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pollykahl
07-07-2007, 07:08 AM
This thread is for discussion of Lottery, and hopefully the opportunity to ask author and fellow AWer Patricia Wood anything we'd like to know about her writing processes and publishing experiences. Lottery was slated to come out in bookstores later this month but has already begun to make appearances in stores around the country. I just finished it yesterday and am still all atingle from it! The book is fiction, about a mentally challenged young man named Perry who wins the lottery for $12 million. I found it entertaining as well as thoughtful and educational. Lots of fun to read, and I'm not a big fiction reader. I hope you'll pick up a copy and share your thoughts about it here.
Polly

>http://www.amazon.com/Lottery-Patricia-Wood/dp/0399154493/ref=sr_1_2/103-0820325-5841405?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1173940688&sr=1-2

NOTE: Be careful to avoid spoilers by not naming characters unless necessary, and by not revealing plot twists or other events. Thanks!

ORION
07-07-2007, 08:02 AM
I was asked about doing this thread and I think it is a terrific idea. Any and all questions / comments are welcome. Many have asked me about querying Lottery, about how I revised and edited it and the journey still others have been curious about the characters and plot and how I came up with the premise.
Ask away!

pollykahl
07-07-2007, 08:12 AM
Thanks, total coolness, Orion.

I found the book inspirational as a memoirist because your (fictional) book was written in the first person and Perry had such a clear voice. I have written dry clinical reports for so many years that I am now having to re-learn to write for my memoir. I guess it's more about reaching inside and finding my own true voice. You did such a beautiful job of creating Perry's character without "telling" us anything about him. You seem very different from Perry. How did you create such a clear voice for him? Especially since he is fictional?

Tech ques: How different is the book from your first draft? I loved how in On Writing Stephen King shows some actual examples of his first drafts, then the correlating finished products. How different are yours? And just to make me feel better, how truly bad was your first draft?

ORION
07-07-2007, 10:08 AM
I incorporated a certain amount of my academic research along with my teaching experience but ultimately it was my dramatic personality that evoked the character. I became the character. I figured out eating preferences, likes and dislikes in dress, in comfort level. What hurt his feelings. What he looked like. Favorite phrases. I think characterization is critical to an authentic experience for the reader.
I think the main difference between drafts were the narrative portions-- most became expanded into real time scenes. For the last edits with my editor I went through each chapter and determined how each drove the plot forward. If there was no reason for a scene whether for plot or characterization -- it was cut.
My first draft was not bad actually. That was the one that Paul Theroux read- When he finished it he predicted it would be my first book published.
He was right.

pollykahl
07-07-2007, 06:59 PM
A surprsing twist occurred near the end of the book. Without giving spoilers, why was this in the book? Was it something you planned from the start, or was it later added for dramatic effect?

Also, one chacter was quite the farter. Was the "we've all known a farter" factor why you made him a farter - because every reader would relate?

ORION
07-07-2007, 08:38 PM
The premise and basic plot evolved through understanding my characters and what they might do. Planning comes into the picture when examining the plot arc.
Things like proclivity for bodily functions are a part of making the characters whole and real.
I think this is often a missing part in characterization. No one has diarrhea, they don't get sick unless they are dying, no one farts, etc.
I spend a lot of time around marinas, fishermen and fuel docks -- I get LOTS of ideas on how to make characters real.

DeadlyAccurate
07-07-2007, 08:54 PM
I had the pleasure of reading Lottery a couple months ago (:tongue). I read it in one sitting, pretty much walking from one room to the other with the book in hand. The reason I mention that is because it's one of those stories you remember long after you finish it. I still find myself occasionally thinking of things in the book, and whenever I happen to see a mentioned here, I think of digging back out the ARC. (Gonna buy a copy next month, though.)

Final thought: One of the most masterful things you did was letting on to the reader what everyone around Perry was really doing through his naive thoughts and ideas, without Perry ever figuring it out himself.

pollykahl
07-07-2007, 08:58 PM
How long have you been writing? And how long did it take you to write this book? After this I promise to give you a break for a while. Hours of lawn mowing ahead!

Jersey Chick
07-08-2007, 12:49 AM
Argh! My B&N won't have it until August! GRRRRR.... :rant:

pollykahl
07-08-2007, 04:14 AM
Orion, do you know of the stores where it's been popping up? Maybe they'd be willing to send an order thru the mail. It's also possible it would come early from Amazon if pre-ordered. I pre-ordered the first season of Project Runway there a couple of years ago and that came in my mailbox prior to the official release date.

ORION
07-08-2007, 04:59 AM
The bookstores that have it early are the independents. If you call around it is likely you can find it. If you want it early email me (patwoodauthor@gmail.com) and I can put you in touch with a bookseller that is selling it already.
RE: Deadly - I experimented with a lot of effects that would give the atmosphere I wanted. It was trial and error mostly.
Like most of us I have written my whole life but actually started FINISHING my novels over the last 3 years. LOTTERY is my third novel and took five months from the very first words to offer of representation.
The editing (polishing) before submission took four months and the editing after the sale only took a month and a half. I credit my agent for helping me get it whipped into shape so that Putnam was confident they could publish in less than a year. (Keep in mind they bought it Dec 6, 2006 and it is on the shelf now - 8 months - which is blazingly fast).

ORION
07-09-2007, 10:30 AM
BestSellers Independent bookstore in Honolulu has Lottery and is selling it.
You might call them and see if you can have one sent to you.
1001 Bishop Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
808-528-2389
email BestSell@aol.com

pollykahl
07-09-2007, 03:47 PM
That's great to know Pat, thanks. Is there any chance of you going in and signing some? Then if we had any sent to the mainland we could actually have signed copies.

I'm asking this w/o knowing anything about what life in Hawaii is really like, especially life when residing on a boat, so if this is an impossiblity due to logistics or whatever please excuse me. As Perry would say, it would just be so cool!

I have an arc and am looking forward to the real deal.

ORION
07-09-2007, 10:08 PM
I did sign some stock for them so it is possible to get a signed one sent. I will be doing a regular book signing at the store on August 2 at noon (downtown Honolulu).

pollykahl
07-10-2007, 02:41 AM
Do they have an email addy? I saw their phone number online but didn't find a web site or email.

ORION
07-10-2007, 06:03 AM
Look at my post- email Brian at BestSell@aol.com and ask him about ordering

pollykahl
07-10-2007, 06:45 AM
Oopsy - brain fart!

pollykahl
07-11-2007, 07:58 AM
Adhering to a writing schedule is difficult because I have to go with the flow of what's happening with our sons and their various activities. This is especially frustrating now that they are home for the summer. Do you have a schedule, when do you write, and are you disciplined?

ORION
07-18-2007, 05:51 AM
Right now there are too many distractions to be disciplined!
Hopefully things will calm down when LOTTERY is released!

Justin91
07-18-2007, 06:34 AM
Orion, I just pre-ordered The Lottery. I can't wait to read it...and I will have plenty of questions!

Justin

benbradley
10-12-2007, 08:05 PM
So, have we all read Lottery now? I read it about a month ago, it was a delight. Can we discuss 'spoilers' now???

I was looking for threads on "lottery" and can't find a more "appropriate" thread to put this in, but... I was at the North Point Barnes & Noble:
http://storelocator.barnesandnoble.com/storedetail.do?store=1955
last night, and didn't see "Lottery" in the usual 'new fiction' section, but it was in a nearby section called "Our Associates' Recommendations" or some such - each selection has a short handwritten note of two or three lines describing it. I thought that was neat, and Patricia would want to know...

Jersey Chick
10-14-2007, 05:59 AM
I just finished it - I bought it yesterday and finished it about an hour ago. Fan-freakin-tastic!

ORION
10-14-2007, 01:31 PM
OK guys I'm here! I'll check in and if you have questions for me I'm game!
Have you all done your amazon reviews? LOL

underthecity
10-14-2007, 01:54 PM
Orion,

I have a few questions.

Did you already have an agent before you queried Lottery? If not, how did you sign on with that agent? Can you describe the process of acquiring him/her?

Without getting into specifics numbers, what kind of advance did you obtain? Was it HUGE? Average? Enough to live on?

Do you still enjoy going back and reading through your favorite parts of Lottery now that it's finished? Does it "look" different now that it's published?

Thanks!

allen

ORION
10-14-2007, 10:12 PM
OK here goes. I will be brutally honest as most of this can be found out on Publishers Marketplace (advances are not a secret) if you know where to look.
1. LOTTERY got me my agent. I was taken directly out of the slush pile. I emailed a query letter and first 5 pages and I got a request for a FULL in 40 minutes. It wasn't until my agent offered that she realized my father won the Lottery and I was in a PhD program in disability. Dorian went by my short hook and the first five pages (they have not really differed from the draft to the final manuscript so you might take a look) I looked for agents who like quirky and represented a wider range of authors. I spent time reading the deals on PM to get an idea of who represented what and how many deals they made. It was also good practice for hook writing.
2. WMA is brilliant and Dorian is amazing. My advance was over a quarter of a million dollars - for north american rights (this is when having that agent is CRUCIAL). After that sale the foreign rights have been selling (12 other countries and counting) which has pushed the advance further until it is almost a half million. Remember my book has to earn out in all those countries AND in the US.(I'm not complaining but I'm still writing and my life style has NOT changed). Keep in mind with all the taxes and the SLOW payments - it is nice. It goes into the bank but it would not be enough for my husband to completely quit his job or for me to stop writing and relax.
3. I still go back and read parts as I have talks and readings and discussions with book clubs. LOTTERY is so familiar to me it is a part of me. I have never understood authors who say they don't go back and read their books. I am proud of LOTTERY- many sections are those I remember and re read- I miss these characters and it's been hard to move on to my next novel. I have only just recently created a character I am falling in love with as I did keith and perry. With that I can move on...
Thanks for asking. I hope it helps.
BTW my entire agent story process is in the early posts of my blog.

Uma
10-15-2007, 12:47 AM
I'm getting my copy hand delivered with my next round of guests from the US early next month, so I'll try not to peak at this thread until then, but I look forward to hearing all your thoughts when I'm done!

wee
10-15-2007, 01:14 AM
1. LOTTERY got me my agent. I was taken directly out of the slush pile. I emailed a query letter and first 5 pages and I got a request for a FULL in 40 minutes. It wasn't until my agent offered that she realized my father won the Lottery and I was in a PhD program in disability. Dorian went by my short hook and the first five pages (they have not really differed from the draft to the final manuscript so you might take a look) I looked for agents who like quirky and represented a wider range of authors. I spent time reading the deals on PM to get an idea of who represented what and how many deals they made. It was also good practice for hook writing.
2. WMA is brilliant and Dorian is amazing. My advance was over a quarter of a million dollars - for north american rights (this is when having that agent is CRUCIAL). After that sale the foreign rights have been selling (12 other countries and counting) which has pushed the advance further until it is almost a half million. Remember my book has to earn out in all those countries AND in the US.(I'm not complaining but I'm still writing and my life style has NOT changed). Keep in mind with all the taxes and the SLOW payments - it is nice. It goes into the bank but it would not be enough for my husband to completely quit his job or for me to stop writing and relax.




Patricia - I really appreciate you giving hard numbers. Though I know your fantastic success is not going to happen to everyone here, it gives a ballpark number for what fantastic success might mean! As in, am I going to spend a year of my life on something that at most could potentially earn the same as if I'd worked at McDonald's for that year? Or as an investment banker for that year?

Lottery is one of my favorite books I've read. It was so quirky, but I pictured all those characters so fully & they seemed so real ... that I didn't want to let go of them when the book ended, either! I wanted to go meet them, stop by his store & say hello.

I do have a question ... where can you find advances info? I am interested in advances for the genre I'm writing in for first-time authors. 'Cause, gosh, half a million isn't enough to retire on ... but it's enough to pay off my house and buy that RV we want, lol.

Thanks --


wee

ORION
10-15-2007, 07:32 AM
The best thing to do is subscribe to Publishers Marketplace (it's a bout $20 a month) and well worth it for a serious writer. It gives all the deals, hooks, reviews etc. for several years. At the bottom is a guide for the advance - (most are "nice" deals $0-49,000) Most debuts are around $15,000- keep in mind you rarely get that whole amount up front.
Half a mill - fully half goes to taxes and commissions. Another chunk for promotion and travel- I hired my own publicist - But keep in mind I have not received that entire amount - it can take years for foreign advances to be paid.
I don't know anyone who can permanently retire on $200,000 (remember it's NOT $200,000 a year). Now if LOTTERY does well in paperback - and my optioned book is picked up - we will see -
The mid list authors I know are hustling. Most work harder than a regular job-
You have to want to see your work in print - and have a deep desire to write- not do this because you don't want to do the current job you have...

Will Lavender
10-15-2007, 07:38 AM
I do have a question ... where can you find advances info? I am interested in advances for the genre I'm writing in for first-time authors. 'Cause, gosh, half a million isn't enough to retire on ... but it's enough to pay off my house and buy that RV we want, lol.

I'll answer for Patricia here, but she might know a little more about this than I do.

This is tough information to find. One of the reasons I signed on at AW was because my novel was about to sell, and I wanted to see how much money first-novel advances normally brought in. (I didn't find that info, but the site is so good it kept me coming back.) The only information I did find on the Web was about romances (and I can't remember where exactly I found that), and the numbers there, because of the glut of books in the market, is skewed.

Publishers Weekly and Publishers Marketplace are two good places, but they do not often give concrete information. They will say "a six figure deal," but the exact dollar figure is usually absent unless the deal is astronomically large, like in the seven-figure range.

I'd say if you've got more than one publishing house vying for the work, and if the houses put books on the shelves of your local bookstore, then you can expect a sizeable advance. If your selling to a small or mid-size market, then the advance is going to be more modest. There's also the question of what kind of book are they going to publish; is it going to be in hardcover, or will it be a paperback original? A fairly well-known publisher made a play in the auction for my book, but because they were going to publish only in paperback the advance offered was considerably lower than the hardcover bids.

