Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Christie Craig on Finding Your Voice

Christie Craig
Divorced, Desperate and Delicious
Publisher: Dorchester Publishing
Pub date: November 2007
Agent: Kim Lionetti

(Click to Buy)

Christie Craig writes romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone. Published by Silhouette in the '90s, she recently broke back into fiction in a big way, acquiring a three-book deal with Dorchester. The Everything Guide to Writing a Romance Novel is her latest nonfiction book, coauthored with Faye Hughes and scheduled for release in September '08 through Adams Media.

Awards: A Golden Heart finalist, Christie has also finaled in over 50 RWA-sponsored contests.

Web site: www.christie-craig.com

Divorced, Desperate and Delicious is a humorous romantic suspense about a wounded cop on the run who is being framed by this partner, and a divorced animal-loving heroine who is finished with men forever . . . but has a weak spot for all strays, even wounded cops.

Because my book Divorced, Desperate and Delicious was released today, Kim, Jessica, and Jacky gave me the floor at the BookEnds blog. They even said I could choose my topic. Pretty fearless of them, isn’t it? I considered sharing about the night I saw Kim and Jessica in their pajamas running down the stairwell of a Dallas hotel. But then I’d have to explain that I, too, was there, donned in my PJs. So nope, that wouldn’t work.

Instead, I chose to blog about something I heard at one of my first writing conferences. This piece of advice sent me on a frantic search, too. A well-respected editor said, “The one thing a new writer can do to guarantee her/his success is to go home and find their writing voice.”

So I did just that. I went straight home, got into my comfy clothes, poured myself a glass of wine, went into my office and . . . looked under my desk. I found a few dust bunnies, some dirty socks, a surprise my cat had left for me, but no voice. Where and how did a new writer find her voice?

Over the years, I learned a few things. I’m not saying I’ve found the answer, but I have discovered more than just dirty socks and hair balls. I’ve found there are many debates concerning the elusive thing called a writer’s voice.

Some believe the writer’s voice is encoded in the author’s DNA, that it’s a mere reflection of his or her personality. They insist it lurks within, and if the writer is patient, it will simply come.

Others argue that voice is not something that comes from within, but writers must be willing to shop for it. (Like at Wal-Mart . . . or Neiman-Marcus.) Still others believe the writer’s voice must be tracked down, clubbed, and dragged back by the scruff of its neck, then be caged to avoid its escape.

What’s more, some think a writer gets one voice, while others believe you can have several, or you can train and retrain your voice to work in different types of genres and tones, like a singer who is famous for country and rock.

What do I believe? Well, I think there’s some truth is every one of those debates. I think voice is connected to personality, but I think some people don’t know who they are. I don’t think it hurts to shop around—to try to write in different genres—until you find something that clicks. I also don’t think your voice can run away—there are no cages in my office—but I admit I keep a close eye on mine at all times. I don’t think you can lose your voice, either, but I believe you can get writing laryngitis.

I think voice is a combination of how words are threaded together, how sentences are sewn into paragraphs. It’s also about mood, tone, pacing, and word choice; it’s that elusive something you recognize when you pick up a Jennifer Crusie, or a Lisa Jackson. I think most of us can train ourselves to sing/write in different genres, to use different tones, but perhaps not everyone can. Or perhaps, voice and how it works is as unique to each writer as is . . . well, the types of things found under our desks.

Anyway, I’m hoping that when Divorced, Desperate and Delicious hits the bookstores, people will connect with my voice. Mostly, I hope readers will discover my voice to be entertaining and they’ll be waiting with bated breath for my next release to come out in June of '08.

So what about you? What is your definition and thoughts on voice? Have you found yours, or are you still searching for it behind the dust bunnies?