Today I am so pleased to welcome Sunny Moraine to Joyfully Jay. Sunny has come to talk to us about her latest release, Fall and Rising. She has also brought along a great tour wide giveaway. Please join me in giving Sunny a big welcome!
Welcome to the Fall and Rising blog tour!
Fall and Rising is a story I’ve been trying to make happen for some time. On finishing its predecessor Line and Orbit, I knew Adam and Lochlan’s story couldn’t be over. I knew, in fact, that it was just beginning. In Fall and Rising I wanted to continue to explore their journey, as well as the ways in which their tumultuous meeting and the battle that followed have affected the people they love. In short, this was a world I wanted to return to. I’m very pleased that I was able to do so, and I’m very excited to share the result with you.
On this tour I’ll be talking about the process of writing the book and what it taught me about writing in general, the trials and tribulations of passing through the world of the story, some of the tools I used to put me into a place where I could tell that story, and some of why I wanted to write it at all. I’ll also be giving away a signed copy of the print edition of the book, along with a set of two hand-made (by me) agate, copper, and glass beaded bracelets inspired by the world of Fall and Rising. Additionally, you’ll have a chance to win one of two e-copies!
Every comment on this blog tour enters you for the giveaway. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 5th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!
Something I get asked a good bit is how you actually write. Not the mechanics of it, not the actual words on the page, but how one sits down and generates words, and eventually enough words to make a full story. Usually a novel-length story.
I’ll confess that when I started trying to write long things, I hadn’t a clue. All I knew was that I wanted to try. I did try, a bunch of times, and it didn’t really go anywhere. I usually ran out of gas twenty or thirty thousand words in. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong, why other people could do it when I didn’t seem to be able to get more than a few feet off the ground. It took me a while to get to the point where I finally understood at least some of what it takes to be able to produce something book-shaped, and I did it with significant help from others.
But I’m skeptical of the idea that there’s only one way to do things, and I think you should be too. What I found works well for me, and accounts for most of the big mistakes I used to make, the ones that kept me from seeing long stuff through to its end. In my experience, a lot of advice on writing takes a position of authority, as if it’s some kind of never-fail secret that can be universally applied. Thus especially seems to be true of books about writing, which I always suggest people try to steer clear of unless they have significant reason to not do so. That said, two books on writing I can’t recommend enough are On Writing: a Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King and Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. The advice they contain is practical, useful, and often emotionally powerful, and most importantly these two recognize that there really are very few pieces of writing wisdom that work for everyone all of the time.
But here’s what I wish I had learned sooner, and two things that I do believe are of core-level importance to just about every writer ever.
Don’t wait for inspiration. I thought I had to do this. I thought writing was some kind of gauzy, romantic, spiritual process in which I had to engage with my entire heart and soul in order for it to work. Nope. Untrue. Not only untrue but dangerous if you want to finish something long. Inspiration is great and really it’s pretty necessary in getting something going, but it won’t get you there. It’s like the boosters on a rocket: it gets you off the ground, but at some point it disengages and something else has to take over.
And that’s when writing becomes a grind.
That’s not to say it’s drudgery, at least not all the way through. There are moments of great despair and great joy in writing a novel, or at least that’s true for me. It’s simply to say that once inspiration drops away – and it will, though it may return at intervals – you have to treat the writing as what it is, which is work. And it’s work you may not always want to do. You may not always enjoy it, or feel like it’s going well. Some days you’ll be convinced that it’s going horribly and will be horrible forever and you would do the entire world a great favor if you never wrote another word again and took to the sea. On those days it’s more important than ever that you treat it as work, and keep working.
Which is the second thing I wish I had learned sooner: Write every day.
Don’t feel like writing? Too damn bad. Don’t know what to write? Power through it. Don’t have time to write? Make time, even if it’s just a little bit of time. Write something. Write anything. It doesn’t have to be good; Anne Lamott speaks powerfully and passionately of the importance and value of “shitty first drafts”. It just has to be there. Once it’s there, even if it’s shitty, you can make it good later. That’s why the Writer Gods created editing (a decidedly mixed blessing).
Here’s a thing about Writer Brain that’s kind of fun and interesting (and in fact this is true of almost all brains): it’s plastic. You can train it; you can subtly alter the way it functions. Habits form themselves, but they can also be formed. Sit down to write every day, and after a while writing every day gets easier. Your brain gets used to the idea that this task is going to be regularly expected of it, and it adapts. Start with minimum target word counts, and you may find that over time those word counts increase as you’re able to write more words, faster. It doesn’t work for everybody, but it has worked for me and it may work for you as well.
You have to write. That’s not just because a book literally won’t write itself (I keep trying to make this happen; if you figure it out please tell me how you did it); it’s because a writer writes. Doesn’t talk about writing. Doesn’t think about writing. Writes. That’s the only way you can actually be one.
And if you putter around waiting for the writer feels to fill you with motivation, or you only get around to it when you really want to, you won’t finish a book. At least, probably not. I would be astonished.
I wish I had learned these things sooner. But I did learn them eventually. Writing is a process of learning, and as a process it’s ongoing. I learn new things about it all the time, about how to do it and do it well. I’ve been helped along the way by many other writers. I hope that for someone, this might be helpful in its turn.
Adam Yuga is on the run. Three months ago, a miracle saved him from the deadly genetic illness that threatens the entire population of his former home, the Protectorate. Now he and his lover Lochlan are searching for a way to heal his people. When they receive a mysterious coded message promising hope, they make a desperate grab for it, and are imprisoned—by the very race they want to save.
On Lochlan’s distant homeship, a young pilot named Nkiruka faces an agonizing choice: stay with her lover Satya and live a life of happy obscurity, or become the spiritual leader—and the last and only hope—for the Bideshi. Nkiruka doesn’t want to lose Satya, but worse, she fears she lacks the strength to carry anyone through the coming storm, let alone her entire people.
Threads of chance and destiny draw the three together. With the fates of civilizations in their hands, they prepare for a final conflict that might be their only chance for survival—or that might destroy them all.
Sunny Moraine’s short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Nightmare, Lightspeed, Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and multiple Year’s Best collections, among other places. They are also responsible for the novels Line and Orbit (cowritten with Lisa Soem), Labyrinthian, and the Casting the Bones trilogy, as well as A Brief History of the Future: collected essays. In addition to authoring, Sunny is a doctoral candidate in sociology and a sometimes college instructor; that last may or may not have been a good move on the part of their department. They unfortunately live just outside Washington DC in a creepy house waith two cats and a very long-suffering husband.
Connect with Sunny:
- Website: sunnymoraine.com
- Goodreads: goodreads.com/Sunny_Moraine
- Tumblr: dynamicsymmetry.tumblr.com
- Twitter: @dynamicsymmetry
- Facebook: facebook.com/sunny.moraine
Sunny will be giving away a signed copy of the print edition of the book, along with a set of two hand-made (by Sunny) agate, copper, and glass beaded bracelets inspired by the world of Fall and Rising. Additionally, you’ll have a chance to win one of two e-copies! Every comment on this blog tour enters you for the giveaway. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 5th. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to leave your email so we can contact you if you win!
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
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- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
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