Guest Author B.T. Gottfred: Love to Write and Write to Love
Hey beautiful fellow writers and readers:
My name is b.t. gottfred and I’m super excited to talk writing and my book… Wait, hold on, there’s someone at the door. I’m not expecting anyone. I don’t think I should answer it. Maybe they’ll go away…
They’re not going away. They’re knocking louder. And louder. Ignore them? Good call. I’m going to finish writing this and hopefully by the time I’m finished, they will have left.
Anyway… my amazing editor (Kate Farrell!) suggested four topics you guys might be interested in. The reason she suggested this is because my first attempts at this blog were… Hold on. I yell, “Who is it?” I wait. The knocking stops but no one answers. I think they’re gone.
Glad that’s over. On to the questions! I’m wasting word count!
1) Your writing for theater and film has been very much for adults, what made you write your first novel for teens?
The older I get, the more I’m convinced all “adults” are just teenagers playing dress-up. I’m 40 years old, I have friends that are doctors, lawyers, film directors, money managers, and people that make millions of dollars, and every single one of them – if they are in a vulnerable and revealing mood – will act just as anxious and dream-filled as we did as teenagers. (Every single one!) So as I realized this, I started to feel that my plays and movies about adults were capturing characters past their most interesting period. In effect, I wanted to write for teens because I wanted to explore the origin stories of the human condition. (Ooh, fancy phrase.)
2) You write from both the male and female perspective, do you find that easy to do?
I am, inside, almost an exact equal balance of masculine and feminine so I felt just as authentic writing Carolina as I did Trevor. (And in general, I think most writers and artists are.) Yes, I had to ask a few logistical questions (high heels, etc.) but no more than I had to ask about some of Trevor’s activities that I didn’t know first hand. (Cross country running for instance.) Now that I have written a love story from each side equally, I don’t know how I would attempt to portray one without writing from both male and female point of views. In fact, it would probably be more of a challenge to just choose one.
3) There’s a lot of sex in Forever for a Year, and the characters are young. Some people are probably going to get upset about that. Was it important to you to have sex be part of the story, in spite of the potential controversy?
Almost fifteen years ago, I had some family friends staying with me for a few days. They had a thirteen year-old son. One evening I came home to find he had been on my computer looking at pornography. From that moment on, I realized that sexual awareness had changed permanently on a global scale. Every kid with an internet connection is a click away from seeing things most humans throughout history couldn’t even imagine. The idea that literature – which can offer consciousness, context, and consequences better than any other medium – should somehow censor itself in anyway is astounding to me. Plus, how I write is I hand over the controls to the characters. They tell me what they see, what they want to do, what they are feeling about every detail. If I were to cut out the sexuality, I would have been taking control away from Trevor and Carolina and I wouldn’t have felt authentic writing it and the reader wouldn’t have felt authentic reading it.
4) Do you have any advice for writers who are hoping to be published?
My first note of advice is I am terrible at taking advice so I feel pretty silly trying to offer it. So, in general, if anything I (or anyone) says doesn’t feel helpful, ignore it and follow your gut. That being said, let me throw out a few things you can potentially ignore. 😉
+ I’m 40 years old (so really, really old;) and Forever for a Year is my first published novel. So Advice #1 is never stress about being too old or too late or too anything.
+ Advice #2: the business side of art (and I’ve seen the movie, theater, and TV side of things as well as publishing) has almost nothing to do with being a good artist. The people that can do both well tend to achieve success earlier which is great. For the rest of us, we need just need to keep loving to write and writing to love and eventually someone who is good at the business side will find us.
+ Advice #3: Write something you and only you can write. Sure, lots of derivative work gets published and might get you published faster than doing something that’s uniquely you. But if you stay loyal to your one-of-a-kind voice and talent, the world will conspire to witness it.
All right. Thanks again for loving writing and… Did you hear that? It was a knock again. There’s another. Crap. That sounds like a key. That’s definitely a key. Who could have a key? I should finish this just in case it’s a serial killer and this is the last thing I ever…