Hope this helps, wee.

ORION
10-15-2007, 08:27 AM
Will - I do think that PM offers enough information - There is no real advantage to knowing the exact amount that another book sold for even if it is similar to yours - It's so variable- It really depends on whether more than one publisher is interested. Books are not like cars - there is no implied value.
If all the books in your genre sell for nice deals it is likely that yours would IF IT SELLS...IF YOU GET AN AGENT...IF THE STARS ARE ALL ALIGNED... etc.
Truly I think discussion about advances is premature unless you have an agent and your work is being seen by editors- and even then there is no guarantee.

wee
10-15-2007, 10:31 PM
Will - I do think that PM offers enough information - There is no real advantage to knowing the exact amount that another book sold for even if it is similar to yours - It's so variable- It really depends on whether more than one publisher is interested. Books are not like cars - there is no implied value.
If all the books in your genre sell for nice deals it is likely that yours would IF IT SELLS...IF YOU GET AN AGENT...IF THE STARS ARE ALL ALIGNED... etc.
Truly I think discussion about advances is premature unless you have an agent and your work is being seen by editors- and even then there is no guarantee.

This is absolutely true -- it doesn't do much good to know specific authors/advances. And yours was much higher than mine is likely to be since I'm in the historical fiction genre (I've heard general fiction tends to be much higher). It is just nice to know what ballpark you might hit.

As for me ... I have no income we depend on. My day job is laundry, vacuumming, and cooking. Writing is my mental escape that helps me be a better mom during the daytime ... any amount we ever made it from it would just be bonus money, to pay off the house or take a nice vacation, or padding the retirement fund so that it might happen a little sooner. :D

In another year I'll have my days all to myself. I would love to be able to write during that time & possibly be building some additional income. I picture book-writing being more of a twice-annual check from the agent than a huge-advances type of income. Even if I'm only midlist or only pulling in a few thousand per year ... it is a little something to show for it all. And it would still mean being on the shelf in the bookstore.

Your numbers were the first time I've seen an author put hard numbers on it -- and that was very interesting to see.

ETA: The numbers I actually think are slightly more interesting are sales numbers -- averages for each genre, what a bestseller in a genre looks like in terms of how many & who they are. Because first advance doesn't mean much if you don't sell any books. I'm finding genre sales/bestsellers to be very difficult to locate, too.

ORION
10-15-2007, 11:07 PM
Actual sales figures are quite confidential and hard to come by even for authors. Many publishers exaggerate the figures and so do authors. Many lists are manipulated by not shipping books until the last minute and have to do with ORDERS not SALES. You can get a general idea of a books popularity on Amazon ( a number consistently above 10,000 is good - but remember it's only relative) A better site to look at is the Barnes and Noble site where you can look at hardback versus paperback and fic versus non fic
A "bestseller" is a term that has no real meaning. Different best seller lists are compiled different ways- What is really important is earning out and eventually getting royalties which is VERY difficult to do. I think a debut hard back novel sells (on average) 1500 copies and has a print run of about 5000.
I have been told not to disclose my print run or my sales numbers. I can only say they are very good and Lottery is in its second printing so far.
(Insert BIG smile here)
I have a good friend who is a successful mid list author (with foreign rights sold etc) and after 5 years and three books she got her first ever royalty check and it was around $800.
I have no problem being honest with AWers about this process but I will add a caveat.
Try not to think about what could be and the financial ramifications. Focus on the writing- there is PLENTY of time to figure out the other stuff when you do get a contract. I worry when I hear writers talk about wanting to earn their living writing. I never had that goal. I made time to write because I was COMPELLED to. No because I thought I might be published.

OctoberRain
10-16-2007, 12:00 AM
I always wondered, is there any benefit to a writer getting published in hardcover vs. paperback? Is it better money for you? As a reader, I do admit I often wait for the paperback version to come out because, well, it's cheaper for me since I buy so many books.

Doug Johnson
10-16-2007, 12:37 AM
I was just wondering if you had any info on how sales were going? (I always wonder about that when I hear of a big advance.)

ORION
10-16-2007, 12:53 AM
October- Whether it is trade paperback or hardback it is something your publisher decides. Many times a debut author comes out in trade paperback. The advantage of hardbacks is for the library trade, literary guild book clubs and the fact they are reviewed. (Trade paper backs very often aren't). It builds an audience for the consequent paperback the following year. so october -- You've made an exception for LOTTERY...right?

Doug- They(the publisher) tell me they are "very pleased" they have happy smiles and the numbers on Amazon and Barnes and Noble are decent. I am not permitted to say exact numbers but -- as I have said before -- my book went into its second printing after only a few weeks and I know the first printing was a hefty number...sorry...that's all I can say.
My paperback comes out summer '08.
The thing I am really pleased at is all the foreign sales - 12 other countries so far.

OctoberRain
10-16-2007, 01:08 AM
so october -- You've made an exception for LOTTERY...right?


Absolutely, I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the response and HUGE congratulations on your success! :)

ORION
10-16-2007, 01:56 AM
Oh I HEART OctoberRain...

Horseshoes
10-17-2007, 07:49 AM
Hey!
Anyone want to talk about the story with me? Should I start another thread? (I think it would put me up to starting two or three, being the posting fool I is.)

I'm sitting here with a glass of champagne and no one wants to talk about the twist? Can we? Anyone want to talk about dem cousin-brothers?

wee
10-17-2007, 07:59 AM
This was something I never understood & would love clarification. For about the first half of the book I was trying to puzzle out what kind of mistake happened on his family tree that might have also led to him being 'slow' as he prefers to be called. (I never figured this out.) But then I decided perhaps his Gram had told him this to shield him from their unkindness, make them seem further away. Did I get this all wrong?

ORION
10-17-2007, 08:35 PM
No you didn't miss anything.
I wanted the reader to be responsible for figuring it out because Perry wouldn't know why really -- he would know only sometimes people call them cousins and sometimes brothers - he wouldn't stop to analyze why.
When my ex's brother (who had downs) would be around and other kids would start to tease my ex would say that it wasn't his brother it was his cousin. A way (as you say) of distancing.
Of course there was lots of guilt with this and it's something a child would do to defend themselves - I took this one step further and had Perry living somewhere else - at his Gram's- and let the reader determine probably what happened.
I think in this case I had to be content to not explain and use this to show that as soon as Perry had money his "cousin-brothers" were more interested in being his brother.

ORION
10-17-2007, 08:42 PM
We (society) are only comfortable thinking that "slowness" or some other cognitive challenge has to have an underlying cause and "diagnosis". I was very careful not to talk about what specifically Perry would be - not brain damaged - not Down syndrome - not autistic - or any combination. That wasn't the emphasis - his slowness was what made him who he was.
I actually think it interesting that this "cousin-brother" relationship has been looked at as a possible real factor in a few cases.
That's not a problem to me. I like to think of my readers trying to make sense of this complex world like Perry has to.

wee
10-17-2007, 11:39 PM
What I pictured is that you had to have sorry parents to raise such sorry cousin-brothers ... and they had this one child that 'inconvenienced' them so they shipped him off to Gram.

I have to say that I loved how you worked out the ending ... so that the cousin-brothers & mom would leave him alone, there was nothing more for them to take, really -- but where he had been fortunate enough to invest in something he loved & find his place in the world, a place where he was important & contributed so much. This was more important than him having enough money to simply be supported the rest of his life.

For me it didn't matter if the various relatives ended up in jail/hiding/whatever. Even if they had simply absconded with the money, blew it all, and that was it -- you still feel sorry for them in a mean sort of way. No matter what, they have not been given Gram's common sense; they have no sense of what really matters in life; their lives will never be as full, happy, or content as Perry's.

Have you blogged anywhere about your father's experience with winning the lottery, or do you keep the particulars of that private? I see so many interviews/shows about how lotteries negatively affect people who weren't prepared for it & had no idea how to deal with it, so reading Lottery made me curious in what ways your father's experience had influenced your book. Obviously this is something you may not want to share, which is fine, too.

The thought of winning the lottery is pretty scary to me simply because so many people would come out of the woodwork wanting money.


wee

ORION
10-18-2007, 12:35 AM
It is not uncommon for a child with special needs to be passed off to another relative - and more and more the "baby boomers" are getting to raise their grandkids- especially when there is divorce and remarriage. I did want some consequences for the family yet I didn't want the focus of the story to be away from Perry.

I haven't really blogged about it (my father's lottery winning) although it is something that frequently comes up in interviews and book club discussions that I have done- I have no problem about talking about it- it's public record after all - What do you want to know?

wee
10-18-2007, 08:39 AM
I'm most curious if it was the general idea of winning the lottery that led to the idea for your book, or if Perry has experiences that were inspired by your father's experience with it. Were you still living at home when it happened? I was astonished in the story how many people/orgs were asking for donations with the premise of being religious or doing good -- but really they just wanted money. Was this based on what you saw with your father?

As a side note, your book being published, the very nice advance & then it selling well ... this is the equivalent of winning the author's lottery! I thought it was interesting that your overall life had not changed much, that you had taken a very responsible route of tucking it away & then carrying on. It occurred to me that getting a windfall is what probably 95% of Americans dream of, that one big thing that will change everything ... but the reality of it is that it may only change a few details, & over the long run you end up very nearly where you would have been anyway. Your character does this accidentally; you have done it by conscientious (and wise) choice. J.K. Rowling, I read in an interview or somewhere, built a nice new house (with only 2 bedrooms more than our tiny little starter-house has) but otherwise they go to work every day & live as they did before -- and she is wealthier than the Queen! I think this type of story is infinitely more interesting than the old story of "I spent it all at the track, then lost my mansion when I couldn't pay the property taxes".

All other good questions that fire up in my brain are ones that I would only ask if we had been friends IRL for a long time because they are too nosy otherwise & off the topic of your book. (Or if I was a reporter & it was expected that I would ask tacky personal questions, lol)

wee

ORION
10-18-2007, 10:47 AM
Well I knew I wanted to write about the lottery after it happened- but not right away - Distance gives you perspective. Many of Perry's experiences were inspired by real life- Although I was not living at home at the time the impact of what happened resonated.
TONS of people wanted money. I lost friends (I put that in the book where Perry said,"Because of me my friends have no chance at winning the lottery." I had friends that stopped being my friends because they were resentful.
My dad has not let the money change him - he makes sure anyone in the family can go to any college program they qualify for (from daughters to grandkids) or workshops or any educational endeavor up to and including piano lessons- everyone looks at me differently when they know and the same for my father.
As far as my publishing contract changing me - I learned a positive lesson from my father- I have not changed anything outside of trading in my big gas guzzling Dodge Dakota Truck for a Prius - which we had planned to do anyway.
My husband and I live simply on our sailboat- it's small (2 stateroom 2 head) and cozy and very practical in Hawaii. I just installed air conditioning and made some necessary repairs - again- things we were going to do anyway. You can always ask things you think are nosy via email and I can determine whether I should answer them on this board.
I will say my father did not "help" me get published and he did not support me and make it possible for me to quit my job. I was already working on my doctorate when I began my novels.
I guess "winning" the lottery of publishing is true if it was considered only luck- I did have to conceive of the premise and write the book - but there were many lucky components.
The details of how others respond when they know you (or a close member of your family) have won a lottery is from life experience and something most people would not think of.

wee
10-19-2007, 12:23 AM
I guess "winning" the lottery of publishing is true if it was considered only luck- I did have to conceive of the premise and write the book - but there were many lucky components.

The details of how others respond when they know you (or a close member of your family) have won a lottery is from life experience and something most people would not think of.


I didn't mean to detract from the hard work. Working on one myself, I know for sure that it takes hard work, determination, & discipline. What I meant by "author's lottery" is that you had the perfect combination: a great premise, prior experience, excellent writing skills, a market that wanted what you wrote (at the time you wrote it). Lots of people work their fingers to a nub writing things that will never be published because they aren't good enough writers, aren't suitable for the current marketplace, or happened to write something similar to someone else (and the other person's was a little better). Someone who has talent & all the other components but isn't willing to do the work will likewise not be published!

I do believe good fortune plays a role in this line of work as in any other... for one thing, being given an innate ability AND the desire to use it is good fortune, before you ever pick up the pen (or keyboard).

Regarding the second comment ... almost nothing really good has come to me, whether by fortune, hard work, or both, that one of my 'friends' didn't become envious & try to detract from it. This is plain jealousy, human nature.


wee

ORION
10-19-2007, 01:08 AM
Oh I didn't take that to mean you detracted at all- this is a comment that has made by others as well (including USA Today)
You think it's human nature to be jealous?
I mean I have a transient stab when a debut author goes straight to the NYT bestseller list but it is only fleeting...When it is a friend (such as john Robison) I am hugely happy and would never detract from it- Yet I too have found "friends" of mine be angry and resentful when I have good fortune. I have lost several writer friends because of my publication in the same way I lost "friends" because of my father's lottery win.
I really examined my behavior to make sure I wasn't gloating or petty and even agonized over it- I finally had to let it go.

wee
10-19-2007, 04:09 AM
I think jealousy is human nature. Didn't the first murder in the Bible occur over jealousy? It is all to easy to get caught up in it, depending on your personality.

When another writer does well I don't feel jealous, because it isn't taking away from me or what I'm doing. It doesn't change my odds of doing well.

Jealousy is hardest when someone else has something you are unlikely to be able to have for yourself. But I think if jealousy were a plant, it would be rooted in the soil of insecurity, watered by discontent.

The last time I remember feeling that 'pang' was when we were at a state fair car show & I showed my brother-in-law my 'dream car', which we could not possibly afford at that time (now we wouldn't want to spend that much on just a car!). He went out & bought it within a month for his wife and made a huge deal about showing it off to everyone in the family. Then on another trip he had to ride in our car & made fun of us, telling us what a P.O.S. we drove, he & his wife snickering at us. I felt really terrible about it until I realize how sad it was, how insecure he must be, and how unhappy with himself, to go to these lengths. Then I didn't feel jealous anymore, just sorry for the both of them.

