Monday, September 3, 2012

GUTGAA Meet and Greet!

Photo Courtesy of Deana Barnhart
Hi everyone! My name is Lisa Ann O'Kane, and I am one of the first-round judges in Deana Barnhart's GUTGAA blogfest. Here are my meet-and-greet answers, and I can't wait to hop around and meet you as well!

Q: Where do you write?

A: I would kill for a proper writing space--or even a proper writing desk--but right now, my office is my laptop in my lap. I usually write in a comfy recliner, but I sometimes camp out on my kitchen table as well. As long as I have Nag Champa incense or Yankee candles, I am good to go!

Q: Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

A: There is a window to the left of my kitchen table, and it looks out to cottonwood trees, rose bushes and a very dilapidated turquoise shed.

Q: Favorite time to write?

A: Late at night. I love the calm and stillness, and there is something creative about the realization you're the only one awake in the house.

Q: Drink of choice while writing?

A: Tea! Earl Grey, Jasmine Green, Pumpkin Chai... The list goes on and on.

Q: When writing, do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

A: I have a very specific playlist I listen to when I write. Carla Bruni, Bebel Gilberto, the Shins, Bob Dylan, Ugly Cassanova... The music has to strike a perfect chord with me, or else I find it distracting. (I also love to assign songs to my characters. Although I don't usually write and listen to these songs at the same time, I play them other times when I want to find inspiration.)

Q: What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

A: The inspiration for my latest manuscript ESSENCE came to me randomly. (See my full pitch here.)

I was in Vail with my husband to watch a friend of ours get inducted into the Snowboard Hall of Fame last winter. There were tons of early '90's snowboarding legends there, and I was struck by how poorly many of them had aged. Some had mobility issues (thanks to the beatings they put on their bodies), some had substance abuse withdrawal issues, and many others just seemed "different."

I turned to my husband at one point and said, "It's weird. It's almost like these guys were given a certain allotment of life, and they've already used theirs up."

BAM. The rest of my story came to me like lightning.

Q: What's your most valuable writing tip?

A: Don't listen to too many people's advice. Writing is personal, and you need to have faith in yourself and in the process. Valuable insight can certainly be gleaned from other people, but limit your inner circle to only a handful of people whose opinions you really trust. Nothing squelches creativity like too much conflicting advice from well-meaning friends and acquaintances.

So, there you have it! I can't wait to meet the rest of you!

39 comments:

Charlie Holmberg said...

I will take your advice to heart. You can't please everyone anyway, right?

Have fun with GUTGAA!

kiperoo said...

Love these responses, especially about the snowboarding conversation--sounds haunting already! I'm sitting out #gutgaa but will be cheering others on and hope you have a great time as a first round judge!

Rhiann Wynn-Nolet said...

Great advice and fabulous photos! A really all around awesome blog.

cstuarthardwick said...

Wow. You really have the work like balance thing sorted! Nice to meet ya!

Diana Gallagher said...

Pumpkin chai exists?! What a glorious combination!

Carey Torgesen said...

Even your inspiration gives me inspiration. Thanks for sharing. :)

Sarah P. said...

Nice to meet you! I'm a tea lover too! Earl Grey and Lady Grey are my favorites. Yummy!

Angelina C. Hansen said...

Cool. Another tea lover. ^_^ Guess what? We're on our way. Moving next week.

Juliana L. Brandt said...

Oh yes, your writing space sounds exactly like mine :)

Your advice is amazing. You're right, writing is personal and we always need to stick with what we believe :) So true!

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Super advice Lisa Ann! What lives in the dilapidated turquoise shed?

Jadzia Brandli said...

Nice to meet you, Lisa! I posted my Meet and Greet answers today, as well. I love your answer about what time you write. I'm the same way. I also have a specific playlist. There are songs I love, but don't help with writing, so they just distract me. :) Have a great day!

amy said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! And that is great writing advice. And like you, I assign songs to many of my characters.

Kate Larkindale said...

Great writing tip. I totally ruined my first book by taking every single piece of advice I got, not realizing a lot of it was contradictory. You have to pick who you trust and listen to them.

Emily R. King said...

Nice playlist, and I like your writing tip! Happy judging!

Lindsey Frydman said...

Nothing squelches creativity like too much conflicting advice.

I couldn't agree more! While I hope all advice is well-meant, a lot of it really is only opinion--and contradictory.

:)

Nichole Giles said...

That. Is great advice. Nice to meet you. Oh, and I love your blog title.

Aidyl Ewoh said...

Ohh yes, picking and choosing the advice you listen to… Good thing to remember. =) Thanks for being a judge, by the way!

roomthirty3.com said...

