IG Muse: Canditcha’s Instagram Photos

An empty room and blank paper–at countless workshops & speaking engagements, writers advise having those two things in order to create a manuscript. It’s a necessary beginning for many authors, myself included, but once a story takes shape, inspiration needs to come from a source with more to offer than the expansiveness of the blank page. Visual stimulation is as important to me as what life may sound like for the characters I create. I look at photographs to find ever-changing muses.

Photo by Candice Shoulders. @canditcha on Instagram

Photo by Candice Shoulders. @canditcha on Instagram

While writing Poke Sallet Queen & the Family Medicine Wheel, I was captivated by Candice Read Shoulder’s images on Instagram. She posts as @canditcha

They show her modern day life with her husband on their middle Tennessee farm, but most of the images have a vintage filter or style. I’m mesmerized by her ability to capture the beauty of horses in motion and how sunlight moves and changes through the day and the seasons.

Candice and I worked on our high school yearbook together, and after I graduated and moved, and then she graduated and moved, both of us traveling in opposite directions, we found one another via Facebook once we each returned to middle Tennessee to reconnect with the permanent roots we already had here.

Did technology help me to write my book? Of course, it did, and bringing images directly to my phone from her phone is only one example. When I asked Candice if she had photos of poke sallet in every stage of development–flowering, berrying, ripening, and nodding in a tower back toward the ground–she walked outside and around her farm to take the photos. Each time she sent a photo or tagged me in one, I jumped back into the story with fresh images to pull me along.

Photo by Candice Read Shoulders. @canditcha on Instagram

Photo by Candice Read Shoulders. @canditcha on Instagram

I am honored that she gave me permission to create a slideshow for the book composed of her images. During my reading next Thursday, June 4, 2015, at the Customs House Museum and Cultural Center in Clarksville, TN, I’ll display the slideshow on a large projector during my reading at the art walk. I hope that you will join us.

I’ll also display a second slideshow composed of antique and vintage photos of historical places in and around Nashville, as well as rural middle TN families with their musical instruments. The Art walk begins at 5:30 pm. I will be reading from my new book and signing copies. Books will be available for purchase from Seasons, the museum gift store.

Read praise from notable authors and more about Poke Sallet Queen & the Family Medicine Wheel here.

Book available now from all major distributors. Request it from your local library.

Book available now from all major distributors. Request it from your local library.

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The Literary Midwife

When a manuscript has been created and moves into the final trimester before delivery, our books go to my literary midwife, Kitty Madden. She is the final Editor for all books at Thorncraft. Because we work with words on paper, the editor can go in and change and adapt as she likes, but only as the author agrees. This is how we work together for every book.

Kitty Madden, Editor for Thorncraft Publishing. Photo by Beverly Fisher

Kitty Madden, Editor for Thorncraft Publishing. Photo by Beverly Fisher

When my journey began, I spent most of my time daydreaming and talking about ideas. I moved on to research and tangible words on paper with instructions. Kitty was one of the few people I trusted with my manuscript, with my growth as an author, and with the crazy idea in my head of publishing books. She marked up every page of my first book, not only with her corrections and questions, but also with positive praise about what I was doing to satisfy a reader and to communicate as I intended for the story to talk. Kitty makes corrections as an editor should, but she does not express the brutal cynicism that some people in books think is an automatic part of the literary landscape (for that, I am grateful…the world has enough cynics). I had no idea that she would encourage the publishing company to materialize, and she believed so truly and thoughtfully that I began to see a reality instead of a dream. She was also vocal about all of the obstacles and how she couldn’t imagine what they might be and wouldn’t want to try to confront them, but she would deliver these books alongside me.

As with any two (or three or four) creative individuals, we don’t always think of the same solution to a problem in our books, but our ability to collaborate offers peace in our work. Generally, one of us concedes at the other’s explanation for “why.”
This is always a fun discussion of, “oh, but I like your way and think maybe it is best.”
“Well, thank you, but I’ve been thinking about the way you changed it and I think it does work.” Etc etc. until we conclude, “Both ways work, and let’s do this.” Usually, we compromise. We trust one another and enjoy the creative process, which makes our work pleasant.

We are well into the final trimester of Melissa Corliss DeLorenzo’s next novel, Talking Underwater.
When we formatted the book, Melissa asked, “Will Kitty begin editing now?”
I said, yes, and Melissa expressed her relief. This is always affirmation that Kitty’s words coax the highest expression of the book into the world while comforting, reassuring, and coaching the author.