Most things you look at & would feel jealous over ... aren't things you really want! Yeah, they had a $40k car ... and a Beamer to go with it ... and their monthly car payments are more than our mortgage. That's just bad money sense! My little car is paid for and takes me every place I want to go. Let them be jealous of our wisdom instead!

When you feel a pang about another writer shooting to the top of the NYT, there are several things you can think about.
--millions of wanna-be writers will never do so well as you already have
--your book may continue to sell for years, on into paperback, etc., because it is meaningful & touches people. Most of the "big hit" books are a flash in the pan & then gone forever, forgotten.
--those lists are misleading & calculated in weird ways. They don't always represent actual sales.

I'm curious about something ... I'm not an Oprah fan (okay, don't shoot me yet), but every single book she endorses goes into automatic best-seller status, overnight. How do you get on that list?! I'll bet she would like Lottery.


wee

ORION
10-19-2007, 06:22 AM
It will be readers who get a book like LOTTERY noticed. Getting a book chosen by Oprah is not something publicists, agents, or publishers OR authors can do.
Right now EVERYTHING is out of my hands. Everything. I am dependent on readers to write reviews on Barnes and Noble and Amazon or Powells or BAMM or blogs. I am dependent on readers to recommend my book. I am dependent on readers to buy my book for themselves and others.
That's why I ground myself here on AW. I'd go crazy if I didn't have you guys to interact with. You all know how difficult and subjective this business is.
I never take it for granted.

OctoberRain
10-20-2007, 09:37 AM
Patricia? Are you there?

I don't much about the publishing process and I'm sure this has been discussed lots of times. Will your current agent represent your next novel? Or is it a one-time thing? How does that work exactly?

ORION
10-20-2007, 10:48 AM
I'm here.
My current agent is representing me and all my work. We discussed this in detail before LOTTERY sold. She has been instrumental in helping me determine what I do next and when. She and I are also tied together (along with WMA) on LOTTERY.
There is no doubt in my mind that I am where I should be.

Judg
10-21-2007, 04:19 AM
Writing friends who dumped you because you got published... wow. My mind is boggling.

I wanted to not believe in Perry's brothers. How could people be such slimeballs? But then I realized that there are real people quite that bad, even if I have been fortunate enough not to have them hanging about on adjacent branches of the family tree. But I sure wish you had been exaggerating.

ORION
10-22-2007, 01:38 AM
It's interesting to me that some feel the brothers are unintentionally stereotypical. I wanted to make those Perry did not know well flattened because that's how he perceived them- I find it ironic I get feedback like "nobody could be that bad..."
Have someone die who has money or have someone win the lottery and see how many relatives come out of the woodwork.
And yes. In writing friendships form because of a shared passion but also shared commiseration or querying - finding an agent- submitting work.
When one is fortunate enough to be published whether it be luck, persistence or skill - it doesn't matter - very often it is not the published one who becomes distanced-- it is those who are unpublished. That is one of the joys of this board. I still have much to learn. I read more posts than I respond to.

Ziljon
10-22-2007, 02:17 AM
I haven't read through this thread yet, I'm only 87 pages into LOTTERY, but I just needed to say somewhere, to someone, how much I was enjoying it. And lo and behold, I get to shout my message directly into the author's thread! This is so great.

Patricia, I'm loving your book. It's just perfect! --oh God, I hope he doesn't get screwed out of his money by his evil brothers! :)

Phew! Sorry for the interruption. Back to reading now.

-Ziljon

ORION
10-22-2007, 02:56 AM
How TOTALLY COOL!! Now get back to reading...and when you're done get back here!!!

johnrobison
10-22-2007, 04:32 PM
I too am aware that we depend upon readers. And as well as we may do in some people's eyes, there will always be those who did better. Look at my own story . . . my book "made the list" but it didn't make the top ten. And of those that make the top ten . . . only a few make #1.

Pat's posts make me wonder if I have lost many friends over my own "getting published" experience, such as it is.

ORION
10-22-2007, 08:32 PM
aww john...I STILL like you and I know Holly does...that's TWO...and um of course there's Kim S...um...that makes THREE...
Seriously John I've found that (like with the lottery) success or extraordinary circumstances DOES tend to make people slip away.
I noticed it when my father won and I notice it now --
I think fleeting envy is a normal human response but long term resentment - that's a different animal.
I like to think I am happy for my friends' success and am able to commiserate with their set backs.
You often hear about writers being less "friendly" or "approachable after publication - well I think more often it is the other way around - that other writers do not SEE them as approachable any more.
One author friend of mine was actually told by another writer friend that her success was constant proof of her own failure.
That is impossible to overcome.

pollykahl
10-22-2007, 08:54 PM
"fully half goes to taxes and commissions. Another chunk for promotion and travel- I hired my own publicist "

Pat, considering what they paid for your book, was hiring your own publicist necessary? What did your publicist do vs. what the publishger did to promote the book?

This discussion is so interesting, thanks for sharing your experience with us.

ORION
10-22-2007, 09:09 PM
Many authors don't realize that while the publisher has publicists that they assign to "books" (especially if it is a big buy) these publicists focus more on book sellers - those people who order books for the stores. There is another element of publicity that has to do with the author's career and the reader.
You are only a debut author once and it is important to consider whether or not extra effort in this area is warranted.
After frank discussion with my agent I opted to do this- not because Putnam was not 100% behind the book but because every bit of effort (to me) was important.
I wanted to show the publisher that I was willing to invest in my own career.
Was it worth it?
At the end of the day yes, I believe it was. I don't think I would have gotten many of the print reviews and the USA Today write up. More than that I learned SO MUCH from Goldberg-McDuffie that I would not have otherwise and I can work now far more effectively with the Putnam publicists with what I know now.
Hope this helps.

pollykahl
10-22-2007, 09:24 PM
"I lost friends (I put that in the book where Perry said,"Because of me my friends have no chance at winning the lottery." I had friends that stopped being my friends because they were resentful."

I find it interesting that anyone would assume that your father's money was your money. You were fully adult when he won it.

Also the assumption that they had a lesser chance of winning because he won was interesting. That's not how it works. Statistically, each person's chances of winning start anew with each drawing. It just doesn't appear to hit twice in the same place very often because there are so many places it can hit, but it actually has an equal chance of hitting anywhere.

A friend once told me she was jealous of me because I got a primo job right out of grad school, and she hadn't found one yet. I was blown away by that, because I thought she was a good friend, and thought she would be happy for me. She kept harping on it until I asked her to stop, then she harped on it some more. Eventually I realized it had nothing to do with me, but was all about her lack of security in her own potential for succeeding. And there was nothing I could do about that.

Good stuff Pat. A long article, or even a book, about your and your dad's experiences with his winning the lottery would be interesting. How refreshing to hear about someone who kept his wits about him and utilized it wisely, instead of the crash and burn stories we hear all the time. Thanks again.

johnrobison
10-22-2007, 10:20 PM
I certainly hope people do not think I am unapproachable now that I have a book published. I do understand what you are saying about the rest. And I think you underestimate my number of friends with THREE. Looking at recent blog comments, I'd say the actual number is closer to EIGHT.

Let me also point out something else about publishing . . . . as compared to other life successes.

If you make a million dollars in a real estate deal, you conclude the deal, you collect the money, and you move on. There's no subsequent fall or misery.

If you write a bestselling book, just as it rises, it later falls. They all do. And when it does, you inevitably feel terrible. In that sense, book writing is really a manic-depressive sort of business. None of the other things I've ever done have produced the ups and downs of this author thing.

People say hitting the bestseller list is like winning the race . . . . well, maybe, but here's an important difference. If you win the race (as I have done, repeatedly, in the car world) it's over. You won, you get your award, and you go home to ponder the next move.

You leave the ring a winner.

But when your book hits the list, it's like a contest of gladiators . . . your book stays out there until it's killed, knocked off the list by the next big crop of books. Maybe you last a week, maybe a month. In the end, you're knocked off.

You entered the ring as a winner, but you leave a loser.

That's a very troubling reality.

Doug Johnson
10-22-2007, 10:28 PM
That's a very troubling reality.

Why don't you look at it like a parent? You give birth to the book. It lives it's life. If it's a failure, you can always have another.;)

ORION
10-22-2007, 10:28 PM
Okay John I stand corrected. You have EIGHT friends LOL!
You really make a great point. The normal rise and fall of a book on lists (or not making any "list" at all) can be a reflection on the author's success as a writer. There are million copy selling authors who never make a list - yet making that list appears to be a mark of "success".
I think the difference (for me) is I am a writer. I want readers to read my stories so when I get emails telling me my words have affected someone that -to me- is the ultimate.
I tend to think you feel the same way - when a parent writes to tell you your book has helped them understand their child-
This is the REAL DEAL.
That our words impact readers.
All the rest is just media invented hype that is transient and ethereal.
Yes a list is nice and no one can ever take that success from you John - but the REAL success to us will be what our readers take away.

ORION
10-22-2007, 10:30 PM
And doug you also make a good point- Our books are our children - Their success or failure are a direct reflection of our worth as a person!!LOL

johnrobison
10-22-2007, 10:40 PM
Why don't you look at it like a parent? You give birth to the book. It lives it's life. If it's a failure, you can always have another.;)

Doug, I'm not sure how many parents would share that sentiment with respect to children.

My point is that there are extreme ups and downs to this that line of work are not present with most forms of commercial success.

ORION
10-22-2007, 10:53 PM
john when you describe publication (and even writing) as manic-depressive - that's fairly apt. Although it's relative - I experienced wild successes and abysmal failures as a teacher AND without the monetary rewards LOL. I think the difference with publication is that it's so public.
When a reviewer is less than positive about my novel I am chastised.
When a reviewer "gets" LOTTERY I am redeemed.
Back and forth it goes.
Yup.
It's fairly bipolar.

Doug Johnson
10-22-2007, 11:04 PM
Doug, I'm not sure how many parents would share that sentiment with respect to children.

Thus the ;).

Like kids, books have a life. There are ups and downs. They get lucky, or have bad luck. You can just let them live. You don't need to take everything personal. You're not your book. (Even though he wrote a great book, Salinger is still a whack job and as long as you don't swallow a shot gun, you're doing better than Hemingway.)

ORION
10-22-2007, 11:13 PM
OMG!!!! Doug! my coffee shot right out my nose!!!

Doug Johnson
10-23-2007, 12:24 AM
I bet you I could get a book deal with

"My coffee shot right out of my nose."
Patricia Wood, author of the bestseller Lottery.

Too bad:

a) I write thrillers that aren't supposed to be funny.
b) there are stupid laws that prevent me from using your name, and your comments, completely out of context.

Oh well, like I said, each book has to live its own life.

pollykahl
10-23-2007, 01:43 AM
"when your book hits the list, it's like a contest of gladiators . . . your book stays out there until it's killed, knocked off the list by the next big crop of books. Maybe you last a week, maybe a month. In the end, you're knocked off."

How about the pressure to produce more? Like they say in Hollywood, you're only as big as your last production. Before the first one hits the shelves, you're hopefully way into the second one, even without a two or three book deal. There's no time to rest on your laurels.

What are laurels, anyway? And how would we rest on them? I always wondered.

John, if you forgot me, make it 9.

johnrobison
10-23-2007, 02:39 AM
In the automobile world, we have events like NASCAR where you win a race and that's it. You enter a series of races, and you amass points to hopefully win a championship. But each win stands alone.

Book competition, if you want to call it that, is like the demolition derby. Cars pour into the ring and smash against one another until they don't run anymore.

Meanwhile, I am working hard on my second book and I am pondering ideas for the third and fourth

Deirdre
10-23-2007, 02:58 AM
Have someone die who has money or have someone win the lottery and see how many relatives come out of the woodwork.

A friend of mine who'd been divorced and widowed said that there were two main differences between them: 1) in a divorce, the person leaving packs their own stuff; 2) in a divorce, there's fewer people arguing over who gets what.

ORION
10-23-2007, 09:34 AM
Actually it's not like a demolition derby because real readers buy more than just one or two books. Sales and lists are two different animals. It's NOT a competition but it can be linked to your self esteem.

Wallaceka
10-23-2007, 12:03 PM
Patricia, I especially like what you said here:

"That our words impact readers."

The greatest compliment a reader gives me is when they say that my words took them away for a time - that they cared enough about my characters to think about them when they weren't reading.

I always read to escape, to live somewhere else for a time and more than anything, I wanted to give that back to another reader in the future.

Books may fall off the best seller lists, but those words still remain and resonate with readers.

I may only purchase a book once (or twice, when a loaner makes a break for freedom), but there are many books I've read over and over again because I love them so much.

Now, I'm off to buy your book! So many people here have said good things, it's intrigued me.

Kathi

http://kathi430.livejournal.com

ORION
10-23-2007, 07:17 PM
Wallaceka,
Yes I think that's the thing isn't it? I've always felt a strange confidence that my story would resonate with readers and THAT to me has always been my ultimate goal.
I hope you enjoy it! People have told me my character Perry stays with them. The books I have re read have characters that do the same.
Let me know what you think.

Ziljon
10-23-2007, 09:24 PM
Okay, I just finished Lottery this morning. I need to tell someone--to tell everyone how I feel, because I am filled with hope and joy and love right now.

I don't mean to trivialize this perfect book, it is not just a feel-good read, it is way more than that. I am not a reviewer or even a published author, but I am an avid reader, and when I come across a book like this it makes my whole being soar.

These past few days as I've been reading Lottery have been inexplicably wonderful. I only realized yesterday why; it was because I had Lottery waiting for me at home. I had this beautiful world, so perfectly realized, with such wonderful truth all through it, which I could enter by just opening the cover. It has made me so happy. Thank you, Patricia.

Lottery has opened my eyes to what is all around me. This is true. This is echt.

ORION
10-23-2007, 09:38 PM
OMG. Holy cow! (cow is not a bad word) as Perry would say.

