In today’s episode, Kelly brings us behind-the-scenes of “Picture Us in the Light” from discussing the inspiration and catalyst for her new novel to a detailed look at Kelly’s hands-on research process for the story. She walks us through the importance of strong character building when crafting conflict scenes, how to craft authentic characters whose experiences are different from our own, and how to weave empathy into the story by reflecting on personal experiences.
Further into our conversation, Kelly shares advice on coping with and overcoming writer’s block to move forward with your work, how you can work with your support network to strengthen your story’s plotlines, and she also shares why it’s crucial to give yourself permission to step away from your story.
Kelly will be taking over our Instagram stories for the release of her episode, be sure to catch her takeover by clicking here. She also created a very helpful writing prompt exclusively for our community, scroll to the bottom of this page to download your copy.
PS. If you enjoyed this episode, I’d really love your support in growing our community by subscribing to us on iTunes, and leaving a rating and review. These specific steps help to increase our visibility on iTunes which really helps new listeners discover us. A huge heartfelt thank you for your time and support! You can click here to go directly to our iTunes page!
“I think I always tend to forget how much you just have to end up deleting and how much you have to write and write and write to sort of get to the heart of the story and figure out the characters.”
“If you feel like you’re in this rut, nothing is happening, I promise when you step back you will start missing it and I think that is always a good place to be in.”
“Thinking about how everything is interconnected and how every action leads to a reaction has been, I think, really useful for me.”
What You’ll Learn From This Episode:
- The inspiration and catalyst behind Kelly’s new novel “Picture Us in the Light”
- A look at Kelly’s hands-on research process and her advice on researching frightening topics
- Ways you can get involved in the fight against human trafficking
- How to craft authentic characters whose experiences are different from your own
- The importance of strong character building when crafting multidimensional conflict scenes
- How you can work with your support network to strengthen your story’s plotlines
- Advice on coping with and overcoming writer’s block to move forward with your work
- Kelly’s experience writing a story that matched a proposal that was already sold
- How to weave empathy into your story by reflecting on personal experiences
- The importance of giving yourself person to step back from your story
Learn More About “Picture Us in the Light”
PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT by Kelly Loy Gilbert, author of the William C. Morris Debut Award finalist Conviction, is a profound love story with epic scope that will break readers’ hearts and put them back together again. Told through the eyes of eighteen-year-old Danny Cheng, this urgent and hauntingly beautiful novel delves into critical and timely issues of deportation, systemic racism, and sexual identity.
Danny’s exploration of his own identity through the lens of his art provides a fresh and fascinating coming of age narrative. Best-selling author of Mosquitoland David Arnold calls the novel “fierce proof that Kelly Loy Gilbert is one of the best writers around” and The Serpent King author Jeff Zentner raves “few books have ever moved me like this masterful story.” In addition, #1 New York Times best-selling author Melissa de la Cruz says, “This urgent, achingly beautiful story shines a light on those living in the shadows. A beacon of hope and resistance.”
There is a lot of darkness in this novel—Danny’s parents, immigrants from China, have a terrible secret that is as tragic as it is dangerous. Danny must look head on at the evil that lies beneath the façade of order and security in society. He learns what it feels like to be terrified in his own home, waiting for that knock on the door that could rip apart his entire world. He sees the face of systemic racism and what it is to have everything you love stripped away, layer by layer, as the world stands by, indifferent.
Yet there is also the brightness of hope and redemption through love. The electrifying tension between best friends Danny Cheng and Harry Wong will wreak emotional havoc on anyone with a beating heart. Harry—Silicon Valley rich, ranked nationally in tennis, heartbreakingly handsome—has been going out with Danny’s friend, Regina Chan, for years. When Danny begins to question his world and digs deeper into his parents’ past, he uncovers a secret that disturbs the foundations of his life. With everything he loves in danger of being lost, Danny must face the ghosts of the past in order to build a future that belongs to him.
The joy and loss interwoven throughout PICTURE US IN THE LIGHT can hurt, but in reading and sharing this novel, it also heals in a way only art can: it lets readers not feel alone.
Learn More About Kelly Loy Gilbert
Kelly Loy Gilbert believes deeply in the power of stories to illuminate a shared humanity and give voice to complex, broken people. She is the author of Conviction, a William C. Morris Award finalist, and lives in the SF Bay Area.
Books & Resources Mentioned in Kelly’s Episode:
The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee
Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee