Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ted Krever talks about the Long Road to a Story

I'm giving over my blog to Ted Krever today, who is in the brave new world of ebook publishing. Thanks so much for being here, Ted!

Long Road to a Story

I have many female friends but one in particular became very close in the last ten years—we care deeply about each other, laugh at the same things, admire each other’s gifts, know we can count on each other in good times and bad. We both got divorced around the same time. I found myself wondering: Why aren't we in love with each other? That would be so damn convenient!

When she invited me to Ireland, where she raises and trains horses, I took my laptop and made notes in character. Seeing the whole thing as fiction from the start freed me up—I followed different threads and details, got nervier and a bit more irresponsible. I actually had a bit more fun than I would have if I’d been me at the time.
The nourishment in travel comes from the surprises. I’d never have known, without going, that you could stay in Ireland two or three days without meeting a single Irish person (back in 2004, the height of the Celtic Tiger). I would never have imagined the labyrinthine structure of Irish pubs—or the reason behind that structure. And it would never have occurred to me that this ancient culture was a far younger country than we are—grandparents today either remember the Irish Revolution or heard about it from their parents.

So I had a start. It took two other women to get me to the home stretch.
The first I met for one date. She was obsessed with the torment of being beautiful—her every anecdote turned on this issue. My first reaction was ‘we’d all love to have such problems’, until I realized it really was a prison. Attractive women have a power they did nothing to create, can’t control and know will wither far too soon. It’s a corruption that’s almost irresistible.

I met the other woman in NY the night before my second Irish trip, the following year. After eight exchanges of email the next day and twelve or so the next, I knew I’d met my soulmate, the person I’d waited for all my life. As soon as I said I was moving up my flight home to be with her, she decided she couldn’t remember my face and wondered if we could possibly get along in the same room. And made sure, once I returned, that we couldn’t.

It’s harder to have your heart broken in middle-age. You don’t expect the sting, you don’t have forever to recover. But it left me with an ache I had to understand, to explain.  So I wrote. It’s the only way I come to understand anything.

They tell you as a writer that your job is to raise good questions. I surprised myself, after 16 drafts and almost nine years, by actually finding some answers.

On Smashwords (for e-readers other than Kindle):

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