In the conclusion of my interview with L.L. Barkat, discover how she balances her writing life with her family life and the advice she has for writers who haven't yet been published.
How long did it take you to decide on a title for your book? Were there many other possible titles you had picked out?
Less than three and half weeks. ;-)
Not a single other title. This is typical for me. My books are born from their titles. The way a poem can be born from a single line.
When did you first have a desire to write?
Age five. “I love you, Mommy.” Interesting to think: about four decades later I may have returned to that opening line.
Do you plan out the entire book before writing it? Or do you just sit down and write?
Can’t plan ahead. Unless it’s nonfiction, and that loosely. Though I daydreamed every morning while I lay in bed, before rising at about 4 am to put my day (night?) dreams into words.
How much research, if any, did you have to do for this book?
Tea is one of my big passions. So the research was done before I started. However, I wanted a richer understanding of Mary Shelley and Murasaki (Japanese fiction writer—a woman, whose real name has been lost to history because of her gender). These women required some extra reading.
What new doors has your writing opened up for you? How has your writing changed your life?
Writing led me to become a Managing Editor. More than once. I would say that my current position with Tweetspeak Poetry has been extremely life-changing—from the relationships I’ve formed to the business directions I’ve pursued. Between a new app called Wordcandy.me —that pairs quotes and photography—and a budding partnership with a tea company, I am happier than I ever dreamed I could be.
Do you ever become bored with what you are writing? If you do, how do you get past that point?
Eat chocolate. Drink tea. Make myself write. It comes. It always comes.
What kind of books do you like to read?
No one kind. Just the good kind. Unique ideas and perspectives. Intriguing language. Business, marketing, poetry, fiction, nonfiction, science, history.
Okay, I am not big on how-to books. Which is why I had to write a how-to-write-fiction book that did not feel like it was telling anybody what to do, per se. Except the doors. I might have told writers they need to push their main characters through the doors. But this amuses me, because, like I suggest in the book, writers such as Mary Shelley didn’t have a big how-to-write genre in their libraries. How did they survive?
How do you manage to balance your time between family, friends, and writing?
Do you have any advice for writers who are striving to be published?
Write from the place of your greatest fear. Write from the place of your greatest anger. Write from the place of your greatest love. When you do that, you touch your point of power, even if it needs to be edited into something presentable to the world.
Also, these days, connect with other writers and publishers via Twitter and Facebook. Twitter is my absolute favorite networking place. And not just because Laura met Megan there in The Novelist.
Thank you, Laura, for such a fantastic interview. If you would like to purchase a copy of her book, I have provided an Amazon link below.