When you're getting ready to publish a book, you get involved in all sorts of promotional activities. Some of them are obvious: bookstore appearances, school visits, interviews about the book or the writing process. Then there are the less obvious. I've known writers who were able to tie in specialty nail polishes, craft activities, or charitable events with their books.
One thing I didn't expect, as a debut
author, was the demand for recipes. At least five or six times during
that first year, I was asked to provide a recipe as part of some
promotional activity. And my main reaction was: Huh? I didn't write a
cookbook. I wrote a book about adolescent love and loss. What does that
have to do with recipes? Who says I can even cook?
I can cook,
but I mainly use other people's recipes. I do not, as a matter of
course, invent my own. I'm still mystified why anyone would think I
would. (But maybe this is just one of those things that "everyone else"
does, and the world is full of people whipping up their own recipes!)
was thinking about recipes this weekend because I made the
family-recipe potato salad, which takes two days and is more fun to eat
than to prepare. Nevertheless, even as I complain about the work (mainly
the peeling and chopping of all those potatoes and eggs), as I make it,
I feel connected to my mother, and her mother, and my sister, all of
whom have made this same recipe. I enjoy that aspect of it, and I enjoy
putting my time and attention into something that will feed and nourish
Every time I make it, I find little ways to do it
more efficiently, but it is never going to be a fast process. Kind of
like writing, which I was also thinking about today. We may be in the
era of fast drafting, of NaNoWriMo and ebook serials and publishing
multiple books a year. But I don't seem to be able to write well under
those conditions. My books require a certain amount of time that has
nothing to do with how fast I can type (and I type very fast). There is
some sort of digestion or marination or slow-cooking that goes on as my
stories develop, and you don't even want to know how many drafts I have
to do to get a story looking like it was written by a sentient human
instead of a feral raccoon.
But if I'm out of step, it won't be
the first time. I've had a pretty good time in this world doing things
my own quirky way, so I guess I'll just keep on. If my books turn out to
be half as good as the potato salad, I can't complain.