Our guest today is The Weight of Words author, Georgina Guthrie. GG can write her socks off and she’ll have you reading yours off. Georgina was kind enough to talk to us about writing, the critics, lust and red, red, wine. Apparently, it does go to her head. Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy the class, the sass and a bit of smart ass that is the lovely Georgina Guthrie. Oh and buy her book! Yes, you!
1. What compelled you to write The Weight of Words?
Compel is a strong word. What actually happened was a convergence of timely events. I discovered an on-line writing community at a point in my life when I’d changed jobs and had extra time to genuinely pursue a hobby I’ve always enjoyed, but never actually shared with others. The Weight of Words is a story that’s been rattling around in my head for over 20 years, since my own days at Vic. *winks*
2. What kind of research did you do for the book?
I didn’t do much in the way of research, with the exception of rereading Antony and Cleopatra, just to refresh my memory of the dynamic between those two characters in preparation for one of the scenes. I don’t really consider reading Shakespeare to be “research” though. Research sounds laborious. I don’t find the Bard laborious. You probably figure that out.
3. How much do you think about your readers when you write?
That’s an interesting question. When I was posting on-line, I thought about readers’ responses a great deal. Not that I pandered to readers, but I did sometimes think about what they might like to see characters doing. In the edit-for-publication stages, there’s certainly consideration of readership, but not as much room for scenes designed merely to “please audiences.”
4. In the novel, desire is a huge theme. The longing between the main characters Daniel and Aubrey is palpable. They yearn so much for one another but can’t be together. Why do you think the forbidden is so enticing?
Daniel and Aubrey don’t want to be together because their relationship is prohibited—they want each other in spite of the forbidden aspect. Having said that, we live in a culture where delayed gratification is becoming less and less the norm, in all the things we do, relationships included, and the reluctance to delay having sex in relationships is certainly a part of that.
As far as Daniel and Aubrey go, their desire to be together is inspired by their circumstances, too. Daniel is desperate for a meaningful human connection after having a miserable year. When he meets Aubrey, he almost hears something “click” in his brain—his heart, wherever that type of epiphany lives.
5. The Weight of the Words is the first in a trilogy. When can we expect the next book to come out?
I’m about to move into the editing stages with Better Deeds than Words. I think it’s safe to say early summer (but don’t hold me to that. LOL).
6. Shakespeare’s work factors heavily in your novel. Have you always been a fan of the Bard?
My first exposure to Shakespeare was reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a ninth grade English classroom. And yes, I was blown away from the outset.
7. Who are you reading? Who are some of your favorite authors? What are some of your favorite books? Who did you read while writing this book?
I have a very eclectic reading taste. I love Canadian Lit—Margaret Atwood, Ann-Marie Macdonald, Timothy Findlay, Robertson Davies. But I also love world literature—books that teach me about life in other cultures. My favourite books in that vein are A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. We all need escape though, and I love YA books for that very reason. Unfortunately, when writing and editing, reading goes on the back burner.
8. Do you read reviews of your writing? How do you react to particularly good or bad reviews? Do you incorporate criticism or praise from reviews into your learning process as a writer?
I struggle with self-confidence, so I’ve found reading negative reviews, or stumbling across people bashing my writing in a public forum to be difficult. (I’m not referring to constructive criticism—more so to thoughtlessness and nastiness). I was more bothered by it when I was posting on-line. I don’t understand the compulsion some people have to react so negatively and harshly to something that is free.
Now that I’ve published, it’s a little different. I try to take a useful kernel from even the nasty reviews. Obviously, I want to become a better writer. If someone’s negative review helps me achieve that, then great!
(You’ll notice that I only addressed the negative part of this question. LOL. I need to do a better job of feeling bolstered by the positive reviews instead of allowing a few negative reactions to rise to the top. Working on it!)
9. You’re able to evoke strong emotional responses from your readers, what advice can you offer writers wanting to forge that same kind of connection with their readers?
When I write, I do my best to keep the characters real. They’re not superheroes, or porn stars or fairy tale characters. They’re real, and because of that, they’re flawed and possibly more recognizable. People are more likely to connect with those kinds of characters and to identify with them…to say, “yep, that’s totally something I would do…”
1. Describe yourself in three words
Kind. Self-deprecating. Um…sleepy?
2. Kindle or traditional read?
Both. Sometimes at the same time, sometimes alternating.
3. Would you rather be trapped in an elevator with James Purefoy or Sylvain Reynard?
Sadly, I had to Google James Purefoy. I guess that answers that question…LOL.
4. What’s your theme song?
I don’t think I have one. I can tell you this—whenever New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle comes on, it doesn’t matter where I am, I drop everything to dance and lip sync. Does that count as a theme song?
5. I say pudding. You say…
Treacle. (Oh man, now I’m craving treacle pudding. Damn you!)
6. Beer, wine, or hit me with the Jack, baby?
7. What would you title your memoir?
That’s a toss-up. If it were about writing:
In my Write Mind.
If it were about life in general:
How Red Wine Saved my Life
and check out The Weight of Words, available at Amazon.com