Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Teen Book Scene: Guest Blog: W. Bruce Cameron

I am honored to host W. Bruce Cameron, author of A Dog's Purpose, on my blog today as part of a Teen Book Scene Blog Tour.  I read this book last week and L-O-V-E-D it!  In fact, it's my favorite book so far this year!  If you want to read my review, go here.

I asked him what he did when he's not writing.

I find that writing can be broken down into several phases, such as panic, loathing, and screaming. When I’m in the middle of writing a book, I need to take time “for myself,” meaning, I need to be lazy and unproductive. Sometimes, the lazy and unproductive phase of writing consumes about 90% of my time, and then I have to nap.

When I’m not writing, I like to save mankind, explore outer space, and cure diseases. Since I haven’t actually done these things, it must mean that I’m never not writing. That’s certainly how it feels: I came up with the plot and characters for A Dog’s Purpose while driving with my then girlfriend up the coast of California. We stopped at a rest area, she went into get coffee, and when she came out, I said, “sit down, I have a story I want to tell you.” The whole novel downloaded into my brain as if straight from a DVD, so that even though I was driving, I was, well, writing.

I was hiking with that same girlfriend along the Hogback Ridge in Golden, CO when I got the idea that became my novel Emory’s Gift. What occurred to me was that we were way up high and could see everything, from Boulder in the north to Castle Rock in the south to Kansas in the east, and that after a few hours we’d be in the car driving through the canyon and able to see very little except what was out the windshield. I decided I wanted to write a book about that conflict between having so much revealed and then going back to seeing so little. In Emory’s Gift, something happens that, if you consider the larger consequences, is hugely profound and lends a whole new perspective to life, yet for Charlie, the 13-year-old protagonist, life is only about surviving Jr. High.

So even when I’m not sitting in front of the computer, I’m writing. My head is always plugged into a flow of stories and characters and events and plots flowing past in a continual river.

Even telling the stories to that girlfriend seems like writing—she’s a writer herself, and her questions, feedback, and suggestions often mold the books as I’m pitching them to her.

Now, I don’t only talk about the books in my head to her. Sometimes I change the subject, as when I asked her to marry me and she said yes. (Actually, what she said was, “are you kidding?” but eventually it turned into a yes.) She’s the love of my life, my writing partner and best friend, so maybe when I’m “not writing” I’m just being with her. That’s why she’s my “then girlfriend” instead of my “now girlfriend,” because the wedding gave her a promotion. It’s fun, though, to know that whatever we’re doing, I can turn to her and say, “hey, I have a story idea I want to run past you.”

Well, maybe not whatever. I can think of a few things where if I said that it would sort of spoil the mood, if you get my drift.

I never wanted to do anything but write, so now that it’s my full time job, it is as if my hobby is supporting me financially. I’d probably do nothing but write if it weren’t for my then-girlfriend now-wife, who drags me from my daydreams back to reality every once in awhile just to make sure I recognize the difference.

So there’s my answer: when I’m not writing, I’m writing. Except for when I’m not.

Thank you so much for joining us W. Bruce Cameron!

1 comment:

  1. I think your article on Bruce Cameron has a lot of detail in it and it's a great read.
    I listened to him being interviewed on Elaine Charles's radio show 'The Book Report' where I got to learn a lot of personal stuff about him. You can hear the interview on Cameron says he has another book coming out in May 2012 called 'A Dogs Journey' and is busy writing another dog book at the moment which has not got a title yet. Cameron's book, 'A Dog's Purpose' is going to be made into a movie and his wife has written the screen play for it.
    Cameron sounds like a really likable guy and I'm looking forward to reading his new book in May.