Thank you SO much !!!!

THIS is why I write. Letters like this.
Not sales. Not lists. Not money.
THIS.

Wallaceka
10-23-2007, 10:31 PM
YAY!

I *really* can't wait now to read my copy!!

Hurry mail!

Kathi

http://kathi430.livejournal.com

ottorino
10-24-2007, 01:52 AM
Okay, I just finished Lottery this morning. I need to tell someone--to tell everyone how I feel, because I am filled with hope and joy and love right now.

I don't mean to trivial this perfect book, it is not just a feel-good read, it is way more than that. I am not a reviewer or even a published author, but I am an avid reader, and when I come across a book like this it makes my whole being soar.

These past few days as I've been reading Lottery have been inexplicably wonderful. I only realized yesterday why; it was because I had Lottery waiting for me at home. I had this beautiful world, so perfectly realized, with such wonderful truth all through it, which I could enter by just opening the cover. It has made me so happy. Thank you, Patricia.

Lottery has opened my eyes to what is all around me. This is true. This is echt.

You may not be a reviewer, but after reading your review I'm definitely going to read this book!

ORION
10-24-2007, 02:14 AM
I reiterate. There is MUCH satisfaction as an author when a reader comes away from their book infused with wonder and enchantment.
What's so cool about AW is support just like this- I can go to amazon and barnes and noble and see numbers flit around or a lackluster review and then I come here and remember why I write all over again.

Ziljon
10-24-2007, 02:38 AM
Wow, I'm glad I was able to give you a little something back, Patricia.

Anyway, thanks to you, I know what I'm getting everyone for Christmas.

ORION
10-24-2007, 02:58 AM
Lottery tickets? LOL

pollykahl
10-24-2007, 03:58 AM
Wow Pat, just reading the comments you get is so inspiring. The lives you and John have both touched is even more inspirational, as you say, than the financial success you have been rewarded with. To write a good story is one thing. To write a book that truly touches people and changes lives, that's entirely another. Kudos, hugs, aloha, and woof to you both!

johnrobison
10-24-2007, 03:58 AM
It's true that Lottery is a powerful and wonderful book, and it's also true that reviews and comments like the above mean a lot to us writers.

ORION
10-24-2007, 06:12 AM
John and I have had an interesting dialogue because his work is a memoir (non-fiction) showing readers the life of a person with Asperger's and mine is a work of fiction to allow a glimpse into what life might be like for a person with mental challenges. My professors in the doctoral program have been supportive of where I have gone with my studies - looking at literature as a means of educating people and creating that empathy to those who are termed "different".
To those of you who have read Lottery - I ask you a question.
Do you feel Perry was authentic? Did you feel he differed from Forrest Gump or was derivative?
I ask this because where it appears to be acceptable to write a gadzillion books on single white 30-something females looking for a husband in New York- There seems to be only one acceptable way of portraying a person who has a mental challenge- You can't call someone "slow" without immediately being compared to Forrest Gump -
What are your thoughts on this?

johnrobison
10-24-2007, 06:30 AM
Nobody's compared me to Forrest Gump, and I've never read Forrest Gump. For me, your book was its own thing. Standalone. I think the portrayal was pretty real, given my own experiences.

My only connection to Forrest Gump is eating in the Gump shrimp restaurants down south.

pollykahl
10-24-2007, 05:12 PM
I was bothered by reviews describing Perry as Forest-like. To me they are completely different characters. They are both sweet characters, but Perry seems deeper and richer to me. I didn't read Forest Gump, just saw the movie, so it might have been partly due to being able to envision Perry and his situations in my own way. A big difference is that you never stopped deepening Perry's character, while in the movie it seemed like sometimes Forest stopped being a character and simply became a vehicle to take us from plot point to plot point.

One thing I did like about both is that neither spent a lot of time discussing the IQs or other diagnositic info about the characters. That would have distanced us from them in both cases.

ORION
10-24-2007, 07:23 PM
I purposefully opted not to do this in the same way I opted not to "diagnose" Perry. We spend so much time analyzing "what's wrong" instead of celebrating what's right. In many cases it just satisfies some academic question or medical curiosity but does nothing to enhance the lives of the people involved.
Perry only thinks about "what he is" when others point it out or when he's treated differently. I think that is key.

Judg
10-25-2007, 08:01 AM
I haven't read the Forrest Gump book either, just seen the movie. Both it and your book were very good at creating sympathy for the character and making us see the character and his dignity behind the condition.

Plot-wise, FG depended on too many absurd coincidences, but the story was charming enough that we forgave it. Lottery seems much more plausible on a lot of different levels, while still being a charming story.

ORION
10-25-2007, 10:34 AM
I was hoping readers would see it that way. Of course the book Forrest Gump and the movie are two completely different vehicles. And really Forrest was more of a savant rather than mentally challenged in the way Perry is.
(Sorry they're very real to me.)
Thanks Judg

ORION
10-27-2007, 11:49 PM
So what's your favorite character in Lottery and why?

Julie Worth
10-27-2007, 11:56 PM
Of course the book Forrest Gump and the movie are two completely different vehicles. And really Forrest was more of a savant rather than mentally challenged in the way Perry is.


No kidding! In the book Forrest is adept at quantum physics, shoots into space with an over-sexed orangutan, trounces a Yale-educated cannibal at chess, and is about as politically incorrect a fellow as you'd find anywhere.

ORION
10-28-2007, 12:00 AM
Yeah - that's why I wonder why there was some concern by those who thought it might be derivative- I think that the endearing quality of Forrest is similar to Perry and maybe the sweetness but after that they are two completely different characters - and the plots of the books of course bear no relation to each other...

HJW
10-28-2007, 12:22 AM
I ask this because where it appears to be acceptable to write a gadzillion books on single white 30-something females looking for a husband in New York- There seems to be only one acceptable way of portraying a person who has a mental challenge- You can't call someone "slow" without immediately being compared to Forrest Gump -
What are your thoughts on this?

Hi Pat

I just wanted to say I think that’s a very, very important point. I think it’s indicative of how far we still have to go as a society in accepting people with mental or physical challenges as individuals. Hence, if an author writes about a man who is ‘slow’, well then he must be like Forrest Gump, cause all ‘slow’ men are like that...

I’m glad Lottery is doing so well, and I’m planning to put it on my Christmas book list! :)

Wallaceka
10-28-2007, 12:55 AM
Just surfacing to let you know I got Lottery today in the mail and I'm halfway through it already.

I love it. And hate Perry's family, with the exception of course, of Gram.

More later.

Kathi

http://kathi430.livejournal.com

ORION
10-28-2007, 01:14 AM
Way cool Wallaceka!
And HJW,
In disability studies we talk of stereotypical characterization that often times is so subtle we often aren't even aware of it - I'm glad you see this as well.
BTW Lottery comes out the first of the year in the UK...

Silver King
10-28-2007, 03:46 AM
I was at Borders the other day and couldn't find Pat's book. I looked in the new releases section, went to the self-help computer and typed the title of the book into the system, and still, nothing. I finally asked for help at the information counter.

"Name of the book, sir?"

"Orion."

"Let's see here, we have Orion this, that and the other thing, but no novels with only Orion in the title."

I said, "There must be some mistake."

"Yes, there must be," he said.

Much to my shame, I had confused Pat's username with the book's title. I did, however, find John's book, merely on the strength of recognizing the cover from his avatar while browsing. :)

ORION
10-28-2007, 04:01 AM
ha ha ha ha it's LOTTERY!!!! Oh silver king that is SO funny! Did you eventually get it?
I have had people tell me that Shirley Jackson wrote my book...

Silver King
10-28-2007, 04:21 AM
ha ha ha ha it's LOTTERY!!!! Oh silver king that is SO funny! Did you eventually get it?
I have had people tell me that Shirley Jackson wrote my book...
I haven't picked up a copy yet, but I will. :)

My wife was with me during that fruitless search at Borders. I called her in earlier and exclaimed, "Honey! This is the book I was looking for the other day."

She said, "Oh, really? You mean you couldn't remember a simple thing like Lottery?"

I tried to explain how I was confounded by your username, and just when I thought she understood, she wrote down on a sticky note:

Lottery
by
Patricia Wood

She left without saying a word, but I think she tucked the note into her purse so I won't forget next time.

ORION
10-28-2007, 05:37 AM
I'm glad she straightened you out!
My life would fall apart without sticky notes.

wee
10-28-2007, 07:38 AM
To those of you who have read Lottery - I ask you a question.
Do you feel Perry was authentic? Did you feel he differed from Forrest Gump or was derivative?
I ask this because where it appears to be acceptable to write a gadzillion books on single white 30-something females looking for a husband in New York- There seems to be only one acceptable way of portraying a person who has a mental challenge- You can't call someone "slow" without immediately being compared to Forrest Gump -
What are your thoughts on this?

Perry isn't like Forrest Gump. Gump (I can only go by the movie, sorry, but this is what most people know) is just lucky, kind of bumbles through life & amazing things happen to him, beyond his understanding. Very stereotyped. Most people think you are "very smart", "normal", or "slow", period. What I liked about Perry is that while he didn't have what many would consider "school" or "book" smarts, he had wisdom beyond the more worldly people around him. He did have an understanding of what was going on, even if he saw it in a way that other people might not.

Growing up my grandparents always cautioned me not to "educate myself into stupidity." As I've gotten older I've understood this better. Perry is the opposite of that statement in many ways.

Gump was very stereotyped, to the point of making me uncomfortable in many parts of the movie. Didn't see Perry that way. The stereotyping in Lottery comes from Perry, from him simplifying people & things into more easily understandable categories. We all do this every day, with people we meet & situations we encounter. How many times have you been cut off in traffic (Americanism I think-->) and thought, "stupid soccer mom on her cell phone!" -- just another stereotyping.


wee

Wallaceka
10-28-2007, 12:48 PM
Patricia,

Okay. It took me just under five hours to finish your book. I didn't do anything else with my life for Five Whole Hours. It was GREAT. I cried (boy was I glad I was by myself in the bedroom), I laughed, I even got up and paced a few times I was so agitated by what I was reading. I was grossed out by Keith (bless him) and infuriated by the family. I was scared to death in the Mini-Mart. I absolutely loved it. And I primarily read spec-fic. I'm not really into much mainstream. I wish Oprah *would* talk about this book simply so more people would read it and be affected by it. I'd like to add to my own list (also addressed in another thread here) of books I'd like to read again for the first time.

Okay, enough gush. *grin*

To answer your question regarding whether Perry put me in mind of FG. No. Being slow is just a category society likes to use to pigeonhole people. Like Ethnicity. Or Blindness. Or Paralyzed. Or anything else that can jump out at a person when others look at them. It could just as easily be tattoos, or a missing limb. It's really just a side-attribute of the person as a whole and doesn't define that person. FG *happens* to be slow. Perry also *happens* to be slow. End comparision.

I even blogged about your book, in hopes that my own exceptionally modest audience will feel compelled to rush out and buy your book. Good luck!

Kathi

http://kathi430.livejournal.com/

ORION
10-28-2007, 09:21 PM
wee- you make a really good point- stereotyping is something Perry is more apt to do with those he doesn't know well. (and I know I am guilty of it).
Wallaceka-
Google alert found your review for me before I even read this! much thanks! I am encouraging those who have read and enjoyed LOTTERY to do Amazon reviews if they are so inclined - (or Barnes and Noble) and especially reviews on their blogs like you have done. I can't thank you enough!!!
We have talked a lot here on AW about how difficult it is to get published and even after that-- how difficult the road is for debut authors- This is an opportunity to show all the things that serve to let others know about a book and what a reader can do to support an author -- In the same way new authors such as myself attempt to help other new writers on this board.
You AWers ROCK!!!

Wallaceka
10-28-2007, 10:48 PM
I loaned my copy of Lottery to my co-grandmother and she's going to propose it as the "next up" to read for her book club. Every little bit helps!

*muses*
Is it craven self-interest if I hope by helping spread the word for others I might build up good book karma for myself? Only time will tell. *grin*

ORION
10-28-2007, 11:14 PM
Yup! There is such a thing as book karma! Unconditional positive regard for all writers...

Wallaceka
10-28-2007, 11:41 PM
*laugh*

ORION
10-29-2007, 12:42 AM
I'm really curious how many AWers have read my book...

Wallaceka
10-29-2007, 02:06 AM
Is there a poll option you could use? Maybe in a new thread?

jannawrites
10-29-2007, 07:06 AM
I am SO glad to have stumbled across this thread. I've been wanting to pick Pat's brain and all of you have saved me the task. But, I'm not finished with the book and I don't want anything spoiled for me, so I have to stop reading all the posts for now...

I've had the hardest time finding something worth reading as of late. This book is the best I've read in a LONG time. And thus far, its quality and readability is right up there with my favorite authors' Nicholas Sparks and Jan Karon.

My mom and I are both avid readers. I've already promised to pass my copy on to her (for borrowing only :) ) when I'm done.

benbradley
10-29-2007, 07:19 AM
Is there a poll option you could use? Maybe in a new thread?
I was thinking a poll can be added to this thread, something like "Have you read Lottery?" with a yes or no anwer.


I am SO glad to have stumbled across this thread. I've been wanting to pick Pat's brain and all of you have saved me the task. But, I'm not finished with the book and I don't want anything spoiled for me, so I have to stop reading all the posts for now...

I've had the hardest time finding something worth reading as of late. This book is the best I've read in a LONG time. And thus far, its quality and readability is right up there with my favorite authors' Nicholas Sparks and Jan Karon.

My mom and I are both avid readers. I've already promised to pass my copy on to her (for borrowing only :) ) when I'm done.
Have any real spoilers been posted to the thread yet? I'm thinking not...

I have the book "Forrest Gump" listed on Paperbackswap, I never saw the movie only the commercial blurbs. I just read the first three or so pages of it and gave up. I couldn't get through the 'pidgin english' with all the "sumptin" and abbreviated and truncated words and stuff. In Lottery. Perry uses plain, correctly spelled English words well over 99.9 percent of the time - it's a much easier read!

