“This is true love – you think this happens every day?” ~Wesley, The Princess Bride
The answer to that quote is ‘no, true love is often elusive.’ I recently read a unique and interesting take on relationships, mostly of a romantic nature, but also friendship, appropriately entitled: Fractured: essays on love, friendship, and the nightmares in between by K.J. Pierce. I downloaded and read it in one sitting.
Author Keiti Pierce has led a colorful life with an eclectic succession of ‘man boys’ with whom she explored the possibility of obtaining that intangible ‘something more,’ that rare relationship in which she can fully express and share herself with someone equally capable of giving back. The search continues, but she’s learned a great deal along the way and gleaned insights well worth sharing with fellow seekers, or anyone interested in how people relate—or don’t—and why that might be. This quote taken from her book struck me as profound, “As easy as it is to blame someone else when hurt feelings come into play, it really was irrelevant who was at fault in the demise of my previous relationships, romantic or otherwise. The fact of the matter is that they all had one thing in common: me. I figure that has to mean something.”
I agree. And so she begins with herself. Wise indeed. While deeply pensive and introspective, Fractured is also rich in the comic as Ms. Pierce is gifted with a wonderful sense of humor. And that’s a good thing because she’s needed it.~
And now, my interview with Author Keiti Pierce:
To get us started, I have some questions for you to ponder, the sorts of things all of us, readers and writers alike, wonder about. Normally I find myself interviewing authors of romantic fiction, but as Fractured is a deeply personal work of nonfiction, I won’t ask if you’ve killed off any of your characters (I, of course, have) or what attracted you to paranormal or historical romance… In Fractured, you explored the real thing, or lack thereof, in your own life. Are you a diehard romantic (like me) and is that what prompts your search for ‘true love?’ *Perhaps you have a different wording, such as meaningful and lasting relationship?
Keiti: You’re right, I haven’t killed off any characters, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t *thought* about it on occasion. 🙂 I am absolutely a die-hard romantic, something which many of my friends have shared a laugh over. I tend to have a bit of a tough exterior so it isn’t always apparent. I’m sure the dreaminess of True Love is part of what prompts me; there’s something utterly compelling in the idea that there is one perfect person for me – that’s the romantic part. The 40-year-old me, though, has a hard time reconciling the concept of true love with the reality of my life – in that I sometimes feel that, as an adult, I’m supposed to be beyond the girlhood fancies. Regardless, I think for most people, myself included, there’s a draw towards wanting companionship – someone to share your life with, good, bad, and ugly.
Beth: Also along those lines, what draws you to search your soul and share those discoveries? Do you hope to help fellow seekers along the way?
Keiti: Ultimately, it comes down to a general sense of dissatisfaction with where my life is at the moment. It just so happened that when I sat down to write it tended to involve relationships, romantic or otherwise. I was very lucky as a teenager and young adult in that I had a great group of friends who were supportive and who accepted me for who I was. I chose to walk away from most of them when I was 24 due to growing up a bit and deciding that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life clubbing and absorbing all the emotional chaos that went along with it. In doing so, though, I stuck myself in this weird middle ground. I don’t feel wholly comfortable in what I call normal society, but I don’t feel like I belong in the freak scene any longer either – at least not to the same extent. This affects every aspect of my life, but what it means in terms of dating is that “normal” men tend to think I’m too weird and “freak” men tend to think I’m too normal.
Basically, it all comes down to sorting out for myself where and with whom (if anyone) I belong. For me, writing is far better (and less expensive) than therapy and taking meds; my original intention in writing these essays was wholly selfish, sort of a writing-induced exorcism. (*I totally agree ) That being said, it’s ridiculously easy to fall into the trap of thinking I’m the only one who feels this way and certainly if my essays remind others that they’re not alone, either, that’s fantastic. If I otherwise provide a laugh or two along the way, that’s a HUGE bonus.
*Indeed it is.
Beth: Back to the beginning, what was it that made you want to be an author? Are you one of those writers like me whose been scribbling since childhood, or did the burning desire to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard strike later in life?
Keiti: I’m not sure there’s one defining moment that made me want to be an author. I can’t say I’ve been writing since I was 5 or anything like that. The first story I can remember writing was co-authored with a friend of mine when I was in eighth grade and it was, oddly enough, a romance between us and our favorite members of Menudo (a Puerto Rican boy band back in the 80s for those who might not know.) I actually still have the notebook packed away somewhere. Anyway, I’m pretty sure it was more of a way to break the monotony of school than a burning desire to write. (*Beth again, school bored me senseless and I also wrote little pieces and poems) It wasn’t until I took a creative writing class in my early 20s that I realized I was relatively adept at something (and honestly I was beginning to despair.) From there, I ended up studying English Literature / Creative Writing at Agnes Scott College where I fully indulged myself in actually learning the rules of writing. Mostly so I could try to break them.
