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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

thank you, eadie! It's a real challenge to try to get the backstory mix right in each book - something i imagine most authors of series struggle with.  As I write more and more - am working on the 4th stella and just wrapped up my second YA - I find that I often overwrite it the first attempt.  It takes a fearless and honest reader (my agent) to go through and tell me that I was too heavy-handed.  There is a temptation to just do an information dump, summarizing everything that happened in the books before, but there's nothing more boring for a reader.  Learning to slip it in here and there, with a less-is-more philosophy as a guide, has been an ongoing challenge.

 

One author who I think does a fantastic job of it is Elizabeth George. But then again she does *everything* well...

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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

{blush} Well, as a mom of teenagers I can tell you that nobody likes preachy - at least, no one around here. I can sense my kids attention slipping away when I start up with the "you'll thank me when..." and "if you'd just listen for one minute..."

 

I personally like to get all my lessons - history lessons, human nature, travelogue - from fiction. I find it so much easier to absorb the "heavy" stuff when it's couched in a story, with layered characters I can care about...

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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

Oh Becke, these are GREAT questions!  I'll dive in with the first and answer them throughout the day (I'm back at home now after a long drive home from Yosemite yesterday - they seemed to be doing construction on *every* road on the return trip).

 

I love the first question, about which senses we tap into most. I just did a workshop on setting, so I have been thinking about the question a lot lately. I remind myself often to stop and consider which senses I *haven't* recently addressed - typically that's the one that will really enrich a scene that needs a little something.

 

In the Stella books, I focus on the ordinary, the everyday. One of the things I love about writing this series is honoring the way I grew up - small-town, unspectacular, simple, modest.

 

The smells of good cooking and inexpensive perfume and wet dog and crisp autumn days (and *man*, of course...one of the most overlooked senses when writing romantic scenes is the sense of smell, since we humans respond to it so ardently. Goat smells like woodsmoke and laundry detergent, nice comforting man-smells.)

 

Visual tends to be easy for most of us writers since we "see" things in our heads as we work, but the challenge is picking out the one or two small details that really set the stage for the reader. If you tell someone about the lace peeking out from under a blouse, you've set up a better image than if you painstakingly describe an entire outfit. 

 

One sense I use in the Stella books and nowhere else isn't really a sense at all: it's the use of music and lyrics to set tone. Stella listens to country music, but like me she is pretty particular about what she chooses in that genre. Because of the challenges of copyright law, I'm limited to a single line of a song if I want to quote it in a book, and I've loved going through the lyrics of my favorite songs and finding just the right one to set a scene.

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

I loved the way you did that with the songs! Subtle, but effective.

 

I also liked the idiomatic way Stella speaks - it gives the reader a sense of who she is and where she lives, but is much less intrusive than writing in dialect. That drives me nuts - even though I love TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, I really struggled with that because of what was to me a jarring form of speech.

 

And as to Goat - oh yeah. He came across loud and clear. :-)

 

I've had a hard time trying to mentally cast this book, so I'm curious how you'll respond to that question. I can picture Susan Sarandon as Stella, but I'd probably go with someone not as well known. Still thinking about this!

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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

So as to what book I wish I'd written...

 

Well, I'm pretty happy being able to write a few different things - in addition to the Stella books I write short stories, which are a blast, and I have the young adult series and also a new project I am working on for Harlequin Luna in which I get to play with paranormal elements.  I feel very lucky that I'll never lack for ideas or get bored.

 

BUT there is an author who makes me weep with both admiration and a conviction that I'll never put words together quite as beautifully as he does. His name is Daniel Woodrell, and the fact that he is also from Missouri is actually not the reason I treasure his books so much - though it does ring true to me. There is a movie in theaters right now called "Winter's Bone," based pretty faithfully on his novel by the same name. It's fantastic.  I would say you must read the book to get the sentence-level brilliance that he's so good at, but as far as story and scene and emotion, the movie nails it as well.

 

Some of Woodrell's backlist was out of print for a while, which was tragic - but luckily, small press Busted Flush is rereleasing many of his titles.  I highly recommend both the books and Busted Flush which is a top-notch press.

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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

3) What do you think about the show Castle? Who do you think is hotter, Nathan Fillion or Gerard Butler? (Don't blame me, I didn't come up with these questions!)

 

Oh dear.....here is where I cringe with embarrassment and admit that I watch almost no television. I am afraid that most of pop culture is lost on me as a result. It's not that I disapprove - I think there are some great shows out there - but any time when I'm not writing, I give to my kids, who are growing up so fast I want to tie them up to slow them down.  Once they're out of the house I'll become a complete TV addict I'm sure.

 

However, I do know who both those gents are, thanks to movies and DVDs and Nathan Fillion is about ten billion times hotter ONLY if you're talkin' Firefly.  I HATED him in Desperate Housewives. Putting that man in madras shorts is a sin. But ooooohhhhhhhh, up on a horse on some far-flung planet, with that rifle of his and that hat --- only a real man could make jodphurs look sexy, is all I'm sayin' 

 

:smileyhappy:

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

 

Winter's Bone 











SophieLittlefield wrote:

So as to what book I wish I'd written...

