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Writers on Writing: ten conversations

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Ottawa, Ontario 15 February 2017

[Note: keep author name in lower case, always. Thank you.]

The mind of a writer is a mysterious place. In Questionable Minds: conversations with writers, social psychologist dr george pollard gives a guided tour of the creative mental landscape of writers. In this unique collection of conversations, dr pollard explores the making of a fictional story or a stand-up comedy routine.

If you’re curious how your favourite writing novel or comedy comes into being, Questionable Minds helps you find out. This new book answers such questions as: Where do the ideas come from? How do authors develop their characters? What is the secret of writing a successful stand-up comedy routine?

Questionable Minds offers an eclectic view of the workings of the imagination. dr pollard has assembled a remarkable panel of writers, covering a wide of range of literature. The conservations, in this collection, are with writers of thrillers, satire and westerns as well as stand-up comedy.

Alessandra Torre tells gripping tales she claims are erotica. Peter Mehlman, a pillar of Seinfeld, has an idiosyncratically ironic eye. Chris Allen trades in thrillers that may contain more than a hint of truth.

Bruce Holbert is the thriftiest of writers, building the finest sentences. Victoria Patterson artfully skewers the upper class, of Orange County, California. Steve Berry creates intricate mysteries against a backdrop of notional history.

Ann Lewis Hamilton writes serious stories in a shrewdly droll style. Gabe Abelson is the A-list writer of late-night television talk show monologues. J Scott Fuqua tells tales with words and illustrations that resurrect a bygone era.

Jay Bonansinga writes The Walking Dead novels.

The talk is frankly. What inspires these writers? How do they develop stories or comedy? Why they can’t help writing?

To a one, they agree writing is sweating blood that shows up as squiggles on a page or pixels on an e-reader. Writing fiction or stand-up comedy is not for the easily distracted. Writers must be eager to go down the rabbit hole after their characters and stories.

Questionable Minds is notable because of the depth and clarity of the insights found in the conversations. The book owns a unique intimacy; there’s no sense of canned answers to a list of prepared questions. Instead these free-flowing conversations follow curiosity and intrigue, while drawing out a wealth of detail.

Every writer dr pollard talks with has a different story to tell. Each has his or her own sources of inspiration. Their routines are personal, sometimes fitting writing around the rest of their lives or, for a few, squeezing the rest of a life in around their writing. That is, finding time for family when they can drag themselves away from writing.

It is notable how willingly and candidly the writers included in the collection talk. They discuss in detail the motivations that drive them to write. For some it’s enthusiasm; others want to explore their own lives and, perhaps, reframe them in a different context; still others want to discover what happens to their characters, as the story unfolds.

Questionable Minds is an inside view of some highly distinctive minds, which are absorbing places to explore. Although dr pollard explores similar themes with each writer, the conversations never become repetitive. Each writer is too distinctive a personality; each brings something fresh to the conversations and our understanding of why writers write as they do.

If you wonder how writers do what they do, this book will show you that it’s much more complicated and enthralling than you may imagine; it will improve your reading experience, too.

Questionable Minds is available through Amazon, in paperback and eBook editions. Click here to buy

Review copies are available from the author. Click here to e-mail the author. Review copies are in MOBI format, viewable on most e-readers.

For more information on Questionable Minds, click here to visit the web site. Click here to e-mail and arrange an interview with the author.