Sunday, May 27, 2012


It's been a long few years writing this novel. If the book had been my baby, it'd be in high school right now. Scary thought. As Rachel has expressed before, there are times where I feel incredibly frustrated by the amount of time that has passed without me finishing this thing. At other times, I think about how much *life* I've lived concurrently, and how much I've learned, and I know that I've needed these years to be the writer I am now, and to be so much closer to the finish line.

In the meantime, there are some people in my life who just *get* how important writing is to me without ever expecting me to pick my game up or move onto something different, the way I might prod myself to do now and again. My blogmates and my wider circle of writing friends are at the forefront there.

There's also my husband, who is ever patient and always willing to listen to me yammer on. I have great friends out there, too, who always ask me how my writing is going or ask me about plot points or characters or events that I had no idea they knew.

But for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, one of my best friends surprised me with one of the most amazing presents anyone has *ever* given me, and I know that writers out there will be especially able to appreciate the awesomeness of this gift.

What is that? It's a hand-made World War I diary- blank, too, just ripe to be filled out by a certain fictional someone whose diary inspired the title of the novel, Between the Lines.

Inside, nicked from Pinterest, my blogs, the Compuserve Forum and independently researched, are photographs of the specific WWI locations and events that feature in my story, many of them turned into little postcards. It was especially amazing to me to discover, as I flicked through them, that every picture was exact to a location in the story- many locations and real events that I haven't yet pinned on Pinterest or mentioned elsewhere. I later confirmed with my friend that she had specifically hunted down snippets of writing scattered around the internet to get the right place names, and had researched those.

The attention to detail is such that a couple of the pictures show meticulously simulated water damage, just like you'd get if you sat in a muddy trench flipping through them :) There are some pictures of "home", too- exactly what I know my guys would keep with them. There's even one of Len's football team. When I first opened it, I got that it was a book, and I thought the pictures were cool, but I didn't get that it was *my* fictional diary, until I hit the letter folded up in the front flap.

Yes, that's Kit's letter to Bill, giving him the happy news that she's having a baby, which he gets in the trenches just before breaking down completely and winding up as a mental patient. I can't even quite remember when I posted that here- a good long while ago, I'm sure. But that was the puzzle piece that put it all together for me and kind of made me cry a little bit.

Is that not the most thoughtful, brilliant present ever? Thank you again, Ricki :)

What's the most supportive and wonderful thing someone has done for you to show they believe in your writing?


  1. Aw, she's awesome! And what a beautiful diary. It's wonderful when someone gets how important something is to you, isn't it? You're a lucky gal, Claire. :-)

  2. OH MY! This is awesome and amazing--the type gift you'll treasure forever. I love it, Claire. You have a wonderful friend.

  3. What a wonderful gift! Not just creative (it IS stunningly creative!) but so incredibly personal. She's a great friend who obviously cares about you enough to travel to your fictional world and recreate it. Kudos to Ricki!

  4. That's an awesome gift, Claire! I ought to pass this post around to some family and friends.....

  5. I'm late to the party, but (1) happy belated birthday, (2) what an incredibly thoughtful gift, (3) I hope it's been a great motivator for you, and (4) I hope all is well!

  6. That's a beautiful gift. Happy birthday, btw!

    I had two writing-related gifts that mattered a lot to me. The first was the gift of time. When I was writing my first novel, every Saturday my husband would take complete care of our baby so that I could spend the whole day writing. And after my first book was published, a cousin had a copy of the book leather-bound with gilt lettering. Still have it, needless to say.

  7. That is absolutely beautiful. What a considerate - and creative - gift! I think the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me was just encourage me to go on with writing when I was feeling down about it - not QUITE as creative but still great for me!

  8. This really shows so much thought, such an interesting and incredibly thoughtful gift.