It is my pleasure to welcome fellow Champagne Book Group author Elizabeth Fountain to my blog today.
Liz left a demanding job as a university administrator in Seattle to move to the small town of Ellensburg, Washington, and pursue her dream of writing novels. She started writing in grade school; fortunately, most of her tortured high school poetry and song lyrics are lost to posterity. She teaches university courses, writes fiction that captures the unintentional humor and weirdness of everyday life, and strives to live according to a line from British singer-songwriter Chris Rea: “Every day, good luck comes in the strangest of ways.”
Virtually every great story holds within it a tale of courage exercised by a character in order to overcome great odds, or courage missing, leaving a character floundering in the muck and mire. Maybe this is because as humans we all struggle to find the source of courage, and question whether we have enough bravery to get by.
Writing takes courage. Well, writing is a part of life, and heck, we all know life takes courage. The act of putting dark squiggles on a blank page, hoping that they communicate our meaning with some semblance of accuracy, hoping that someone will care about reading them – this is an act of daring nerve.
So it’s no wonder my first novel, An Alien’s Guide to World Domination, is in great part a tale about the ways in which its characters search for the source of their own courage. It weaves many stories together: the story of twin children exiled from their home planet and then separated by an accident their landing unintentionally causes; the story of Louise Armstrong Holliday, a lonely woman who loves her dog but has little success connecting with other humans; the story of Jack, Louie’s friend, as he strives to forget his biggest life failure; and the stories of the various aliens and humans Louie and Jack encounter in their journey to save humanity.
Over one hundred people came to my book launch celebration, and I had to stand up in front of them to read something from the book. This was my first novel, and I desperately wanted to share its “Important Themes.” Every novel has them, right? I scratched my head, hemmed and hawed, and finally realized the most important phrase in the book: “But you tried, anyway.”
That’s the heart of this story. It’s about people who look the impossible straight in the eye, and do it anyway. Save the world from stupid but brutal aliens? Find a sister lost somewhere in the galaxy? Escape exile and return home? All impossible tasks, but these characters accomplish them, by helping and loving each other. (And by trusting a dog, of course!)
My second book, You, Jane, offers the story of a woman who needs to find the courage to live the life she’s meant to live, with the man she’s meant to love. In order to do both, she has to let go of everything that’s given her comfort over the years, and come to terms with her ability to tell stories that come true and create mischief in her life. Is this like my life at all? Well, I’m too chicken to admit anything, but I do believe it takes tremendous audacity to let go of our safety blankets and allow the real world to make our heads spin.
So here’s to all writers, authors, and of course, readers – all of us who look the impossible straight in the eye and do it anyway, with one another’s help and all the courage we can muster.
Her first novel, An Alien’s Guide To World Domination is available from BURST! Books and on Amazon. Her second book, You, Jane, will be released by Champagne Book Group in summer 2014.
You can read more about Liz’s work, and follow her obsessions with music, luck, friendship, and baseball on her blog, Point No Point.