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I started wearing glasses the summer I was 4 years old. I walked out of the store with my new specs on and stopped – there was a world I could see! My mother introduced me to the first grade teacher who said that I should sit in the front and let her know if I had trouble seeing anything. When school started I sat in the back and looked at anything I couldn’t really focus on until it made sense. I still do that today, something of a metaphor being a writer.
My parents had a bad habit of smacking us around so I took on the role of trying to make my sisters feel better after that would happen by making them laugh. This led to my first book, a book of jokes, when I was about 8 years old (Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: To get away from you). I had also started writing poetry by then and still do.
It seems that the inspiration for Dive came from my unconscious; I never know what I’m going to write until I start to write it. Lucky, the little dog who gets hit by a car in the book, started the story. And yes, that happened in real life.
Various elements in the book came from various experiences in my life: Lucky got hit by a car, my father contracted a fatal disease, a mesmerizing chick walked down the hall at school one day, my best friend stopped talking to me, my mother drank a lot of scotch . . . need I say more?
I researched facts about birds, spiders, buffalo, and French, the language, so I could (hopefully) quote Rimbaud with some accuracy (I ended up finding a few translators).
Trying to make a living while writing a book is probably a challenge for the majority of novelists; it certainly was for me. I had left NYC and was now living out in Montauk, at the tip of Long Island, which was largely a ghost town unless it was high season – summer.The biggest obstacle I experienced was approaching the end of the book. I realized that I couldn’t finish it until I had forgiven my mother for being the flawed human being she was – that we all are. It was a huge step in my development as a person and a writer.
Getting so lost in the story that when I look up it’s dark outside or the middle of the night – hours have passed without my being aware of it.Any desk at a window is a sweet spot for me; the view doesn’t matter as long as I can look out the window.
Although I seem to perpetually create very internal characters (loners, outsiders, iconoclasts, poets, etc.) I am actually a total ham and love to be on stage.
Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, because most every word he wrote causes what seems the deepest part of me to vibrate in response.
In the fall I always reread T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. It seems the changing colors and the falling leaves bring out the poet in me. Fall also feels like such a solitary time and I find the company of the masters soothing.If there were only one book I would recommend it would be James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It changed my life when I read it as a teenager and became aware that it was possible to put consciousness into words. That’s when I realized that being a writer would not only help me make sense of life, but would help me connect to other people.
About the Book
Dive by Stacey Donovan
Publisher: Open Road Media Teen & Tween
Publication Date: September 1st 2015
When V’s life crumbles around her, she has two options: let it take her down with it or dive straight in
Virginia “V” Dunn is alone when her dog is hit by a car. Lucky’s back leg is shattered, and when she comforts him, his blood is wet on her hands. Suddenly, the monotony of V’s suburban life dissolves: Lucky is in a cast; her best friend, Eileen, is avoiding her; her mother’s drinking is getting worse; and her father is sick with a mysterious illness. Although V is surrounded by family, she is the loneliest girl in town.
As V begins to question everything—death, friendship, family, betrayal—she finds there are few easy answers. The people she thought she knew are strangers, and life’s meaning eludes her. Into this mystery walks the captivating Jane, and V soon realizes that the only way forward seems to break every rule, and go beyond all limitations.
About the Author
Stacey Donovan is a critically acclaimed author of fiction and nonfiction for adults and young adults. She is the founder of Donovan Edits, and has edited or ghostwritten more than twenty-five books, including three New York Times bestsellers and several nonfiction titles that have become leading works in their respective fields. Donovan lives in New York, where she continues to write and edit. (From http://www.feedyourneedtoread.com/contributor/stacey-donovan/)
Rules: Must be 13 years with parents permission or older
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