ORION
10-29-2007, 08:52 AM
I don't think there has been any spoilers- if you know how to add a poll Ben I'm game. Mods?
Yes I had my husband read the book Forest Gump so I would not be influenced - after I finished all the copy edits of LOTTERY and the ARC was out I picked it up as you did and found the same thing- I would consider it more Southern literature than anything else. My DH (the brave and wonderful reader that he is) finished it and said the same thing - no worries it's not at all alike. It is society's tendency to lump all slow people together as others have said.
janna make your mother BUY a copy LOL!!!!

Wallaceka
10-29-2007, 11:20 AM
I was worried about spoilers too - I didn't see any though. I was pretty careful when posting not to put any, nothing ruins a good read more.

Even in my blog review I watched it, thinking, intrigue! Intrigue! No spoilers!

I think a complete post read-through is safe Jannawrites! :)

Did you pm a mod Patricia, regarding a poll? I'm curious as well about numbers.

ORION
10-29-2007, 12:23 PM
No I haven't so hopefully they'll read this - otherwise I'll try to do it tomorrow.
yeah I noticed everyone has been great in their reviews- I'm lucky!

Cranky
10-29-2007, 08:09 PM
Well, I'm very intrigued, Patricia. Another AW book to read, yay! :)

benbradley
10-29-2007, 09:15 PM
I don't think there has been any spoilers- if you know how to add a poll Ben I'm game. Mods?Yes I had my husband read the book Forest Gump so I would not be influenced - after I finished all the copy edits of LOTTERY and the ARC was out I picked it up as you did and found the same thing- I would consider it more Southern literature than anything else.
Yes, I was remembering Mark Twain books were written in a similar style. It's been a long time since I read any Twain, but I'm thinking he did the pidgin English thing better.

ORION
10-29-2007, 10:08 PM
yeah I think part of that was the entire book wasn't written that way - just the dialogue. Also I think that was the vernacular people spoke-
Cranky - I'm glad you're intrigued! Let me know when you read it!

III
10-29-2007, 10:30 PM
To those of you who have read Lottery - I ask you a question.
Do you feel Perry was authentic? Did you feel he differed from Forrest Gump or was derivative?
I ask this because where it appears to be acceptable to write a gadzillion books on single white 30-something females looking for a husband in New York- There seems to be only one acceptable way of portraying a person who has a mental challenge- You can't call someone "slow" without immediately being compared to Forrest Gump -
What are your thoughts on this?

Hi Pat! To answer your question, honestly, it was difficult to steer myself away from conceptualizing Perry as Tom Hanks. From the mention of the concept as "Forrest Gump wins Powerball", to the book cover in which Perry looks physically similar to Tom Hanks (at least from the back), to the harbor milieu, to the no-nonsense mother figure (Gram) - I felt like I was fighting the undertow of Tom Hanks and Sally Field. Incidentally, Perry's mother reminded me of Sally Field's character in Where The Heart Is.

So while Perry himself was distinctly different than Forrest and the storyline was distinctly different, the comparisons were always adrift in my mind as I read. But Keith really made the story pop out of that mold. So did Cherry and John and David. I loved Keith!

I really enjoyed Lottery - particularly the ending, although I admit, the fact that it was told from Perry's perspective did make it a challenging read - particularly with the looping back to the same ideas and scenes over and over again. I did feel like I was viewing the world from inside Perry's head, which was at once simplistic and yet difficult. I found reading Lottery to be more of a stretching experience than a simple diversion. I finished reading it weeks ago and still find myself thinking about it occasionally, which means it resonated, which is the mark of a good novel.

Guess I should really be posting this on Amazon, huh?

ORION
10-30-2007, 08:35 AM
Duh yeah!
Thanks III!!

Bubastes
10-30-2007, 08:22 PM
Oh my, I'm only on page 29 and I'm already tearing up a bit. When Perry says "I am it. I am a problem," he says it in such a heartbreaking matter-of-fact manner. I love Perry. I can't wait to keep reading. Bravo, Orion!

ChunkyC
10-30-2007, 08:23 PM
As requested, the poll is up, and I PM'd the original poster to let them know it was me that dunnit to their thread, not that I think they'd mind. :)

ORION
10-30-2007, 08:51 PM
How cool!Now people gotta vote! Thanks ChunkyC.
Meow Girl - That's great- many of those with mental challenges feel that they're a problem because of the way others treat them - I'm glad you're enjoying the book so far!

ChunkyC
10-30-2007, 09:24 PM
No problem, Patricia. And congrats on all the kudos for your book, and for it being the subject of such a hot thread here in the book club. :)

Wallaceka
10-30-2007, 10:24 PM
Hope you don't mind, Pat - I pm'd the mod and asked for the poll.

I'll be interested to see the results!

ORION
10-30-2007, 11:07 PM
This is GREAT! Thanks! BTW I just got news today that the audio of LOTTERY got a great review in Oct 29 Publishers Weekly!!!!!
The reader was the same guy who did The Da Vinci Code - Paul Michael - who is terrific!!!

WordGypsy
10-31-2007, 07:36 AM
Hey Pat,

Sent you a PM when Lottery first came out that I was going to read it...can't remember if I ever followed up but I bought it and LOVED this book. I've read it three or four times since then. It really does leave you with the warm fuzzies!!! Anyway, my question was...would you be willing to post your query letter? I'd love to see it and can't find it on the boards...don't know if you had it critiqued here or not. I just started querying for my book and so I'm very interested in what a successful query looks like. Congrats on all of your success! You deserve every bit of it!

September skies
10-31-2007, 07:55 AM
I meant to go and look for the book and then got so busy writing that I forgot. I'm so glad this was bumped up again, because I can't wait to go check for it! I hope my local Borders (only book store in my town) carries it. If not, I will definitely order it. Is it still possible to get an autographed copy if I call the Honolulu store?

ORION
10-31-2007, 07:58 AM
My query letter link is on the post your query letter sticky on the agents thread - I have it on my blog. Let me look and I will see if I can copy it to this thread if you think that might be helpful...I'll be back!
I'm glad you enjoyed LOTTERY!

ORION
10-31-2007, 08:01 AM
Yes in fact I just stopped by the other day and dropped off a personalized one. If you want anything special you let them know and if not they have a stack of autographed ones that they send out to people. Look on my blog on the top of the side bar and their email and phone is listed -Best Sellers Honolulu they have it under control! it's easy to do!

ORION
10-31-2007, 08:14 AM
OK I have had numerous requests to post my query letter so here it is- This is the ORIGINAL Query - I just removed my full name, address and email.
You will notice that my character originally was Jerry and was older.
In 40 minutes I got a request from Dorian to email my full as an attachment.
If this is helpful let me know otherwise the mods can remove it.
Much aloha to you all...


FROM
Patricia Wood
(ADDRESS and EMAIL HERE)

TO
Dorian Karchmar
dkar@wma.com
William Morris Agency
1325 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019

Dear Dorian Karchmar,

I understand you are interested unusual fiction. I would like to show you my novel LOTTERY. The first five pages are included below. My book could be described as "Forrest Gump" wins Power Ball, however it differs in the respect that it is written in the realistic voice of a cognitively challenged man and could be considered a parable of our times.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
Gram would go to Hawaii. Keith would go to Mexico. Jerry would go to Pennsylvania and tour the Hershey Candy Factory.
"I am not retarded. To be retarded your IQ number must be lower than 75. Mine is 76.” Jerry L. Crandall is lucky. Gram says so.
He has two good eyes, is honest as the day is long, and has two brothers, one an attorney, the other an MBA. But Jerry calls his mother Cynthia, his siblings cousin-brother, and has lived with his grandmother since he was a baby.
At thirty-six, he has worked for Holsted's Marine Supply for twenty years.
On November 10, his life and the lives of his family will change forever when Jerry wins four million dollars in the Washington State Lottery.
No one will ever look at Jerry quite the same way again.

I had the pleasure of working with Jacqueline Mitchard at the Maui Writers Retreat and we have maintained a regular email correspondence. When I told her the premise of my latest novel she asked to see the synopsis and first chapter. After reading it, she strongly suggested I obtain representation. I've additionally been fortunate to have Paul Theroux as a mentor (he spends his winters here in Hawaii). He is quite enthusiastic about this project, and also recommended I actively seek representation after reading the second draft of my book.

For your reference thirteen years ago, my father won six million dollars in the Washington State Lottery. For quite some time, I have been thinking about how best to tell this story. How best to describe the impact of that much money on a family in otherwise normal circumstances. The unique thing about my father is, although our family and friends have been profoundly changed by the lottery, he is the one person who has essentially remained the same.

I am currently working on my PhD in education at the University of Hawaii. My cognate (minor) focuses on disability and diversity. I am committed to my writing career and have other novels completed. LOTTERY is commercial fiction and is complete at 72,000 words. I would be honored to send you the manuscript and look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely and Aloha,
Patricia Wood


LOTTERY

Prologue

My name is Jerry L. Crandall. I am not retarded. You have to have an IQ number less than 75 to be retarded. I read that in Reader’s Digest. I am not. Mine is 76. Gram always told me the L stood for Lucky.
"Mister Jerry Lucky Crandall quicher bellyaching!" She would scold. "You got two good eyes, two good legs, and you're honest as the day is long." She always called me lucky and honest. Being honest means you don't know any better.
My cousin-brother John calls me lucky too, but he always snickers hard after he says it.
"You sure are a lucky bastard. No high-pressure job, no mortgage, no worries. Yeah, you’re lucky all right." Then he looks at his wife and laughs harder. They are lawyers.
John told me lawyers get people out of trouble. Gram said lawyers get people into trouble. She ought to know. It was a lawyer that gave her the crappy advice on what to do about Gramp's business after he died.
"I never should have listened to him. Should have waited. Look at John. Look at that guy he defended. That stock crap. That accountant. You can’t tell me he didn’t get a little payola on the side." Her gray hair would come out of her bun like it was mad too.
I am thirty-six years old and I am not retarded.
"You have two good ears, Jerry. Two! Count ‘em!" Gram would hold my chin and cheeks between her fingers so tight my lips would feel like a fish. She stopped doing that because of the evil arthritis. Arthritis is when you have to eat Aleve or Bayer and rub Ben Gay.
"You're lucky." She said. "No evil arthritis for you. You’re a lucky, lucky boy."
I am lucky. I know this because I am not retarded. I know this because I have two good arms. And I know this because I won four million dollars in the Washington State Lottery.

Chapter 1


I write things down so I do not forget. From the beginning. From before the beginning. Writing helps me remember. It helps me think and that is a good thing. I am slow, that is what my teacher Miss Elk said.
"Just a bit slow, Jerry." The other kids had different names.
“Moron! Idiot! Retard!” They cried with tongues and fingers pointing. But Miss Elk told them to be nice. She said I was not any of those things.
Gram said other people are just too fast. She told me to write things down in a notebook.
"I'm not slow, I'm old. I have to write things down," she said. "People treat you the same way when you're old as when you're slow." Gram had me do a word a day in the dictionary since I was seven.
"A word Jerry. That’s the God damned key. One word at a time." God damned is an adjective. It can also be a noun like, "I'll be God damned!" Gram will be reading something in the newspaper and it will just come out all by itself. Out of the blue. "God damn." Or sometimes "God damned." Or even, "God damned." At eleven, I was on page eight of our dictionary.
"Active. Change, taking part." It is a struggle for me to read.
"Sound it out Jer." Gram chews the inside of her lip when she concentrates.
"Squiggle vooollll...caaaa...nooo..." It takes me a long time to figure out that word.
"Squiggle means related to. Remember Mount Saint Helens?" Gram has a good memory for an old person and knows everything. On May 18, Mount St. Helens blew up. Six days after my birthday. We had ashes from breakfast to Sunday, Gram said. They were a fine gray sand that got inside my mouth when I went outside, just like the stuff Doctor Reddy used when he cleaned my teeth.
"What’s breakfast to Sunday?" I asked.
"Don’t be smart." Gram always cautioned me about being smart.
I was still in the A's. Gram and I sat down and added it up. Our dictionary has 75,000 words and 852 pages. If I did one word a day, it would take me 205 years to finish. At three words, it would take 51 years. If I did five words, it would take 12 years and six months to get through the whole book. I wrote this all down. It is true because calculators do not lie and we used a calculator. Gram said we needed to re-think. Re-think means that you made a mistake and have to change your mind. You don't want to say you were wrong so you re-think.
"Pick up the pace Jer. We have to pick up the pace." Gram clapped her hands together to get my attention and make sure I was listening. I remember I was on the word auditor. An auditor is a listener. It says so in the dictionary. I decided right then to be an auditor. A listener. I remember this.
We picked up the pace and by the time I turned thirty-five, I was on page 337. Gram was right. That day my words were herd, herder, herdsman, here, here, hereabouts and hereafter. Hereafter means future.
"You have to think of your future!" Gram warns about the future each time I deposit my check in the bank. Half in checking and half in savings. For my future. It is very important to think of your future because at some point it becomes your past.
My best friend Keith agrees with everything Gram says.
"That L. It sure does stand for Lucky." Keith drinks beer wrapped in a brown paper sack. He works with Manuel, Gary, and me at Holsted's Marine Supply. I have worked for Gary Holsted since I was sixteen years old.
Keith is older and fatter than me. I do not call him fat because that would not be nice. He cannot help being older. I can always tell how old people are by the songs they like. For example, Gary and Keith like the Beatles so they are both older than me. Gram likes songs you never hear anymore like Crazy For You by Patsy Cline and Always by somebody who is dead. If the songs you like are all by dead people then you are really old.
I like every kind of music. Keith does not. He goes crazy when Manuel messes with the radio at work.
“Who put this rap crap on? Too much static! The reception is shit! Keep it on oldies but goodies.” Keith has to change it back with foil and a screwdriver because of the reception. Static is when somebody else plays music you do not like and you change it because of reception.
Before Holsted's, I learned reading, writing, and math from Gram and boat stuff from Gramp. After he died, I had to go to work. I remember everything Gramp showed me about boats and sailing. Our family used to own the boatyard next to Holsted's.
"It's a complicated situation." When Gram says this, her eyes get all hard and dark like olive pits, or like when you try to look through that tiny hole in the door at night. That is not a very smart thing to do because it is dark at that time and you cannot see very well.
Just before he died, Gramp took out a loan for a hoist for the yard. A loan is when someone gives you money then takes collateral and advantage. After that, you drop dead of a stroke by the hand of God. A hoist lifts boats up in the air and costs as much as a boat yard.
That's what the bank said.

