getting by with a little help from my friends

Ah, friends. Friendships are fast becoming one of my favorite subjects to explore in my books. I loved writing London’s relationship with her best friend Jamie in Forgotten, and there’s a really special sort of friendship in Book 2 that I can’t wait to share with everyone. Looking forward to Book 3, I’m curious how Ms. Main Character’s friendships with her longtime circle will evolve. Thinking of fictional friends reminds me of my own, and mostly, it reminds me that I’m not always the best at checking in. Here’s a (not so huge) secret about me: I hate talking on the phone. In theory, I want to talk to you. I want to hear your voice and listen to what’s up in your world. But in practice, I rarely actually call anyone. There are too many emails to answer; too many novels to write and re-write; too many toddler dance parties to DJ. But recently, I’ve managed to squeeze in some phone time with some of my favorite buddies. And just today, I chatted with the woman who I used to lie on the floor with at work (yes, at work), dreaming and plotting, puzzling and planning. She loves writing, too, and one of the things we’ve always done is come up with unique ways to express our emotions. Reminiscing about those with her today, I couldn’t help but smile. And share. You, the Crayola. C reminded me today that we used to define our moods by colors of crayons. For example, one time we emailed back and forth about why one of us was feeling particularly Raw Sienna that day. I just looked through the Wikipedia list of Crayola colors and have determined that right this second, I’m Manatee, but only because certain people began “sleeping” in big girl beds last night. Fingers crossed for Razzle Dazzle Rose tomorrow, or at least Banana Mania. Funny Now, Unfunny Later. C and I really cracked each other up back then, but we had the good sense to know that not all of our jokes had staying power. We wrote what we thought were hilarious stories, sayings and one-liners on scraps of paper and put them in a time capsule; we reviewed it later to laugh again, or not. It’s a good practice for any type of writing–letting it sit–though I’m not sure you need the actual time capsule. Saving it on the computer works, too. Musical Moment. Here’s a fun exercise: Name a song (or three) that best describes your life or a moment better than you can describe it yourself. For example, “Open Arms” by Journey takes me back the days with the traveling sign language troupe. I had my first real crush on a fellow performer and I’d listen to Journey on my Walkman and pine, big time. (The lyrics are a bit more mature than I was at the time, but I still get that first crush feeling when I listen to that song.) It’s a worthwhile way to get yourself in the mood to write a particularly poignant scene. What’s Your Bumper Sticker? C asked me this today, and I loved the question so much I had to pass it along. It’s a great reminder to think of your book/life/project/day in terms of one focused goal or theme. Here was my answer: “My ideal writing genre is ‘Strange in Normalville.’ If you think about it, that phrase applies to me as a person, too. Maybe someone will make me a ‘Strange in Normalville’ bumper sticker for my sweet minivan.” The Little Details. London locks arms with Jamie in the halls at school in Forgotten; true friends often seem to share a thing that is theirs and theirs alone. C and I love to chat about what random thing reminds us of the other (cream cheese reminds me of her and tiny horses remind her of me); our irrational fears (anything ending in “demic” for her—epidemic, pandemic—and zombies for me); and times of the day that make us angst-y (dusk for her and midnight for me). So there you have it, little bits of wisdom (or something) cobbled together from silliness shared between forever friends. When I officially go to work on Book 3 next month, I’m definitely going to consider what irrationally terrifies Ms. Main Character, what her bumper sticker might read, and what color Crayon she tends to be. I know considering those things will make her feel more real to me and therefore, to you, and for that—and for so much more—I thank my angst-y floor buddy from the bottom of my heart. Love you, C. Cat (Note: I got the lovely photo from this creative writing blog.)

8 Replies to “getting by with a little help from my friends”

  1. Friendship is an amazing thing and I thought the relationship between Jamie and London in ‘Forgotten’ was very well constructed.
    Here’s to hoping you get some more time to talk to your friends on the phone soon. I don’t know what I’d do without my friends 🙂
    By the way, ‘Forgotten’ is one of the best books I have ever read!

    1. Thanks, May! I’m happy to say that I’ll get some face time with old friends soon when I go back for a signing in my hometown in Wyoming. I agree: Friends are the best! Thanks again for your sweet note.

  2. Hi 🙂
    I’m a reader from Taiwan. I bought your book for myself as a train. Because I’m 16 now, and your book is still a hard work for me to read. I look up the dictionary all the time for the words that I don’t know. I spent this afternoon to figure out what exactly chapter 2 is talking about. But through this work, I’ve learned lot. The way you describe Luke is so attractive. I think would be glad that I chose ‘Forgotten’ to improve my English reading skill.

  3. Hi there. I bought your book on a Barnes and Noble retail therapy trip. I saw the cover and thought, “let’s see what that is.” Since it was near other contemporary books, I thought it would be a rather cut and dry story, maybe somthing about cyber bullying or a frenemy story. I was SO wrong. You blew me away. I love when I don’t see twists coming at all, like not even suspecting them, and you blindsided me with awesome twists! Plus I love love LOVE Luke, he’s perfect! I was curious though, in the post above this one you mentioned not doing a sequel. If that’s true, then are Books 2 and 3 companions, or just the next stories you’re working on? Can’t wait to see more of your writing!

    1. Wow, Jordan, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed Forgotten. Yes, the post is correct: I’m not planning a sequel. But my second book is out June 2012–another standalone/not a companion–and the third is just something I’m writing that I hope will come out the following year. Be sure to check back here and/or friend me on FB/follow me on Twitter for more book, movie, etc. news. xox

  4. You HAVE to write a sequel to Forgotten!! 🙁 I loved it so much and really want to read more about London,Luke and Jamie:( Please??:( xx

  5. I agree friendship is one of those things that has its uniqueness about it depending on the two participants. I have to thank you for reminding me that although you may not contact them often your best friends will always be your best friend. I think you captured that perfectly with Jamie and London. I have argued no end of times with both my longest standing best friend and one of my closest best friends and no matter what your there for them. You trul are an amazing author and I only wish I could capture people’s imaginations the way you do.

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