Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Shannon Wixom Wrote a Novel About Lord Howe Island

I started reading Dani Rourke's blog about her life in Lord Howe Island.

Yesterday I talked about wanting to read a novel about Lord Howe Island. What's funny is one of the comments on the first entry is from an American writer who has written a novel about the island.

The writer's name is Shannon Wixon. From what I see on her website, it doesn't look like any of her books are published yet. But she's working on it.

The title of the Lord Howe Island book is called Aussie Outsider.  The description:
After her mother's sudden death, sixteen-year-old Rory moves from California to a Dr. Pepper can-sized island to live with her dad, but someone doesn't want her there, and if she can’t figure out why, her new home could be six feet under the ground.

I wouldn't have guessed the island was Lord Howe Island if I hadn't read the comment on the Kate Rourke blog.

Anyway...I'm wondering why Wixon chose to write about the island. Is she like me—an American obsessed with Australia? Or maybe she wanted to write about an island, and did research until she found one she liked.

In the comment, Wixom says she's never been to Australia. Writing about a place you've never been is challenging, but I think it's somewhat possible. Or at least I've attempted it.

Wixon has the first page of her novel up for people to read.

I like it, but I don't love it.  But that's just the first page. If I read more, I could end up loving it. Or I could end up hating it.  Actually, I imagine it would be the type of book that I'd neither hate or love. It would be a like thing.

As I said in the past, I'm picky about metaphors. There's one here that's not ridiculous, but still kind of annoys me.  Lost in my own needy thoughts, my mom’s voice pricked me like the bristly needles of a golden barrel cactus.  It's too detailed.  I think it would be better to just say, her voice pricked me like the needles of a cactus. I don't think bristly is needed; and I don't think we need to know the species of the cactus.

I just read Wixom's latest blog post. I like it a lot. She talks about having an agent, but how it hasn't yet led to her getting her books published.  She's still struggling with rejection.

I used to believe if I landed a good agent, I'd be set. Get an agent and you've succeeded. It's not true. Even getting your book published doesn't mean you've made it as a writer. There are lot of books that get published and then are ignored on library shelves. Eventually they go out of print.

Maybe the trick to succeeding is setting the bar low. If I sit there and say success is having one of my novels become a bestseller and turned into a TV show, I'll probably end up disappointed. If I say success is writing a full novel, then I'm already a success.

Still...I hope both Wixom and myself (and all struggling writers) have more luck in finding people interested in reading and buying our books.