Before we finish up talking about how Seven Stones came together, let’s do a quick overview of Monday: IT WAS AWESOME! After munching on an Earl Grey scone, I drove down to Brainerd and enjoyed a day full of food, friends, and book stuff! After lunch with a close friend for lunch at Christmas Point, I zipped over to meet with my publicist and did a really fun interview for a segment on “Community Corner” (and YES, I will be posting the interview online soon!).
Once the interview was over, I stopped by the Crow Wing Food Co-Op (home of the best sandwiches and wraps EVER), and had a coffee meeting with my publishers. One of the things we discussed was the second printing and just how many books we want to print. I’m not going to say anything until the numbers are finalized, but trust me: it’s something to get EXCITED about! 😀 We also got to talk about marketing & publicity and just getting our book “out there.” I shared a delicious wood-fired fig pizza at Boomer’s Pizza with another friend, and drove back to Bemidji. I was home around 9pm and went to bed like the old lady I am, exhausted but THRILLED with my day.
Wonderful things are on the horizon, people! Krista begins work on my Midwest book tour today, and my official author page is up on Blue Cottage Agency. Stay tuned for author events and book signings in your area. 🙂
Okay! Let’s wrap up our discussion on how Seven Stones came to be. When we left off last week, I had the Celtic background, the Ojibwe inspiration, and now I just needed to put the two together. To do so, I needed one last element: courage. As soon as I discovered such incredible parallels in culture, mythology, and history, I knew that Seven Stones couldn’t just be about Scotland anymore.
Long ago, a professor told me something that deeply affected how I write. She said that unless an author specifies otherwise, most people will assume a main character or narrator is white and skinny. Now, I’m not saying that is necessarily true for everyone, but I was disturbed to realize how true it was for me. Keilann Douglas was originally red-haired, thin, and white, but that is not what I wanted her to be. But I was scared.
You’re white, Julia, I kept reminding myself. You can’t write about other cultures. I was afraid of other people getting angry or offended. I was afraid of being judged, or getting something wrong. In the end, though, the story I wanted to tell was more important than me or my doubts. After all, if a white author is only allowed to write about white characters, should a white reader only read books about white characters? That is a slippery and dangerous slope, and also one that goes against what I believe writing and reading exist for: expanding your mind, bridging cultural gaps, and bringing people together.
Ultimately, that is why I wrote Seven Stones. It isn’t a book about white people or Native people; it’s a book about people, and the culture that defines and inspires them. Keilann is Ojibwe and Scottish–just like my novel. She is a real-sized girl with real life problems, and learns not only the power of her heritage but, more importantly, the power of her own voice.
So, armed with passion, dedication, and bricks of dark chocolate, I began writing Keilann’s story and haven’t stopped. I am now well on my way to completing the sequel, and am so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned on this writing journey. For all those of you who have joined me on this journey and have become a part of my story:
Miigwetch. Tapadh Leat. Thank you.
Any questions you still have about Seven Stones? Curious about me or my writing process? Want to know my favorite kind of chocolate? Ask away! 🙂