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Saturday, March 23, 2019

 

Jump right in

I've written about first sentences in the past, but today I want to expand the definition of the beginning to include the first few pages of a short story, or first chapter of a book. For example, when writing a story about a girl going to a dance, how far ahead of the dance do you begin? Do you start with her looking for a dress? Or begin with the tension and nervousness of a boy asking her, or her worry that she won't get asked, or getting her nails and hair done at the salon? There is no one correct way to begin, but I want to give you a few ideas that may help strengthen the beginning so no one will be able to put down your book or story.

I've read a couple short stories lately that begin long before the action, and I've also written a few that way. In the first few paragraphs or pages, I may want to explain a lot about the character, situation, or plot, and end up spoon-feeding information. I often feel the need to explain everything, like where he or she grew up, why the situation is a problem, and some background to help the reader understand what's going on, and why.

My story, The Masterpiece, begins with a child asking his grandfather about a statue in the park. The grandfather explains who the statue represents, and why, except that I stretch out the dialog back and forth between the two for several paragraphs.

Every person who has critiqued the story says I should begin closer to the action. Is the grandpa connected to the story? Why is he even there? My thought was that it would be like the beginning of the movie The Princess Bride, where Peter Falk, as the grandfather, tells the story to a very young Fred Savage, his grandchild. But unfortunately, I can't seem to pull it off like William Goldman, the master storyteller who wrote it.

I've read other books and stories with this same issue. The back story is spelled out, as if the author isn't confident enough in the writing to let the story speak for itself. I've also fallen into the trap of trying to describe a person, or everything that's happened in my protagonist's life. Long descriptions and summaries at the beginning can bore the reader, who doesn't have context. Because we don't care about this person yet, a laundry list describing someone's clothing, cars, or dilemma don't provide insight. If an editor is bored, he or she won't take the time to read the entire story or chapter.

Take that backstory and weave it into the first chapter, spread it out to take readers on a journey, teasing out the information a little at a time. Put some of that good stuff at the beginning. Try using an argument: A bill collector knocks on the door after your protagonist has been out of work for several weeks. She wants to pay her bills, but she can't find a job. By creating empathy or sympathy for the character through this dialogue, we are already feeling her pain, and rooting for her. And we'll probably continue reading to see how she solves the problem.


Mary Horner is a freelance writer and editor.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

 

Friday Speak Out!: The Value of a Critique Group

by Kay Butzin

For Christmas I received a T-shirt with the slogan I’m silently correcting your grammar. I haven’t had the nerve to wear it in public yet.

In my living room, I’m not silent, yelling corrections at television announcers, reporters, and interviewees who abuse the English language. However, my critique group members require a different approach from either of these. My fellow writers want constructive feedback. They want to know what is working and what isn’t.

So I admire the vivid verb and precise noun, praise an original turn of phrase as well as point out the cliché in need of one. I give the effective detail a double + but also note anything extraneous or confusing, taking care to respect individual style and the language differences among genres. A critique is not a rewrite. A grammar nut can’t help but make corrections and suggestions, but I remember that the author is the final author-ity.

Questions for evaluating plot, character, dialogue and setting:
• Does every paragraph and scene advance the plot? Do details contradict or support each other? What needs clarification? What else would I like to know?
• Could descriptions and explanations show more and tell less? Do they advance or interrupt the flow of the narrative?
• Can I believe in the characters’ motivations?
• Does the dialogue serve to make a point or illustrate character?
• Where does the story take place? When?
In offering my own work for critique, I listen to the members’ comments with an open mind and a closed mouth. Not engaged in defending my work, I hear what my readers either misunderstood or didn’t understand at all.

Rules for receiving the best critique:
• Leave your feelings at the door.
• Avoid giving too much back story. Let the writing speak for itself.
• At the end if you haven’t received it, ask for any specific feedback you need.
• Thank the members for their help.
The amount and quality of input will exceed your expectations, and you will have to make yourself stop thinking about corrections to concentrate on the next member’s presentation.

Before and After, my first place winner in the Women On Writing Q4 2018 Nonfiction Contest drew both praise and criticism when I shared it. Someone even caught an error in subject-verb agreement! I made every change the members suggested, and their input deserves a large part of the credit for the essay’s success.

Therefore, any work I submit from now on will have to pass my critique group’s inspection first.

* * *
Kay Butzin writes for pleasure more than profit and enters flash fiction and nonfiction contests to help her stay motivated and productive. Her guest post, Journaling Through Life’s Transitions, recently appeared on the CreateWriteNow.com blog. She shuns social media but will respond to email at kaybutzin@gmail.com.
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Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!
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Thursday, March 21, 2019

 

Introducing YA Author Kelly Coon and her Amazing Story of Persistence

I'm so excited to introduce you guys to Kelly Coon today! Kelly is a debut young adult author whose first fantasy novel is coming out at the end of October from Delacorte Press, titled Gravemaidens! Kelly's story of getting an agent and publication contract is truly one of hard work and perseverance; if you're feeling bummed out with a couple of rejections, then you are lucky you landed on this interview today. Well, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Read on to find out about Kelly, her publication journey, and what a wonderfully generous author she is.

WOW: Welcome, Kelly, we are very excited to talk to you today. We have a lot of YA writers and readers that read our blog. So, let's start with your book that is coming out in October. What is the title? Is it part of a series? Who is publishing? 

Kelly: Thank you so very much for having me, Margo! My YA fantasy is called GRAVEMAIDENS, and it’s being published on October 29, 2019, by Delacorte Press (Random House). It’s the first book of a duology centered on Kammani, a 16-year-old healer’s apprentice who has to save the dying ruler of her city, so her little sister, the lovely Nanaea, isn’t buried alive to be his bride in the afterlife.

WOW: That sounds very intense and also very cool! So, you are published by a big NYC publisher, and we also know you have a literary agent. A lot of writers are wondering: How did you do it?

Kelly: Before I got my agent, Kari Sutherland of Bradford Literary, I had been rejected by agents 106 times over 9 years and 4 novels. 106 times I opened up my email inbox or tore open a letter, my heart pounding, hands sweating, and read some version of “No, your story isn’t right for us at this time.”

I’d carefully researched each one of those agents. I’d poured my heart into those first five, ten, twenty-five, fifty pages—whatever the agency required—and sent them on with my query letter, determined that this was going to be the time.

But again and again, I was wrong.

My problem wasn’t in my persistence. I was nothing if not persistent. The problem was that I did not have a growth mindset. I was banging on the door, trying to get inside the house, pounding again and again the exact same way, and getting nothing except a sore fist and a bruised ego. It wasn’t until I humbled myself and realized that perhaps I didn’t know what I was doing (maybe I should hunt for the hidden key and unlock the door!) that I made any progress at all. I was a good writer; I had my BA in creative writing and my masters in English education. But I wasn’t a good novelist. I had to open myself up to my failures, invest in educating myself about writing books, and write a story someone would want to read.

When I did that, I sent out eleven queries and got eleven full requests and two offers within a couple weeks. Kari and I clicked incredibly well over the phone; so with tears running down my face, I accepted her offer of representation. We had interest within two weeks of going out on sub to editors, and a pre-empt offer from Delacorte less than a month after we submitted. It was the most surreal, most exhilarating day of my professional life when I accepted Kelsey Horton’s offer for a two-book deal.

WOW: I love what you said about this entire process. We can all learn so much from your answer above about writing and learning and not giving up--no matter what you write. Thanks for all the details and encouragement. Your bio is super, super interesting! And I love the way you wrote it. Muffin readers, check it out here! But here's the part I think our readers will be really interested in: you have a BA in creative writing (as you mentioned earlier). How do you feel that helped you (or do you) with your publication journey?

Kelly: Having a creative writing background helped me immensely with many parts of my writing. I’m a better editor because of that degree. I understand how many rewrites go into a perfect snippet of prose or poetry. My degree taught me how to craft language to set a mood or thread a theme or make a character grow and change throughout the pages. I didn’t take any classes on novel writing since they weren’t offered in my program, but the classes I took in personal essay, poetry, short story, and business writing have helped me throughout my career as an editor, which is my day job, and a storyteller, which is my passion.

WOW: And you have three children, a husband, and a rescue pup, so how do you manage your life to balance your family life and writing time and marketing time?

Kelly: Haha! That is the question, isn’t it? (smiles) Last year, I was not great at balancing my life. Balance is actually the word I chose to focus on for 2019. I’m relentless when it comes to my job and writing, so I let my health slide last year because I just couldn’t figure out how to squeeze everything into the day. This year, I’ve set down some of my own heavy expectations and have forced myself to take a balanced perspective of my personal and professional life, so I can reduce my stress.

Balance, as I’ve found out, takes disciplined scheduling for me. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s true! Doctor’s appointments, sports practices, work deadlines, writing deadlines, gym time and everything in-between gets written out and color-coded on a giant white board in my office and put into my phone’s calendar system. It’s helped me focus on what’s important!

Another one of my tricks is that I fit my work into little portions of the day when I have down time. If I’m at a baseball practice with one of my sons, I sit in the car and edit instead of just playing on my phone. If I’m on my phone, I’m scheduling marketing social media posts on Buffer or ordering groceries for my family to be picked up the next day. I look at my task list and slide it in where I can. That way, I can usually accomplish what I’ve set out to do. For the times I can’t, I’m learning to forgive myself for not being superwoman (arghhhh, so hard) and acknowledge that sometimes, I’m going to fail and it’s okay. I’ll try again the next day.

WOW: I love these tips. Ordering the groceries online while waiting somewhere and picking them up later--brilliant! So often we ask these questions of writers, and this time, we got some great specific answers--thank you! Speaking of marketing, I know many of our readers will be as enamored with you and your books as I am, so what is the best way for them to stay up-to-date with you and your news regarding your upcoming books or anything else you're working on? I personally signed up for your newsletter! So should readers do that? Follow you on social media, too?

Kelly: Thank you so much for those kind words. It’s scary being a writer on the brink of wide and very public critique, so I appreciate you saying that! If anyone wants to stay in touch, they can follow me on Twitter, Instagram , and Facebook, or sign up for my newsletter! My newsletter goes out once a month, but I update my social feeds regularly.

WOW: Awesome--thanks for the links. We love to ask our published authors: what is the best piece of advice you can give to writers who are currently struggling in any way: to get published, to find writing time, to get an agent, to sell their books?

Kelly: The best thing I ever did was find fellow writers who believe in me and can critique my work. If you can afford to do so, go to a writer’s conference and put yourself out there as someone looking to connect with critique partners. If you can’t afford a conference, then get on Twitter and follow the #writingcommunity hashtag to find a critique partner that way. My writing improved so much after I became vulnerable enough to let other people read my novels and began to critique theirs, too. Plus, when you’re struggling, you have a buddy who might understand what you’re going through.

Also, if you find yourself sitting in a puddle of gloom after reading this or after getting a rejection, I do not want you to picture me with my agent contract in hand dancing around my office or screaming with glee when I got my publishing contract because those were just two moments in the thousands I put into securing a literary agent and getting a deal.

I want you to picture me sitting at my desk, wiping tears off my blotchy face after my 106th rejection, pulling tentacles of woe from around my neck, and trying again. You do not know when the next email will be a “Yes!”

WOW: That's right--and there are so many stories like that from authors who just didn't give up whiel also improving their craft and knowledge about the business. Thank you so much for talking with us today! Readers, don't forget to check out Kelly here.







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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

 

Turning Off - and Tuning In

In a recent vlog I shared with my children, ZDoggMD shared his thoughts about anxiety and depression in children and one part in particular sticks with me. This was my takeaway:

When we were growing up, we dealt with peer pressure and bullying in school, but once we got home, it was done - we were in a safe place. With social media on their smart phones, today's generation (girls in particular) and surrounded by this pressure 24 hours a day.

I never thought about it that way - did you?

When I think about kids and smart phones, I am more concerned with photos being taken in bathrooms and locker rooms, or possibly cheating on a test or being distracted by a text from home. I didn't think about the increase in anxiety and depression which is leading to an increase in suicides.

Now this information is out there, and I feel we are obligated to do something about it. Each family has to decide what the magic age is. We also need to decide if our children need phones or smart phones - being able to reach an adult is one thing, but having complete access to social media is (or should be) a separate issue altogether. I feel the first thing we should do though is think back to the profound thought about a safe place. Do we set an example with this? Do we come home from work and step away from the bombardment of social media, emails, text messages, etc...?

I struggle with this. Do you? 

If the constant connection is causing increased anxiety and depression in our children - could it be doing the same thing to us as adults? The way I see it, there's two separate issues going on with this:

"Keeping up with the Jones's" - The example in the video refers to knowing about a party and seeing photos and fun but knowing you weren't invited. This exact scenario happens to adults. We look at the photos and comments from our circle of friends and acquaintances and it would appear they have more time for vacations, more money for new furniture, they are eating at the most posh restaurants, attending the latest concerts and sporting events, and suddenly we aren't as satisfied with our family game night, our minivan, and a quiet walk in the woods.

