Monday, April 9, 2018

5 Reasons to #Write Nostalgically with guest Corinna Austin


Please welcome Corrina Austin, author of Corners!

Five Reasons to Write Nostalgically
by Corrina

People who are writers may be familiar with the oft-used phrase, “Write what you know.” Although I don’t always agree with that advice (because I think the imagination can take a writer well beyond the realms of what is known and familiar), I can certainly see the value in the suggestion. As writers and human beings, what we know is the result of a lifetime of experience, connection and accumulated wisdom. There is much to be harvested from the memory.

I discovered this truth while writing my novel, Corners. The story shot up from roots in my own memories of growing up in the 1960’s. The community swimming pool and the “deep end test,” the countless summertime pitchers of Freshie, the noisy old refrigerator, a favourite childhood movie called The Incredible Mr. Limpett, even a visit from the Avon lady—all of these long-forgotten (or so I thought) things resurfaced during writing and made a framework for my characters and the stories they had to tell. Connecting writing with my personal memories in Corners brought an element of joy to the work of writing that I never anticipated.

Aside from the happy vibes of fondly looking back, here are five more reasons to write nostalgically that I discovered when I let my memories lead the way in writing Corners:

1)    Nostalgic writing is as close as you can come to getting into a time machine.

I didn’t know that writing about the 1960’s would draw my memories out so vividly. As I wrote, I could hear that old fridge vibrating and humming through the night while I lay in bed as a child. I vividly recalled the metal pin I got to wear on my bathing suit with such pride after I passed the deep end test. I could visualize the diner my mom would take me to for a plate of shared fries and a Coke after a shopping excursion. There was something about the process of writing that took me back to the past in ways that verbally recollecting and reminiscing never could.

2)  Nostalgic writing empowers you to transport your readers back in time right along with you.

Finding connection with your audience is one of the most rewarding things that a writer can experience. Some readers of Corners who remember the 60’s have related to me that through my story, their day-to-day memories of that time have resurfaced. Writing about the past can be like giving someone back something special that was thought to be lost. And younger readers who may not have been around during the setting of your story are able to get little glimpses of what life was like in those days.

3)  Writing from your own experiences adds credibility to your writing.

No one could dispute my protagonist’s authority as he narrated Corners because I was there. I was a kid in the 60’s. This first-hand knowledge gave me a sense of confidence that I hadn’t experienced when I worked on other manuscripts where I was relying entirely upon research and my imagination.

4)  Writing nostalgically allows you to more fully appreciate your childhood relationships and connections.

Developing the characters in Corners brought back aspects of my parents, siblings, neighbours and childhood friends that had faded in my memory. It reminded me of where I came from and of all the events and experiences that shaped me. Not only does this allow for more depth and understanding in my present relationships, it also can’t help but to add more texture and richness in my writing.  I’ve realized there is nothing trivial or unimportant when it comes to the details of daily life as they translate into stories.

5)    Writing nostalgically allows you to critically inspect what has and has not improved over time.

The good old days seem like just that, in some ways. When we look back, it’s often through rose-coloured glasses. When I think of the 60’s, things like “flower power,” the Beatles, and the burgeoning sense of societal optimism come to mind. But, writing Corners also reminded me that the 60’s weren’t all sunshine and roses. My protagonist faced daily ostracizing at school because his mother had him out of wedlock (and she was disowned by her parents for this reason). This same mom was often sexually harassed by costumers at the diner where she worked as a waitress and this seemed to be just “part of the job.” Children were killed or disabled by Polio in the 60’s. The stigma of mental illness in those days kept people isolated or locked away. Sometimes, people defer to the past because they’ve romanticized it. It’s good to keep in mind that although it can seem like some things have been lost over time, we’ve also come a long way.

Everyone needs their own special corner...

It’s 1969 and ten-year-old Davy is in a predicament. With two weeks remaining of the summer holidays, he’s expelled from the public pool for sneaking into the deep end and almost drowning. How will he break the news to his hard-working single mother? She’s at the diner all day, Davy has no friends, and he’s too young to stay by himself.

The answer lies in his rescuer, mysterious thirteen-year-old Ellis Wynn. Visiting her Grammy for the summer, Ellis offers to babysit Davy. She teaches him about “corners”–forgotten or neglected areas fixed up special. Together, the kids tackle several “corners” and Davy learns what it means to bring joy to others.

Davy begins to wonder, though. Why does Ellis want to be his friend? Why doesn’t she ever smile? And is Davy just one of Ellis’ “corners?”

Release date - March 6, 2018
$10.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 136 pages, Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C.
Juvenile Fiction - Boys & Men / Fiction - Coming of Age
Print ISBN 9781939844392 eBook ISBN 9781939844408
$3.99 EBook available in all formats

“Austin’s message of true friendship and selflessness will resonate...strong addition to the realistic fiction genre.” - Library Journal

“This book was so engaging! Five out five stars.” - TDC Book Reviews

“This is a story about love and loss, wrapped in a blanket of friendship... reminds me of the storytelling method used in The Princess Bride.” - Gina @ Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

“I hope you enjoy making a corner once you've read this sweet emotional read.” - Nayu’s Reading Corner

Corrina Austin grew up in the 1960’s. She became a mother of four and an elementary school teacher, but always found time between work and family for writing. From childhood to the present, if she wasn’t reading a book, she was writing one. While honing her craft as a writer, Corrina strives to infuse the ordinary with beauty, whimsy, and connection. She lives in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

Kobo -

A quick review from me (Tyrean): Corrina's beautifully written novel made me want to
start creating special corners in my life and in the lives of people around me. I think the
character arcs, plot development, and the beauty of the prose in Corners make it
a must-read for anyone of any age.
Highly Recommended Reading!