Book Review: Coming Unglued

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Now you're probably thinking to yourself: "self, why is Di reviewing a fiction book?" And the answer is that this is a fiction book with a twist as it's also related to scrapbooking! If you've never heard of such a thing well let me tell ya that this is a great book centering around 4 sisters. Whenever one gets into a pickle a scrapnight is called where they talk and resolve issues. Heck even the title and book cover are scrap related! The good news is that "coming unglued" is part of a series! Each of the books centers on a female character so you don't HAVE to have read the previous books.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but this book focus's on Kendra the arty one of the sisters, and although I think every scrapbooker could probably relate to each sister in some way, we're definitely more of a Kendra. I will say that I AM a bookworm and once into a book I struggle to let go till it's done and I read this sucker in one afternoon (I am also a fast reader, ask my Mom). It had me gripped, loved it. And whilst it wrapped up all the loose ends with Kendra it also touched on points in the other sisters lives which made you want to read more about them (Tandys upcoming wedding, Joys fertility issues, and Megs health is troubling me too) but I guess those are another book to be written for another day!

The author Rebeca Seitz published her first novel, Prints Charming, in 2007. 2008 saw the release of her next two novels, Sisters, Ink and Coming Unglued, Her next two books, Scrapping Plans and Perfect Piece will release in 2009 and I for one cannot wait! The great news is that Rebeca kindly agreed to do a little Q&A for me on the blog :o)

Firstly, how long have you scrapbooked? And what got you started?
I’ve been scrapping for a little over a decade. My sister (Christie) became a Stampin’ Up demonstrator and I purchased the products to support her. (Which explains all the Pampered Chef, Tupperware, and other buy-at-parties stuff in my cabinets! Ha ha!) Since I had the products, I figured I should probably use them. Christie’s enthusiasm for her newfound hobby was infectious and, before long, I was as much of an addict as she!

Have you always wanted to write? Did you write before you scrapbooked? Or did you scrapbook then find writing as your passion?
I’ve always been a lover of stories. I memorized my first short story – Benji Goes to School – at age 4 and have just been hooked on the escapism stories provide ever since. I wrote my first short story at age eight about a magic cornstalk. (I grew up on an old family farm, so I didn’t have much else to work with!) I continued to write throughout school and was encouraged to focus on my writing by several teachers along the way. It wasn’t until my early twenties, though, that I started seeking out a writing career in earnest. The ironic part is that I turned down the initial interest I received in my first novel. I remember thinking something wasn’t quite right, that the timing was off or there were still some things I needed to learn before I put my words out there for the world to read. Not too long after that, I became a literary publicist and got to spend all day every day telling people about good books published by Thomas Nelson. A year later, I left Thomas Nelson and opened Glass Road Public Relations (an entertainment publicity firm), which is still my day job. And a few months after that, the editor at TN called with the idea of writing a story that had scrapbooking as a theme. My loves collided!! That first novel, Prints Charming, came out in 2007. I then signed with B&H Publishing to write four more novels. Sisters, Ink and Coming Unglued released this year. Scrapping Plans and Perfect Piece release next year.

What was your publishers reaction when you said you wanted to combine writing and scrapbooking?
I only wish I’d been smart enough to come up with the idea! Really, the genius was Ami McConnell at Thomas Nelson Publishers. She knew I loved scrapbooking and stories. She also knew – being the savvy editor she is – that there was no trade series fiction in the marketplace geared toward scrapbookers. So, she asked me if I could combine the two.

Can you describe your writing process? How long does it take from conception to print?
My writing process is a lot like me – passionate, frenzied, and unusual. I’ve found I don’t like outlining novels before I start because I get bored during the writing (knowing what’s going to happen). So, I sit down and begin writing the movie that’s playing in my head. About halfway through the book, I can typically tell how things are going to be resolved. That’s always a cool moment! I think this method works for me because I’ve been reading and watching stories all my life, so I somehow inherently think in story. It takes 2-4 weeks for me to write a book, then 2 months to edit it with a professional editor.

In the book the four sisters call scrapnights to discuss events happening in their lives and they work through these problems whilst scrapping. Is this something you do in real life with family/friends?
I wish! My scrapping girls are in three different states. We have to plan our get-togethers. The neat part of that is, when we get together, we’re 100% about scrapping and talking because we’ve blocked out time to do just that. The scrapping nights idea came from my own family – we used to call “family meetings” when there was something major to discuss.