"Tuning Out" - If we are tuned in to our smart phone, our emails, our instagram, the snapchat, the latest youtube video, etc... we aren't tuned in to what is right in front of us. We are setting a poor example for those around us, but even more important, we are sending a loud message that all of that "stuff" is important. If we are constantly on our phones we are sending the message:

The important stuff is happening in the virtual world.

Let that sink in for a little bit. We can rationalize all we want about doing work to pay the bills, or checking in at the office, but at the end of the day, those people who matter most are seeing less an less of our eyes and our smile as we concentrate on that screen.

What can we do to be the change we wish to see in the world? What can we do to help those around us feel important?

Let's start by turning off our devices and tuning in. You don't have to spend the entire weekend holding hands and singing songs around a campfire while your emails pile up in your inbox - let's start small. Consider turning off your phone during meals. I've found it helpful to be intentional about it. When we sit down for a meal, I'll turn my phone off and throw it on the charger while announcing "you guys get my undivided attention - my phone is off until after lunchtime" and my older children roll their eyes, but deep down I like to think they appreciate the lack of distraction.

How do you turn off and tune in with your friends and family? What's worked for you? Do you turn off while you're writing so you can concentrate? Why or why not?






Crystal is a secretary, council secretary, and musician at her church, birth mother and auntie, babywearing cloth diapering mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, Press Corp teammate for the DairyGirl Network, Unicorn Mom Ambassador, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and their five youngest children (Carmen 11, Andre 10, Breccan 5, Delphine 3, and baby Eudora who somehow turned 1 already), two dogs, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins.

You can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary, blogging, reading, reviewing, and baking here and at her personal blog - Crystal is dedicated to turning life's lemons into lemonade!

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

 

Interview with Joy Givens: Fall 2018 Flash Fiction Contest Third Place Winner

Joy’s Bio:

Joy Givens mostly writes fiction for young adults and children. She is currently working on young adult fairy tale adaptations that explore classic stories through lenses of empowered female heroism. Her previously published works include the novel Ugly Stick, the short story collection April’s Roots, the nonfiction guide The New SAT Handbook (co-authored with Andrew Cole), and several pieces of award-winning short fiction, most recently published in WOW! Women on Writing and the anthologies Beach Life (2017) and Beach Fun (2018) from Cat & Mouse Press.

Joy resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her terrific husband, their two remarkable sons, and an impossibly lovable dog. In addition to her writing, Joy is the owner and lead tutor of GAP Tutoring, a company serving the greater Pittsburgh area. When not writing, tutoring, or freelance editing, she enjoys singing and listening to most genres of music, cooking for family and friends, volunteering in her church and neighborhood, and curling up with a good book and good coffee. Please catch up with Joy on social media!

Twitter: @JoyEilene
Instagram: @JoyEilene
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JoyGivensBooks
Website: www.joygivens.wordpress.com

If you haven't done so already, check out Joy's award-winning story "Smoke, Blood, Fog" and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW: Congratulations on placing in the Fall 2018 Flash Fiction Contest! What excited you most about writing this story?

Joy: "Smoke, Blood, Fog" centers around Ro, a Red Riding Hood character who's actually a supporting character in the current novel I'm working on. I initially wrote it as an exercise to get to know Ro better. Her backstory is so dark and heavy that I needed to explore one of the most critical moments in her life. And it worked! I was able to take this created knowledge of her back to the main novel and feel like I had a much better grasp of who she is and how she's been shaped and jaded. That was really exciting for me to see the direct impact throughout my work. And then to be able to polish it up and submit it to WOW! was a wonderful opportunity!

WOW: Awesome! So useful on multiple levels. Did you learn anything about yourself or your writing while crafting this piece?

Joy: YES. One thing I struggle with is bringing tension and darkness into my stories. I want to take care of my characters, which would be great if they were real people... but in fiction, that makes for flat stories. My critique group encourages me to "rip the band-aid off" when I'm writing and really let the characters feel pain, both physical and emotional. This was one of the darkest things I've written, and it was probably good I wrote it as a flash. It gave me the opportunity to dive deeper without subjecting myself to writing something really depressing for weeks on end. I now keep a post-it note on the side of my computer screen that says, "Don't feel bad! They're fictional!" and that actually helps, too!

WOW: Got to love those post-it note reminders! How did you get interested in writing fairy tale adaptations?

