Monday, May 9, 2011

Guest Blog: MJ Rose

MJ Rose, author of The Hypnotist, was so gracious to take time out of her busy schedule to write a guest post for the blog.
Check out my posting on her book that was featured last Thursday.

Inspiration is a crazy thing. I don't know where it comes from but I'm thankful it does come.

My characters are very elusive. They arrive like wisps of smoke. My first inkling about a new character comes as a question. A "what if".

"What if" a man was in an accident and woke up with memories that don't belong to him.

Then I start thinking of what kind of man would that be a conflict for. Who would hate that and fight it.

Slowly a person starts to emerge.

Then I work on their names - for a main character it can take me a month to come up with the right name. And all too often I think I have the right name - then start working on the book and realize I have the wrong name. In The Memorist I wrote the whole book with Meer's name being something else and she was wooden on the page. Then I changed her name and she came alive.

My real work with the characters is an evolution. For three months I don't write a word. Rather I do research and work on my main character's scrapbook. The very process of collecting her preferred poems, swatches of her favorite colors, and petals from the flowers she grows gives me time to find her.

I collect the ticket stubs for a performance of the Metropolitan Opera that she went to, a postcard from her mother's first trip to Europe, a piece of the red and white string on the pastry box from her grandmother's apartment: it's all in the scrapbook.

And only when I've found all the knickknacks of her life and I've done a fair amount of procrastinating do I even think about sitting down to write. And by then, I can't wait.

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