Q&A with The Welches discussion

process: How did we write this book without killing one another?

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message 1: by Liz (new)

Liz Welch (liz_welch) | 12 comments Mod
This is a question we get ALL the time. And here is our answer: by letting each sibling have space to tell her or his story, we all win! Diana and I started by comparing our own memories of various events: Dad's funeral, the gray house, mom's soap opera work, the first Christmas after dad died, etc. Since she and I are both writers, we would write scenes as we remembered them, then swap. I'd read her recollection and be amazed that we lived in the same house! And had the same mother! Our memories were THAT different. Inspired by that juxtaposition, we'd ask Dan and Amanda about that same moment: Diana and I would divvy up who got who. Sometimes I would call amanda and interview her about, say, Dad's funeral. Other times I would interview Dan about, say, the year we spent in the cottage. And then the most amazing part of the process was when Diana and I would get together to weave all these recollections together, sort of like scattering puzzle pieces on a table and seeing which pieces clicked together. The whole process took two years all in of interviews and weaving and refining. We would send Dan and Amanda their chapters and ask them to edit, or change any thing that felt wrong. And then, at the end of the process, we spent an amazing weekend together in North Carolina where we read the ENTIRE book, front to finish, out loud together. It was the first time Dan or Amanda had heard it in its entirity. And they said, it's great. So, back to my first point, letting people tell their own version of the story actually saves a whole lot of sorrow and sadness and misunderstanding! We agreed to disagree! How cool is that?

message 2: by Kitty (new)

Kitty | 3 comments I love that you all read the entire book out loud to each other when it was finished; it's such a great scene to imagine. Can you tell us a little about how you garnered interest by book publishers for your story? Did you send rough drafts/outlines to several publishers, or was there one that had a special interest in your story? What was that process like for you?

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us on these forums!

message 3: by Liz (new)

Liz Welch (liz_welch) | 12 comments Mod
Hello Kitty! That too was my favorite moment of the whole process--reading our chapters aloud. We gave each of our siblings the opportunity to change things--anything that made them uncomfortable--but they did not want to change one word. On the way to the airport after that weekend, Dan, our brother called, and said, You guys did an amazing job. I am so proud of you and so proud to be in the book! Honestly, that moment made it all worth it! As for getting our story published... I have been trying for YEARS! Wrote the first draft in my twenties... and then again in my thirties before I asked Diana if she wanted to do it with me. At the time, I had an agent, but he did not think four voices was a good idea, so we found another agent who loved the idea. She took it to publishers for us and I am happy to say more than one wanted it! After so many years of trying to get the form and way of telling this book right, it is SO gratifying to see it in print!

message 4: by Kitty (new)

Kitty | 3 comments Hearing Dan's excitement after that weekend must have been such a high point for you. One of the things I appreciated most in this book is the strong relationship you all retained with each other throughout the years, offering each other such incredible support despite the circumstances. That is what life is about! I am very close to my brother as well, so I was able to relate on many levels.

Your original agent is surely kicking himself now; thank goodness you were able to find someone who truly believed in the way you wanted to tell the story. And congrats on the multiple-publisher-interest; that must have been so exciting! Sounds like a dream come true. I was a touring songwriter for many years, and at one point (as I neared 30 and the rock n' roll lifestyle wasn't so appealing anymore) I announced to everyone, "I am now going to put aside my guitar for good, and write a book instead." Oh, the pressure that created! Well, that was many years ago and I have stopped and started ever since. I love knowing that you didn't just sit down and write this novel one day; it took perseverance and time. You have inspired me! :)

message 5: by Diana (new)

Diana Welch | 7 comments Yes, Kitty - don't give up on your novel!!! Perhaps you just haven't found the right collaborator... :)

message 6: by Liz (new)

Liz Welch (liz_welch) | 12 comments Mod
I think perseverance really is what makes writers authors.... so many great writers in this world I am sure! But then actually pushing forward, knowing how hard it is to get published, but going for it anyway seems to me to be the trick. The other trick that worked for me is a GREAT workshop. I found one in my home town out on Long Island and workshopped every page of our memoir... and I just signed up for a workshop (with the same person, Karen Braziller of Persea Press, for my next book) It really helps to be in a group of people who are writing towards a specific goal and who will read with a keen eye and swift pen!

I look forward to reading your story one day!!

message 7: by Kitty (new)

Kitty | 3 comments I like that...perseverance is what turns a writer into an author. I never thought of it that way. I think we have all from time to time proclaimed, "Eh, who is going to read this old thing anyway?" and then thrown our written pages into a back drawer for yet another season. But pulling it back out before winter hits, committing to workshops, and assigning (begging?) a collaborator, all are excellent ideas and advice for making sure one continues the journey.

Thank you both for your encouragement! I cannot wait to read your next book(s)!

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