Thank you for visiting Jagged Edge Reviews. We have a lot of exciting reviews, guest posts, cover reveals and book blitz coming up! I apologize we are going through a bit of a change as we have been away for a short time but we are getting back into the swing of things! Just getting a bit organized again, please be patient.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Guest Post with Laura Vosika!

What a better way to celebrate such books other then to have a Guest Post! Thank you Laura I hope to read Blue Bells soon! 



Do you want to write a novel? Do two things: write what you know. And write what you don’t know. Write what you know is the standard, and good, advice for obvious reasons. It gives authenticity to your writing. There is nothing more sure to yank a reader out of the suspension of disbelief than, say, snow in the Florida Keys—at least, if no one comments on the oddity of that snow.
What I know took me to the world of orchestral music, trombones, and harps, in my novel Blue Bells of Scotland, a tale of time travel, Scottish battles, and redemption.  Having spent my life playing multiple instruments, particularly trombone and harp, with jazz bands and various orchestras, I know what it is to spend hours alone playing scales and arpeggios, perfecting tone and pitch. I know how many shades of black can hang in a closet, what happens at rehearsals, and what goes on in the trombone section during those two hundred measures of rest they routinely have to count. (Don’t ask. You know what they say about the trombone section. Or is that Vegas? But some day, I’m going to come clean about why Steve couldn’t play when those rests were up!)
Beyond the tangible facts, there’s the thrill of walking onstage or descending into the pit, or watching people swing dance while playing Glenn Miller. It can be exciting in a way busing tables never was, and other times, it feels like another day at the office, despite the fact I’m dressed in concert black and heels and lugging a trombone or harp.  In short, I believe there’s a certain quality to stories set in worlds that the author has personally experienced—detective thrillers written by cops, hospital dramas written by doctors, circus stories captured by someone who was there.
Of course, we can’t write only what we know for one obvious reason. We don’t know everything. Our characters can’t be exactly like us. If authors wrote only what they knew, there would be no historical fiction, for starters, and certainly no science fiction or alternate history. So this is where I’ll say the advice to write what you know is only part of the story—no pun intended—and offer a second piece of advice. Step into worlds you don't know!  Embrace research! Live it, breathe it!
Not surprisingly, I have never lived in medieval Scotland. Nor have I ever been a medieval Highland warrior. (I looked up the job description once, and I didn’t meet the qualifications at all.) While writing Blue Bells of Scotland, I used hundreds of sources—web sites, forums, books, videos—and before the final edit, flew to Scotland. Research brings its own thrill of discovering worlds we didn’t know. I delved deep into the time of Robert the Bruce, one of Scotland’s greatest heroes, and learned about the great men who stood beside him—James Douglas, Neil Campbell, Angus Og, Bishops Wishart and Lamberton—and some of the amazing women of the time—Robert’s queen, Elizabeth, Christina Bruce, Christina MacRuari, Isobel MacDuff. The best part of my research was the chance to go to Scotland myself and see the locations of my book—the Monadhliath Mountains through which Shawn and Allene hike, the remaining battlefield of Bannockburn, Inverness, Loch Ness, the castles that were my inspiration for Glenmirril from the time I found them on the internet, and even Eden Court Theatre, where Shawn and Amy’s orchestra plays. (I have to confess, I removed their good lighting backstage and replaced it with a light that flickers out, to get the atmosphere I wanted. I hope they don’t mind.)
Ironically, all that research circles back, in a sense, to write what you know. Part of a novelist’s job is to pull the common human experience from events we’ve never experienced. I have never lived in a castle under siege. But I have felt fear and anxiety for the future and for my children. I have felt physical pain. I have been in close quarters with people for extended periods. These are all things people may experience living in a castle under siege. As a novelist, we take what we know and we take the research, and we weave them together into some understanding of what people (I find it hard to demote them to mere ‘characters’) really experienced and felt.
Do you want to be a novelist? Write what you know. And write what you don’t know!
 
 

 
 
Author Bio:
Laura Vosika worked for many years as a freelance musician on trombone, flute, and harp, directed a school band, and has taught private music lessons.  In addition to The Blue Bells Trilogy, Laura is working on several other novels and non-fiction works, including a book on raising a large family.  She is the mother of 9 children, currently living in Minnesota.
 
Links:
Author's Blog: http://bluebellstrilogy.blg
Print: http://www.amazon.com/Blue-Bells-Scotland-Trilogy-Book/dp/0984215107/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

www.bluebellstrilogy.com
http://bluebellstrilogy.blogspot.com

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