For all you NOLA Beastie fans out there, there are a few upcoming events (in April and May) that might tickle your fancy. It’s going to be an eventful spring! I hope to get to meet some of you there!
April 9, 2017 (Book Discussion & Author Q&A) – The Kwaidan Book Club (the Read Japan aspect of the Japan Society of New Orleans)has chosen The Butterfly Crest as their April read and will be discussing the book, and hosting an Author Q&A with yours truly, on April 9th! If you’d like to know more about this Event, please visit the Facebook Event Page here.
Date & Time: Sunday, April 9th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM
May 14, 2017 – Kimono Pop-Up Shop & Book Release Party. The Second Edition of The Butterfly Crest hit the local shelves recently and what better way to celebrate than with friends, readers and kimono?! So I’ve teamed up with Kawaii NOLA and JA&T Kimono on May 14th for a Kimono Pop-Up Shop and Book Release Party!! Come join us to celebrate! If you’d like to know more about this Event, please visit the Facebook Event Page here.
Date & Time: Sunday, May 14th from 1:00 to 4:00 PM
May 22, 2017 – Kimono and Kitsuke Workshop. For those of you who’ve read my book, you know I’m a little (a lot) obsessed with kimono. If you’ve ever wanted to learn about kimono and kitsuke (the art of wearing kimono), come join me and the Japan Society of New Orleans on May 22nd for a Kimono and Kitsuke Worksop and Demonstration!
Date & Time: Monday, May 22nd from 6:00 to 8:00 PM
They are what you are striving to create. What you hope the reader takes with them.
Sometimes they’re the inspiration for something or the reason behind a particular choice. They can fuel the creation of a character, for instance, or unexpectedly bring about their demise.
They have a lot to do with rhythm, tone and instinct. Very little to do with rules, preconceived notions or overly-worked designs.
Recently, I’ve come to realize that they are the cornerstone of my writing process.
I chose to write in third-person narrative because it allowed me the most flexibility in creating the impressions I wanted to evoke. There’s no right or wrong answer in the choice of narrative point of view. It comes down to personal preference, and for me it was easier to create the atmosphere I needed for The Butterfly Crest by using third-person narrative. Elena’s journey is rife with contrasts that could only be elicited in that way; a human’s view of the divine is limited to the human perspective, and I needed the reader to see beyond those limitations.
Impressions also influenced my writing method. I wrote The Butterfly Crest chapter to chapter, each chapter building on the one before. The starting point and the end point of a chapter were clear impressions in my mind that began as images but had nothing in between. The goal was to transition from the first image to the second, the in-between developing on its own. I knew the stages of Elena’s story, so in that sense the starting and ending points of each chapter were planned, but they evolved from images and impressions rather than an overly-worked design. I had an outline, which was pivotal to the process, but the bullet points were concise, and it was the image they conjured that propelled the story forward.
The title of the book was ultimately chosen because of an impression left in me several years ago, when I purchased my first Japanese textile. I bought a haori, a coat that is worn over kimono, made of black crepe silk and decorated with a beautiful floral pattern stitched in silver, gold, blue, green and coral threads. The black crepe has a swirl-like water pattern woven into the fabric, designed to act as the backdrop. The inside lining has a delicate hand-painted design of pink magnolia flowers on pale branches, the petals lined in gold. I fell in love with every aspect of the textile, but the most curious element was the single kamon painted in white on the back panel, several inches beneath the collar.
Kamon are family crests, and in kimono they are used to indicate levels of formality. After seeing the emblem on my haori, I researched the subject and came across a butterfly crest that I never quite forgot. As I developed Elena’s story, the butterfly became a very prominent symbol, and the crest I never forgot naturally became the emblem for her story.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been considering how to begin the second book in the series. It’s been a difficult process because most of my time is being consumed by my law practice. I have an ongoing list of ideas, and as I looked them over this morning I realized they are a list of impressions; experiences like the ones described in my last blog post. Each impression has a link to the story. The front runner is the image of a single red camellia blooming in snow. Believe it or not, the image ties into several aspects of Elena’s journey.
Moral of the story? Structure is necessary but magic happens in the in-between, when a an image or impression evolves into something greater than itself (be it a single sentence, a chapter or an entire book).