I'm thrilled to have my friend and fellow author, Kim Fay, as our guest today. Her evocative Edgar-nominated first novel The Map of Lost Memories is set in Seattle and Cambodia in 1925 and sweeps the reader on the harrowing journey of museum-curator wannabe Irene Blum as she attempts to save her reputation by finding the temple believed to house the lost history of Cambodia's ancient Khmer Civilization.
by Kim Fay
Recently, I spent two and a half weeks at my parents’ house. They live in Tucson in a development overlooking the Santa Catalina Mountains. It was quiet there, very quiet, and not just because it’s in the middle of the desert. I was alone, choosing to go when my parents were out of town. The reason? Why waste time applying for writing retreats or spend money to stay in a writing colony when I had a perfectly good escape just an hour’s flight away?
|A Writing Room with a View|
Returning home to L.A. with 50 new pages of my work-in-progress in hand, I was immediately greeted by the noise.
I’m not talking about the sirens, neighbors power lines, leaf blowers, garbage trucks, enraged squirrels, and and and. Yes, that was overwhelming after more than two weeks of near total silence. But the noise I’m talking about is the noise that invades the head of the 21st-century writer.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy much of this – especially the camaraderie with my writing friends, both in person and online. I enjoy my Sisters in Crime Yahoo group. I enjoy writing guest posts like this one. I even – gasp! – enjoy Twitter. It’s just that there’s so darn much for a writer to do these days. All the time!
After I graduated from university (in the days of the typewriter), my life was spent writing, working in a bookshop and hanging out with friends. Sometimes I would pass an entire Sunday afternoon on the sofa reading Muriel Spark or Graham Greene. I wrote long letters to my great-aunt and taught myself to cook Greek food, and everything I did was pristine, untouched by the ping whoosh quack of today.
I’m not naïve. I know that as we get older, life naturally gets busier. But these days the life of a writer isn’t just busy, it’s frantic. It’s a pressure cooker as you work on your platform and connect with your Goodreads’ fans and wonder about the fate of independent bookstores and, most importantly, tap dance as fast as you can to make sure you stay in the game.
Here’s the truth. I don’t want to join Google+. I don’t even understand it. Likewise, I’m not sure what to do with LinkedIn, and I find Facebook overwhelming and terrifying. I am bolstered by the support that comes from fellow writers through social networking, but at the same time, there are days when I just want to slam my computer against the wall.
I need quiet. We need quiet. As writers, quiet in our heads (space in our brains) is essential. I know I can’t make the Internet go away; I don’t want to. But I’ve decided that I can’t just wait for once a year to roll around and my parents to go away for me to find the peace I need to be the best writer I can be. It’s going to take deliberate effort, and to that end, I would love to hear from one and all about what you do to find that quiet place in your head.
Born in Seattle and raised throughout Washington State, I lived in Vietnam for four years and have been traveling regularly to Southeast Asia for more than eighteen. A former independent bookseller, I am the author of the historical novel The Map of Lost Memories, a 2013 Edgar Award finalist for Best First Novel by an American Author, and the food memoir Communion: A Culinary Journey Through Vietnam, winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards’ Best Asian Cuisine Book in the United States. I am also the creator/editor of the To Asia With Love guidebook series. I now live in Los Angeles. I am represented by Alexandra Machinist at ICM Partners.
Professional affiliations: PEN USA, Authors Guild, Historical Novel Society, Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime LA and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, visit www.kimfay.net.