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An Interview With George Bishop, Jr., Author of Letter to My Daughter

Tomorrow is my TLC Book Tour stop for George Bishop, Jr.’s Letter to My Daughter with a review of the book and a giveaway.

Today, I wanted to share with you my interview with George about his book and his writing.

1. Letter to My Daughter is written from the point of view of a mother. As a man writing from the point of view of a woman, what were the challenges you encountered and how did you tackle them?

Readers have asked about this before. It did take some time to overcome my doubts about writing from a woman’s point of view. I worried that I was somehow imposing on the territory of women writers. After I got over my initial doubts, though, I was surprised at how easy it was. (Not the writing–the writing’s always hard. I mean that it was surprisingly easy writing from a different gender.)

What I realized was that the big emotions–fear, love, hate, regret–are the same no matter who you are. The tricky part is getting the specific details right. What does a teenage girl see when she looks at a teenage boy she admires, for instance? Or what, specifically, does a girl worry about when she enters a new school as a transfer student? Those things took some imagining. But that’s what we’re supposed to do as fiction writers, after all. Imagine.

2. Was Letter to My Daughter your first novel, or the one that got published? In other words, how many other unpublished novels sit in your desk drawers waiting to be released?

This is actually the fifth novel I’ve written but the first one to be published. There’s a reason for this, I think:  my previous novels just weren’t that good. A couple of them still might be salvageable. I plan to take a look at them again when I finish the one I’m working on now.

3. According to your biography, you’ve lived a number of years abroad as an ex-pat. How do you think those experiences informed or didn’t inform you when crafting the Vietnam War-related sections of the book?

I’ve never been to Vietnam, but I’ve traveled and lived in other countries in south and southeast Asia (Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Japan).

I’ve always loved the people and cultures in these places, and in this respect, I found a lot of sympathy with Tim Prejean, the boy in my novel who goes to fight in Vietnam and falls in love with the country.

The encounter with the baby ducks and the woman in the sarong that Tim writes about, incidentally, comes from a similar encounter I had in India.

4. In a recent interview with The Hot Author Report, you indicated that you once wrote poetry and short stories. Have any of those works been published? If so, where? And do you have plans to put together a collection of poetry or short stories in the future?

I’m not a good enough poet to ever want to publish my poems. But I would like to publish a collection of short stories eventually. I think I need to write a few more first.

5. Please share a few of your obsessions or writing habits (i.e. a love of chocolate, writing so many words or pages per day, listening to music while writing)?

Chocolate as a writing habit? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that one. Whiskey, maybe, but not chocolate.

For me, I try to write every day. I feel like I’m slacking if I don’t. I usually listen to classical music when I write. Also, I revise endlessly, obsessively. If I can finish a paragraph, it’s been a good day for me.

6. Finally, give us an inside look at your writing space; what’s on your desk, what do you need to stay productive at that desk, what books are always on hand, etc. And please include a photo or two.

I write at home at a desk in a corner of my front room. I work on an old Apple laptop. I like to keep my writing space uncluttered if I can. I have a few reference books on hand: a dictionary, a thesaurus. Since the novel I’m working on now has astronomy as a background idea, I also have some astronomy reference books nearby. And a star map up on the wall, to inspire me.

I don’t see how other writers can work in public places, like cafes. I like to talk to myself and get up and walk around while I’m writing. I know some writers like to disconnect from the internet while they’re working, too, but I use the internet a lot for research and fact checking while I’m writing. Also, it’s good for a break now and then.

The photos I provided –not of my writing space, which seems incredibly boring to me — are of a few scenes from my work overseas, which I think helped to inspire the Vietnam episodes in Letter to My Daughter.

Thanks George, for sharing with us your inspiration and your thoughts on Letter to My Daughter.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s review of the book and a giveaway!

  • Serena….I enjoyed reading the Bishop interview. I liked this short but sweet novel.
    .-= diane´s last blog ..58 – How High the Moon; Sandra Kring =-.

  • Interesting interview! Now I’m curious to see how well he did writing a woman’s viewpoint!
    .-= Ladytink_534´s last blog ..It Still Hasn’t ‘Cracked Up’ =-.

  • I have this one on my wishlist. I’ve heard great things about it. Great interview.

    • This is a great book; you should pick it up.

  • Like Kathy, I got a big kick out of his rejection of chocolate, but acceptance of whiskey! How about both? I find wine and chocolate to be a huge source of inspiration when I write reviews! Nice interview…he seems like such a personable guy!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Monday Movie Meme – Party Animals =-.

    • I think wine and chocolate…or maybe Guinness and chocolate would be a great combination.

  • Great interview – he made me laugh when he said no to chocolate, but maybe to whiskey! I love the photos he shared too.

    • I loved that part of the interview where he wouldn’t have chocolate but whiskey!

  • Interesting interview. Thanks for coming by my Mailbox Monday. 🙂 Your blog is an inspiration. I also tried to track you down on goodreads and LT.
    .-= Margaret´s last blog ..GladRags – Menstrual Monday =-.

    • I think I saw you on LT, but I’ll have to check good reads. Thanks for stopping by.