Ask the Author: Valerie Peterson

“When we were kids and my sisters were stumped on some trivial detail, they used to say, "Ask Valerie." Brilliant woman or bratty know-it-all, you decide when I answer your question here.” Valerie Peterson

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Valerie Peterson More than writer's block, I'd say that I sometimes suffer from AICA (Ass In Chair Aversion). I tell myself I only need to do 10 minutes of writing. Once my butt is on the seat, my symptoms sometimes progress into DID (Dangerous Internet Distraction). When that happens, I like the Freedom app that turns email and internet off for a proscribed period of time. Once I get writing, I can usually focus — most times, for much longer than I'd anticipated.

When I'm stuck on a particular section, I know from experience that it's generally because my brain hasn't gotten around how the plot needs to shake out. That's frustrating, but I know if I keep plugging at it — or around it — the resolutions will reveal themselves.
Valerie Peterson I'm working on a novel, the seeds of which were planted by an early job I had, at Pitney Bowes in Stamford, CT.

I was in the communications department and was asked to write up a timeline for a colleague's retirement party. For research, I got a copy of the company history - a vanity publication. Some of what I read echoes through every business that I've been in — creative vs. sales; human capital vs. bean counters. At one point, I turned a page and suddenly the CEO was married to the wife of a guy who had previously been described as his friend. No explanation.

Being "bookish" both personally and professionally, I couldn't let that go — the big, obvious, intentional gap in the storyline of a book. Now, years later, my own book that encompasses all of those things: the purposeful gaps in peoples' stories, the personal and moral compromises that the workplace demands, the evolution of industries in the face of dramatic change.

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