Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Guest Author Post and Giveaway: John Lansing - THE TEST

It is always a pleasure to host a visit from authors to the Book Diva's Reads. Today, I'm pleased to turn the blog over to John Lansing, author of The Test. Mr. Lansing will be discussing his writing process.



Writers and Authors
by John Lansing

A question I'm frequently asked is how I deal with writer's block. I resist answering the question because I'm afraid it will jinx my own process. But, in all honesty, it's not a condition I suffer. And it's not because I have a never-ending supply of ideas. It's because if I go blank, I rewrite. 

The best way to stave off empty page syndrome is to write every day. It's amazing how just the act of sitting down at your favorite space, and reading yesterday's work, can spark the imagination. Characters start giving you clues. A future set piece might come out of a line of dialogue, or a plot twist you didn't know existed, or a new story element that surprises you. 

To me, that's one of the most exciting elements of the writing process. When you open yourself up to being truly surprised by something one of your character says, or going where an unexplored event takes you. You have to stay light on your feet, and if you're working with an outline, be ready to make an unexpected turn and just burn the 
road map. 

Nothing is set in stone until your published book is sitting on a shelf, or on your Kindle, or Nook. 

Walter Mosley stresses the need for sitting down every day and writing. Most successful authors do. You drink water every day to survive. Mosley thinks it should be the same with writing. It increases your focus and helps you push past your own limits. 

On one of my more difficult days, writing my most recent thriller, Blond Cargo, I was a bit lost and sat in front of my computer ruminating on an action sequence that was upcoming. Instead of pushing ahead, I started rewriting another scene in the book where one of my characters was invited to a gala event at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. 

It was a seemingly innocuous invitation from a character trying to placate and diffuse the anger of another character. When I wrote the scene, I had no intention of visiting the hotel, or including the gala in my book; it was just a transitional statement. A slight-of-hand to shift focus. 

It took awhile for the reality to dawn on me, but that invitation turned out to be a perfect solution to tying up at least five separate story lines. I ended up using the Gala at the Bonaventure Hotel for my finale. 

For two months I was sure it was going to occur at another location, a walled compound in Orange County, but I went with flow and my manuscript was improved by it. I was blocked on another scene and by pushing through, and digging deep; it changed the story for the better.


Meet the author:

John Lansing started his career as an actor in New York City. He spent a year at the Royale Theatre playing the lead in the Broadway production of "Grease." He then landed a co-starring role in George Lucas' "More American Graffiti," and guest-starred on numerous television shows. During his fifteen-year writing career, Lansing wrote and produced "Walker Texas Ranger," co-wrote two CBS Movies of the Week, and he also co-executive produced the ABC series "Scoundrels." John's first book was Good Cop, Bad Money, a true crime tome with former NYPD Inspector Glen Morisano. The Devil's Necktie was his first novel. Blond Cargo is the next book in the Jack Bertolino series. A native of Long Island, John now resides in Los Angeles.

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The Test by John Lansing
ISBN: 9780989835244 (ebook)
ASIN: B00ON4JH2Q (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Tatra Press
Publication date: November 1, 2014


A coming-of-age story set in 1950s, small-town Long Island, at time when suburban America is about to undergo  seismic societal changes. With this backdrop, a teenage boy falls in love with one of the town's few black girls, a relationship that has repercussions leading to permanent transformations for the couple--and for the town.











Enter to win one of THREE digital copies of The Test (available to US residents only). This giveaway ends on May 2, 2015. To enter use the Rafflecopter form below.

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2 comments:

  1. It's always interesting to learn how an author approaches writing a book. Just writing every day is such a simple statement but I'm guessing it's probably much, much harder than it sounds!

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  2. Many thanks to the Book Diva for hosting me today, the first day of April, on her wonderful site. I greatly appreciate it. Best, John

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