Joy: I've always loved fairy tales (Disney-fied and otherwise), and in college I had the opportunity to take a class on the origins of fairy tales. I knew I wanted to write one, and one summer evening I got an idea: What if I told the story of the young woman who was dancing with Prince Charming *right before* Cinderella walked in? How awful would that be, right? And then I thought, what if Cinderella and her godmother were actually the villains? And then I was off to the races. So far I've "re-homed" a number of classic Western fairy tale characters in my stories: Beauty and the Beast (who are gender-reversed), Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, (evil) Snow White, and her (non-evil) Stepmother. I'm looking so forward to continuing with well-known tales and using them to create stories that celebrate all the ways girls and women can be strong... as well as all the ways men can be masculine without being toxic.

WOW: Fascinating ideas! I love those concepts. What are you reading right now, and why did you choose to read it?

Joy: I recently read The Poet X, the National Book Award-winning YA novel in verse by Elizabeth Acevedo, and it was jaw-dropping. Incredible. I walked around my house just hugging the book after I was done with it. I was fortunate to get to attend the Winter Conference of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) where Elizabeth delivered a keynote address, and I had never seen an audience *literally* jump to their feet to give an ovation, but when she finished her keynote, that was what happened! Everyone should read it! I also just read Stella Diaz Has Something to Say, an award-winning middle grade novel by Angela Dominguez, and it was the sweetest! Anyone looking for a book for an elementary reader should definitely pick it up. Next up (and long overdue on my list) is Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. My husband tore through it in about two days flat, and he's waiting for me to read it so we can discuss!

WOW: Great recommendations, and Acevedo’s keynote speech sounds amazing. I would have loved to have seen that. If you could give your younger self one piece of writing advice, what would it be and why?

Joy: Be patient. I would tell my younger self to be patient and keep writing. This is such an unpredictable industry, and looking back over the past seven years or so, I am so glad my writing career has begun the way it has: through building friendships and networks of talented professionals, through learning new elements of craft, through drafts and revisions, even through many rejections. I've learned a ton since I started, and I still feel like I'm just beginning. I still need to be patient, with the industry and with myself!

WOW: Thank you for sharing that advice. Anything else you'd like to add?

Joy: I am doing a new monthly series on my blog  this year called "Adventures in Grammar." It is... me at peak-nerd. Each month I explore a little-known or frequently-misunderstood point of grammar through storytelling. My first one was about three sisters called But, Although, and However, and it explained through the course of a folktale-type story how each of those words plays a different role in English grammar. It's different and fun for me, and I hope it is for my readers as well. Thank you so much for hosting me here! I'm honored to be included on The Muffin!

WOW: You are very welcome! Thank you again for sharing your stories and for your other thoughtful responses! Congratulations again, and happy writing!

Interviewed by Anne Greenawalt, who keeps a blog of journal entries, memoir snippets, interviews, training logs, and profiles of writers and competitive female athletes.

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Monday, March 18, 2019

 

Taking Critique: That’s Not My Story

Fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose, it doesn’t matter what you write. The best of your work always reflects your soul. That’s good and bad.

The good part is that it makes what you’ve written true with a capital T. Even if you are writing fiction, your work reflects what is real. People who can do this in young adult fiction create fans for life. Teens are all about speaking hard truths, even those that make people cringe. But that’s what makes Truth so hard to write. It can be a bit messy.

The bad part about being this connected through our writing to deeper truths is that we are also deeply connected to our writing. When people critique our writing, it can be hard to seriously consider even good suggestions. Instead we hear a screaming voice in our heads. “That’s not my story!”

Maybe it isn’t. But it could be an even better story.

This week, while icing cupcakes, an idea for a picture book popped into my head. I drafted this over-the-top caper and polished it and took it to my group. They liked it well enough but something was missing. The story felt a bit jumbled.

“Tell me about your characters,” said R. “Why are you writing about several kids instead of just one?” A friend had told me that she can find books about twins but she has two sets of triplet grandchildren. Two sets. She couldn't find any picture books with characters who are triplets.

In reality triplets tend to be a bit overwhelming. That had come through in my story but fiction often has to be better organized than reality to work well.

“Instead of having the characters bounce different ideas around, can you emphasize each child’s distinct personality?” said R.

We discussed it and I realized what she meant. One could be the Mom-ish figure, the kid who always does the reasonable, responsible thing. One is the scientist and super rational. The third? The wild child of the family.

