Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Vineyard by Michael Hurley! Today I have a guest post by the author to share with you - and don't forget to enter the giveaway! To follow the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.
Author: Michael Hurley
Release Date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Ragbagger Press
Ten years after their college days together, three wounded and very different women reunite for a summer on the island of Martha's Vineyard. As the come to grips with the challenges and crises in their lives, their encounter with a reclusive poacher known only as "the fisherman" threatens to change everything they believe about their world--and each other.
WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?
By Michael Hurley
I write literary fiction, which I define to mean novels in which the plot is propelled by characters as opposed to the characters being propelled by the plot. So for me, the simple answer to the question of where ideas come from is that they come from the characters.
In literary fiction, you invent an interesting character who is conflicted in some way, flawed in some way, tragic in some way, gifted in some way, evil or good in some way, and so on, and you place him or her in a setting where he or she is going to interact with other characters who all have their own idiosyncrasies. The idea for the story then evolves out of the interaction of the characters. I might have a germ of an idea and some sense of the arc of the story when I begin, but it is subordinate to the whims of the characters and is almost always changed by them, before the end. As I write their lives and thoughts and hopes and dreams, they tell me where and how the story will go.
Genre fiction is very different. Here I am referring to romance, thrillers, science fiction, mystery, and other commercial fiction. Often these are linear tales populated by more two dimensional characters whose inner lives are never fully explored, because they exist primarily to unfold the plot. The highest praise given to these books is that they are “page turners” or “propulsive reads,” because events are literally propelling the story: the fuse is lit, the gun is pulled, the car is crashed, the bodice is ripped, and the priceless jewel is stolen; the robbery scene is followed by the fight scene, the seduction scene, the explosion scene, the chase scene, and so on.
If you want to get ideas for a story, and you want to write literary fiction, I suggest you head to your local art gallery. Find a painting there that fascinates you and try to bring the subject of the painting to life in your mind. What is she afraid of? What does she hope for? What is she hiding? Whom does she love, and why? What has she lost? How will she find it? What would she do to get it back? As you add layers onto the character’s persona, she will take you to all kinds of fascinating places and through experiences you never could have imagined, otherwise. Before you know it, you’ll have a story you feel compelled to tell the world.
Michael Hurley and his wife Susan live near Charleston, South Carolina. Born and raised in Baltimore, Michael holds a degree in English from the University of Maryland and law from St. Louis University.
The Prodigal, Michael’s debut novel from Ragbagger Press, received the Somerset Prize for mainstream fiction and numerous accolades in the trade press, including Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, ForeWord Reviews, BookTrib, Chanticleer Reviews, and IndieReader. It is currently in development for a feature film by producer Diane Sillan Isaacs. Michael’s second novel, The Vineyard, is due to be released by Ragbagger Press in December 2014.
Michael’s first book, Letters from the Woods, is a collection of wilderness-themed essays published by Ragbagger Press in 2005. It was shortlisted for Book of the Year by ForeWord magazine. In 2009, Michael embarked on a two-year, 2,200 mile solo sailing voyage that ended with the loss of his 32-foot sloop, the Gypsy Moon, in the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti in 2012. That voyage and the experiences that inspired him to set sail became the subject of his memoir, Once Upon A Gypsy Moon, published in 2013 by Hachette Book Group.
When he is not writing, Michael enjoys reading and relaxing with Susan on the porch of their rambling, one-hundred-year-old house. His fondest pastimes are ocean sailing, playing piano and classical guitar, cooking, and keeping up with an energetic Irish terrier, Frodo Baggins.