will even get you frustrated at times. It's an amazing story that I think all women should read.
When you pick up a copy, make sure you buy one for your best friend, as well. It's a story that you'll be sure to want to discuss. This would make a great book for book clubs.
Parental note: This story contains some offensive language and some adult situations.
About the author:
Connie May Fowler is the author of five novels, most recently The Problem with Murmur Lee, and a memoir, When Katie Wakes. In 1996, she published Before Women Had Wings, which became a paperback bestseller and was made into a successful Oprah Winfrey Presents movie. She founded the Connie May Fowler Women With Wings Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to aiding women and children in need.
Others participating in today's tour:
A copy of this book was provided by Hachette Book Groups for me to honestly review.