I am a meticulous outliner, especially when it comes to my fiction writing. Still, you know what I love best about the practice of writing fiction? I never quite know what will be on the page when I’m done with any single block of work. I sit down and I think I know exactly where I’m going. Then, my characters will do something or say something I never expected. A stranger will arrive. A discovery will be made. I’m living this story in the moment with my characters, and I feel lucky to be along for the ride.
A Year of Yes: How fiction helps us survive reality
How are you doing? This week was a heavy one. I hope you’re taking good care of yourselves and each other.
Whenever I feel like reality is too heavy and I need a break, I turn to fiction. This passage was particularly powerful for me:
Harry: I’ve been thinking about something Dumbledore said to me.
Hermione: What’s that?
Harry: That even though we got a fight ahead of us, we’ve got one thing Voldemort doesn’t.
Harry: Something worth fighting for
In the pause: West Side Rag reviews my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters
West Side Rag is one of my favorite neighborhood publications on the Upper West Side. I’m so excited that they reviewed my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. My thanks to writer and reviewer Nancy Novick. Check out the review on West Side Rag.
In the pause: A 5-star review from Readers’ Favorite for my young adult book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters
It’s with so much joy that I’m proud to share the first professional review of my book, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters. Thank you to Readers’ Favorite and to writer Romuald Dzemo for this 5-star review across the board in the categories of Appearance, Plot, Development, Formatting, Marketability, and Overall Opinion. I am humbled and honored!
“This is a fascinating story deftly told, a tale of courage and a gritty investigation, featuring a young protagonist who will take readers by surprise. The plot is fast-paced and readers are pulled into an exciting world filled with mystery and exciting stuff. Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters features excellent writing, brimming with vivid descriptions and dialogues that are compelling as they enhance the different elements of the story. Here is a story that will enthrall both young adult readers and adults, a well-plotted story with powerful themes seamlessly woven into its fabric. Christa Avampato was able to win my heart from the very beginning of the story with a powerful hook, and managed to keep my eyes glued to the pages, unable to stop reading. The prose is excellent and seduces the reader right off the bat. This story is engaging. A huge success for a novel!”
In the pause: Whispers in the night—how our books speak to us as writers
A few days ago, I mentioned that I was having trouble writing Emerson‘s second book. Last night, I just decided to tag along with her to see where she was going, what she was doing, and who she was with. I didn’t expect or ask for anything. I just stayed quiet and listened. I was helped by the idea of a dæmon in The Golden Compass; Lyra’s dæmon sometimes hitches a ride on her shoulder to join the adventure. I did the same with Emerson.
It’s odd what your characters will tell you when you just listen to them. I found out Emerson’s birthday is January 1st, that there are now hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people who are looking for the same treasure that she seeks, and that her travels take her not to one place in Book 2 but many places. There’s some romance, heartbreak, and loss. She will be plunged into memories she would rather not see but are vital to her pursuits and her destiny. There are portals hidden in plain sight. The line between the physical world and the world of the mind is blurred to the point where they’re really no different at all. Time and space are much more fluid than we imagine them to be.
So today, I’m putting my ear to the ground, closing my eyes, and listening intently to the adventures Emerson has taken. I imagine her now, much older and wiser, entertaining a woman (me) who just showed up at her door and asked to hear the story of her life. She has a lot to tell me. She just needs some time.
In the pause: Why I love writing fantasy fiction books
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~Neil Gaiman, Coraline
“No one is too old for fairy tales.” ~Anonymous
The remarkable thing about fiction is that it can be such a help when trying to survive and thrive in the real world. Turn to any news source and you’ll see our country is in the midst of some bizarre twists and turns. Fiction can help us survive these kinds of circumstances by giving us a brief reprieve and it can help us thrive by showing us what’s possible. I wrote my book to help readers feel less alone, give them strength, and fortifying them with hope. Though it’s fantasy, it’s rooted in the very real circumstances of coping with loss, pursuing truth, and finding the will to love in the darkest of times.
Fiction teaches us that there are dragons everywhere. The good news is that there are warriors everywhere, too, in fiction and in the real world. Our protagonists in fiction inspire us to be the warriors the world needs.
In the pause: The editing process of my novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, is done
Great news from book land: the difficult job of editing is finally done and my novel has been sent to layout at the publisher. I am feeling so many things right now—relieved, grateful, excited, exhausted, and, if I’m really honest, a little sad and scared. Bringing Emerson to life over this last two and half years has been an amazing process. It’s been a long and winding road filled with blessing, disappoints, and learnings at every moment. Emerson isn’t just a character in a book to me. She lives and breathes and exists in the world, and I will miss traveling this particular road with her. It has been an honor and a challenge to tell this first part of her story, and to see the world through her eyes. What a journey!
And now a new one begins—getting the book into the hands of readers. If you’d like to get updates on giveaways, exclusive content, and fun events, add your email to my list at https://goo.gl/forms/nIZodlQQ993r4RXu1.
In the pause: Chapter 3 of the Breaking Bread Podcast is live
In Chapter 3 of the Breaking Bread Podcast, Mina receives an opportunity from an unlikely source. Listen here:
In the pause: Chapter 2 of the Breaking Bread Podcast
If I have to live through four year of this new administration, then I’m turing it into art. It’s the only way I can bear it. In this chapter of the Breaking Bread Podcast, Mina meets her nemesis in Trumpville for the first time and her resistance is born.
In the pause: Chapter 1 of the new Breaking Bread Podcast is live
Chapter 1 of the new Breaking Bread Podcast is live! Mina and her dog, Phineas, fall into a strange new world where never is now. Tap below to listen: