Being new to this whole business of being a writer, I'm thoroughly fascinated by how other people do it. And I mean on a daily basis--what their writing day is like, where they work, what they snack on, listen to, procrastinate with. I love when I get a peek into this highly individual world, so when I get to feature authors from the Circuit, that's what I will try to give you!
Today I'm happy to have Eileen Cook with me. Her book, UNRAVELING ISOBEL just came out yesterday and is already getting rave reviews. Check it out:
Isobel’s life is falling apart. Her mom just married some guy she met on the internet only three months before, and is moving them to his sprawling, gothic mansion off the coast of nowhere. Goodbye, best friend. Goodbye, social life. Hello, icky new stepfather, crunchy granola town, and unbelievably good-looking, officially off-limits stepbrother.
But on her first night in her new home, Isobel starts to fear that it isn’t only her life that’s unraveling—her sanity might be giving way too. Because either Isobel is losing her mind, just like her artist father did before her, or she’s seeing ghosts. Either way, Isobel’s fast on her way to being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.
Eileen Cook is a multi-published author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer.
She was also kind enough to answer my questions about her writing life:
1. Do you have a pre-game writing warm-up? Something you do before you write to help get you in the right frame of mind?
Does aimless internet surfing looking at cute puppy pictures and sordid celebrity stories count? I don’t have any formal rituals to get me into the game, but I do like to have access to a cup of tea.
2. Totally. Is there a time of day you like to write best?
I seem to be the most creative in the afternoon, so that’s the time I try and do most of my “new writing.” I use the morning for responding to email, do edits and generally catch up on random things that need to get done.
3. Where do you write most often? Do you have a picture you wouldn’t mind sharing of your writing space?
I tend to write most often in my office. It was the old sun porch on our house that was closed in and insulated. I’ve got a great view of the backyard so I can look out and yell at the dogs when they start digging holes. My office is also open to the living room so I can see the fireplace, which is nice this time of year.
4. What things do you always have on hand when writing? Special pens, notepads, snacks…
Across from my desk is my grandfather’s old typewriter. He got it in the late 1920’s when he went off to Notre Dame. When I was growing up he would type regular letters to me on it and when I would visit I would “play” writer in his office on it. When he passed away I dragged it home with me. It’s made from cast iron and weighs a zillion pounds, but I like to look at it while writing.
5. How do you stay focused when writing?
Most days I don’t have too much trouble staying focused. I’m usually invested in the characters and what’s happening so I want to see how things unfold. Then there are the days when everything seems to distract me. Dust motes in the air are distracting at that point. I try and remind myself that I can’t fix a blank page and stay focused. When that doesn’t work, I assume my brain is trying to tell me something and let myself take a break.
6. What is your worst writing distraction/procrastination tool?
I can take procrastination to an art form. My two primary distractions are reading and knitting. Reading I consider to be research, so I tell myself that I am sort of working and it should count. I can’t lie to myself about my yarn addiction. I like the very tangible sense of progress. Some days you can write all day and have nothing to show for it. With knitting I start with a ball of yarn and after a few hours I have something- a scarf, socks, part of a sweater. It makes me feel as if I’ve accomplished something.
7. Describe your perfect writing day:
The perfect writing day is when suddenly the pieces of an idea all click into place and I know exactly where the story is going. Days where I get to write “the end” are also pretty enjoyable
Thanks so much for stopping by and giving us a peek into your writing life Eileen. And congratulations on Unraveling Isobel!!!
You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny at www.eileencook.com.