Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Make-Believe Mondays With Meg Benjamin
Today on Make-Believe Mondays my guest it Meg Benjamin.
Meg, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.
Meg: Well, Wedding Bell Blues is being released by Samhain Publishing on July 21. It’s the story of a disastrous wedding—the hero and heroine are the best man and maid of honor who are trying to keep the whole thing from imploding. Here’s the blurb: Janie Dupree will do anything to make sure her best friend has the wedding of her dreams, even if it means relinquishing what every bridesmaid covets and never gets—the perfect maid-of-honor dress. Problem is, family drama as tangled as a clump of Texas prickly pear cactus threatens to send the skittish bride hopping aboard the elopement express.
Janie could use a hand, but the best man’s “help” is only making things worse.
Pete Toleffson just wants to get through his brother’s wedding and get back to his county attorney job in Des Moines. He never expected to be the engineer on a wedding train that’s derailing straight toward hell. Janie’s the kind of girl he’d like to get close to—but her self-induced role as “Miss Fix-It” is as infuriating as it is adorable.
If they can just fend off meddling parents, vindictive in-laws, spiteful ex-boyfriends, and a greyhound named Olive long enough to achieve matrimonial lift-off, maybe they can admit they’re head-over-heels in love.
Debra: Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?
Meg: Oh yeah. In fact, hearing the characters’ voices is really important to me. After I’ve worked on a story for a while, I can begin to tell myself, “No, so-and-so wouldn’t say that.” Which means I have to sit down and think about just what she/he would say under those conditions—hearing their voices, in other words. Seeing them is harder. I sometimes begin a book by finding pictures that look like my people. I don’t create collages, like some of my friends, but I do collect pictures to look at, at least initially. I also sometimes have actors in mind, but that can be tricky because I sometimes end up thinking of characters those actors have played who may be very far from the characters I’m trying to create.
Debra: Usually I see my story people before I hear them, so we're opposites on that. But I've tried using photos too.
As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?
Meg: I was one of those kids who loved folk tales and fairy tales. My mom read me Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and the Arabian Nights. I also loved the Alice books and Oz. And when I got older I read most of the Narnia books, too. I also loved an obscure bunch of books by an author named Edward Eager called Half Magic, about a family of children who found a magic coin that could grant wishes, but only half of what they wished for. They spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to wish for twice what they really need and then end up with weird results (duh!).
Debra: All wonderful tales. I'd love to read Half Magic. Maybe there are still copies floating about.
Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?
I think it’s important to remember that creating ordinary, “realistic” worlds also requires imagination. Being creative isn’t limited to imagining alternative worlds—imagining the everyday world takes creativity as well. After all, we’re not really dealing with “reality” here; it’s what I think of as “reality 2.0”. We’re not actually dealing with what people “really” do or think or say; rather, we’re dealing with what they do or think or say in this neat little microcosm we’ve created for them. It’s not real life—it’s life reimagined.
Debra: So very true. Life reimagined.
Debra: Meg, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.
Debra's News/Debra is watching:
Thursday is my new favorite day of the week because my new schedule is to go to the library and write on Thursdays from 9 to 5. This is a time when I do not answer emails or phone calls (even with the iphone) And the writing is going very well.