That’s right, I got to interview the rock star debut author, Ara Grigorian! If you haven’t read his new book, GAME OF LOVE, you are missing out! I had the pleasure of reading an ARC of GAME OF LOVE and was honored to review Ara’s outstanding novel. If you missed my review, I’m serving it up here: MARIE’S REVIEW OF GoL.
Okay, now for Ara’s deep, dark GAME OF LOVE secrets…
For Andre, I knew I wanted him to be of Spanish decent. When I lived in Barcelona, one of my closest friends there was Andres. He was always kind and went out of his way to help me because I couldn’t speak the language, We were eight, but I never forgot his generosity. Also, my favorite tennis player is Andre Agassi — a misunderstood tennis great. So I linked those two together and now I had my hero’s name.When it came to Gemma, it started with her eyes. I wanted a name that would reflect her eyes which I thought of as gems. I was at work, preparing a cup of coffee, thinking abut her name when I noticed the movie poster for Prince of Persia. The actress’s eyes caught my attention. Beautiful and powerful. I found her name, Gemma Aterton. Gem. Gemma. Beautiful eyes. I looked up the name Gemma. It means gem in Italian. Serendipity at work. I was done.
Letting the story come to me. Sometimes I force the story. I start before the story has really developed in my head. I get excited about the idea and jump in when the water isn’t quite ready yet. I figure if I start the rest will come together and those usually end badly. You see, I don’t really choose the story I write — the story finds me. It is an organic process. I could be in the middle of anything, listening to a random song, overhearing a conversation, and boom! A phrase, an expression catches my eye and the machine takes over. That’s how it was for Game of Love. I had been forcing a mystery novel when I met a tennis pro at a hotel in Paris during the French Open. When I saw a young man staring at her, I started wondering if he’ll approach her and if he did, what would she do? Can a celebrity trust just anyone? The idea grabbed my hair, threw me down on the floor and said, “Write me!” So I did!
Yes! A heaping tablespoon of Nutella, followed by a double shot of espresso. Noise canceling headphones and the playlist for the novel seeping into my brain. No open apps in the background — only Scrivener. But in order for me to hit the ground running, I have done a re-read of the previous night’s work during lunch (not to edit but to put me back into the story world). This way, by the time I’m ready, I have dozens of ideas ready to jump out. My daily goal is 2,500 words but average closer to 4,000 when I’m writing a new story. I have had a handful of 10,000+ days.
I’m a plotting pantser 🙂 I have developed a story beats sheet based on Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! methodology and James Scott Bell’s Super Structure framework (and some others). I write high level ideas for the key story beats. Most of the time I have a good idea through the midpoint. I never know for sure how the story will end although I have an idea. I definitely nail now the characters before I start writing the story. Because once the characters are real to me, then all the situations become natural — they are consistent with the characters I have grown to love.
Although I have a lot of favorites, one of my favorite parts has to be when Andre and Gemma spend time on the flight to Los Angeles. I loved writing their banter and how she discovers his gifts. This is where they realize the attraction they’re feeling is more than physical – they both have similar stories and challenges. They are kindred spirits and for the first time reader sees that they need each other to survive their crazy lives
It’s not easy. It’s hard. Real hard. At times you’ll wander why even bother? You’ll blame the agents. The publishers. Your sixth grade English teacher. But none of that should stop you. Because the desire to be a writer is a hunger. It is an insatiable need to tell stories. You should write because you can’t stop the need. Feed the beast and put aside all the negativity (self imposed and external). Plant your ass in the seat, close the door, and WRITE! Write and rewrite then rewrite that and then edit it again. Make every scene you write the best you can possibly write. Do the work. Put in the hours. It is the most gratifying thing when what you’ve written is loved and appreciated by complete strangers from the other side of the globe. Just write. There is no substitute for hard work, persistence, perseverance, and passion!
7. I know of your love of Nutella, out of curiosity, what is your favorite Nutella dessert creation?
I wonder why I have built this reputation 😉 Just because it’s my primary food and I even received permission by Ferro USA to use the Nutella brand in my book and any promotional activity for the book, does not make me a fanatic. Okay, it actually does 😉 My favorite recipe is nice and simple — fresh raspberries, you inject a bit of Nutella in the opening (use the tip of your knife to squeeze some in) then pop it in your mouth. Sweet and perfect and good for you! (Note: This statement has not been verified by the FDA or anyone else as far as I know).
Thanks for having me!
Well, there you have it, folks! Ara Grigorian, serving up stupendous stories and writing wisdom with a side of Nutella infused raspberries. I don’t know the FDA’s opinion on Nutella and raspberries (although, I will be trying this recipe, regardless), but I do know that GAME OF LOVE is good for you and you need to read it!
Thank you for stopping by, Ara! It was an honor to host you on my blog!
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