Friday, August 31, 2012

GUTGAA: Meet and Greet

Deana Barnhart

I heard about GUTGAA: Gear up to Get an Agent on twitter the other day and thought, "Hmm, I AM gearing up to get an Agent!"  I'm excited to participate in what I can, though I don't think that my manuscript is ready for an Agent's eyes yet, so I will stop when we get to that point.

Some things about me:
  • I'm a Youth Services Specialist at the Library, which means that I have one of the best jobs in the world.
  • I am a well-rounded geek in the fields of Star Trek, Star Wars, Joss Whedon, MST3K,and a million other things in the world of geekdom. You have to let your Geek Flag Fly!
  • Favorite books at the moment and of all time, in no particular order: 
    • Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, 
    • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, 
    • Zombies vs Unicorns by EVERY AMAZING YA WRITER, 
    • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, 
    • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, 
    • Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by SG Browne, 
    • FABLES graphic novels by Bill Willingham.
  • My current work in progress, The Mirror Tells No Lies, is an adult fantasy.  I'm reluctant to call it an updated fairy tale because it's actually about a new generation of heroes, magicians, and monsters dealing with the consequences those famous "happily ever afters."

Oh, and to the questions I was supposed to answer:

-Where do you write?

Anywhere I can whenever I can.  My Laptop goes with me everywhere.  Honestly I get most of my writing done with me in the break room at the library over lunch break.

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see?

Since everywhere is my writing space, to the left you'll probably see Diet Coke or tea.  Have to hydrate and write!

-Favorite time to write?

If I wasn't stealing spare moments and didn't have to get up in the morning for work, I would write in the dead of night all of the time.  Midnight to 3 in the morning.  Nothing to distract you then.  No one is on twitter and nothing is on tv, everyone is asleep and the words feel like they flow out like water.

-Drink of choice while writing?

Darn, answered this already.  I will say that I tried what I called "the Hemingway experiment" and drank alcohol while I wrote and it was an abysmal failure, so caffeine infused beverages it is!

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence?

Music, and I'm not picky about lyrics.  Lyrics inspire me; I write scenes to songs that move me.  I feel like this current WIP is brought to you by Florence + The Machine.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it?

Oh man, what a convoluted story this is.  When I watched 10th Kingdom when I was kid, and resolved to write a great fairy tale.  Then it didn't come to me until years later in college, when I started to look at my love of fairy tales through the eyes of a struggling young feminist.  We love princesses but they are so passive in their lives, when actually the evil queens are the active women.  Is that why they were seen as evil, because they dare to take control of their destinies?  Could beauty love a beast if the beast were a woman and the beauty were a man?  Wouldn't it be great to see a heroine making hard choices for her happily ever after instead of falling into it?  Those were my big questions, but ultimately it's all about characters right?  Once I created characters to tackle these questions with me, the story became a lot more to me than "an updated fairy tale with a feminist twist."  They fought and loved and struggled, and I love them more than the fairy tales their inspired by.

-What's your most valuable writing tip?

I hate these, because they give the impression that you, as a writer, know what you're doing, which I would never wish to say.  I'll just quote someone who did know what they were doing, Ray Bradbury, in a response to a fan letter one of my friends sent him.  "Write: Everyday, Everyday, Everyday."


  1. I'm Marian Librarian too! I used to be a youth services librarian but I'm an adult services social media librarian now. (kids was a lot more fun but handling the social media is cool too.)
    I write to music too.
    Writer librarians are awesome! Nice to meet you. :)

  2. I'd love to have a job like yours. I'm currently exploring going back to school for library science, and I'm very interested in focusing on the school media track.

  3. That does sound like a great job! Libraries are one of my very favorite places. I wish I had a chance to spend more time at them.

  4. I'd love to read a story where Beauty was the male and Beast the female. What a great idea!

    I worked in a library during college. Plus, I mention The Count of Monte Cristo in the book I'm entering in the contest. It's one of my favorites, too!

  5. So smart to participate! You're going to love it. Now is the best time to start making friends and connections.

  6. I am not a librarian, but I've worked at the public library for 16 years. My favorite job, unless I could stay home and write!
    I lovelovelove your inspiration. And would read your work in a second.

  7. I've worked in college libraries. My favorite was an old brownstone in Boston's Back Bay. I also love fairy tales and just finished my own reimagined Rapunzelesque story. Good luck fellow GUTGAA-ler!

  8. Let your geek flag fly, sister. :)
    You do have a cool job. Very advantageous for a writer to be surrounded by books. You asked some great questions as a kid with those fairy tales. I've always hated how everything surrounding the princess or female MC revolved around getting a guy.
    Great to meet you! See ya round the GUTGAA!

  9. Kim, great to meet you here. Love your blog. I'd love to read your WIP, it sounds fantastic!

  10. I wish I could write in a library every day! And I would love to read that female Beast story, that sounds really cool. My parents tell me that Beauty and the Beast was my favorite movie for a full year or two, and I watched it every day. Have fun at GUTGAA!

  11. I love your voice and humor :) Good luck with GUTGAA :) (It has been refreshing finding so many people that like to write from 12a - 3a as well lol)

  12. Librarians are the heart of the reading community. I bow my head to you. I'm from GUTGAA too but I'm mostly writing MG and YA. In Germany, I'm already agented.

  13. From one well-rounded geek to another. It's very nice to meet you. I love your source of inspiration. A strong woman as the protagonist instead of a milktoast. Love it!

    Stop by and say hello if you get the chance. I'm trying to make it easier on folk by adding the link, lol.

  14. I've been wanting to read Night Circus... I should look into that.

    Your fairy tale ideas sound really interesting! I want to read the pitch for your book!

    Nice meeting you!

  15. I always let me geek flag fly, but have never heard such a cool way to admit it!! :) Nice to meet you, and see you around the GUTGAA trail! Hey wait, if your current WIP came courtesy of Florence + the Machine, does that mean we wrote the same book??

  16. Hi there, nice to meet you! You have quite possibly the world's best job, next to being paid to write, in my opinion. I envied my friends who got jobs in college libraries while I was stuck in the registrar's office. Of course, I now have a job in an old Carnegie library, but sadly, the library is now a lawyer's office, making me a secretary and not a librarian. *sigh* Guess we can't all be as cool as you and Evelyn Carnahan. :)

    Anyway, good luck with GUTGAA!

  17. Oh the idea of a backwards fairy tale (like Beauty and the Beast) sounds awesome. The glasses on your blog are cute too. Nice to meet you.

  18. Hi! I used to be a librarian - college job - LOVED it. Have you read Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth? Amaaazing. Nice to meet another GUTGAA'er!


  19. A fellow Whedonite! Great to meet you! Good luck during GUTGAA!

  20. Hi,
    Just stopping by on my GUTGAA rounds, enjoyed your post look forward to learning more about your writing.!

  21. Your observations on fairy tales are probably why so many fairy tale retellings exist -- we want to see stronger heroines and see those classics upended. I like that yours isn't specifically a retelling but more like source material to work from. Very interesting! Especially with how popular Once Upon a Time became last year (which I have mixed feelings over but I really want to like the show!).

    I think the hugeness of ComiCon and the success of films like The Avengers and The Dark Knight have really catapulted "geek culture" to the masses. It's no longer shameful to be geek, it's *gasp* MAINSTREAM!

    Still, sometimes people don't get my Buffy references. Those people can keep their Grey's Anatomy :)

    Here's my GUTGAA Meet and Greet Post

  22. As for the Hemingway experiment - if at first you don't succeed...
    Good luck with GUTGAA.
    Kat :)