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2. Was it hard writing Meet Me on the Paisley Roof or did it just come
to you?

         The "writing part" was not that hard, though harder than "easy."  Perhaps the reason for this was I used a setting I was quite familiar with and populated it with fictional characters with similar motivations as people I knew.  In other words, this is a story based on some events in my own life.  But it is a fictional story, not a memoir, and approaching writing as an act of discovery kept the fun in it for me.

         What was hard was putting the writing together into a coherent, moving story.  Why?  It may be that my previous writing experience had prepared me to present information in a logical, orderly way.  But, how do you, as novelists do, help the reader find a satisfying emotional experience as they read the text?  Now that's a big one.

         To be more specific, I initially focused on character development and attention to details (be specific, the writing gurus say), the result being that I overwrote the scenes and neglected plot.  At one point the manuscript soared to 127,000 words.  Howard Berk, a former Hollywood scriptwriter and novelist at UGA, brought me back to earth.  Not only did I trim 27,000 words, I had to write new chapters as required by my increased attention to the storyline.  Later on, my wonderful editor, Gus Gedatus, helped me put the finishing touches on the entire story.

         And, if you check the Acknowledgements, you will see the contributions that other people, including my two children, made.  Clearly for me writing this novel was the most complex writing task I have ever undertaken.