Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Welcome, Eileen Cook

My friend Eileen Cook's debut novel, Unpredictable, was released this week. I've been waiting to get my hands on a copy of this book for AGES. If Eileen lived in Toronto, she'd definitely be a drunk writer. I know this because I've had martinis with her. Girl knows how to throw a good hotel room party at a conference and I was lucky enough to get an invite.

In honor of her release... I asked Eileen to comment on her experiences to date with her book launch, publicity, guest blogging and all that jazz. I'm so mad she didn't tell me about her appearance on Breakfast TV, like before it happened??? The Vancouver version of that show even comes on TV here at a reasonable hour... Oh well.

Take it away, Eileen!

The F. Scott Fitzgerald quote about writers is hitting home these days as my first book, Unpredictable, is released. (By first book I mean of course, the first book that should ever be allowed out from my office, not the first book I’ve written.)

“Writers aren't exactly people...they're a whole lot of people trying to be one person.” F. Scott Fitzgerald

The situation is even more complicated than ol’ F. Scott could have imagined. It isn’t just your characters that want a piece of you and your time. To be a writer now often means juggling your day job, family and friends while trying to squeeze in time for the part of yourself that you’ve designated as writer.

Now if you have fellow writers as friends (and if you don’t, you really should- fabulous people writers), then you have to add another dimension to your personality- therapist. Writers are good people- but we spend a lot of time out on the ledge. Someone has to talk us down from our latest creative crisis, so you’ll need to fit that in somewhere. If you do it for a fellow writer, they’ll do it for you.

You also have to take on the role of being your own book pimp. Books die with a short shelf life if there is no word of mouth, and as the writer you’re the one who cares the most. You find yourself trying to figure out if you have any friends of friends who might be able to help you get any media attention. You learn how to write a press release, pound your head on the keyboard trying to think of one more blog topic and find yourself making your own mini store display of your books when the clerks aren’t watching. (Not that I have ever done this mind you- the book just came out yesterday. I won’t build my own displays until at least next week.)

I like the idea of being a solitary writer, alone in a garret somewhere with only my imaginary characters as company- but life is far messier and more complicated. But on the upside- all this mess gave me a blog topic so it can’t be all bad.


Kimber Chin said...


Guilty of making the store displays! 'Course I don't have a book out (yet) so I make them for other authors I know (Why is it that Molly's books are the front facing of the entire Harlequin end cap? Hhhmmmm... strange, that).

But Eileen... where's the book plug? Come on, give us a little tease.

Molly O'Keefe said...

I am so excited about this book - thank you for stopping by Eileen! I have been enjoying your blog on those odd moments I get a chance to - funny and short full of personality. I love it.

I wish writing was a 9-5 job somewhere some days. So I could leave my house and all the mess and clutter and mayhem and sit somewhere clean and nice smelling with the quiet hum of other people working around me and do all the things that are required of writers that isn't actually writing. Maybe just one day a week - or twice a month. Because all that guest blogging and interviews and blog reading and networking and the rest of that stuff that is so important - never ever gets done.

I'm sure there's a balance I will find someday - years from now. But now, it feels like I'm not doing something I should be doing about 24 hours a day. And I don't just mean watching The Wire. Which I should be doing...

Anonymous said...

Welcome Eileen, can't wait to read your book.

Patti said...

oh man, i often think that someone should write down all the stuff i say when drunk...pure guiness man. wait. pure genius man.

Maureen McGowan said...

Thanks for stopping by Patti. Such a coincidence. We're all geniuses when we drink, too! (And often full of Guinness.)

Rae Ann Parker said...

Love the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote. Congratulations on your new book, Eileen.

Eileen said...

Okay people next writing conference- martini party in my room. You're all coming. Not just because you said nice things about my book- but it didn't hurt.

thanks for having me Maureen

M. said...

great quote, illuminating thoughts on writer reality, but i agree with kimber - what about the book??
maureen's enthusiasm makes me think i'd be willing to create a book display for you..

M. said...

p.s. - maureen - will try the review thing again - otherwise i'll just do a post on my blog

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