 

Well, I'm pretty happy being able to write a few different things - in addition to the Stella books I write short stories, which are a blast, and I have the young adult series and also a new project I am working on for Harlequin Luna in which I get to play with paranormal elements.  I feel very lucky that I'll never lack for ideas or get bored.

 

BUT there is an author who makes me weep with both admiration and a conviction that I'll never put words together quite as beautifully as he does. His name is Daniel Woodrell, and the fact that he is also from Missouri is actually not the reason I treasure his books so much - though it does ring true to me. There is a movie in theaters right now called "Winter's Bone," based pretty faithfully on his novel by the same name. It's fantastic.  I would say you must read the book to get the sentence-level brilliance that he's so good at, but as far as story and scene and emotion, the movie nails it as well.

 

Some of Woodrell's backlist was out of print for a while, which was tragic - but luckily, small press Busted Flush is rereleasing many of his titles.  I highly recommend both the books and Busted Flush which is a top-notch press.


 

I'm sorry to say I'd never heard of Daniel Woodrell, but I'll definitely look into him now. I've posted links to as many of his books as I could find, as well as a trailer for the movie. It looks really good!

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

 


SophieLittlefield wrote:

3) What do you think about the show Castle? Who do you think is hotter, Nathan Fillion or Gerard Butler? (Don't blame me, I didn't come up with these questions!)

 

Oh dear.....here is where I cringe with embarrassment and admit that I watch almost no television. I am afraid that most of pop culture is lost on me as a result. It's not that I disapprove - I think there are some great shows out there - but any time when I'm not writing, I give to my kids, who are growing up so fast I want to tie them up to slow them down.  Once they're out of the house I'll become a complete TV addict I'm sure.

 

However, I do know who both those gents are, thanks to movies and DVDs and Nathan Fillion is about ten billion times hotter ONLY if you're talkin' Firefly.  I HATED him in Desperate Housewives. Putting that man in madras shorts is a sin. But ooooohhhhhhhh, up on a horse on some far-flung planet, with that rifle of his and that hat --- only a real man could make jodphurs look sexy, is all I'm sayin' 

 

:smileyhappy:


 

I'm with you - I don't watch much TV, although there are a few shows I like: Rescue Me, Lie to Me, Criminal Intent and the Law & Order franchises. If I'm going to watch TV, though, I prefer British shows like Foyle's War or Midsomer Murders. I do like Castle - my favorite is the mother!

 

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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

Becke, wow, thanks so much for posting the links and covers and trailer!  

 

Here's a little anecdote about Woodrell being a "writer's writer" - - I was at Poisoned Pen bookstore in Phoenix last year with a bunch of other authors, and Barbara Peters (the owner) asked 7 or 8 of us to name an author we respect.  Four of us came up with Woodrell, which has got to be some sort of record, given how broad tastes are and how many wonderful people write in the genre.

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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

You had asked who I would cast if the Stella series were ever to be made into a movie or TV show. That's a great question for daydreaming!  I've actually been asked it before, by one of my favorite bloggers, the Pop Culture Nerd aka Elyse (check her out at http://popculturenerd.com/ - you won't be disappointed! )

 

The whole post, where we get a little silly, is here: http://popculturenerd.com/2009/08/19/nerd-chat-interview-with-sophie-littlefield-author-of-a-bad-day...

 

...but here are my picks: for Stella, Wynonna Judd. (Elyse picked Geena Davis, who would be great if she would put on a little weight. Stella is average-American-woman-sized, not Hollywood sized.)

 

For Sheriff Goat Jones....Ed Harris. Sigh! Sparkly sigh! He's a handsome devil and then some.

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

 


SophieLittlefield wrote:

Becke, wow, thanks so much for posting the links and covers and trailer!  

 

Here's a little anecdote about Woodrell being a "writer's writer" - - I was at Poisoned Pen bookstore in Phoenix last year with a bunch of other authors, and Barbara Peters (the owner) asked 7 or 8 of us to name an author we respect.  Four of us came up with Woodrell, which has got to be some sort of record, given how broad tastes are and how many wonderful people write in the genre.


 

Okay, now I HAVE to read his books. Where should I start? 

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

 


SophieLittlefield wrote:

You had asked who I would cast if the Stella series were ever to be made into a movie or TV show. That's a great question for daydreaming!  I've actually been asked it before, by one of my favorite bloggers, the Pop Culture Nerd aka Elyse (check her out at http://popculturenerd.com/ - you won't be disappointed! )

 

The whole post, where we get a little silly, is here: http://popculturenerd.com/2009/08/19/nerd-chat-interview-with-sophie-littlefield-author-of-a-bad-day...

