Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Post: Our Eyes Met Over Cantaloupe & Giveaway

I am so happy to have Anne McAneny here on The Book Bag today, sharing with us a little bit about how story ideas come to her from her memories. Thanks, Anne! 

Check out my thoughts on Anne's book.  

Memories Grow Like Weeds (or Big Lies & Other Truths)

Remember that time you stacked cans behind the 7-11’s back door and then crank-called the manager to report a dumpster fire? And he ran out and crashed through the biggest pile of cans this side of a Budweiser factory? Got news for you. It was more like a dozen cans and the manager dawdled out - to find the kids who crank-called him. But you’ll never know that. In your mind, the old geezer smashed through that tin mountain, arms and legs akimbo, cash drawer in hand, screaming like he’d been poked by a diaper pin. What a baby!

That’s the great thing about memory. It’s completely unreliable, endlessly malleable, and fun to manipulate. I’d swear I was an eyewitness to my sister poking my infant brother with a pool cue to see if he’d roll. My mother found him covered in blue dots and rushed him to the doctor. And I could testify under oath about the time my dad dropped a punch bowl just as guests arrived for a New Year’s Eve party. Truth is, both things happened before I even put a down payment on my mom’s womb.

Writers treasure memories... and then completely disregard them. They take a kernel of an incident – witnessed or not - roll it around in their grimy childhood hands, throw in a helping of hyperbole, and then grind it into the ground to see what else they can dredge up before spitting it all out like a big lie to a teacher... “Dog? What dog? See, my brother volunteers at an animal shelter and this crazy lady with one eye and four fingers brought in her pet boa constrictor, and my brother took it home for the weekend and he’s so dumb, he used my homework to line the cage. Well dang if that six-foot monster didn’t eat the lining which was, you know, my homework. Who knew that snakes liked fiber?”

Now I could research all sorts of neurological, long-term-memory, frontal-lobe yakkety-yak, but I already know the results (plus, I’d rather hug a porcupine than do research). Every story starts with the seed of a memory, then grows fifty-fold until it’s good enough to share, and a hundred-fold if one hopes to get a laugh.

I mean, really, where would THE WORLD’S GREATEST-KICK-THE-CAN-STORY be if I’d only freed a dozen kids on that childhood day? Or if the guy guarding the can hadn’t stood 6’3” with arms like logs and a history of eating small children for lunch? And what if his feet hadn’t grazed mine as I slid my 70-pounds of wispiness through the wet grass, kicking that can clear into the neighbor’s yard while the huge crowd on the porch leapt to their feet cheering my name? (Yes, it really happened. Just like that. No, I can’t produce any witnesses – just take my word for it.)

Memories grow like weeds. The longer you let them fester, the bigger, faster, stronger, and more resilient they become. And they sprout the greatest stories. Somewhere, there was a pig in E.B. White’s memory bank. Maybe E.B. even saw a web that appeared to spell something. But imagine if Charlotte and Wilbur had composed only one message? Or if Harry Potter had settled for Hogwart’s School of Agriculture? Or if the one that got away in Melville’s memory had been a cod and he’d left it at that? Life – and story - would be boring, tedious, and really, not memorable at all. So pour on the fertilizer, let your imagination take root, and go out and tell a good story today. And heaven help you if it’s true.

Anne McAneny lives in Virginia with her husband, children, two ferrets and a cat who currently answers to Mythical Flarb or Food. In addition to three e-books, Anne has written several screenplays that float through Hollywood on a regular basis. 

Her latest chick-lit novel, Our Eyes Met Over Cantaloupe, features Stuffed Cupcakes and Belgian beer... she really should have called it "Personal Nirvana." Her previous chick-lit novel, Chunneling Through Forty, sold well enough to gain the interest of literary agent April Eberhardt, who now represents her. 

Not limited to one genre, Anne has also written Foreteller, a mystery-thriller that takes readers on a heart-pounding journey into the past with a doomed archaeologist who must fight to ensure her own future. 

Anne loves to hear from readers and wishes everyone HAPPY READING!

**GIVEAWAY: For everyone who leaves a comment on the blog tour page, you will be entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card. For those who purchase their copy of Our Eyes Met Over Cantaloupe by November 6 and send your receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com will receive five bonus entries! Also, that winner will receive a shipment of one dozen medium cupcakes courtesy of STUFFED CUPCAKES (Nutley, NJ). Please note this giveaway will be limited to the US due to shipping requirements. Comment away- I know you want to win this scrumptious prize!**

Facebook Fan Page: Books by Anne McAneny
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Twitter: @AnneMcAneny

1 comment:

Thanks SO much for leaving me a comment! Every single one means a whole lot to me!

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