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  • Review: The Conspiration of the Universe by Kenneth Olanday

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Making of a Novel: What Happens Backstage? by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (Other Words For Love Blog Tour)

Today we have the talented Lorraine Zago Rosenthal here in our blog. Lorraine's debut novel, Other Words For Love was released January 11th and she's sharing us a behind the scenes look of how Other Words For Love came into existence, and what happens next. Join us in welcoming Lorraine!

Other Words For Love
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Imagine it’s your birthday. You come home from a grueling day at work or school, and your loved one has a surprise for you. The kitchen table is set with elegant linens, fresh flowers, and flickering candles. Then you have a delicious dinner followed by a homemade chocolate birthday cake covered with vanilla frosting applied so carefully that it’s as smooth as glass.

Everything looks gorgeous, doesn’t it? It all seems so easy, so effortless—as if a birthday fairy wearing a sparkly pink tutu swept in while you were away, tossed some glitter around, and—poof! There’s the impressive finished product, just waiting for you to enjoy.

But we all know there’s no such thing as magical fairies. (Darn!) The truth is, your loved one probably spent days, maybe even weeks, planning that dinner. He might have strained his eyes searching the internet for the best recipes; he probably burned his fingers while using the stove; he could have slipped and fallen on a patch of ice on his way out of the grocery store and been snickered at by snarky passers-by. Oh, and that flawless cake? Do you think that was his first try? Not likely. For weeks, he probably practiced the fine art of icing and watched countless episodes of Cake Boss while he cursed a blue streak and threw a few lopsided cakes in the trash, thinking all the while that—despite his good intentions—this project was much more difficult, time-consuming, and complicated than he’d ever expected.

Walking into that beautiful birthday dinner is sort of like strolling into a bookstore. You look at the shelves, filled with novels in pretty covers that tell stories of romantic vampires and dystopian worlds and complex real-life relationships, and you might think the books were created overnight by a smiling pack of book fairies. You know—the magic wand and the pixie dust and—poof!
Well…not exactly. Fairies are fake…remember? (See paragraph #3 if you’re not with me).

Books are a lot like homemade birthday dinners. The finished product hides what goes on behind the scenes, what happens backstage—which is where the tough part is.
Writing a novel and getting it published is a long and strenuous process. Most authors will tell you that by the time they’ve published their first novel, they’ve spent years studying other authors’ work, observing people and situations, practicing their craft, fine-tuning their own style, and spending long days and late nights revising and deleting and starting all over. And the work isn’t finished when you’ve completed that last chapter. Then you have to find an agent, and your agent has to find you a publisher, and after you get your book deal, you have to revise and proofread and revise once again. Or twice. Or ten times. You get the picture.

I’m no exception to this rule. My debut novel, OTHER WORDS FOR LOVE, began as a group of characters with distinct personalities who popped into my mind and gave me glimpses into their lives. It took a while for me to understand them and to fully see their story, and then I had to get it all down on paper—or actually, into my computer. I spent a long time writing the story that my main character, Ari, was telling me. Each day, I felt the manuscript coming together more and more, and my enthusiasm grew. When I was finished, I was sure I wanted to share Ari and her life with other people.

Of course, the work didn’t end there. The road to publication has been long, filled with joyous moments, difficult days, and lots of hard work. All writers have had times along the way that are similar to the kind your aforementioned loved one might have had when he was trying to ice that birthday cake—the moments when you think the endeavor was much harder than you’d imagined.

So why do writers do it? Why do they invest so much of their time, and so much of themselves? Probably for the same reason people make birthday dinners. They have something to give, and something they hope others will enjoy. Seeing the finished product—holding the book in your hands, and being able to share it, makes everything worthwhile.

About the author:

Lorraine was born and raised in New York City, where she went to high school in Queens at St. Francis Prep and graduated from the University of South Florida in Tampa with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Education. Lorraine also earned a Master's degree in English, with a concentration in American and British Literature, from Northern Kentucky University.

In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, exercising, and spending time with her husband. She's also a movie buff and an amateur film critic.

Other Words for Love is her first novel. Lorraine is currently working on another YA novel that is also set in NYC.

Thank you so much Lorraine for making a stop on our blog for the Other Words For Love blog tour! Remember to buy a copy of Other Words For Love! :) And if you want to hear the latest news from Lorraine, you can follow her on Twitter, on Goodreads, or check her blog.


  1. This is very, very interesting! Well, all of your hard work has paid off. Other Words For Love is gathering wonderful reviews ;)

  2. What a fantastic essay and an interesting way of looking at things you bring.
    I have heard fantastic things about Other Words for Love and I'll definitely be putting it on my "to be read" list.


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