Leora Krygier came into my life unexpectedly when I received a copy of her novel Keep Her last year. You can read my review here. Since that time not only did I find myself moved by this endearing and thought-provoking story that was a 2016 silver medal winner of the Moonbeam Chidren’s Book Award, but I was continually touched and inspired by my correspondence with Leora. It is an honor to have her share her journey after writing Keep Her here today. So without further ado..
Stop Stalling – A Year After “Keep Her.”
By Leora Krygier
Stop stalling! That’s what I kept saying to myself every morning for a year after the publication of my novel “Keep Her.” But somehow that well-worn imperative didn’t give me enough of the nudge I needed. Sure, there were some understandable reasons – my dad’s illness and his eventual passing away, and a new, delicious baby in the family. There was a lot going on – birth and death and everything in between, still I knew. I was stalling. And this stalling became my “bête noir,” roughly translated, my “dark beast,” or the nagging thorn in my side because every time I sat down to write at my desktop computer, ten minutes later I got up and found something else to do instead.
Life after publication is both exhilarating but also downright nerve wracking. I’d been through it before – the excruciating wait for reviews, the readings, the mentions in the press, and the PR and marketing push. I did a lot of fun things this time including a SnapChat story, Instagram bookstagrams, a trip to the Book Expo in Chicago and meetings with environmental organizations like Heal The Bay, but still, writing and even publishing can be an often solitary road.
So now – thirteen months later, where am I? I’m still zigging and zagging on that road. I’m aching to write a sequel to Keep Her, to write the next life chapter for my beloved fictional characters Maddie and Aiden, whom I kind of left hanging at the end of the novel. But there’s another book – one that’s three quarters written, a memoir of sorts, and so much harder to write because it has to do with me, and who in the world wants to read about a year in my life?
But that non-fiction book needs completion, an arc closed, if not for others, than for myself. It’s about the year I made a left turn on both my writing and life roads. I spent a year researching a random W.W.II postcard I found in a thrift store in Los Angeles, then tracked down the owner and ran half way across the world to return it to its rightful place. And I say left turn because I should have been doing something else – figuring out my own family history, the whys and wherefores of my father’s past, his secrets and how they oozed into my life. But sometimes you have to make a left turn to get onto the right road, right?
I recently looked up the origin of the word “stall.” The noun refers to a compartment in a stable or shed that houses an animal. The verb is about delay, putting things away, i.e. putting them out of sight and out of mind. That definition made me realize that my “bête noir,” my own little beast was waiting for me to let it out of its stall.
And so, I did. I stopped stalling. Well, kind of. I reorganized my office space and put away a lot of my distractions. I bought a new chair. I finally opened up the computer file with the mostly written book and I’ve actually added and subtracted to the manuscript. It’s a start, I guess.
I think I wrote my first story at the age of eight, a micro-autobiography. Micro? Because, well, how much can you say at the age of eight? But I guess I was hooked. I also love to take photos with my cameras and iPhone, which is always snug in my back pocket.
For me, every photo has a story, and every story is a snapshot.
I’m the author of “When She Sleeps” (Toby Press) a New York Public Library Selection for “Best Books for the Teen Age,” and about which Newsweek said, “Krygier’s luminous prose transports the reader.”
I’m also a former Los Angeles Superior Court judge and the author of “Juvenile Court: A Judge’s Guide for Young Adults and their Parents” (Scarecrow Press).
I live in Los Angeles with my husband. When I’m not writing, I love to go to the beach, walk the Santa Monica Mountain trails, and snap lots and lots of photographs.
Leora enjoys a good English Breakfast tea and a blackberry infused tea and says “Nothing like a good cuppa”.
I want to extend a special thank you to Leora for sharing this experience and her time today.
Happy Reading ❤