Monday, April 05, 2010

Author vs Writer

The Author, DeBerry & Grant, just got back from book tour, and we are tired but happy. Isn’t that the same as The Writer DeBerry & Grant, you ask. Nope, The Author and The Writer have very different jobs.

First, let’s clear up the singular versus the plural. Yes, we’re very close friends, but really we’re two very different people. Except that when we are writing it has always been extremely important to have one voice. Readers should never be thinking, “Did Virginia write this part, or did Donna?” That would mean they have been taken out of the story and are thinking about the behind the scenes business and we don’t ever want that to happen.

So, what’s the difference between The Author and The Writer?

The Author is the public persona. The Author goes on book tour, meets with book clubs, and does interviews. The author wears clothes that go together and has combed hair. The author gets up at 4:30 A.M. to catch flights, takes off her shoes and is patted down in the security line when her bra hooks set of the magnetometer again, and graciously signs autographs. If you have taken a picture with someone whose books you like to read, you have a photo with The Author.

The Writer does not like having her picture taken—way too scary. The writer wears whatever is comfortable—matching doesn’t count. The writer hasn’t noticed whether her hair is combed and hasn’t gone near lipstick or mascara. She hasn’t actually looked in the mirror—only at the computer monitor. In fact, the more unkempt her appearance, the happier The Writer is—it means focus is where it should be, on the work, not the wardrobe. The Writer may have eaten left over Chinese food for breakfast or a bowl of cereal for dinner. The Writer gets up at 4:30 A.M. because she woke up with words in her head, or the solution to that knotty plot problem she went to bed thinking about and has to get it down before she forgets. The Writer smiles when the writing flows in a pleasing rhythm or she finds just the right word to express what a character is feeling.

During The Writer’s time, The Author is under house arrest, but given half a minute to daydream, may contemplate future headshots, manicures—(no raggedy cuticles when signing books) and what passages she might read aloud at signings—when The Writer finally finishes the darn book. In other words, The Author gets to take credit for all of The Writers hard work. But that’s OK. It’s how the deal works. Fortunately, we have learned how to manage our multiple personalities and get the most of being The Author and The Writer, Virginia and Donna, The Individuals and The Friends.

Is it The Author or The Writer who answers fan mail, Facebooks and Tweets, designs and orders bookmarks, and writes blogs? Hmmm—good question. Guess it’s really a little of both. And right now, we’ll be transitioning back and forth between the two as we work on our next book, while still going out to talk to readers about our current one, Uptown.

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 12:36 PM


Blogger Jennifer C. said...

This is such a profound blog post for someone like me. I used to believe that writers wrote, and anyone could be a writer. Authors were the people who are published.

Your clarification has really opened my mind. Thanks Ladies. I stand corrected.

9:10 AM  
Blogger DeBerry and Grant said...

It's just our definition JC, based on our experience and feelings about "both gigs!" It's not written in stone. But we almost NEVER call ourselves author--other folks do, but when asked what we do the answer is always "Writer."

9:41 AM  

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