Friday, June 26, 2009

Never, Ever Throw Anything Away


Okay, you can throw some things away especially if they get smelly; but I’m thinking about all those journals and diaries you kept as a kid. Come on, I’m sure there are a few readers out there who still have that locked diary containing an entry of that first kiss. Perhaps, many of you keep a journal currently.

Hello, I'm Mary Quast, I'm a romance author and I keep a journal.

I started writing a journal and keeping a diary way back in third grade. Yes, I still have it too. As I grew older, my mom encouraged me to write in a journal. She always stressed the fact my great-great-grandpa kept a journal at the end of the civil war and for many years afterward. His journal has been published and treated as a piece of history. If I had a dime for every time she said, “You never know…” I’d be rich.

Anyways, I kept a journal. I would write poetry, short stories, paste pictures or other’s works I found inspiring into my books. When I became an artist, I kept a journal just for recording ideas and drawings into. I’d even record special lyrics of songs. Some ideas were drawn or written on paper bags or napkins and I would paste the item into the book or rewrite it.

I also enjoyed writing love stories. In high school, my friends would ask me to write a little romantic tale of them with their latest squeeze. Funny, it got to the point where even guys were coming up to me and asking me to write a story for them. (Maybe that’s how I learned to write erotic.) Now my focus in this blog post is to tell you about the journal I kept when I was 16 yrs old and I dragged my best pal with me to spend a summer in England with friends of my parents.

The Godfrey family lived in Leicestershire. Peter was a poet/writer and Audrey was a school teacher. During “down times” when traveling, we’d see people and make up stories about them on the spot. It was a great game! Then we went to London. Keeping in mind this was back in the ‘80’s and Punk was THE thing; I kept my camera ready to capture some photos of London Punks.

Lo and behold, while traveling on the Underground a tasty young punk dressed in black leather stepped onboard. He was a portrait of black and white. Black pants, black jacket, white shirt, black eyeliner, black hair with a stark white stripe like a skunk. I was too busy drooling to take a photo, but he seemed aware of our gaze. When he left the subway, he spoke to us but we couldn’t make out his words. So he gave us a jaunty a salute before disappearing into the crowd.

We spent the rest of our stay working on a story about an American girl falling in love with a London Punk. In my journal I recorded the importance of names, places, industry, and thoughts of the English landscape. Upon returning to Michigan, our memories were soon packed into a box and eventually forgotten. I went to college to be an artist and writer; my friend went to college for media fields and ended up being an editor.

Now, in 1999 my dear hubby purchased a gift set of 80’s music on CD. When I listened to the tunes, recollections of being in England flooded my mind. I quickly retrieved the box of memories and the journal. I laughed as I read the wonderful romance story, but then ideas popped into my head. What if I changed this; did that? I called my friend and she said to run with my ideas. I then called her back at midnight to read the thirty pages I had written longhand in a new journal. She told me to keep running. So I did.

By 2003 I had a 122,283 word manuscript I called “Painted Soul”. At the end of writing this contemporary romance, I fell in love with the secondary characters and decided to give each his own story; thus the birth of the Soul Series.

Vanilla Heart Publishing offered me a contract in 2007. Painted Soul was released May, 2008, Tormented Soul, Feb. 2009 and Lonely Soul, May, 2009.
I’m currently working on two more in the series with ideas for four more. During my first book signing event at Barnes & Noble and seeing my books on the shelves, I took a moment to thank my mom for telling me to never throw a journal away.

My advice to you… never throw a diary or journal away, you just never know.

Now for a little treat, maybe even better than chocolate..
send me an email with "Tasty Sample" in the subject and I will send you the cover and first chapter from the first three Soul Series books. Feel free to check out my blog or website.

3 comments:

Minx Malone said...

Great post Mary. I've always thought journaling was a wonderful outlet. I still read over some of the things I wrote like 10 years ago!

I love the picture above by the way, boy he looks yummy!

Minx

Michelle Lauren said...

Thanks for stopping by Mary. I haven't journaled in a LONG time; however, I think it's definitely a worthwhile past time. I do keep all of my old journals and it's fun to look back at them and see how much I've changed. Plus, reading some of the past teenage angst gives me inspiration for new stories.

Yes, I second Minx. Can I borrow this guy?

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