Wallaceka
10-31-2007, 11:26 AM
I like seeing the small evolution.

What prompted you to change his name and age a little?

WordGypsy
10-31-2007, 05:33 PM
Thanks so much for the query!!!!:D I was surprised that it broke some of the rules, but in such a superb way.

pollykahl
10-31-2007, 06:34 PM
Aloha Pat, did you use verdana 10? I saved it in my "successful queries" file which I keep to assist me when I get to that stage, and that's what it came up as.

ORION
10-31-2007, 08:13 PM
Wallaceka- it was felt that Jerry too closely resembled my ex brother in law's name and to circumvent any problems Putnam's Lawyers suggested it be changed- keep in mind the character Perry is a complete fabrication and draws on many people for inspiration. In the first tweaking my agent made the age change suggestion and I acquiesced...Ultimately it worked better for the story I wrote.
WordGypsy- I think my query is a perfect example that if the premise is attractive to the agent and the pages hold up then the full is requested.
Polly I use Times New Roman 12 for EVERYTHING but people's email programs change what you send - I think everyone realizes that email programs can alter things - sometime not for the best but ultimately that doesn't matter.
Dorian asked for the full as an attachment in "Word"

ChunkyC
10-31-2007, 08:53 PM
Plus this board uses verdana as the default font, so that's what you'll usually get when pasting text into a post.

Pat, thanks so much for sharing your query. I've been agonizing over my own and this kind of example is so helpful. :)

ORION
10-31-2007, 09:36 PM
Great! I'm glad. I think it's interesting to have everything together on this thread- questions about the book and writing etc. It makes it interesting to see the evolution (as it's been pointed out)

OctoberRain
11-04-2007, 12:55 PM
Just wanted to say that I finished reading this book tonight. WOW! Beautifully written, vivid, engaging, and I laughed out loud so many times.

What a tremendous and inspiring achievement. Way to go, Patricia. :D

Wallaceka
11-04-2007, 03:51 PM
Did you vote?

*grin*

ORION
11-04-2007, 11:52 PM
Gee, I decide to actually stop messing around online and try to do some work and I miss stuff like this! LOL
Thanks a bunch October!
So any questions?

ORION
11-06-2007, 09:48 AM
Ok so now I get a great email from this guy!

http://www.drobertpease.com/2007/11/wow-someone-is-reading-my-book-right.html#links
My goal in life is to make every 40 year old man cry!!

Wallaceka
11-06-2007, 12:13 PM
Isn't that great?

I'm just so so so so pleased for you, words (obviously :)) can't describe it!

Hey, when is your next book comin gout? And what's it going to be about?

Need any betas?

:D

ORION
11-06-2007, 02:01 PM
oh I NEVER refuse a beta...actually I'm revising number 2 and fleshing it out. I write sparse first drafts and fill in. Suffice it to say a person who enjoyed LOTTERY will enjoy this one.

Bubastes
11-06-2007, 05:47 PM
Beautifully written, vivid, engaging, and I laughed out loud so many times.


Ditto! I was in a restaurant when I read a sentence that had me cracking up big time: the one when Perry visits Hawaii and notices how the words all have aaa's, iiiii's, and oooo's (obviously, I can't describe it as well as Patricia). I think the waiter avoided me for a few minutes. :D And of course, Keith made me laugh every time he showed up on the page.

What a charming story!

ORION
11-06-2007, 08:07 PM
What has additionally been interesting (and I don't know if I've said this before) is how many men are sending me emails telling me they enjoyed LOTTERY. I guess maybe it's because the book clubs that have me talk on speaker phone have all been women. I'm glad it has broad appeal - don't get me wrong- but I just found it unexpected that they would take the time to send me an email or review my book on Amazon.
I find myself wondering why?

a_sharp
11-09-2007, 07:30 PM
What has additionally been interesting (and I don't know if I've said this before) is how many men are sending me emails telling me they enjoyed LOTTERY. I guess maybe it's because the book clubs that have me talk on speaker phone have all been women. I'm glad it has broad appeal - don't get me wrong- but I just found it unexpected that they would take the time to send me an email or review my book on Amazon.
I find myself wondering why?

Because, Pat, you're a good writer, it's an enjoyable read, and believe it or not, guys read too!

A few years back I visited Washington, DC, and stayed in Arlington and rode the Metro every morning with the commuters. Everyone was reading, mostly books, not newspapers. I'm talking hardbacks, too. Okay, maybe they're all lawyers, but I was impressed because I don't see people reading books on the I-5 car commute. Maybe I'm driving too fast to notice.

ORION
11-09-2007, 08:14 PM
LOL!! I don't know - I used to see women putting on makeup on I-5!!!
Thanks for the kind words!
I have been participating with online bookclubs along with traditional ones where I have been on speaker phone and it's great.
I know after I finish a book I want to chat with the author - it would be interesting if more authors made that easier...

Uncarved
11-16-2007, 11:31 PM
Wonder if a mass AW writing campaign to Oprah would make a difference?
Can't you see? "Holiday list of My Favorite Things"
#1 - Lottery :)


t

jannawrites
11-16-2007, 11:54 PM
Holy heck! Dorian got back to you in 40 minutes? You are amazing.

ORION
11-16-2007, 11:59 PM
She said later it was one of those days that she was anal about her email. (she is anyway LOL).
I'm really happy so many AWers are enjoying LOTTERY. It does make it distracting to sit down and finish revising novel number 2 though...

Perks
11-17-2007, 12:01 AM
I read it and thought it was terrific. Way to go, Patricia!

jannawrites
11-17-2007, 12:13 AM
So sorry if you've already answered these and I'm the bugger asking for the bajillionth time... *hangs head in shame*

How long did your first draft take? And how much does the published copy differ from how you originally wrote it? Is LOTTERY your own title, or did the pub change it?

I'm really glad to hear it's "only" 72k words. I recently posted concerns about the length of my WIP. I'll probably end up in the 65k-70k ballpark... I'd been sweatin' it, thinking I'd have to meet a 100k word count. (All signs thus far point to mainstream fiction for my novel.)

ORION
11-17-2007, 12:30 AM
No worries. My first draft took about three months (that was three months writing nearly EVERY day at least 1000 - 2000 wds) The final published copy is longer by about 15,000 words and far more polished but the essential story was there - there was a bit of a sub plot added with respect to the brothers with a more specific ending. The final published book is 87,000 words. Lottery was always my working title and I wouldn't change it until someone gave me a better title that would knock my socks off. They never did. Interestingly the swedish book has a different title. Re word count. It's the story that's the thing - especially with respect to mainstream literature.

ORION
11-20-2007, 08:21 PM
FYI - I just found out Lottery sold to Romania (of course I was asked if I accepted their offer- which I did)
I think this is one of the most surprising things and something an author without an agent would find nearly impossible to do - and that's to market to foreign publishers.
The difference between a US publisher getting US rights versus only North American or English rights is enormous.
The contract negotiations are also very different.

jannawrites
11-20-2007, 08:38 PM
Wow!

So... how many countries do you stand to be a success in? :)

ORION
11-20-2007, 09:00 PM
So far? The US (of course) the UK (which includes Australia and New Zealand), Israel, Netherlands, Italy,Finland, Sweden,China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan,Russia, Portugal, and now Romania...So far the Dutch version has been released and the UK is next (in January) then Sweden (in April)...

jannawrites
11-20-2007, 09:37 PM
Wow. Does it feel surreal? Congrats!

ORION
11-20-2007, 09:53 PM
It was especially surreal getting my first email from a Dutch reader who loved LOTTERY and also the Dutch review.

ORION
11-28-2007, 07:16 AM
I have about an hour before I have to show up for a book club at a local community association. I have done many bookclubs all over the country by phone but this one is in person. I know there have been many books I've read (A Prayer for Owen Meany) that I would have enjoyed discussing with the author. Many ask the conventional questions (what made you write LOTTERY...how did you come up with the idea...) if there are any unusual ones I will post them here later tonight.

KTC
11-28-2007, 07:53 AM
It's on my shelf and on my reading list. I have a few AW books to read. I'll get there!

ORION
11-28-2007, 12:07 PM
Thanks KTC!
My book club was way fun and this time I got to eat the treats.
Had a couple of interesting questions about whether Perry is based on a real person and I had to say no- he's a composite and inspired by several different people - I totally wish he was real...

KTC
11-28-2007, 03:08 PM
From the jacket cover and inside I can already say that I wish he was real. He sounds magical...but I'm going to get out of this thread now until I read it...just in case there are spoilers lurking in here! Congrats on the fun book club last night!

ORION
11-28-2007, 09:30 PM
Thanks KTC! And I did SO want my one thousandth post to be on this thread...right on!

Pamster
11-28-2007, 11:00 PM
I was in the library today and guess what I saw in the New Books section? Lottery! And guess what I did? You got that right, I picked it up and checked it out! I will post again when I have finished reading, but from the first words it's very interesting and Perry is very likable. Congratulations on selling this wonderful story Orion! I am glad you're here with us at AW and that you're well on your way to a healthy writing career. :D

ORION
11-29-2007, 02:11 AM
yeah!!! I'm all for the libraries...if you like it the paperback will be out June 3 (hint hint LOL)
Thanks for the kudos!

III
11-29-2007, 02:15 AM
Thanks KTC! And I did SO want my one thousandth post to be on this thread...right on!

But the question is, which is the bigger thrill - being published in Romania or reaching 1,000 posts on AW? :D

ORION
11-29-2007, 03:54 AM
Neither, now. Selling Spanish World rights this morning! :)

Church Lady
11-29-2007, 04:43 AM
Congratulations!!

Hola/Aloha Two very similar words.

I loved "Lottery."

Do you take requests for book signings? I mean, physically visiting a place to promote your book and autograph books?

ORION
11-29-2007, 05:07 AM
I will be in San Francisco December 6 - 10, I often go to the Pacific Northwest, and will most likely be touring a bit in June when the paperback of LOTTERY comes out...Where do you suggest?

Church Lady
11-29-2007, 07:27 AM
The Baltimore/Washington area?
You could stay at our house and bring Touloose. I would make my kids your humble servants.

MacAllister
11-29-2007, 07:32 AM
I bought my copy, and my housemate promptly absconded with it, "oh, you don't mind if I read it first while you're busy with other stuff, right?" :)

I'll get it back soon, though.

ORION
11-29-2007, 10:21 AM
LOL at first I read "house MAID" Too funny!

Uma
11-29-2007, 11:00 PM
So far? The US (of course) the UK (which includes Australia and New Zealand), Israel, Netherlands, Italy,Finland, Sweden,China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan,Russia, Portugal, and now Romania...So far the Dutch version has been released and the UK is next (in January) then Sweden (in April)...

That explains why when I went to look for your book online it came up as 'lycklig lottad' with a later release date.

It's an interesting choice of title . . . I think it works well, but don't know how I would translate it.... (this is why I'm not a translator!)

ORION
11-30-2007, 12:09 AM
Hey Uma! yeah the Dutch one has been released already - I don't know why I thought you were in the Netherlands LOL! The Swedish one will be out in the spring. Some one said it means like "fortunate lotterywinner" but what are your ideas?

NicoleMD
11-30-2007, 12:14 AM
I will be in San Francisco December 6 - 10, I often go to the Pacific Northwest, and will most likely be touring a bit in June when the paperback of LOTTERY comes out...Where do you suggest?

Oh! Come to Austin, Texas! We love books here.

All the cool authors do their book signings at bookpeople (http://www.bookpeople.com/), a cool mammoth independent bookstore. Their website ain't much to look at, but the store is awesome and large enough to hold the gazillions of your fans comfortably. :)

Nicole

ORION
11-30-2007, 01:10 AM
Actually I'd love to come to Austin. I have several friends in Texas and I think it would be a great place to go. I lived briefly in San Antonio in the early '70's...maybe I'll come in June...

ORION
12-02-2007, 09:41 PM
Spiral Stairs was kind enough to let me know- LOTTERY has been listed in one of the "Best of 2007" for fiction in the Washington Post Book World!!!!!
Perry would be so proud...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/features/2007/holiday-guide/gifts/book-world-holiday-issue/index.html

qdsb
12-07-2007, 01:12 AM
:partyguy::partyguy::partyguy::partyguy:

jannawrites
12-07-2007, 02:00 AM
Spiral Stairs was kind enough to let me know- LOTTERY has been listed in one of the "Best of 2007" for fiction in the Washington Post Book World!!!!!
Perry would be so proud...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/artsandliving/features/2007/holiday-guide/gifts/book-world-holiday-issue/index.html

Absolutely fabulous! Congrats. :D

TrainofThought
12-07-2007, 06:24 AM
I finished this book about a month ago and it was touching. I felt Perry’s pain and loneliness, yet I loved the friendships he had and his opportunity with Cherry. :Thumbs: to Gram for watching out for him. :D

Great book, Patricia!

ORION
12-07-2007, 08:22 PM
Thanks everyone! I am in San Francisco now and having a great time- People can score autographed copies of LOTTERY at Borders on Market street here!
I'm glad you found my book touching Trainofthought- Thanks for telling me-

ORION
12-22-2007, 02:19 AM
Ok AW ers in the UK and Ireland!
LOTTERY will be released January 3, 2008.
I'd love a shot of the Tube ads or a photo of a pile of my books at Waterstones!
Or even tell me if you've SEEN it!! LOL
Happy Holidays!
Patricia Wood aka ORION

a_sharp
12-28-2007, 09:04 AM
Pat, just finished Lottery after the holiday interruptions. Loved the story, the characters, the way you made Perry's home an interesting place.

