Sunday, September 13, 2015

5 Laura Amy Schlitz, author of THE HIRED GIRL, on her writing self being a hysterical, imaginative little goblin

We are honored to have Newbery Medal winner Laura Amy Schlitz join us to share more about her latest novel THE HIRED GIRL.

Laura. what scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

My favorite scene to write was the scene at the opera. Writing that scene allowed me to relive my first opera (Andrea Chenier!) and the night when I fell in love with that sublime and absurd art form.

The hardest scene was the penultimate scene, when Joan braves the storm and goes to see David. There are seven characters on stage in that scene—in general, the more characters are on stage, the harder a scene is to write. Joan is the narrator and is intensely preoccupied with her own feelings, but she has to drop enough clues so that the reader can infer what’s going on with the other six characters. It was also a scene where many secrets are revealed, which mean I needed all my organizational skills. It took me many drafts to figure out when a certain character would say X, so that another character would respond with Y, enabling secret Z to be brought to light.

It hadn’t occurred to me to think about whether or not I’m proud of that particular scene. When I’m actually at work on a novel, I’m too busy fussing to be vainglorious. The pleasures of conceit come later, when my publisher has added a gorgeous cover, and the pages look so crisp and clean and official.



How long did you work on THE HIRED GIRL?

THE HIRED GIRL was a wonderfully swift book. It took me less than two years to go from first draft to first submission.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

No. Part of the frustration of writing is that you’re always inching your way along in the dark. I used to think that if I were really a writer, or if I were doing it right, there would be those AHA! moments, when the bright light would shine out, and I would feel fulfilled and serene and confident. But writing isn’t like that. It usually feels messy and murky and tentative and jerry-rigged. What’s different for me now is that I can say to myself, “Okay, I’m groping in the dark here, and I have no idea what I’m doing. But that doesn’t mean the novel is doomed. I’ve been here before. This is how it feels to write a book.”

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

Well, first I procrastinate. I hold the cat on my lap; I do acrostics; I check my e-mail; I putter around the house. At some point it becomes more stressful to procrastinate than it does to write. When that happens, I visit the bathroom and get myself a glass of water. I unplug the telephone. Then I set myself a manageable task: one half-hour of work, or one page of writing, or one round of read-through-and-revise. I always make it an easy task. If I set myself a hard task, I wouldn’t have the courage to sit down to it.

Once I’ve made up my mind, I fasten my rear end to the chair. (It helps to have a substantial rear end—good ballast.) I keep my hand moving. Most of the time, I fall into a sort of fierce trance—I work long beyond the single page or half hour. I never listen to music; I’m concentrating.

Sometimes I go to a museum or a coffee shop or a public garden. The rule is, I can do whatever I like: have a frozen mocha with whipped cream, loll in the gazebo, or revisit my favorite statues. But I can’t come home until I have pieces of paper with writing on them. The writing doesn’t have to be good, but there have to be many pages that are covered with ink.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

It’s completely counter-intuitive, but you have to be gentle with yourself. The work is hard and frightening. If you start bossing yourself around like a drill sergeant, you’ll never get anything done. I think of my writing self as a sort of hysterical, imaginative little goblin. If I don’t treat her tenderly, she’ll revolt, and I won’t get a thing out of her. Be good to the goblins. That’s my advice.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
Hardcover
Candlewick
Released 9/8/2015

Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself—because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of—a woman with a future.

Inspired by her own grandmother’s journal, Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions.

Purchase The Hired Girl at Amazon Purchase 
The Hired Girl at IndieBound
View The Hired Girl on Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Amy SchlitzLaura Amy Schlitz is the author of the 2008 Newbery Medal-winning GOOD MASTERS! SWEET LADIES! VOICES FROM A MEDIEVAL VILLAGE, illustrated by Robert Byrd, and the 2013 Newbery Honor book SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS. She is also the author of A DROWNED MAIDEN'S HAIR: A MELODRAMA; THE NIGHT FAIRY; THE HERO SCHLIEMANN: THE DREAMER WHO DUG FOR TROY; and THE BEARSKINNER: A STORY OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM, a retelling illustrated by Max Grafe. Her newest novel, THE HIRED GIRL, traces the story of a farm girl who escapes her hard scrabble life in 1911 rural Pennsylvania, and journeys from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty.

Schlitz lives in Baltimore, where she is a lower school librarian at the Park School.

