Welcome to Peeking Between the Pages Lynda! Lynda Simmons is the author of the very wonderful novel Island Girl which I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing yesterday (my review). Island Girl is about a woman who has early onset Alzheimer’s and her struggles with it but it’s also about her two daughters and the conflicts with them. It is fantastic and will make my favorites list this year! I’m pleased to have Lynda here today with a guest post entitled Deadline Hell…
As a writer, I live in one of two states: unemployed or in deadline hell. Neither one is fun, but I’ll take deadline hell any day because that means someone wants the book I’ve pitched. Now all I have to do is deliver the finished manuscript on time. Easy peasy, right? Not in my experience. Like Dorothy Parker, I love having written, but the process that gets me there is messy, obsessive, frustrating and rarely attractive.
Once I am officially in Deadline Hell, I spend my days, and plenty of nights, in my home office – a small room with two desks, two bookcases and not an inch of clear space anywhere. Every surface is covered with books, papers and plenty of stuff that has nothing to do with writing. Right now, the desk in front of me is sporting not only books and research material, but also a gardening hat, a makeup bag, two water bottles, a toothbrush still in the package, two empty tea cups, receipts for gas, groceries and the garden centre, a stack of unopened bank statements, a shocking number of ATM receipts and coupons that will expire before I ever think to use them.
The cat is also there, squeezed into a space that is two sizes too small between the monitor and the lamp. Eventually she’ll stop glaring at me for not anticipating her needs and head for more comfortable ground, but you get the idea. I tend to spread out when I write. And if I’m away from the keyboard when an idea hits me, I drop whatever I was doing and return to the computer with the gardening hat, the makeup bag, etc. I also drink tea while I’m working, lots and lots of tea. And when I’m pounding the keys, my mind is filled with people that don’t exist and things that never happened, leaving no room whatsoever for practicalities like re-using a mug, or shredding bank statements or filing receipts. As the deadline comes closer, the situation only gets worse.
Fortunately, I have trained my family well and they understand that when I’m in Deadline Hell, it’s best to leave me alone because I may be smiling and nodding at whatever they’re saying, but I’m not hearing a word if it. All I hear are the voices of my characters, and if the real people keep on talking, that smile will start to fade and they may lose a finger or perhaps the end of their nose. Yes, I bite when I’m in deadline hell, which is why I eventually take myself away from family and friends and head up to the cottage – a little place on a lake where I can work without interruption or sleep or even decent food.
The cottage is small, just two bedrooms, a tiny kitchen and a living room with a desk, a couch and a woodstove that keeps me warm if deadline hell happens to fall in the winter. Keeping that stove going is the only functional thing I’m careful to remember because otherwise, I’ll freeze and the manuscript will be late and then there will be trouble!
The cottage is where I have finished every one of my books. Once I unlock that back door, my real life ceases to exist. For a few weeks, it’s just me and the book. No schedules, no chores and no one to care how hairy or hunched I become. I can walk the beach with a tape recorder or paddle the canoe and talk to myself. I can get up at 4:00 a.m. if that’s when the words start coming, or fall asleep at 2:00 in the afternoon if that’s when they suddenly quit. I can become the writing Gollum, completely obsessed with my own Precious. And when the little darling is finished, I shave my legs and go home, unemployed again, but normal. For a while anyway!
Lynda, thank you so much for being here at Peeking Between the Pages today and for this wonderful guest post. I would love to be walking that beach or spending time in a cozy cabin!
About the Book (from Fantastic Fiction)
There are people who try hard to forget their problems. All Ruby wants to do is remember…
Ruby Donaldson has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and she’ll be damned if she won’t straighten out her troubled family before she no longer knows how.
Ruby spent years fighting to hold on to the home her grandmother built on Ward’s Island. The only way she can ensure that her younger, mentally scarred daughter Grace can live there for the rest of her life is to convince her older daughter, Liz, to sober up and come home.
Ruby always thought she’d have a lifetime to make things right, but suddenly time is running out. She has to put her broken family back together quickly while searching for a way to deal with the inevitable- and do it with all the grit, stubbornness, and unstoppable determination that makes Ruby who she is…until she’s Ruby no longer.
About the Author (from Lynda’s website)
Lynda Simmons is a writer by day, college instructor by night and a late sleeper on weekends. She grew up in Toronto reading Greek mythology, bringing home stray cats and making up stories about bodies in the basement. From an early age, her family knew she would either end up as a writer or the old lady with a hundred cats. As luck would have it, she married a man with allergies so writing it was.
With two daughters to raise, Lynda and her husband moved into a lovely two storey mortgage in Burlington, a small city on the water just outside Toronto. While the girls are grown and gone, Lynda and her husband are still there. And yes, there is a cat – a beautiful, if spoiled, Birman. If you’d like to read the legend of Birman cats click here. If you’d like a link to allergy relief, click here.
When she’s not writing or teaching, Lynda gives serious thought to using the treadmill in her basement. Fortunately, she’s found that if she waits long enough, something urgent will pop up and save her – like a phone call or an e-mail or a whistling kettle. Or even that cat just looking for a little more attention!
I have 2 copies of Island Girl by Lynda Simmons to share with my readers. To enter…
- For 1 entry leave me a comment with an email address to contact you should you win (no email, no entry).
- For 2 entries, follow my blog. If you already do, thank you, and please let me know so that I can pass on the extra entry to you as well.
- For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway and spread the word!
This giveaway is open to US & Canadian residents only (no PO boxes) and I will be drawing for the winners on Saturday, July 2/11. Good luck everyone!
© 2010, Darlene of Peeking Between the Pages. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Peeking Between the Pages or Darlene’s Feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.