Writing fiction is a bear of a job regardless of genre. You mastered what I consider an extremely difficult approach, narrating for a mentally challenged adult while keeping the story interesting and compelling. I wasn't sure going in that you'd carry it off, but lady, you sure did!

And yes, I'm a guy, and yes, my eyes misted a few times. If you can manage that in this household, you're queen of the mountain.

Congrats. I'll encourage friends and family to BUY the book. I'm not letting my copy go!

ORION
12-28-2007, 10:58 AM
Hey sharp! thanks a bunch. It's so gratifying when a reader tells me how they're affected by my novel.
My goal is to make men cry...

Chumplet
01-02-2008, 03:50 AM
When I first attempted to describe Lottery to friends, it was simpler for me to say, "Forrest Gump wins the lottery." I see now that Perry is nothing like Forrest. Perry isn't as clueless, for one thing. He stops and thinks. He remembers the advice of the people he trusts. He is more wise than a lot of smart people.

I finished Lottery at 2 a.m. a couple of days ago. It left me with a good feeling about humanity, a true appreciation for the simple life, and the hope that bad people will get their "come uppance" one way or the other.

Thanks Patricia. It was a wonderful experience reading your book.

Now, I've got to finish John's book.

ORION
01-03-2008, 01:24 PM
How totally cool- (a perryism)
I'm celebrating my UK release as we speak- January 3!
In 40 minutes I'll drink a glass of wine- toast myself and go to bed!

KTC
01-11-2008, 03:52 PM
I loved your book, Patricia. It is one I will pick up and re-read again and again. I have to admit, though...my anger level was rising throughout. I saw Perry being set up for a fall and I was having none of it. I see that it worked out in the end, though. Still...I'd like to blowtorch his entire family. Lovely book. Perry will walk with me the same way that Ignatius Riley walks with me.

ORION
01-11-2008, 10:31 PM
much aloha to you KTC!
Oh I LOVED ignatius in Confederacy of Dunces!!
FYI LOTTERY hit number ten on the Tesco list in the UK!!!
http://www.tesco.com/books/chart/hardback.asp

I really struggled with making Perry's family a bit more well rounded and not so totally evil but then I realized Perry would only see things in black and white-
Also several big stories came out about individuals ripping off people who were mentally challenged - and then I kept talking to people who had to deal with their siblings when a parent died who had assets ... and ... I knew what one of my ex brother in laws tried to do with my parents...and I thought I guess it isn't so unrealistic after all. I did want to have my readers feel some strong emotion about Perry's situation.

MacAllister
01-11-2008, 10:48 PM
I finished it a few weeks ago.

Without giving any spoilers, can I just say, "ARRRGGGHHHhhh!!!" I never saw THAT coming . . . Arrrgghhhh. I can't believe just when he was getting his sh*t together, THAT happened!

scarletpeaches
01-11-2008, 10:49 PM
La la la, not listening.

*avoids thread until she finishes book*

KTC
01-11-2008, 11:54 PM
I finished it a few weeks ago.

Without giving any spoilers, can I just say, "ARRRGGGHHHhhh!!!" I never saw THAT coming . . . Arrrgghhhh. I can't believe just when he was getting his sh*t together, THAT happened!


I know...I know exactly what you're referencing!!!!!!! ARGH indeed. I thought for a moment it might have been Perry's family...you know, arranged. I was ready to intercede.

ORION
01-12-2008, 02:24 AM
yeah. Those authors really want to rip your heart out and put it on a plate. If it makes you feel any better consider it a GIANT metaphor...

jannawrites
01-12-2008, 02:35 AM
I finally gave my copy (as a loan) to my mom this week. Can't wait to chat with her about it once she's finished!

ORION
01-12-2008, 11:51 AM
Janna you're supposed to BUY your mom a book LOL. You see, that's how authors make their advance back ...

MacAllister
01-12-2008, 01:10 PM
Heh. I've convinced a friend that it would be a terrific book for her local reading group/book club. We're in the north Puget Sound area, so it was an easy sell. :)

ORION
01-12-2008, 11:37 PM
oh MacAllister that's cool! You know I actually go to Seattle quite often as I still have family there-
I will be there in March sometime- and again in the late spring and late fall 08-
I participate by speaker phone with book clubs and it's been great fun- The questions and discussions are really interesting.
For instance although my vision was to be consistent with someone who has a mental challenge- A few readers found Perry's narrative too slow or repetitive for them.
What do you guys think?

Chumplet
01-13-2008, 07:58 AM
To me, his repetitive narrative was like a rhythm, a gentle beat. Without it, the reader wouldn't be able to see the world from his eyes.

ORION
01-13-2008, 09:28 PM
That's what I was hoping to get readers to see. The way someone who has mental challenges has to struggle against how others perceive them. I have said this before but I sense that those who have little patience for Perry's narrative may be the same impatient people in the line behind him at the grocery store...

jannawrites
01-14-2008, 01:25 AM
I agree with Chumplet. And I'd not have found him near as endearing if his pace and thought processes had been quicker.

ORION
01-14-2008, 11:34 AM
That's what many have said. I think the important thing is to go into the novel with a clear idea of your character and what you want to accomplish.

WendyNYC
01-23-2008, 10:53 PM
I agree with Chumplet. And I'd not have found him near as endearing if his pace and thought processes had been quicker.


Exactly. And I loved the fact that he was able to be incredibly insightful, much more so than a person with an average IQ, in so few words.

Great job, Pat. I loved it.

ORION
01-24-2008, 01:31 AM
This is really satisfying to hear. It was important for me to make Perry's "emotional intelligence" higher. i.e he was more sensitive to other's feelings as he missed the undercurrents of language and "smart" intentions.
Other individuals with cognitive challenges might respond differently. That's the whole point...

gerrydodge
01-24-2008, 05:12 PM
I was going to buy LOTTERY at Amazon today and it's unavailable. How can that be?

ORION
01-24-2008, 10:02 PM
Hmmmm...I know my editor called the other day with a little happy dance saying it's a really clean sale... all the copies out are being sold...which is great news for me. But which may mean that it's hard to get copies say at Barnes and Noble
Although on Amazon there is the bargain one (which might be out) and the other one- I thought it said they still have copies.

Old Hack
01-25-2008, 12:00 AM
Could you try getting it from amazon.co.uk? All the bookshops I've been to in the last few weeks have been FULL of Lottery, so I bet the UK Amazon will have it.

(It's still being promoted as the manager's favourite book over here, Patricia. Hurrah!)

ORION
01-25-2008, 12:07 AM
yeah!!! hey I checked on amazon usa now and they do have copies...it may well have been the bargain ones which are out...

jannawrites
01-25-2008, 12:18 AM
:Hail:

Dollywagon
01-25-2008, 11:08 PM
Apologies if this has already been mentioned, but my copy of Mslexia has just come through (UK mag) and there is a good review of Lottery in it.

Can't natter about it because I'm shattered, but thought I would let Pat know!:)

ORION
01-25-2008, 11:36 PM
How very cool! I actually have a subscription to that magazine too - It takes forever to get delivered to hawaii LOL.

ORION
01-26-2008, 08:21 AM
And I found this: Any body live in LA?
http://www.booksoup.com/
An independent bookstore in Hollywood
Lottery is number 9 on their hardback bestseller list for this week...

gerrydodge
02-02-2008, 08:37 PM
I just finished reading LOTTERY! I was thinking of three writers as I was reading it: Charles Dickens and Annie Proulx and John Irving. I was thinking of Annie Proulx and John Irving, because the language of the characters is so real and honest, and yet there is something unreal about them as well--not in a bad way, of course! And that's where Dickens comes in, I think. Ms. Wood's characters seem to be completely evil or completely good as are Dicken's characters, for the most part. The only exception in the LOTTERY is probably David. And then I was thinking about the state of fiction in general and I was then thinking that a lot of Irving's and Proulx's characters have that same quality of good or evil with little gray area. I don't think the world is that way at all, but I think fiction should be that way. I think we need more fiction like Ms. Wood's fiction, not because it's uplifting--which it is--but because there is some kind of ringing truth in the words spoken by the characters and then you want to be like those people and know those kind of people. I'm not sure I know anyone like the character's in Ms. Wood's wonderful novel, not really, I think there is much more gray out there in the world, but I sure as hell would like to know people like hers. That is for certain.

Horseshoes
02-02-2008, 10:34 PM
Interesting, Gerry.
I didn't see most everyone as completely good or bad in LOTTERY, (good comparison w/ Proulx and Irving, I think). Gram, for instance, seemed verr real and believable.

I sure did see what you're talking about with the ringing truths.
My fav:
--close to the bone... hurts--

Yeah, we need more fic like it (so get busy, Pat), because of those truths, the sheer quality entertainment and because it's uplifting.

ORION
02-02-2008, 11:28 PM
Aloha to you Gerry and thanks- Those particular writers do inspire me. My intension with Lottery was not only to use a narrator who had mental challenges and who looks at the world in black and white- good and evil- without some of the nuances shades of gray provide...LOTTERY is more of a metaphor for how our society marginalizes those we deem unfit...and how money is looked on as a thing that can provide "normality" and acceptance...
Again as I have said before- those expecting "realism" may be disappointed- that was not my intent- Like Voltaire in Candide - using a "fairy story" for examining the social mores of the day - I hoped to elicit thoughtful introspection on our closely held biases about intelligence and money...

ORION
02-03-2008, 11:07 AM
FYI my web site has a new and improved look...let me know what you think.

ORION
02-04-2008, 05:14 AM
Great! the other one was a bit busy...plus I still had events from September LOL...

Calla Lily
02-05-2008, 04:11 AM
Orion, I saw Lottery on the "New-7 day" shelf in the Buffalo Public Library tonight. Made me grin like a fool. I actually said, "Yay, Orion!" --out loud--and then looked around to see if the librarian was bearing down upon me to issue a severe scolding. :)

ORION
02-05-2008, 07:50 AM
How very cool - I hope libraries know that I participate by speaker phone with book clubs...I make it a point to tell them what the weather is in Hawaii first...it's funny...then sometimes it actually sounds like they hang up on me...hmmm...I wonder...
LOL

jannawrites
02-05-2008, 08:46 PM
Orion, I saw Lottery on the "New-7 day" shelf in the Buffalo Public Library tonight. Made me grin like a fool. I actually said, "Yay, Orion!" --out loud--and then looked around to see if the librarian was bearing down upon me to issue a severe scolding. :)

ROFL! I got a picture of this happening in my head. :D

ORION
02-06-2008, 01:00 AM
I'm always grateful when excited readers create a disturbance on my behalf...

III
02-06-2008, 01:06 AM
FYI my web site has a new and improved look...let me know what you think.

Very clean, easy to navigate and professional looking. In other words, it looks like it wasn't created and maintained by an author :D. Very cool.

jannawrites
02-06-2008, 01:16 AM
LOVE the color scheme. I'm always drawn to blues and greens, anyway. And on a side note, I really like the Swedish cover.

ORION
02-06-2008, 07:40 AM
yeah the swedish cover really rocks! It'll be released in April...

Horseshoes
02-20-2008, 06:23 AM
Lottery kinda screams Book Club Book, doesn't it?
One of my indies just stopped the club thing but the other still does it.
Orion, when you participate in Clubs' discussions, do you find the questions and answers pretty similar? And do they surprise you sometimes?
What do you think about the 'discussion guides' in some novels? Did anyone at your pub house ever talk to you about creating such a guide for the next edition/printing (how many printings has Lottery had now?)?

ORION
02-20-2008, 07:13 AM
There are certain questions that are similar (where did you get the idea...how long did it take to write...why oh why did you kill Keith LOL)
Many groups have their own focus. Some are primarily interested in the process and others the thematic strands of the story- it's been a blast. I am never surprised by a question but I am amazed at the thoughtfulness with which readers read...

By the way there is a complete readers guide here:
http://www.readinggroupguides.com/guides_L/lottery1.asp

It will also be in the back of the trade paperback that comes out in June.

benbradley
02-20-2008, 08:06 AM
Yeah, why did you do it, ESPECIALLY when he was finally getting his shit together...

These darn fiction writers, they're SOOOO emotionally manipulative...

ORION
02-20-2008, 08:18 AM
I know I know...the penalty I pay is having to face angry book clubbers who insist I should resurrect him LOL
There are several authors (John Irving for example) who kill off such endearing characters ...I always have to brace myself for his books!

juneafternoon
02-22-2008, 12:24 AM
Pat, I wanna get your book!! I personally have an aversion to hardbacks, but the paperback will only be out in months...

AHHHH temptation.

KikiteNeko
02-22-2008, 04:47 AM
Was Lottery the first manuscript you completed?

ORION
02-22-2008, 12:22 PM
June! you can get it from the library but yanno I wouldn't be upset if you bought the hardback LOL!
Tomotthecat-
Lottery was the third manuscript I completed.

KikiteNeko
02-22-2008, 06:43 PM
Was it ultimately published at 72,000 words?


OK I have had numerous requests to post my query letter so here it is- This is the ORIGINAL Query - I just removed my full name, address and email.
You will notice that my character originally was Jerry and was older.
In 40 minutes I got a request from Dorian to email my full as an attachment.
If this is helpful let me know otherwise the mods can remove it.
Much aloha to you all...


FROM
Patricia Wood
(ADDRESS and EMAIL HERE)

TO
Dorian Karchmar
dkar@wma.com
William Morris Agency
1325 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019

Dear Dorian Karchmar,

I understand you are interested unusual fiction. I would like to show you my novel LOTTERY. The first five pages are included below. My book could be described as "Forrest Gump" wins Power Ball, however it differs in the respect that it is written in the realistic voice of a cognitively challenged man and could be considered a parable of our times.

