Please give Brooke a warm welcome:
Having moved to London, I’m slightly surprised to find that in many ways I have become more American than I already was. English people can sometimes be casually dismissive about Americans and their lack of history, which is irritating; but worse, I can guarantee that in some point during a conversation with an English person, that person will always say “Americans have no sense of irony.” To which I always reply, bristling, “Go watch an episode of Frasier.”
Writing Tainted as I sat at my desk in my house in Hammersmith was an exercise in time travel. Because I set the novel in a Cape Cod town not unlike the one I used to spend every summer in; I admit I wallowed in the feeling of being back home. And to help me, I hung pictures on my study wall -- watercolor paintings and aerial photos of that area of the Cape. Plus old snapshots of my family on the beach.
These were visual aids, definitely, but I could also close my eyes and just plain remember. And that nostalgia trip was part of the pleasure of writing Tainted.
Henry, one of the characters in the book, is modeled on my Uncle Sam. Which was fine until Henry gets into big trouble – it was such a real scene to me that when I finished it, I had to pick up the telephone on my desk and wake him up at six in the morning his time to make sure he was all right.
When you relocate to another country, you lose your past. It’s impossible to turn to someone and say: “Remember when?” because they don’t. One of the great advantages of being a writer is to bring that past into the present and live it every day as you write. It’s a great cure for homesickness and a lot cheaper than a whole load of Transatlantic airline tickets.
Thanks, Brooke, for taking the time to share with us your writing and cultural experiences.
Deadline for the giveaway is Jan. 29, 2010!
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