Which of the four sisters are you more like? Or are they drawn from different aspects of your personality? I find I’m a mix of 3 of them: Kendra, Joy and Tandy.
The only one I don’t have a ton in common with is Joy – I wish I could be as organized as she is! I’m most like Kendra and Tandy – headstrong and stubborn like Tandy, eclectic and artsy like Kendra.

The book ‘coming unglued’ seems very emotionally led. Did you draw on a personal past experience as background for the book?
Absolutely. My first marriage ended as a result of betrayal. I was 22 years old at the time and fairly certain my entire world had just come crashing down around my ears. I was dumbfounded with no idea how to react, what to be, or even who I was anymore. I spent a lot of time trying to understand how such a thing had entered my life – especially how one woman could do this to another. I came to the conclusion that (a) no one wakes up one morning and says, “I think today I’ll become an adulterer.” It’s a gradual process that the ones committing the act rarely plan or even realize they’re heading for until it’s too late. And (b) when someone messes up, it’s always a result of allowing someone else control over your decisions. I’m a Christian, so I believe that “someone else” is satan. And I believe that satan delights in messing up the lives of Christians. He actually gets joy when we hurt! When I look at the situation from that point of view, it becomes doable to forgive and to even empathize with the “other woman” because I’ve done a lot of giving up control to satan in my own life. Oh, he’s let me think that the act (lying, over-eating, you name it) was my decision, but the over-arching decision was to do things satan’s way instead of the way I know God has planned for me. If I’m not going to forgive others for doing that, I should probably quit asking God to forgive me for doing the same.

In the book, Kendra has an accident which leaves her burned, as someone who burned herself badly earlier this year I can tell you I flinched when that part of the story unfolded, but you describe it so accurately, and so detailed. Was this drawn from personal experience? If not how did you go about researching such detail?
Thankfully, I’ve never had a large burn. I wanted Kendra to experience some sort of physical pain in addition to the emotional pain with which she struggled. The scene in which she got burned happened before I realized what I was typing. I kept telling her to be careful – even while my fingers flew across the keyboard! When the oil hit her leg, my fingers stopped. I wasn’t sure what would happen at that point. So, I looked up the number to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville and spoke to the head doctor of the burn unit – he’s acknowledged in the beginning of the book. He was incredibly gracious in answering my questions and telling me what Kendra would go through if different substances hit her skin in the manner I’d described. He walked me through her likely hospital experience and recovery. Once I had put the information into my mind, my fingers took off across the keyboard again.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to write their own book?
Don’t! Ha ha! Seriously, writing novels is a very tough gig. It’s like putting your child on stage and hoping the world doesn’t make snide remarks or reject it. Unless you’re willing to develop (or already possess) an extremely thick skin, do not become a writer. Because, when those reviewers make some wisecrack about your characters or storyline, you can’t respond. It doesn’t serve any purpose. You have to become comfortable with the idea of allowing people to talk about you and your work in whatever manner they see fit, in whatever media outlet they see fit, and trust (in my case) God to handle the outcome.
However, IF you’re a diehard lover of story and you’ve got these voices rattling around in your brain that just won’t hush until you put their story onto paper (or screen), then go ahead and write. It’s much cheaper than going to a therapist to make the voices hush. Ha ha!
Okay, okay, I really will be serious now – if you want to be a writer, go to a writers conference and learn what you’re getting into. Listen to the editors and authors and publishers who make this industry run. Then ask yourself, “Do I want to be a part of that community? Of that industry? Do I want to work hard – really, really hard? Am I willing to take criticism? To grow?” If you answer yes, then start writing.

I think that about wraps up this review, if you're looking to pick up a copy of the book then check back Friday, cos I have a copy to give away!


Michele September 16, 2008 at 7:37 PM  

I'll definately be adding these books to my Christmas wish list.

I really enjoyed reading her blog interview that was really nice of her to do!

I very much enjoy your blog!

Oh and I did your tutorial Altered Journal on and linked you up on my blog as well.

Beverley Todd September 17, 2008 at 3:30 AM  

Ooooooh! Sounds great - interesting to read the Q&A Too! I shall deffo be back on Friday! LOL

Janet September 17, 2008 at 5:11 AM  

What great ideas for books! Why didn't I think about that? Dah, because I am not a writer, but the subject matter sure would interest me. Put my name in the hat to maybe win a copy. Thanks for a great blog!

NancyJones September 17, 2008 at 7:24 PM  

ya know i think i might would actually read this if i can see it. wonder if they do books on tape? Di you can just call and read it to me hehehehe SOrry that cracked me up!

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