What would you do if you won the lottery?
Gram would go to Hawaii. Keith would go to Mexico. Jerry would go to Pennsylvania and tour the Hershey Candy Factory.
"I am not retarded. To be retarded your IQ number must be lower than 75. Mine is 76.” Jerry L. Crandall is lucky. Gram says so.
He has two good eyes, is honest as the day is long, and has two brothers, one an attorney, the other an MBA. But Jerry calls his mother Cynthia, his siblings cousin-brother, and has lived with his grandmother since he was a baby.
At thirty-six, he has worked for Holsted's Marine Supply for twenty years.
On November 10, his life and the lives of his family will change forever when Jerry wins four million dollars in the Washington State Lottery.
No one will ever look at Jerry quite the same way again.

I had the pleasure of working with Jacqueline Mitchard at the Maui Writers Retreat and we have maintained a regular email correspondence. When I told her the premise of my latest novel she asked to see the synopsis and first chapter. After reading it, she strongly suggested I obtain representation. I've additionally been fortunate to have Paul Theroux as a mentor (he spends his winters here in Hawaii). He is quite enthusiastic about this project, and also recommended I actively seek representation after reading the second draft of my book.

For your reference thirteen years ago, my father won six million dollars in the Washington State Lottery. For quite some time, I have been thinking about how best to tell this story. How best to describe the impact of that much money on a family in otherwise normal circumstances. The unique thing about my father is, although our family and friends have been profoundly changed by the lottery, he is the one person who has essentially remained the same.

I am currently working on my PhD in education at the University of Hawaii. My cognate (minor) focuses on disability and diversity. I am committed to my writing career and have other novels completed. LOTTERY is commercial fiction and is complete at 72,000 words. I would be honored to send you the manuscript and look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely and Aloha,
Patricia Wood


LOTTERY

Prologue

My name is Jerry L. Crandall. I am not retarded. You have to have an IQ number less than 75 to be retarded. I read that in Reader’s Digest. I am not. Mine is 76. Gram always told me the L stood for Lucky.
"Mister Jerry Lucky Crandall quicher bellyaching!" She would scold. "You got two good eyes, two good legs, and you're honest as the day is long." She always called me lucky and honest. Being honest means you don't know any better.
My cousin-brother John calls me lucky too, but he always snickers hard after he says it.
"You sure are a lucky bastard. No high-pressure job, no mortgage, no worries. Yeah, you’re lucky all right." Then he looks at his wife and laughs harder. They are lawyers.
John told me lawyers get people out of trouble. Gram said lawyers get people into trouble. She ought to know. It was a lawyer that gave her the crappy advice on what to do about Gramp's business after he died.
"I never should have listened to him. Should have waited. Look at John. Look at that guy he defended. That stock crap. That accountant. You can’t tell me he didn’t get a little payola on the side." Her gray hair would come out of her bun like it was mad too.
I am thirty-six years old and I am not retarded.
"You have two good ears, Jerry. Two! Count ‘em!" Gram would hold my chin and cheeks between her fingers so tight my lips would feel like a fish. She stopped doing that because of the evil arthritis. Arthritis is when you have to eat Aleve or Bayer and rub Ben Gay.
"You're lucky." She said. "No evil arthritis for you. You’re a lucky, lucky boy."
I am lucky. I know this because I am not retarded. I know this because I have two good arms. And I know this because I won four million dollars in the Washington State Lottery.

Chapter 1


I write things down so I do not forget. From the beginning. From before the beginning. Writing helps me remember. It helps me think and that is a good thing. I am slow, that is what my teacher Miss Elk said.
"Just a bit slow, Jerry." The other kids had different names.
“Moron! Idiot! Retard!” They cried with tongues and fingers pointing. But Miss Elk told them to be nice. She said I was not any of those things.
Gram said other people are just too fast. She told me to write things down in a notebook.
"I'm not slow, I'm old. I have to write things down," she said. "People treat you the same way when you're old as when you're slow." Gram had me do a word a day in the dictionary since I was seven.
"A word Jerry. That’s the God damned key. One word at a time." God damned is an adjective. It can also be a noun like, "I'll be God damned!" Gram will be reading something in the newspaper and it will just come out all by itself. Out of the blue. "God damn." Or sometimes "God damned." Or even, "God damned." At eleven, I was on page eight of our dictionary.
"Active. Change, taking part." It is a struggle for me to read.
"Sound it out Jer." Gram chews the inside of her lip when she concentrates.
"Squiggle vooollll...caaaa...nooo..." It takes me a long time to figure out that word.
"Squiggle means related to. Remember Mount Saint Helens?" Gram has a good memory for an old person and knows everything. On May 18, Mount St. Helens blew up. Six days after my birthday. We had ashes from breakfast to Sunday, Gram said. They were a fine gray sand that got inside my mouth when I went outside, just like the stuff Doctor Reddy used when he cleaned my teeth.
"What’s breakfast to Sunday?" I asked.
"Don’t be smart." Gram always cautioned me about being smart.
I was still in the A's. Gram and I sat down and added it up. Our dictionary has 75,000 words and 852 pages. If I did one word a day, it would take me 205 years to finish. At three words, it would take 51 years. If I did five words, it would take 12 years and six months to get through the whole book. I wrote this all down. It is true because calculators do not lie and we used a calculator. Gram said we needed to re-think. Re-think means that you made a mistake and have to change your mind. You don't want to say you were wrong so you re-think.
"Pick up the pace Jer. We have to pick up the pace." Gram clapped her hands together to get my attention and make sure I was listening. I remember I was on the word auditor. An auditor is a listener. It says so in the dictionary. I decided right then to be an auditor. A listener. I remember this.
We picked up the pace and by the time I turned thirty-five, I was on page 337. Gram was right. That day my words were herd, herder, herdsman, here, here, hereabouts and hereafter. Hereafter means future.
"You have to think of your future!" Gram warns about the future each time I deposit my check in the bank. Half in checking and half in savings. For my future. It is very important to think of your future because at some point it becomes your past.
My best friend Keith agrees with everything Gram says.
"That L. It sure does stand for Lucky." Keith drinks beer wrapped in a brown paper sack. He works with Manuel, Gary, and me at Holsted's Marine Supply. I have worked for Gary Holsted since I was sixteen years old.
Keith is older and fatter than me. I do not call him fat because that would not be nice. He cannot help being older. I can always tell how old people are by the songs they like. For example, Gary and Keith like the Beatles so they are both older than me. Gram likes songs you never hear anymore like Crazy For You by Patsy Cline and Always by somebody who is dead. If the songs you like are all by dead people then you are really old.
I like every kind of music. Keith does not. He goes crazy when Manuel messes with the radio at work.
“Who put this rap crap on? Too much static! The reception is shit! Keep it on oldies but goodies.” Keith has to change it back with foil and a screwdriver because of the reception. Static is when somebody else plays music you do not like and you change it because of reception.
Before Holsted's, I learned reading, writing, and math from Gram and boat stuff from Gramp. After he died, I had to go to work. I remember everything Gramp showed me about boats and sailing. Our family used to own the boatyard next to Holsted's.
"It's a complicated situation." When Gram says this, her eyes get all hard and dark like olive pits, or like when you try to look through that tiny hole in the door at night. That is not a very smart thing to do because it is dark at that time and you cannot see very well.
Just before he died, Gramp took out a loan for a hoist for the yard. A loan is when someone gives you money then takes collateral and advantage. After that, you drop dead of a stroke by the hand of God. A hoist lifts boats up in the air and costs as much as a boat yard.
That's what the bank said.

ORION
02-22-2008, 09:11 PM
No.
From July to early November I worked with my agent "tweaking" and the manuscript swelled to 89,000 words. After it was sold and I worked with my Putnam editor after three rounds -december & January (some parts cut others expanded) the final word count was 87,000.
The basic story never changed --just some elements and characterizations.

KikiteNeko
02-22-2008, 09:17 PM
That's encouraging that your agent was willing to work with you to expand. :) Was this a big concern with your agent, or was it more of a publisher's standard to raise the WC?


No.
From July to early November I worked with my agent "tweaking" and the manuscript swelled to 89,000 words. After it was sold and I worked with my Putnam editor after three rounds -december & January (some parts cut others expanded) the final word count was 87,000.
The basic story never changed --just some elements and characterizations.

maddythemad
02-22-2008, 11:15 PM
Orion-- just thought I'd mention that at my favest little independent bookstore in the city where I am currently residing, Lottery is currently their staff pick of the month. It has its own little table at the front of the store and everything! And one of the staff members wrote a paragraph on its awesomeness, that sits on a placard below the book, but I'm afraid I can't quote it from memory. Something about your wit, humor, brilliance, awesome hairstyle, etc. :)

juneafternoon
02-22-2008, 11:15 PM
June! you can get it from the library but yanno I wouldn't be upset if you bought the hardback LOL!
Tomotthecat-
Lottery was the third manuscript I completed.
No libraries here in Brazil, which works out quite nicely for authors who write tempting books, such as yourself :D

I'm really curious about this though: are your royalties considerably less with paperback?

KikiteNeko
02-22-2008, 11:18 PM
As an aspiring literary writer myself, I really find your novel inspiring. It's incredibly well-written and the reason I love literary books so much, and you're so... not a pretentious jerk about it. Horray!


Orion-- just thought I'd mention that at my favest little independent bookstore in the city where I am currently residing, Lottery is currently their staff pick of the month. It has its own little table at the front of the store and everything! And one of the staff members wrote a paragraph on its awesomeness, that sits on a placard below the book, but I'm afraid I can't quote it from memory. Something about your wit, humor, brilliance, awesome hairstyle, etc. :)

ORION
02-23-2008, 01:14 AM
Tomothecat- no one was concerned AT ALL about the word count- that's not why it increased- it was entirely to do with creating a compelling narrative and enhancing the characterization. It had absolutely nothing to do with word count-
My particular style of writing results in the addition and expansion of material.
Maddy - ohhhhhh!!!!!I'm SO glad they like my hairstyle... Thanks a bunch for letting me know.
June- silly me- why do I assume everyone is from here (Hawaii) LOL. OK. Amazon it is!
Re the royalties on my paperback- Gee I gotta look LOL
the hardback royalties are 10% for the first 5000 copies sold and raises to 15% for over 10,000 copies.
The trade paper back is 7 1/2 % so yes it's less.

ORION
02-23-2008, 01:16 AM
I'm NOT a pretentious jerk????? Gee.
I can change that LOL...

jannawrites
02-23-2008, 01:58 AM
I hope it's turned into a movie! Any producers come knocking at your door yet, Orion?

ORION
02-23-2008, 02:18 AM
That's on a need to know basis...LOL
suffice it to say that negotiations are ongoing...

Chumplet
02-23-2008, 05:29 AM
Pat, I find it interesting that your query is so different from the ones we're all taught to write, yet it worked for you.

I imagine you'll do well with the paperback, since more people will buy it because it's more affordable than the hardcover. I'm glad I have my hardcover, though. My daughter paid for it!

ORION
02-23-2008, 09:02 AM
Chumplet I don't know that it's that different- it's just that I believe the compelling premise trumped all and the first 5 pages made the agents salivate a bit-
It just goes to show you that the query letter is a means to an end. My agent said it was well written for what she was used to...

jannawrites
03-07-2008, 09:12 PM
Pat, have you yourself read LOTTERY from cover to cover since its publication?

ORION
03-08-2008, 03:08 AM
Actually I had to for the trade paperback last month. A few errors were corrected. But it wasn't really a read for pleasure. I told myself I'd read it in June when the trade paperback is released.
BTW...I am flying off to Seattle tonight for a book club discussion Saturday and some stock signing -- then off to Calgary Canada for more stock signing and a visit with the author Holly Kennedy.
Then back to Seattle and home to Honolulu to thaw out!

ORION
03-10-2008, 06:54 PM
I'm in Calgary now! I'm signing some books at the Indigos among others!
Any AW's from Calgary comment or PM me!!

ORION
03-28-2008, 08:53 PM
Just wanted to say aloha and tell everyone I'm working hard on my next novel but I check this thread regularly for questions. It's hard to keep up online AND write.
I can't do both...but I will keep up this thread every day--

ORION
04-27-2008, 10:09 PM
Aloha again,
I will be in London for the Orange Prize award ceremony from May 29 to June 6.
Awers in the UK come one come all LOL!!
I think I will be doing signings and be available for a cuppa here and there...
I am too TERRIBLY excited!

Horseshoes
05-01-2008, 09:49 AM
The Orange nomination...holy cupcakes, Batman.

Beyond words, just good, good, doubly extra good for you.

I only just heard 'bout you getting Orange-ified. What say ye, folks? Hip, hip hooray for Pat.

Dollywagon
05-01-2008, 10:22 AM
See, it's always London that gets the attention!
What's up with having a book signing in Orkney for heaven's sake ... oh, okay then.

But still, it's not bluddy fair ...

benbradley
05-01-2008, 10:25 AM
The Orange nomination...holy cupcakes, Batman.

Beyond words, just good, good, doubly extra good for you.

I only just heard 'bout you getting Orange-ified. What say ye, folks? Hip, hip hooray for Pat.
And (also for anyone else who hasn't heard), you can also congratulate Orion in this thread:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=99599

ORION
05-04-2008, 10:31 PM
Thanks Ben!
The prize committee has made arrangements to have me go to a studio to make a recording of me reading a few chapters of LOTTERY.
It's quite interesting. What do you all like to hear when an author reads from their novel?
An excerpt from the beginning? From the middle?
I have today to figure it out-

jannawrites
05-05-2008, 12:12 AM
Hmm... I'd say read from the beginning. Get the listeners good and into it, then they'll have no choice but to go buy a copy. :)

Best of luck, Pat!

ORION
05-07-2008, 12:06 AM
Okay I took your advice and read the prologue and chapter 2...it was great fun and I totally got into the voices
I will post the link to the Orange Prize site when the audio goes up so you all can listen and let me know how I did!