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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Go See Spring Breakers


I see a lot of movies, often in the theater, because I love the communal experience of escaping into the lives, real or imagined, of others. A recent movie has stayed with me long after the final credits rolled and I left the popcorn-strewn Union Square theater in Manhattan. It is a movie that presents something quite titillating but quite instructive – a rare combination. The movie is called Spring Breakers.

It is about four girls from a small town who want to escape their little world and find some excitement – even if that adventure means falling into a reckless lifestyle. It is spring break and these young ladies don’t have enough money for a Florida road trip so three of them decide to rob a store using a hammer, a toy gun and some tough talk while wearing ski masks. They go on to sink deeper into breaking the law and crossing boundaries they previously adhered to. They get so deep that they are way beyond drinking, drugging, and screwing to excess. They are full-fledged gangstas.

The film is interesting on many levels. Visually, it is a guy’s fantasy. They did not spare revealing and up close – even slow-motion shots of naked chests and thronged butts. These girls are beautiful and the film certainly wants you to feel their powerful sexuality. Second, the way the story is told is almost like watching a 90-minute video.

There’s not a lot of one on one dialogue. Instead, there are plenty of flashbacks and replays with voiceovers. Snippets of conversation are interspersed with music-filled panoramic views of girls gone wild. It is like watching a visual scrapbook with a story pieced together by snapshots in time. Some of it is like viewing a car wreck, one that you cannot pry your eyes off of and almost feel a guilty pleasure in watching.

By the end of the movie, you feel like running away from the reality it portrays. As a father of two young children, I realize that they too will confront not just spring break but how they will live their lives. Will their adolescent adventures cost them a high price or will they find a balance between living a life of values and responsibility and having some fun?

This film shows what happens when one crosses limits and challenges the normalcy of everyday life. Go see it.

Interview With Romance Novelist Sue Moorcroft

1.  What type of books do you write? Romantic fiction of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. I'm fascinated by love affairs, basically, in all their dynamics and life-changing decisions. The books aren't romantic comedies but do contain the odd witticism or funny situation. I make it my mission to stop readers putting my books down. I envision those who are reading to the end of a chapter with the view of putting down the book - then I try to stop them.

2. What is your newest book about? Dream a Little Dream is about dreams both sleep time and aspirational. Liza Reece has a dream and Dominic Christy has lost his dream job after being diagnosed with the rare sleep disorder narcolepsy so has had to find a new dream. But if Liza realises her dream then Dominic can't realise his and if he gets his she can't have hers. To write a 'damaged hero' is to write about a man who has to be strong or cave in. Obviously, I don't let him cave in ...
 
3. What inspired you to write it? I knew a couple of things. I knew that the heroine was Liza Reece, who readers would already have met in All That Mullarkey as the sister of Cleo. Liza was just too naughty and fun to leave in Secondary Characterland.And I knew that Liza, a reflexologist, would meet Dominic when he was dragged unwillingly to a reflexology treatment with something he was pretty certain reflexology wouldn’t help at all. I didn’t know what the ‘something’ would be.

Then something random took a hand. I was in an online conversation about titles with a writing buddy and, speaking about a family situation, he said, ‘Life’s not a dream’. Even as I typed, ‘Dream! That would be a great word to have in one of my titles’ the idea flashed into my head to give Dominic the rare sleep disorder, narcolepsy. Had I realized then what a complex, frustrating and fantastical condition narcolepsy is, I think I would have chosen something easier!
  
4.  What is the writing process like for you? My first draft is messy. When I begin it's like being on the grid for a race - there are unlimited possibilities and nothing has gone wrong yet. But then it's hard, it hurts, I wonder why I ever thought I could make the story work and why I just don't begin another book. It helps if I know the ending, what I'm working towards, and have decided on some major plot points. This is very loosely what you might call 'a plan'. I write most days of the week but probably only a few hours as I have to fit in teaching and appraising and writing columns and other stuff I do. But I think those few hours are my best hours and if I devote twice as many, I don't get twice as much done.

5. What did you do before you became an author? The only full-time job I've ever had was as a secretary in a bank. I've also been a copytaker for motor cycle news, a book keeper and worked in digital pre-production, but they were all part-time jobs. At one point, I was doing all three at once.
 
6. How does it feel to be a published author? Seriously? Great. It has been my life's ambition and it took me a while (and a lot of hard work) to realize it. It takes a lot of work to keep it current, too. There's loads of promo and email conversations and stuff going on behind the scenes. I have to balance those things with writing or I'd never get another book out.
 
7. Any advice for struggling writers? Persist, educate yourself, don't make enemies. i) I truly believe that the name for a writer who doesn't give up is 'published' (just look at me) and giving up is not a good route to success. ii) There's some mad idea that writers are born and not made. My belief is that you may be born with an aptitude but you have to train hard, just like in any other career. You wouldn't expect to be a professional actor with a drama GCSE so why should you think your writing education from school should be enough? I'm not talking about formal qualifications but courses, classes, groups, seminars, talks, conferences, online forums, 'how to' books - they all educate you not on in the art of writing but in the world of publishing. iii) Enemies turn up in the most inconvenient places. If you let rip at an editor at Magazine A you can bet your last note s/he'll either turn up at Magazine B or be best friends with someone there.
 
8.  Where do you see book publishing heading? I don't, really. I'm just trying to keep up with wherever it goes. 

Sue Moorcroft writes romantic novels of dauntless heroines and irresistible heroes. Dream a Little Dream was nominated for a RoNA in the Contemporary Romantic Fiction category, and also the Best Romantic Read Award 2012 which her earlier novel Love & Freedom won in 2011. Sue is a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, has written a ‘how to’ book, short stories, serials, articles and courses, edited two anthologies and is a competition judge. For more information, please see: www.suemoorcroft.com and http://suemoorcroft.wordpress.com/.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013 

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