Before I finish the yellowjacket saga, I’ve been tagged by Loriendil, blog-reader and fellow writer, for the “My Writing Process” blog tour. I think I’ve also been tagged by Normandie Fischer (whose Sailing out of Darkness just got listed as a finalist for the Maggie award from the Georgia Romance Writers Association — yay!) but I don’t have the link at the moment.
Here are the questions:
1) Who are you?
I’m Jane Lebak, and I know it because I now have my own Amazon Central page and a Goodreads page. I’m also known online as Philangelus or Tabris. I’m an okay knitter, a barely competent mother, a fumbling Catholic, and yet people seem to think I know what I’m doing.
2) What are you working on?
This is huge. As of mid-July, I am now the owner/sole proprieter of Philangelus Press. I’ve gotten my paperwork in order, the US postal service will deliver mail to me under that heading, and I can pay for my own cover art, which is good because I’m going to be publishing my angel books. All of them.
The Wrong Enemy is still in print as an ebook with MuseItUp, but Philangelus Press can put that out as a print book. Seven Archangels: Annihilation is ready to come back into print as an ebook and shortly after as a print book as well.
(Look at this cover!!! Sorry for the exclamation points, but LOOK AT THIS COVER!)
That’s the work of C.K. Volnek, who also did the cover for The Wrong Enemy and is preparing the covers for Seven Archangels: An Arrow In Flight and Seven Archangels: Sacred Cups. Yes, because I’m getting those ready as well.
The two books my agent submitted to the Big 5 and couldn’t sell for a billion dollars? We’ll get those out there as well. Honest And For True and the string quartet novel (where I may retitle it, not sure). HAFT’s sequel when I finish it. The Jinn novel that got rejected over and over again because it’s an adult book with a child protagonist, and as we all know, if the protagonist is a child, it must be midgrade fiction. I won’t even tell you how many times that one got rejected for exactly that reason, despite the existence of titles like The Book Thief, The Lovely Bones and Ender’s Game.
So, yeah. I have my work cut out for me for the next couple of years at least, getting everything ready to go, ordering covers and editing and doing layout and all that. (Which means, by the way, if you’re a blog reader and you happen to work as a proofreader, copy-editor, whatever, let me know your rates. And if you do book reviews, you might just be able to ask me for a free book.)
3) How does your work differ from others of its genre?
See the above thing about the child protagonist in adult fiction. Or the angel in a romantic comedy. Apparently I don’t fall neatly into the genre lines the big publishers like to see. I tend to look at situations and twist them around a bit, and I leave editors saying things like “You think so far outside the box, I don’t think you know there’s a box at all.” (Actual quote from an actual editor’s actual rejection.)
I say “What if?” a lot. What if you wrote chick-lit but made the main character the exact opposite of what they think is a “chick”? What if you took the basic tenets of angelology and questioned them while remaining within a Christian framework? What if you take someone whose entire job is about making noise and render her unable to communicate?
4) Why do you write what you do?
They start as characters with problems, but I suspect the stories thrive because there’s a question I need to answer, only in fiction I can come at it slantwise. By the time I finish writing a book, I’ve oftentimes found myself sitting with my beating heart in my hands because I’ve just realized what the book was “really about.” Only because the question hurt too much to look at directly, I’ve had to sneak up on it.
For example, The Boys Upstairs is “actually about” motherhood. No, there are no mothers in the story. It’s about a priest and his estranged brother. But the heart of the story was me asking myself about the dueling vocations of mother and writer, and what I’d do if motherhood meant I’d never write again. Can you see that in the text? No. Did I see it in the text? No, not until the final scene where Kevin and Jay are looking at one another and I couldn’t end the story…and then I realized why.
5) How does your writing process work?
Every book has had a different process so far. Whether it was dumping out five to seven thousand words a day (like The Wrong Enemy or the first draft of Annihilation) or a steady thousand words a day over a hundred days (the string quartet novel) each book demanded something different, so that’s what it got.
And I have to tag two people to continue the blog tour.