 

...but here are my picks: for Stella, Wynonna Judd. (Elyse picked Geena Davis, who would be great if she would put on a little weight. Stella is average-American-woman-sized, not Hollywood sized.)

 

For Sheriff Goat Jones....Ed Harris. Sigh! Sparkly sigh! He's a handsome devil and then some.


 

Oh, YES!! I can totally see Ed Harris as Goat! Still torn about Stella. I'll check out those links.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

Yay - I've got my copy of A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY! I'm eager to start reading,

 

Sophie, I don't know if I've mentioned this, but this thread is "yours" now. You can update it whenever you like, and I encourage you to let us know whenever you have a new release, a new book trailer or cover, or if you are going to be guest blogging or interviewed online. 

 

Also, if you have any Barnes & Noble or non-competitor book signing coming up, you are welcome to post the information here.

 

You can either save the link to this thread or just type your name into the search field at the upper right, and it will bring up this thread. Any time a new comment is posted, the thread will move to the front of the board.

 

This isn't "good-bye," I just wanted to be sure you knew that you can come back and add to this thread whenever you want. We'd love to see you here again!

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

Sophie - We've bombarded you with questions here. Is there anything you wish we would ask that we didn't?

 

Also, what is a little known fact about you?

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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

Becke, thanks so much!  I will be sure to pop in with updates. And to start - - I just got a really terrific bit of news. I just found out that A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY is going into a second printing!  I am thrilled and grateful to the team at St. Martins/Thomas Dunne for doing such a great job of getting it to readers.

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SophieLittlefield
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

Hmmm...a little known fact :smileyhappy:

 

I'm going to mull this over and try to come up with a good one.  But in the meantime, I've had people wonder if I really do know how to quilt and sew, given the fact that my books aren't really cozies and, in fact, contain a lot of rather unorthodox and even errr...gutsy and irreverent behavior by my protagonisst.  

 

But the fact is that I do.  I was looking at some of my old quilts and I'm thinking I'll take some pictures and put them up on facebook or something. I haven't been able to do nearly as much in recent years, but I'm really looking forward to getting back into it when the deadlines ease up a bit. (That's where my agent says "yeah, right!")

 

Yesterday my daughter, who plays percussion, asked me to make her a fun drumstick bag to replace the boring one she has now, so we'll be shopping for fabric for that.

 

Speaking of music...here's a little fact about me - I played the cello fairly seriously all through high school. In fact I played with two college orchestras during that time and even thought of majoring in music. In the end, I recognized that I am far too fidgety for such a career - it involves long stretches of rehearsal, where a lack of attention and focus is not appreciated - but it was an early love of mine.

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

 


SophieLittlefield wrote:

Becke, thanks so much!  I will be sure to pop in with updates. And to start - - I just got a really terrific bit of news. I just found out that A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY is going into a second printing!  I am thrilled and grateful to the team at St. Martins/Thomas Dunne for doing such a great job of getting it to readers.


 

Congratulations! I hope a lot of people discover how good this series is!

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

 


SophieLittlefield wrote:

Hmmm...a little known fact :smileyhappy:

 

I'm going to mull this over and try to come up with a good one.  But in the meantime, I've had people wonder if I really do know how to quilt and sew, given the fact that my books aren't really cozies and, in fact, contain a lot of rather unorthodox and even errr...gutsy and irreverent behavior by my protagonisst.  

 

But the fact is that I do.  I was looking at some of my old quilts and I'm thinking I'll take some pictures and put them up on facebook or something. I haven't been able to do nearly as much in recent years, but I'm really looking forward to getting back into it when the deadlines ease up a bit. (That's where my agent says "yeah, right!")

 

Yesterday my daughter, who plays percussion, asked me to make her a fun drumstick bag to replace the boring one she has now, so we'll be shopping for fabric for that.

 

Speaking of music...here's a little fact about me - I played the cello fairly seriously all through high school. In fact I played with two college orchestras during that time and even thought of majoring in music. In the end, I recognized that I am far too fidgety for such a career - it involves long stretches of rehearsal, where a lack of attention and focus is not appreciated - but it was an early love of mine.

 

I'm really not a crafter, but I've tried my hand at candlewicking, hook rugs, embroidery and once, quilting. When my kids were little I moved into a new subdivision with a lot of young moms, and we decided to make a "neighborhood" quilt. We each picked a different design and we all bought the swatches for our own quilt. Then we exchanged the fabrics and we all made 12 squares - one for our own quilt and 11 for the other quilts. They turned out really well, although I still haven't gone back to finish all the overstitching.

 

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becke_davis
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Re: Please Welcome Author SOPHIE LITTLEFIELD

Sophie - thank you so much for joining us! It was especially nice of you to take time from your family vacation to visit here. You feature is officially up through tomorrow, but I leave it up to the authors if they want to chat here on weekends. I wanted to be sure to say "thank you" and I do hope you'll come hang out with us again!

 

Speciality of Thank You