Your blog title is great! Love all the pictures. Good to meet you and visit your blog :)

Kelley Lynn said...

I love writing at night too. My characters are awake and ready to go and no one in this world is up. Its perfect :)

So nice to meet you!

Melissa Sugar said...

Hi. I am making my meet and greet rounds. It is nice to bump into another night time writer. The last ten or more blogs I have come across belong to writers who get up anywhere between 4:00 and 5:30 a.m. to write. I wish I could, but my brain would never cooperate. Thanks for the useful writing tip. It is hard for newer or unpublished writers when we find advice around every turn. We want to learn all that we can, but you are so right, too much from too many people can backfire.

As a lawyer, one of the best tips I give to new lawyers is "get to know your judges ". I suppose that applies here as well. I love your photos.

Eliza Tilton said...

*Waves*

Donna L Martin said...

Greetings!

I'm hopping over from GUTGAA and reading all the meet & greet questions. Nice to meet you! You have a lovely blog...good luck with the contest!

Donna L Martin
www.donnalmartin.com
www.donasdays.blogspot.com

Carrie-Anne said...

I love your writing tip. A lot of people might be well-meaning, but some tips just won't fit with your personal style and voice. If you, say, have a more literary bent, it won't make sense to advise against longer paragraphs or expository narrative.

Stephsco said...

I love your story inspiration. That's really cool and thanks for sharing it in detail. I occasionally snowboarded in the '90s -- I was never very good having learned to ski first-- and my high school boyfriend was really into snowboarding and that whole culture. I can imagine how hard it is on bodies, and also the drug culture that sometimes goes with it (especially for pro-boarders with access to money and sponsors). That's a very cool idea to stem a story from.

I clicked over on your pitch idea. I like that you framed it as a cult. Also, isn't Ryder Strong an actor who was on Boy Meets World? That name immediately rang a bell, maybe I'm wrong or he might spell it differently.

Your writing tip is helpful for critiques too; sometimes someone's writing style is not what I like, but it's important to focus on how they can make their work stronger, not change it to how I'd write it. I had to learn that first and then applied it to crits of my own writing.

myupsndowns said...

Great blog! Have fun with GUTGAA!!! :)

Kay Kauffman said...

Nice to meet you, Lisa Ann! The view from your kitchen window sounds very picturesque. Heck, I'm even a little inspired! :)

Stephsco said...

I just saw your comment back on my blog -- wanted to make sure you knew I got it! I didn't want to tell you NOT to use the name but glad I was able to use the trivia in my brain that about an old 90s kids show to your advantage. :)

Elaine Smith said...

I love it that the snowboarders made you stop and think. I remember thinking something similar after watching Tony Hawks skateboarding in the UK a few years ago. #gutgaa is HUGE! But a lot of fun I hope you have a great time as a first round judge!

J. Lea Lopez said...

The premise of your ms sounds awesome! And your writing advice is spot on. I've seen a lot of writers who ask for input from a lot of people and try to change their writing to suit every part of what every person says. They end up writing themselves right out of their own work.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Great to meet you, and I'll see you around GUTGAA!

Jeannette said...

I love your animal pictures (esp. the one with Mr. Owl and you sizing each other up). Coolest job ever! You have an interesting story concept too... I can see possibilities in your idea. Nice to meet you!

Tracy Bermeo (A2Z Mommy) said...

Hello from GUTGAA! I love your photos and I think it's so cool you're a zookeeper. Wait till I tell my kids! Great to *meet* you!
A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

RAD - Dot Painter said...

Nice to see you back! And to think I remember when you were un-agented last year! Congrats on everything.
~ Rachel Dillon
ThroughEndangeredEyes.blogspot.com

Patrice said...

I like your advice, I definitely listened to too many people while writing my first MS and it took a while to get my head straight and my motivation back.

Thanks for visiting my blog, Whimsicallyours.com!

Patrice

laurenmbarrett.com said...

I liked your writing advice. It seems like ever author has something to say about the process, but we're all different so everyone works differently. Good luck with GUTGAA

ilima said...

I love your advice. So true!

LTM said...

Hey! Look at you! Geaux, judgey! :D These are great questions. I actually have to have silence when I write. I pay too much attention to music. But that last one is the best. Writing is personal. So true~ <3

Mia Celeste said...

Nice to meet you. I'm a tea drinker too.

http://otherworlddiner.blogspot.com/2012/09/deana-barnharts-gearing-up-to-get-agent.html

Jenny S. Morris said...

Dude, I'm coming to your zoo!! I love all your pics on the sidebar. ;0)

Dinda Amanda said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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