I do some outlining but mostly I like to let the characters take over and take me where they want to go. I like to be surprised by my characters, and what they decide to do with themselves. It is important, though, I think to have a general idea of a beginning, a middle and an end. Even if it’s just a rough idea.
Jason Pomerance – 11 May 2017
The Back Flap
Susan Jones, a brash and ballsy chef who hopscotches from one demanding restaurant job to the next, was barely in her twenties when she married and had a son, Henry. But after her marriage to Andrew fell apart, she ceded most of the raising of the baby to her mother-in-law, the very opinionated Edith Vale, a woman as formidable and steely as her stiff blond bouffant, the veritable helmet that helps her soldier through life. Now, after letting Henry drift away, Susan is determined to make things right. But just as mother and son seem to make headway after embarking on a cross-country road trip, things take a dark turn. When the family reconvenes in California, everybody must fight to find courage and humor in the face of a situation that threatens to change them all forever.
About the book
What is the book about?
Women Like Us tells the story of an extended family and how it copes when one member of the family faces a daunting struggle. It’s also about second chances, and redemption plays a role too.
When did you start writing the book?
I began writing the book several years ago, but I didn’t write it from beginning to end in one sitting. I would work on it, put it aside, then go back to it.
How long did it take you to write it?
It took quite a while to get the book in shape. But like I mentioned, I didn’t write it one sitting, so it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how long. It was a few years, on and off.
Where did you get the idea from?
The book actually began its life as a screenplay. I had been wanting to write a mother/son road movie, but as I kept outlining and developing the characters, it started to feel more like a novel. So I just kept writing.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
Oh, yes! Often there were periods of struggle, especially in early sections — getting the tone, and the plotting right.
What came easily?
The character Edith Vale, for some reason, sprang to life almost fully formed it seemed. It was always a pleasure to write the chapters with Edith in them. In fact, I’d miss her if she was absent for too long.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
Oh, I would say I’ve definitely borrowed from the real world. I think all novelists do, in one way or another.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
I worship at the altar of Anne Tyler. I think she’s just brilliant in the way she takes real world, everyday characters and makes them so much larger than life. I’ve read almost every Tyler book, some more than once or even more than twice.
Do you have a target reader?
Women seem to like this book the most. But I wouldn’t want to categorize the book as Women’s Fiction — I’ve had lots of men tell me they liked it and relate to it too.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
I am pretty disciplined when it comes to writing. I like to write early in the morning, when things are quiet, and then revise and edit later in the day.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I do some outlining but mostly I like to let the characters take over and take me where they want to go. I like to be surprised by my characters, and what they decide to do with themselves. It is important, though, I think to have a general idea of a beginning, a middle and an end. Even if it’s just a rough idea. Because certainly things might change as you go along.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I edit as I go, and then again when done. I’ve often found that earlier parts of a piece of work may have changed based on what happens as the plot unfolds so it’s important to go back and make edits.
Did you hire a professional editor?
I did not. I know a lot of people in and around publishing who were willing to read and give notes. Then the book got a very thorough and exhaustive copy edit from Inkshares.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
Not while writing, but sometimes during rewrites and edits. The Beatles always works for me, especially Hey Jude.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
Yes. The book was actually repped by an agent at one point. We had a parting of a ways, though.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
I stumbled onto crowd-fund publisher Inkshares sort of by a fluke. I spotted an article in Deadline Hollywood about how they had signed a deal with talent agency UTA to rep screen rights of Inkshares projects. I had never done any kind of crowd-funding but I decided to take a leap and give it a try. Best decision I ever made because now I can hold the book in my hands, and there’s nothing like that. But crowd-funding is also very hard work, almost harder than the actual writing, I sometimes think.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
The cover was done by a professional. Although I had a lot of input into decisions about it.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
As part of the Quill Imprint of Inkshares you get a small bit of help with marketing, but not a lot. I learned much about marketing as I went along. I’m still learning.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
It’s all about marketing! Be prepared to do anything and everything to get your book into reader’s hands.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in New York City and grew up on the east coast.
Where do you live now?
What would you like readers to know about you?
I love to surf, but I’m really bad at it! It’s one of my goals in life to be the surfer that I am in my head!
What are you working on now?
A second novel called Celia At 39, which is about to be shopped to agents.
End of Interview: