by Abria Mattina
Eighteen isn’t too young to run your life into the ground, but it’s not too old to fix it, either. The desire for change drives Willa Kirk from St. John’s, Newfoundland back to her hometown of Smiths Falls, Ontario, away from her mistakes and the place where her sister died. She’s looking for a place to settle and rebuild, but Jem Harper just wants to get out of town, back to the life he knew before cancer. By letting the tragedies in their lives define them, they are both dying a little more every day. Welcome to the wake.
Guest Post: Abria Mattina
Author of WAKE
My writing process for Wake was very much a synaesthete’s experience. Synaesthesia is a rare perceptual condition in which one sensory experience—seeing a number, for instance—will stimulate another experience—for example, seeing that digit in a certain colour.* My type of synaesthesia causes me to perceive sounds as colours and shapes, and letters as colours.
When I started to think about the story for Wake, it came together very quickly. Everything hinged on a specific shade of teal, and once I had that, everything else fell into place. I had a clear idea of the characters’ voices and where I wanted the story to go.
Music was also very important to the writing process. Not only to the characters use it in Wake, I used it to help put myself in a writing mindset. If I was writing a scene that involved a character whose personality or voice is primarily blue, I would look for a song of similar color. Listening to it while I wrote made me feel more in tune with my characters and my writing. But like any serious project, I had to make a lot of time in my day to work on Wake.
I set a writing goal of one chapter per week, and was able to meet my goal throughout the composition process. I had the whole manuscript drafted in nine months, and then spent another nine redrafting and revising. The Research some of Wake’s scenes or characters are based on cancer patients I’ve known in real life, but the nitty-gritty medical details came from a variety of sources. I consulted medical textbooks and journals, medical memoirs, and spent a lot of time reading through the threads on support forums for patients and their families. The medical details of Wake were edited by a PICU nurse.
I also had to do a lot of research about food. This was probably the most fun part of the research process, because I live with a chef. He gave me free rein over his cookbooks and let me thumb through his industry magazines for ideas. Initially I crosschecked these potential recipes with nutritionist’s information, but then I came across the wonderful book Goes Down Easy by Elise Mecklinger. Goes Down Easy is a cookbook designed for cancer patients and their families, and was written in conjunction with the dieticians at the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. Its chapters are divided up by symptom, so you never have to guess what recipes will work with your specific issues, and the book also includes helpful meal planning guides.
*“Research into Colourful World of Synaesthesia | News, Media, and Events | University of Waterloo.” Media Resources | University of Waterloo. 26 June 2001. Web. 05 Nov. 2011.
Video about synaesthesia research/condition
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Abria Mattina's links
Follow the rest of the WAKE tour!
12/1 review @ Maria's Handmade Love
12/2 review @ Books Glorious Books
12/4 review @ Nightly Reading
12/5 review @ Aobibliosphere
12/6 guest post @ Kickin Back with Kiwi
12/7 guest post @ Aobibliosphere
12/9 review @ The Phantom Paragrapher
12/10 guest post @ Maria's Handmade Love
12/10 review @ All things books
12/10 review @ The Book Diva's Reads
12/11 review @ Just Another Book Addict
12/12 guest post @ Books Glorious Books
12/12 guest post @ Just Another Book Addict
12/13 review @ Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders
12/14 review @ Owl Tell You About It
12/15 guest post @ Owl Tell You About It
12/16 review @ Celtic Lady's Reviews
12/17 guest post @ The Book Diva's Reads
12/18 guest post @ The Phantom Paragrapher
12/19 guest post @ Nightly Reading
12/20 guest post @ Keeping Up With The Rheinlanders
12/21 review @ Kickin Back With Kiwi
12/22 review @ Just One More Paragraph
12/22 guest post @ All things books
12/23 guest post @ Just One More Paragraph
12/30 guest post @ Celtic Lady's Reviews