Beth: A follow up question, have you ever written in another genre besides nonfiction or considered it? If so, might I suggest romantic comedy? 🙂
Keiti: You’re not the first person to suggest I write romantic comedy. I had this fantastic roommate when I lived in Los Angeles who swore I should write Chick-Lit. My original intention out of college was to write scripts (film and play) but I find that I start scripts, get a great storyline going then they languish in a drawer because I get distracted by another idea. I’m a great ideas person, but sometimes my follow through stinks. I am considering trying my hand at fiction – I’ve had this idea for a YA series in my head for the better part of 20 years, but fiction not a format I’m wholly comfortable with. (*Get comfortable because you’d be terrific!)
Beth: Do you ever struggle with writer’s block? What are some of your coping strategies? Apart from bribing yourself with chocolate, as I do.
Keiti: I constantly struggle with writer’s block, though that may be my tendency to jump from idea to idea more than anything else. I’m also (if you’ll pardon the pun) a fractured writer. I can’t concentrate on anything longer than about 10 minutes. Generally, I’ll write for a bit, take a break to think about what I’m writing, distract my brain by playing online games then go back to writing. This gets repeated quite frequently. (*I hear you.)
Beth: Clearly there are many individuals who helped inspire this work, whether for good or bad. Is there a particular someone who was the catalyst for your writing Fractured?
Keiti: Absolutely. Name and identifying characteristics withheld, of course, but it’s someone I love dearly who quite unmaliciously broke my heart, though I think the unmalicious part made it so much worse – it’s easier to walk away from someone if I’m angry. The emotional wreckage is what gave me the kick in the ass I needed to actually start compiling this collection. I still struggle with how I feel and what to do about him – I tend to think the best of people even when many other people would have already walked away. This is an unfortunate pattern for me – one that makes me feel like I’m the resident idiot of lost causes.
And that indecision is probably why I chose not to include an essay specifically about him – I started one, but ended up feeling like I was writing it to serve an agenda more than anything else. I’m still too emotionally attached to sit back and look at it from an honest viewpoint.
I also discovered that revisiting old wounds and remembering the “good, old days” was extremely emotionally taxing. It got to the point where I was sick to death of thinking and writing about relationships. Perhaps one day I’ll do an updated version of Fractured with additional essays – there were some people I simply couldn’t write about quite yet – but for now I’m ready to move on to other topics. (*Understood, and a big hug)
Beth: Who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Keiti: My hands-down favorite author is Oscar Wilde, book: The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is ironic because it was Wilde’s way of sorting out two very conflicting sides of himself – the chaste Victorian side and the rebellious indulgent side. I can only hope my own exploration doesn’t end in quite the drastic finish. 🙂 My next favorite is Anne Rice’s A Cry to Heaven, which has some of the most beautiful language I’ve ever read. I’m also partial to Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series and the Harry Potter series – I’ve just finished re-reading that in prep for the last movie. Right now I’m reading this great book called Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites by Franny Moyle. It seems I can’t get away from relationships no matter how hard I might try!
Aside from that I’ll pretty much read anything you put in front of my face. (*I much admire Oscar Wilde too, and if Author Linda Nightingale is reading this, she’s got to be his biggest fan ever).
Beth: Any new projects you’re at work on, or new directions you’d like to tell us about? Any further comments?
Keiti: I haven’t started anything new, yet, but I plan to start work on another collection of essays about growing up as an Army Brat within the next couple of weeks. I have an urban romance short story, Weeping Ash, available for sale on a number of different sites including Smashwords, BN.com, and iTunes. (It apparently hasn’t yet shown up on Amazon, but kindle formats can be purchased at Smashwords.) I also have 3 scripts that need attention and a completed children’s play (Bethany and the Belfry Bat) that needs to be shopped around, though I am considering turning that into fiction, as well. All-in-all, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy on the writing front for a while.
Beth: Agreed. I hope you will return to my blog when you have more to report. And we’d all love to hear about your happily ever after which the die-hard romantics among us still believe will come. 🙂
Keiti has generously agreed to give away a download or two of her new release, Fractured, to one of the visitors who leaves her a comment.
Fractured is currently available at Smashwords and will move onto Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online booksellers.~