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Ask An Author, Win A Book Corner > AC: Stephen Lovely of Irreplaceable (September 7 - September 9)

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message 1: by Rossy (last edited Sep 06, 2010 09:34PM) (new)

Rossy (naughtybookjunkie) | 2192 comments Stephen Lovely, Fiction & Drama author; will be joining us for a Q&A and book giveaway on September 7 - September 9, 2010.

Stephen Lovely was born in Dallas, Texas and spent most of his childhood in Ohio. He attended Kenyon College, where he majored in English and made his first awkward forays into fiction writing. After graduating from Kenyon he moved to Boston and spent two years working on the editorial staff of Cell. He attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop from 1990-92 and studied with Deborah Eisenberg, Margot Livesey, Ethan Canin, and Frank Conroy.

Stephen then worked for seven years as a night clerk in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He began writing Irreplaceable during this time.

In 2005 he became the Director of the Iowa Young Writers' Studio, a summer, residential creative writing program for high school students. He currently lives in Iowa City with his girlfriend and their three dogs and three cats.


Book: Irreplaceable by Stephen Lovely

Giveaway:
Paperback copy of Irreplaceable. Open to both US and Non-US Residents.


message 2: by Yz the Whyz, Moderator (new)

Yz the Whyz (whyz) | 9327 comments I'd like to officially welcome Stephen to RRRC's Ask An Author, Win a Book event.

Good luck on the Q&A and I hope you will enjoy your time with us.

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHOR AND PARTICIPANTS:
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/3...


message 3: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 20 comments Did the inspiration for this book come from the situations you observed as a night clerk in an intensive care unit of a hospital? Did the characters tell you their story while you were at work?
And as a fellow author, I'd like to know how did you get your work accepted by a major publisher when you were an unknown? Did you have an agent?


message 4: by Chrizette (new)

Chrizette Hi Stephen, congratulations on having your first book published - what a beautiful cover!

You said that you were still working while writing this book. Where did you find the time? Or are you one of the lucky ones that can function on two hours sleep? :) What was your writing schedule like?


message 5: by Rossy (new)

Rossy (naughtybookjunkie) | 2192 comments My apologies to Fiona and Chriz, as well as any other members who were looking forward to Mr. Lovely's turn.

We are going to re-schedule him for next week, as he's very busy right now and is unable to spend any time online. He sends our group his sincerest apologies for not being able to attend, but will be here next week for sure.

In the meantime, i will close this thread for now and will open it again when he's ready next week.



message 6: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Lovely Hi Fiona,

Thanks for your questions! Inspiration for the novel did come from my experience working as a night clerk in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, in Iowa City, where I worked from 1992-2000. One night a boy came into the unit who was brain dead, he'd been hit by a car while riding his bicycle, and his parents decided to donate his organs, in what I saw a brave and powerful act. I was able to watch the donation take place, and see how the boy's family endured by his bedside as the process took its course. The boy's donation is roughly similar to Isabel's donation in the book.


message 7: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Lovely As for the characters telling the story, they did to somee degree as I wrote the novel (over a period of many years) but I did have a rough idea of where I wanted the book to go, plotwise, so what the characters really did was tell me about themselves, gradually revealing themselves to me as I wrote. For instance, one day after years of writing Janet I realized that she was stubborn and self-involved and a bit presumptuous, though I'd never set out to make her so -- it just happened! And it was a great moment, because she suddenly seemed like a much more interesting person to me, albeit more flawed. At some point this happened with Bernice, too -- I realized she was very needy. Jasper wavered back and forth on a continuum of sympathetic-sociopathic/narcissistic through the book based on my intentions for him versus my plot needs, until finally I decided to make him tilt toward the latter.


message 8: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Lovely Fiona, I was tremendously lucky with the publishing process, so much so that I'm afraid to talk about it! But it proves success is possible. I spent about 13 years working on the novel, in the course of which several writers (ex-teachers and writer friends) and gave me comments and I incorporated them with extensive revisions. Finally I e-mailed the novel to 3 agents, all of whom I chose based on their reputations and the fact that they accepted e-mail submissions. One of them, Lisa Bankoff at ICM, loved the book--I was lucky to find a reader right away--and she managed to connect the book with a group of women editors at Hyperion who also loved it. The way I see it, all you can do is work your hardest to make your book as good as it possibly can be, and then send it out and hope for the best.


message 9: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Lovely Chriz, your question is so interesting -- as I mentioned above it took me so many years to write this book, mostly because I was working full time. And I need 8 hours of sleep, and a balanced life of exercise, dog-walking, relationships, friends, etc. I can't hide away in a garrett and work for hours and hours without showering, seeing people, etc. So I used to get up early in the morning, at 5 or 6, and write for an hour or two before going to work. It was the only way to get it done. Some people can write at night but I'm always too tired or distracted or my head's clotted up wih the stuff of the day. I'm best in the morning, and still work in the morning, early, though I have a more flexible job now and can work much more frequently and longer. The most important thing for me was and is to write every day, even if it's only for half an hour at the least, just to stay in touch with the work and make incremental progress. The worst thing for me is returning to the project after days away from it -- staying in is the key, for me anyway, and for a lot of writers I know.


message 10: by Melanie (new)

Melanie (meldades) | 4 comments Hey Stephen!
How did your experience on a medical environment changed your view on organ donation? Or were you already a donor before? How important do you think it is, specially for young donors, to talk about it with their families?


message 11: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Lovely Hi Melanie. I'd never thought much about organ donation until I experienced that night working at the hospital and began thinking about donation and all of its effects and implications. I'm an organ donor now, but wasn't before, though it might have been checked on my license. It is important to discuss your wishes, if you want to donate, with your family, because when it comes down to it, it's going to go most smoothly if they're on board and don't put up any resistance. That said, in Iowa, where I live, the way I understand it, if you mark that you want to donate on your driver's license it's legally binding, and no one can step in in the event of your death and stop the donation from happening. So it might be less crucial than it used to be to inform your relatives of your decision, but as far as i'm concerned it's still a good idea. Better to have the conversation about donation with yourr loved ones while you're alive, and can explain to them your motivations and intentions, than to have the conversation take place without you -- over your dead body, literally.


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