Have you had a chance to read THE HIRED GIRL yet? Do you set small goals for yourself before each writing session? What kind of creature is your writing self?

Happy reading,

Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Erin, Lisa, Susan, Jen, Sam, Lindsey, Sandra, Kristin, and Anisaa

5 comments:

  1. This is perfect. "I think of my writing self as a sort of hysterical, imaginative little goblin. If I don’t treat her tenderly, she’ll revolt, and I won’t get a thing out of her. Be good to the goblins." Thanks, Laura, for a wise and entertaining post. Just got my Kindle version of THE HIRED GIRL. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. My Wife divorce me for no reason, Thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again, My name is James Mack. i live in Italy, I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravelovespell@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same web site: http://bravesp.blogspot.co.uk/,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again. { bravelovespell@gmail.com }, Thanks you Dr Brave, i will always be testifying about your good work.and for any questions call me {James Mack} on +393279282206.This spell is a 100% Guarantee for your situation.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello to everyone here, I'm here to share the unexpected miracles that happened to me three days ago how i was help by dr clement, My Name is sanjeeta I live in United State, and I `m happily married to a lovely and caring husband, two children, a very big problem has occurred in the family seven months ago, between me and my husband so terrible that they took the case to court for divorce, he said that he never again to stay with me, and urging me not as he made the house and grabbed me and my children are passed through a lot of pain. I have tried all my possible means to get him back, after much begging, but all to no avail, and he confirmed that he made ??his decision, and he never wanted me to see her again. So one evening when I returned from work, I met an old friend of mine who asked my husband So I explained everything to her,so she told me that the only way I can get my husband back it is, visit a spell caster, because it really worked for them too so I never believed in spell, but I had no choice but to follow their advice. Then they gave me the email address of the caster, they.drodeckuspellhome@gmail.com, so the next morning I sent an email to the address they gave me, and the spell caster assured me that I get my husband back the next day, what an astonishing statement, I have never believed, so that he spoke to me and told me everything I need to do. then the next morning, so suddenly, that my husband, who has not called me for the past {7} seven months, gave m
    Read more: http://www.drodeckuspellhome@gmail.com/greenliving/

    ReplyDelete
  4. i am so happy to share my testimony on how i was able to get back my ex lover around September 2015 with the help of Dr. Ofemo since 5 year ago, I almost gave up trying to get my ex lover back to commit to our relationship fully. I had tried the whole lot I knew, but what I DIDN'T know was that all I had to do was come to you Dr. Ofemo, and with your blessings and extraordinary magic powers, I wouldn't have to do all the work at all. you did your magic, and immediately after 24 hours, my lover came back to me with lots of apologies and flowers.. And now my life is balanced and happy again. Dr. Ofemo is a real and genuine spell caster he help me restore back my broken relationship. You do a great service to people, You are talented with spell to bring back ex lover and many more. Thank you for weaving your magic love spells for me. She is back just the way it was when we first met,his email address:drofemospelltempl@gmail.com it was all like a dream to me, i am so happy now as we are back together again thanks to Dr. Ofemo and i will advice anyone in need of help to contact him via email: drofemospelltemple@yahoo.com or his cell number +2348163387496 his web/site http://drofemospelltemple.wix.com/dr-ofemo

    ReplyDelete
  5. i am so happy to share my testimony on how i was able to get back my ex lover around September 2015 with the help of Dr. Ofemo since 5 year ago, I almost gave up trying to get my ex lover back to commit to our relationship fully. I had tried the whole lot I knew, but what I DIDN'T know was that all I had to do was come to you Dr. Ofemo, and with your blessings and extraordinary magic powers, I wouldn't have to do all the work at all. you did your magic, and immediately after 24 hours, my lover came back to me with lots of apologies and flowers.. And now my life is balanced and happy again. Dr. Ofemo is a real and genuine spell caster he help me restore back my broken relationship. You do a great service to people, You are talented with spell to bring back ex lover and many more. Thank you for weaving your magic love spells for me. She is back just the way it was when we first met,his email address:drofemospelltempl@gmail.com it was all like a dream to me, i am so happy now as we are back together again thanks to Dr. Ofemo and i will advice anyone in need of help to contact him via email: drofemospelltemple@yahoo.com or his cell number +2348163387496 his web/site http://drofemospelltemple.wix.com/dr-ofemo.

    ReplyDelete

Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)