Recently I was given the opportunity to not only read/review the captivating new release: Sorrow (publication date – October 20th 2020) by Tiffanie DeBartolo but also to interview the talented author herself! If you haven’t read my spoiler-free review yet, click here and check it out. In the meantime, I want to share my Q&A with Tiffanie. A huge thank you to Books Forward for helping set this up and to Tiffanie for taking the time to answer my questions and provide so much insight into her life, writing process and wonderful novel. Please visit her website here. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
1.) How did Sorrow become the story you had to tell?
This is a very difficult question to answer, because I write not from an intellectual place, but a very intuitive place, and for me a story always starts out as a gnawing inside of me—a question, a feeling, an experience I need to explore—and eventually develops into characters and situations. SORROW was born from a line in a song, a line that resonated so hard in me that it turned into imaginary people and imaginary situations. Once an idea comes alive like that, I start writing.
2.) If you could cast Joe, October and Cal in a film, which actors/actress would you pick to play them and why?
OK, I get asked this question a lot, and I can’t answer it because I feel very strongly that readers need to bring their imaginations to characters when they read. My idea of what Joe looks like will never match your idea and planting that seed in a reader’s head is doing them a huge disservice. Having said that, I do have a dream cast. I just can’t tell you who they are. Ha ha.
3.) In Sorrow, Joe keeps a list of words that mean something to him. What are some words that mean something to you?
I love two of Joe’s favorite words: saudade, which in a nutshell means a nostalgia for something that never was, and desiderium, which similarly means a deep longing for something lost. The meanings of those words were actually big inspirations for this story. As a matter of fact, the original working title of this book was Desiderium. I also love the word tangerine. Don’t know why. LOL. And my least favorite word is pram.
4.) Can you tell me a little bit about your writing process? Do you listen to music? Write in a certain place? Map the story out first or let it take you on a ride?
Yes. I generally, but not always, listen to music when I’m writing. But it has to be instrumental. Lyrics distract me. I listened to a lot of what I call ‘space rock’ while I was writing SORROW—bands like Hammock and Explosions in the Sky—as well as a lot of classical music. As for my routine, I get up super early and exercise, and then I start writing. I love writing in coffee shops and libraries. And in hotel lobbies when I’m traveling. And I don’t map out the story first. My favorite part of the writing process is discovering the story along the way. The journey is where the magic happens.
5.) What advice can you give to aspiring authors?
It’s pretty simple, really. Just do it. Books don’t write themselves. You have to commit to the work. And you have to care about the content, the grammar, the art of what you’re doing, if you want the work to be meaningful, that is. But first and foremost, you have to have the discipline to plug away and slog through a lot of frustrating days where you feel like you couldn’t write a good sentence if your life depended on it. Writing is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard.
6.) There is an overlapping theme of art, music and nature in Sorrow. Did you require much research of those 3 topics prior to writing about them?
Yes. Writing this book and exploring those themes required me to research all three of them. Particularly the guitars and the trees. I had a couple of great sources for guitars—being that I work in the music industry—and I live among the redwoods, so researching the nature part was fascinating because it gave me a whole new perspective on the place where I live and all the magic it has to offer. I see the trees in a whole new light now.
7.) Can you give us any insight into what is next for you? Will there be a sequel? A film adaptation? What great art project awaits on the horizon?
Ha ha. I don’t foresee a sequel so don’t hold your breath on that. However, I’d love someone to turn SORROW into a TV series, a la Normal People. In the meantime, I’m working through a few story ideas and hope to start a new book in early 2021!
8.) What was it like for you creating and working during a pandemic?
I haven’t been doing that at all. LOL. I finished SORROW about a year before the pandemic hit—it takes a book about a year to get designed, made and distributed, so this was in the works well before COVID hit—and I’ve actually found myself struggling with being creative during the pandemic. I thought the opposite would happen—thought that since I had more free time I’d be creating like crazy, but that has not been the case.
9.) Which artists and creators do you draw your inspiration from?
There’s so many. My favorite writers run the gamut: Henry Miller, Tim O’Brien, Patti Smith, Sally Rooney, Lily King, Nicole Krauss, James Baldwin, Gregory David Roberts. I could go on and on. And then there’s so many musicians that I draw inspiration from: U2, The National and Pearl Jam are three of my all-time favorites.
10.) In Sorrow, October has a unique gift called Mirror Touch Synesthesia. What inspired you to write a character with this type of condition?
I’d read an article about it, and it really moved me and fascinated me—partly because I feel like I have a similar sense, though much less intense than October’s, and I wanted to explore what it would be like to live with the more extreme version.
Once again a huge thank you to both Books Forward and Tiffanie DeBartolo for giving me such a great opportunity. I hope you enjoyed my spoiler-free review. If you’re interested in ordering a copy, please click here. If you would like to check out the Goodreads page, please click here.
Feel free to let me know down below if this book sounds like something you might want to check out. I really want to get more people talking about it! Thanks for reading.
Peace & Love xoxo
Disclaimer: This post contains links to my Book Depository Affiliate which helps fund my blog, I am not being paid or sponsored for this post/products – all my thoughts/opinions are my own