Days remaining to publication: 62
Hello She Writers,
It’s been two years since the release of my first novel, The Language of Trees (Avon HarperCollins). I ushered it into the world right here on She Writes—a book ten years in the making had its debut in this glorious, then-newly-christened community. Perhaps that is why I feel a certain connection here, amidst the celebrations and growing pains, the process of leaving and returning, venturing into new territory and creating something new entirely.
Today, for She Writes, a new press, and for me, a new novel. In two years, my relationship with many things has changed—including my relationship with my writing, and the types of things I'll dive into and let go of. Enter my new novel, The Salt God's Daughter, coming this September, a book that took me wholly into untested waters.
In the coming weeks I'll write about the pragmatic side of the process—about mentors, publicity efforts, the decision to follow an editor I trust to an independent publisher. Still, what I find myself thinking about is identity and creativity: being raised in a family of artists, taking risks, and the fact that there is, indeed, a non-negotiable relationship between the creative self and the created thing that requires tending to and attention.
Creative endeavors leave an imprint in time. When the character of Ruth came along with her long red hair falling across her shoulders and her love and fear of the ocean, her ability to survive tragedy and her fierce desire to protect her daughter, I put my arms around her and held on. I waded out there toward Ruth, somehow already knowing her. Writers find their way to their characters, no matter what expanse or restriction separates them. The energy created when idea meets form is captured in the pages, whether concrete and crisp in your hands, or turning digitally with the sweep of a finger.
Ruth led me to research the lives of four, eight, then seventeen girls who have been bullied in recent years. I thought a lot about Ruth's daughter, Naida, too, and what stories she would have to tell about being born "different."
What stories we create, and when and why we create them, is important, and interesting to me. I wrote my first book during the long afternoon bathtub hours of young womanhood. My second, between the hours of 8pm and 6am, the mother's recharging time, the witching hours, the overnight nurse's hours, the moments when the ocean turns to glass. Creative luxuries can enhance creativity but no doubt creativity is enhanced when we work in their absence, too.
This week I'm thinking about policies (my own) and process. Three things are on my radar:
More to come next week! I'd love to read your comments and hear about your own experiences and policies! Happy 4th!
Ilie Ruby is the author of The Salt God’s Daughter, coming September 4th 2012 from Counterpoint/Soft Skull Press. Her first novel, The Language of Trees (Avon HarperCollins), arrived in 2010. Ilie is a former editor at Houghton Mifflin and the winner of the Edwin L. Moses Award, chosen by T.C. Boyle. She has written for The New York Times and CNN and occasionally teaches writing classes in Boston. You can find her at www.ilieruby.com and on Facebook.