Brittany Hughes graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing, and subsequently earned a Masters in Teaching. She recently spent two years living in the Midwest, a landscape that inspired the setting of her novel, "Breaking Clay." ... [more]
As a kid, A.L. Torres fell in love with fantastic stories of worlds beyond our own such as "Animal Farm," "On the Beach" and "Metamorphosis." More recently, he's added "The Giver," "The Road" and "Hunger Games" as some of his favorites, ... [more]
Robert Steedman is a proud native New Yorker, receiving his B.A. in Art History from State University of New York at Geneseo and an M.S. Ed. in Art Education from Nazareth College. His first YA manuscript, FALLING, took First Place ... [more]
Janet Zupan earned her M.F.A. from the University of Montana in 1996. Her work appears in the collection, MONTANA WOMEN WRITERS: A GEOGRAPHY OF THE HEART (Far Country) ... [more]
A Talk With Yarrow Bucans About Her Writing Life and Novel
TITLE: WITH THE BEAT GENRE: Erotica COMPS: Anne Rampling's BELINDA meets ANNA KARENINA WORDS: 85,000+
Yarrow Kae Bucans is a novelist. She graduated from The University of San Francisco with honors and was set to go to law school, but writing overtook her and a new life blossomed. Yarrow has traversed through a wide variety of worlds readers wouldn't normally have access to: the San Francisco rave scene, the Bikram yoga community, the high-end fine dining world, and the young Hollywood scene. These worlds, and the characters in them, have a strong voice in her work. Currently, Yarrow resides in NYC where she teaches Bikram yoga and writes novels. Yarrow can be found blogging at YARROWKAE.BLOGSPOT.COM.
Relationships play such an important part in our lives, especially our romantic and sexual ones. This story needs to be told. I was inspired to write it because it is the story of a girl in an emotionally abusive relationship, but it is the relationship she needs to have in order to become herself.
- Yarrow Bucans A: Tell us something about yourself as it relates to your writing life. Also, what inspired you to begin the novel?
I am both a writer and a yogini. Such a life is contradictory and complimentary. The yogini in me wants to live in the light, dance under the ray of the sun, and be free while the writer in me wants to sit in the corner of a room holed up with a bottle of scotch and a pack of cigarettes (not that I smoke cigarettes or really drink scotch, but you get the idea). I have found the balance between the two, for it is through yoga that I have become a writer capable of letting go enough to create. And it is through writing that I feel whole, complete, and successful in living my intended purpose. Therefore, being a yogini and writer are complimentary and contradictory lifestyles and why both ways of life complete me.
Relationships play such an important part in our lives, especially our romantic and sexual ones. This story needs to be told. I was inspired to write it because it is the story of a girl in an emotionally abusive relationship, but it is the relationship she needs to have in order to become herself. Every relationship prepares you for the next and oftentimes it is the most torturous relationships that cut us open and leave us ready to love ourselves and others more completely. The most important relationships in our lives shake us to our core and force us to face ourselves so that we may become ourselves. This is the story of that kind of love, obsession, and growth.
A: Who are you reading now? Which authors and novels have been an inspiration to you, and why?
Right now I am reading tons of erotica. My favorite erotica that I have read thus far is Anne Rampling's BELINDA. Her writing is impeccable and I love the characters. I wish I had written it.
The TWILIGHT series is a truly wonderful love story. I could relate to Edward and Bella's love so completely because it is non-physical. In my first novel, the central love story is based on a connection much beyond the physical as well, though neither of them are vampires.
Some other writers who inspire me are--Leo Tolstoy, Tennessee Williams, and Richard Yates. ANNA KARENINA is my favorite book. I love the way Tolstoy explores the feelings of the characters and their morality. I adore REVOLUTIONARY ROAD by Richard Yates. I find his prose quite beautiful. And Tennessee Williams was a genius. SUMMER AND SMOKE is AMAZING!
A: Can you tell us about your novel?
WITH THE BEAT is an erotica novel set in the San Francisco rave scene, a scene that was not unlike the late 1960's rock scene. It explores a torrid sexual relationship between a young girl and a man who keeps a harem. The relationship opens her up, allowing her to become more herself. It is a relationship that everyone tells her to run from, but staying in it allows her to bloom out of it and into a more complete way of being.
A: What gives you a passion for this story and why are you the one who needs to tell it?
In a way, I lived this story. I was Kaley--young, afraid of intimacy with a man, unable to relinquish control and I needed a relationship that cracked me open to set me free. I am very grateful for the relationship that enabled me to let go. Living in a relationship like this one wasn't easy and no one understood, but once I got to the other side I was free.
A: What have you found to be your biggest challenges to writing a successful commercial novel?
Plot. I write character driven stories. I am a reader who is annoyed by plot gimmicks. I often stop reading books because they are too predictable and cliche. I have had to cut down my character development and insert more plot. It is my biggest downfall as a writer. However, I am actively working on it and plot is becoming more second nature to me than it once was.
A: Is there any particular facet of the Algonkian novel writing program that has helped you more than any other? If so, why? How would you review it?
AUTHOR SALON is the only novel writing program I have ever participated in. I am finding it incredibly helpful. I have a very strong sense for how to tell a story, but the Author Salon course has really helped me to create a more detailed map. For example, I have learned to identify the first plot point, inciting incident, the mid-point climax, the major and minor reversals, and the climax. While each of these elements already existed in my novel they were fuzzy; the Author Salon novel development program has helped me to define them more clearly so that they have a much stronger impact. Also, I am learning to intertwine more twists and turns throughout the story generating layers and making the risk higher for the protagonist.
A: What bit of advice can you give to other aspiring authors just getting started?
Follow your heart. Decide which path is right for you and walk onto it. If being a writer is your intended purpose keep doing it. You have more control over your success than you think. I know I am making it sound easy. It's not. If you do not feel it with all your heart that this is what you HAVE to do, do something else. If you can be happy and not feel regret then do something else. If not, keep moving forward. I remind myself this everyday. This is not an easy path, but it certainly is a fun and rewarding one!