I’m very happy to be hosting Deborah Underwood today, for a guest post at Shelf Elf, as she completes her blog tour for The Loud Book. Before we get to Deborah’s post, you must know about an amazing promotion that her publisher, Houghton, is running for the book. They are offering you the chance to be the very lucky winner of a piece of original artwork by Renata Liwska, whose gorgeous illustrations grace the pages of The Loud Book. When I say gorgeous, I mean gorgeous. For more information on the contest, click here.
I asked Deborah to share her thoughts on Loud vs. Quiet, and what inspired The Loud Book. She decided to write, “In Defense of Quiet”:
Bored cat wants 7 a.m. playtime loud
Human pleading with cat loud
Cat wins loud
It would have made sense if THE LOUD BOOK! had been inspired by the loud things in my life. Heaven knows there are plenty.
Howl after burning the oatmeal for the 67th consecutive morning loud
Cupboard avalanche loud
But ironically, THE LOUD BOOK! came about because of two kinds of quiet: THE QUIET BOOK and the deep quiet that creativity requires.
After we’d finished up THE QUIET BOOK, my editor asked how I’d feel about doing a companion volume.
Of course I want to write THE LOUD BOOK! loud!
It was terribly exciting to have editorial interest in a book that didn’t exist yet. But even with the book’s concept settled, there was still the matter of, um, actually writing it. And given that we were all thrilled with the way THE QUIET BOOK had turned out, there was a teensy bit of pressure, since it was important to us that LOUD to live up to its predecessor.
Chocolate wrapper loud
Another chocolate wrapper loud
Coming up with ideas–whether they’re ideas for types of loud to include in a book or plot ideas for a novel–is an exhilarating but scary process. Sometimes you can trace the origin of an idea. But sometimes an idea just materializes in your head, as though your Muse sent it there with a Star Trek transporter.
Please stop meowing! I’m trying to think loud
Ideas don’t typically come to me while I am juggling messages in my email inbox or jumping between three open windows on my computer. They come when I am quiet, still, and receptive. And how often am I quiet, still, and receptive?
Maybe if I listen to some loud music I’ll get loud ideas loud
Email notification loud
Bejeweled Blitz loud
So during every project, there comes a time when I must surrender to quiet. I turn off the music, shut down the internet, and allow myself to sit and think.
This is never easy.
I tell myself over and over that I am not being lazy or unproductive. In being quiet, I’m doing exactly what I need to do in order to let my creativity function. The value of being quiet has proven itself to me over and over again.
It’s still hard.
But once I do it, things start to fall into place. During my LOUD BOOK quiet time, my cupboard avalanches turned into the text “Garage avalanche loud.” Loud music became “Parade in the park loud.” Memories flooded back: the astonishingly loud crackling of campfires, the fourth of July fireworks at Borleske Stadium when I was growing up, the applause after my college glee club concerts.
After the initial ideas show up, then it’s a matter of editing: rearranging, chopping, adding. That can be tricky too. But it’s not nearly as difficult for me, because at least I feel like I’m doing something.
Go ahead and meow; I’m finished writing loud
Quiet time is hard to come by, but well worth making an effort to include in our lives. In this case, my quiet time resulted in two of my favorite louds:
I SOLD ANOTHER BOOK LOUD!
(And maybe just one more celebratory chocolate bar loud.)
Thanks so much for being here Deborah, and getting LOUD at Shelf Elf!
Deborah is also stopping by There’s a Book, so be sure to visit her there too!