Tag Archives: Susan Helene Gottfried

Black March

For those of you who don’t know me, I spend a lot of time on Google Plus. I love the relationships, news and information I’ve encountered there. Being on there, I have been informed, enlightened and surprised. At times that surprise isn’t a good thing. It was through google plus that I first learned about the SOPA, PIPA and ACTA bills. All of them have a ‘stop piracy’ lean to them, but they do so at the cost of censoring the internet and invading privacy of the individual. Today, I got a great surprise.

Thanks to the efforts of a handful of incredible people. (Moan Lisa, Shauna Myers, Giuseppe Russo, Gianmario Scotti) I have learned about an effort to support, feature and encourage an open market by supporting the independent authors, artists andĀ musiciansĀ around the world. The goal of Black March is to show the major individuals that influence how and where we purchase our entertainment, that we won’t tolerate their pushing the little guy out of the picture. I think this is a fantastic movement and I know I’m personally committing to the supporting Black March.

The best way to show your support for this movement is to purchase your entertainment this month from Independent Artists in all areas of entertainment. Take a moment and read a new author, support a new musician, and share your experiences with the world.


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One Small Detail

A couple of months ago, I came up with this killer idea for a new book. Killer, I tell you. If I’m truly going to move on, at least temporarily, from Trevor Wolff, this was the plot to do it with. I loved it. Loved the characters. Loved the concept. Excitement abounded and I could hardly get to work.

Except, this time… I didn’t want to. There was something in my way, something wrong, something stopping me, and I couldn’t figure out what it was.

The epiphany hit me from out of the blue, as the best epiphanies do. I’d originally envisioned my new character, Monica, as a pop star. I had a whole visual thing going for her: how she dressed, her personality, her past, the issues she had to face, what her body type was… the whole kit and caboodle.

Problem was: I don’t know much about pop stars. My very limited exposure to the pop music world wasn’t enough for me to pull this off properly. I needed more, I needed to get un-stuck about the small details of Monica’s pop-star life.

To be honest, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this problem with a female character. To be blunt: pop starlets fascinate me. I’m dying to write a book starring one. I keep trying — and keep running into the same obstacle.

Enter the epiphany. Change Monica’s music. Right now, the hard rock world is full of bands being fronted by women. Ann and Nancy Wilson aren’t pioneers anymore, they’re legends who may or may not have passed into ancient rock and roll history. Instead, we look at Evanescence’s Amy Lee as an old-timer, and we buzz about women like Maria Brink (In This Moment), Lizzie Hale (Halestorm), and Lacey from Flyleaf — I can go on and on. From where I sit, it’s never been a better time to be a woman fronting a rock band. Never a worse time to be my age and tone-deaf, either, but that’s another story for another time.

As soon as I made this change, got Monica out of her beaded dresses and platform stilettos, it all fell into place and the words flowed out of me.

One small detail. Pop music became Rock and Roll.

And my killer idea for a new book is flowing like crowds do when the doors to the arena are opened: slow at first, but then steadily, packing themselves onto the floor, excitement and anticipation making the air crackle.

Oh, it’ll be awhile yet before you can meet Monica in all her glory. For now, you’ll have to content yourself with Trevor. But remember: he came about in this same, exact way. An epiphany. A flow of words and ideas.

And, always, always, always, with no small dose of Rock and Roll.

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Trevor's Birth

When Trevor Wolff came into existence, I tried to get rid of him. “This is Mitchell and Kerri’s story,” I said. “It’s beautiful. They are an artist and a rocker who are each other’s muses. This is a romantic tale, even though it’s not a romance.”

Trevor, ever true to form, didn’t listen.

“Look,” I said. “For this plot line to work, you are dead. Get that? Dead. D. E. A. D. Dead.”

Trevor waggled a finger at me and told me I’d see. He told me to have patience, something he’s particularly bad about having.

And gosh darn it, the man was right.

For a long time, I hated that. I mean, hello? He’s fictional. He’s not real. Shouldn’t I, as the writer, be the one in charge?

You’d think… until you start filling a blog with Trevor Wolff and his cohort and best friend, Mitchell Voss, and come to find out that … your readers adore Trevor. So much that they still, to this day, invite him over to their blogs. Who wants the writer when they can have the rock star?

When a character comes along who resonates with people so utterly, I suppose it ultimately doesn’t matter where he came from. It doesn’t matter that people who know my public persona view Trevor as a more extreme version of myself.

Nope, what matters is bringing Trevor to the greatest number of people possible. What matters is being able to sit back with the satisfaction that this guy who no one wanted, not even his creator, has touched so many. Even the cover for The Demo Tapes: Year 3 was done for me by one of his fans. Yes, that’s him there in the wifebeater. He’s an entirely different creature from the man on the cover of Trevor’s Song, the full-length novel he stars in.

It’s amazing how we all view the same person in different ways. It’s even more amazing that it’s Trevor, the man who sprang to life, unbidden and unwanted, who has become the backbone of my fictional world. I don’t know where he came from, but I’m glad he’s here.

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