Sunday Ramblings: She dares eat a peach….
Carrie has stopped by our blog on her WWII historical fiction novel Why Aren’t You Sweet Like Me?? blog tour. Thanks Carrie for taking the time to share some thoughts with us here today.
Who is Carrie Nyman?
My mother calls me the Queen of Perpetual Denial. Sometimes, I take delight in this title…with a slight twist. I’d like to think that I persevere even when everything around me and inside me tells me to give up. I don’t know how to. I was built to write and I’d like to think that my work speaks to that fact. I’m very interested in YA fiction because I think that adults have a lot to teach the younger generations if they know how to frame the story and connect with their audience. I love dancing, playing soccer, watching trite little teen movies, and spending time with my family. I also grill a mean steak.
You were diagnosed with degenerative rheumatoid arthritis and you said this was partly what motivated you to start writing?
I found solace in expressing my confusion and grief as a child. At 13, I had symptoms that grew into hospitalisations and I was on steroids and chemo for most of my high school career. How does one reconcile having arthritis at such a young age when everyone else seems happy and healthy? Instead of internalising this loss, I wrote about it.
While at uni you did an honours thesis on Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Would you be able to share some discoveries from there?
Bronte is a thrilling writer to discuss. She had very little socialisation but yet because of her socioeconomic status, she had the education to write stories and the time to do it. She wrote characters that are so very real in their flaws. As part of my thesis, I delved into the main characters and I even used the DSM-IV to diagnose their different pathologies because Bronte was writing far before modern psychotherapy was practiced; as such, Bronte had to have seen these neuroses in others and had the skill to write them into convincing characters and the cleverness to disguise them so that her archetypes wouldn’t find out.
Bronte wrote Wuthering Heights without ever having a romantic relationship! My theory is that her novel is not a love story. One might argue that the couple is codependent but they do not exhibit classically codependent tendencies; instead, I believe that Catherine was a narcissist (who needs to be needed) and that Heathcliff is an addict who, instead of having an addiction to a substance, is addicted to how he feels when he is around Catherine. They need one another to survive. Love has nothing to do with it.
What, in your opinion, does an author do. What does it mean to you, to be an author, or a writer?
I’m a professional daydreamer. I have a good imagination and that helps me to relate the events in my own head (even though there is very little creativity to the plot of Why Aren’t You Sweet Like Me?? because it’s based on fact). No one can ask for more in a job than to love what they do and I love to write.
Your latest book, Why Aren’t You Sweet Like Me??, was based on some letters. How did you come upon these letters, and what about them inspired the story?
When I was younger, my grandmother, Honey, came to Colorado for every Christmas break. Being too young to drive, I had to find ways to entertain her, and so I just listened to her stories about her early life. When I was 26, Honey gave me her two large scrapbooks full of chronologically ordered letters from WWII. And the following year, it occurred to me that I could write the narrative from both perspectives. It was a great experience for me. Honey and her two siblings helped me to write the novel and fill in any gaps that the letters lacked.
And finally Carrie, dare you eat a peach?
I continue to! I think taking chances, knowing that they could hurt you, is one of life’s greatest challenges. Writing a book (knowing that I could be eternally rejected by agents, publishers, and readers) is a big leap. Also, I recently had my second child and I knew how badly the pregnancy and another C-section would hurt; in the end, it’s one of my greatest accomplishments.
To end here’s an excerpt from the book.
Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end. -Virginia Woolf
I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for their religion – I have shudder’d at it. I shudder no more. I could be martyr’d for my religion. Love is my religion and I could die for that. I could die for you. – John Keats
September 2, 1944
I suppose that I always knew, and that’s why there was no surprise. No, I think I acknowledged it in the past, never understanding what it would mean. It starts in my chest.
Why are they being so nice?
On the drive home from Memphis, everything was fine. Suddenly, they’re delicate with me, noticeably so.
Yes, I’m different now, but I’m still me.
And it cracks. A rift opens over my heart, spreading over my stomach, into my shoulders. Walking up the stairs as the sky darkens, carrying shopping bags, I tilt my head and I know.
This isn’t how I thought it would be.
I pictured falling, impassioned: dissolving. But everything is muted. I feel light as I walk into my room, placing the bags at the foot of the bed. Calm, I turn.
“Give it to me. Give me the letter.”
I had imagined snatching the paper, almost shredding it. Instead, my muscles constrict: the cracks increasing.
Perhaps it was folly to think I could keep them both.
They utter something but I don’t hear. I can’t even see the telegram as I finger for the envelope’s opening.
(The book will be free on Kindle as a part of the publisher’s Memorial Day tribute. The download will run on Amazon from May 28 – June 1.)
Happy Sunday dear readers, thanks for stopping by. Our own Ali Imran K will be here with us on Sunday Ramblings next week…
Have a great week ahead!