New Writing Hangout by Thomas Henry Anderson
October 25, 2018
Linda, Welcome to the New Writing Hangout! Where did you get the idea for “Dear Heart”?
I awoke on the morning of my fortieth wedding anniversary thinking about all of the ups and downs my husband and I had survived, and about how love had changed for us as we weathered the bad times and the challenges of day-to-day living. Then, I began to wonder how life would have been if romantic love had lasted forever. The next thing I knew, I was sitting at my lap top, writing the first chapter of Dear Heart. Since I couldn’t see how romance could survive the daily assault of pressures and problems, I knew when I started that the main characters would be separated for a long period of time, but would ultimately get back together because, well, when I read a love story, I want there to be a happily ever after.
Where does Sweet Heart differ from Dear Heart?
Dear Heart is told from Deirdre’s point of view and Sweet Heart is told from Lee’s perspective, so right away, the voices of the narrators are different. Plus, Lee’s story is much more soulful and melancholy. That’s not to say that it’s sad or depressing, but Lee’s life without Deirdre is harder than hers without him, and you get a good sense of that in the book.
Was it as exciting to publish Sweet Heart as it was Dear Heart?
I was very excited and, frankly, relieved, that the rest of the story would be published, but there was a lot less hoopla surrounding the publication of Sweet Heart than there was DearHeart. I didn’t lose my mind and call everyone I knew, screaming, when Sweet Heart was accepted for publication and I didn’t have a big launch party for it. I just posted the news on social media and sent out emails to close friends and family, which was much more low-key.
How do you write through writer’s block?
I don’t sweat it. There’s always research to do, or another book to work on. And on those rare occasions when I’m mentally exhausted and the thought of opening my laptop makes me want to run screaming from the house, I don’t force it. I say, why torture yourself? Conventional wisdom is that writing in 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. But for me, writing is 100% about the inspiration, because when you’re inspired, you won’t have to break that much of a sweat. I’m not saying you won’t have to work, but the fact is that a truly inspired story will tell itself, while a story light on inspiration and heavy on perspiration will end up hopelessly contrived.
Do you have any advice for unpublished Writers?
More than anything else, believe in your story. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to dissuade you from writing it. Don’t let anyone convince you to self-publish if you believe you can place your book with an actual publisher. Don’t let anyone scare you about copyright issues or lawsuits. Don’t let anyone try to minimize what you’re doing. If the person you want most in the world to love it doesn’t want to read it, or the person you most want to share the experience with changes the subject every time you bring it up, shrug it off. It will be hard and it will break your heart, but don’t let it derail you. Believe in your story and believe in yourself.