Happy Publication Day to Fiona Walker!
I recently read and reviewed the short story prequel to The Love Letter and now have The Love Letter to follow up with and will review here soon.
Fiona is my guest author today. I asked Fiona about letter writing. I cannot remember the last time I wrote a personal letter. Penpals are now email penpals, or even more current, facebook or twitter followers. We seem to have lost the art of letter writing with lovely pens and paper.
Here is what Fiona had to say
I call myself a writer, but I write very little by hand anymore. From a 170,000 word novel to a personal letter or even a bureaucratic form, it’s QWERTY all the way. I wish I’d learned to touch type; I’ve developed a technique all of my own over the years, and must be the fastest three finger typist in Worcestershire, with the errors and broken keyboards to prove it. My smart-phone skills are even more random; if I try to write a text, I inevitably press ‘send’ before I’ve finished, so my darling, long suffering partner is accustomed to receiving the line ‘I’ve left you’ followed swiftly by ‘something in the fridge for supper.’
I’m much more in control with a pen. I still print out each draft of my books, and love the power of the red fibre-tip to scrawl all over the print, reshaping character and plot. There’s something satisfyingly visceral about marking up a manuscript. The Love Letter had many drafts and, as each one went from a pristine block of foolscap hot from the printer to a dog-eared, heavily scribbled loose-leaf mountain, it came alive. The tricky bit is when I sit in front of my keyboard again to type in all those inky red changes and can’t read my own handwriting, or I find that my small children have drawn stick men and houses all over chapters six through thirteen and chapter twenty is missing entirely, possibly blotting up a washing machine leak.
As a great Kindle convert, I have tried reviewing my novel drafts on that, but the footnotes one can input are nothing to the excited scrawls I want to be able to add to every paragraph, or the instant way I can dig a nail in a third of a way through six hundred pages and know the place I want to find is right there ready to be written on. In the same way that writing and reading books is turning from typeset print on paper to pixels on a screen, personal communication has turned increasingly electronic. We can now email, text and tweet our feelings for one another, which opens up the most thrilling avenues for romance on the move, at work and at home. However, there’s still something about folded pages of writing paper delivered in an envelope that has incredible power and longevity, particularly the old-fashioned hand-written love letter. I’ve changed computers and phones so many times over the years that I’ve lost mountains of emails and texts, some of which were very personal indeed, but I still keep a collection of favourite letters in a decorative box.
In The Love Letter, the characters send each other personal messages all the time, from instant ones that bleep to printed ones delivered by hand, and they are all equally important, but it wouldn’t be the same without the old-fashioned love letter of the title, written from the heart, just as I wouldn’t be able to write a book without pens and paper, however many computer screens and keyboards I have lined up on front of me.
The publisher set reviewers of The Love Letter a challenge to write a love letter using fridge magnets. This is my attempt at a love note, not quite a letter :)