My story had been about a caper pure and simple. This wasn’t my idea as I had conceived it, but now I had an idea for a caper with three unique protagonists who have to learn to work together. Not my story, no. An even better story.

Listening to what someone else has to say can be tricky. Sometimes their ideas take your story in a direction you hadn’t planned. Take a moment and hear what they have to say. It may not be your original story but it could be even better, one that now explores Truth with a capital T.

--SueBE

To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins March 18th, 2019.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019

 

Interview with Rose Ann Sinay Q1 2018 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest Runner Up!


Congratulations to runner up Rose Ann Sinay and everyone who participated in our WOW! Women on Writing Q1 2018 Creative Nonfiction Essay Contest!

Rose Ann's Bio:

Rose Ann Sinay collects threads of memories from family, friends and strangers to tell stories that might otherwise be forgotten or discarded. When not revising her historical novel in progress, she records the minutia as well as the special moments in which she lives.

As a freelance writer, Rose Ann’s articles, essays and fiction have been published in The Carolinas Today (and other regional publications) and The Oddville Press. She has been a contributing writer for Sasee Magazine for almost eight years.

The past year has taken Rose Ann and her husband from the beaches of North Carolina to the snow belt of the Northeast where her family has finally settled. She plans to don her hat, buy a shovel, and then weave all those loose threads together.


If you haven't done so already, check out Rose Ann's relate able and insightful story  Just Like Bogie and Bacall and then return here for a chat with the author.

WOW:  Congratulations again Rose Ann and thank you for taking time to chat with us today! Let's dig right in: 

Where do you write? What does your space look like?


Rose Ann: My writing space is a bit of a guilty pleasure. I carved out an office in our home complete with the perfect antique desk, motivational pictures and a wall full of my favorite books. It’s quiet and comfortable, but I only sit there when I’m writing my book. I write my essays wherever I happen to be at the time: at my crumb covered kitchen table, in the comfy corner of my couch, or in the doctor’s office waiting for an appointment.

WOW: I keep telling my children that once they are grown, one of their large bedrooms is going to become my writing space - complete with quotes and a comfy chair. You give me hope as I sit at my own crumb covered table (seated next to a toddler). 


Who is your favorite author and why?

Rose Ann:
My favorite author—I can’t pick just one: Jose Saramago (Blindness), Jeffrey Archer (Honor Among Thieves), Margaret Atwell (who isn’t captivated by The Handmaid’s Tale?) are among my favorites. Stephen King, however, has always dazzled me with his ability to make the reader feel present in all senses with descriptions of seemingly simple moments that morph into the unexpected. In reality, it’s not at all simple to make the reader feel, taste, smell and see the abstract.

WOW: You hit the nail on the head - it can sometimes be very difficult as a reader to be drawn in (and as a writer to do the drawing). 


How has your writing been therapeutic; what advice would you give to others? 

Rose Ann:
As part of a military family, my childhood was always changing--sometimes so fast that experiences could be forgotten in the getting there. Leaving friends and family made me hyper-aware of my surroundings in an attempt to never forget. Now, a word or picture can trigger a memory that is crystal clear. When I write non-fiction I have no outline, just a stream of consciousness that needs to be sculpted into shape.

Writing is a personal skill. One size does not fit all. It’s okay to write in a quiet room with no distractions, or in a public space surrounded by the daily buzz. My advice is to find your own comfort zone and just write!

WOW: That's very sound advice!


What’s next for you? What are your writing goals for 2019 and beyond?

Rose Ann:
Recently, when my daughter read a piece of my non-fiction published in a women’s magazine, she called me surprised by a story I wrote about our family. It hadn’t occurred to me that some of our history had never been discussed. Writing personal essays provides a print history that my family can look back on and relate to our past. I will always record the important, as well as, the unimportant moments in our lives.

I am, also, writing a post-Civil War novel that I’ve been working on for longer than I like to admit. The characters feel like family and are continually evolving. One day they (I) will have to commit and call it a life (book).

WOW: And last but not least, as a mini-driving mama with car seats, stains, spills, and the stick of life with young children...


What might be your next vehicle? Do you think hubby will turn in his truck for something else? Why or why not?

Rose Ann:
I believe the sports car and the truck will be with us for the rest of our days! While the truck keeps us grounded in reality (hauling wood and picking up flea market finds), the Camaro reminds us of our care-free youth and all the adventures—and stories—yet to come.


WOW: Well thank you again and I must tell readers that Rose Ann told me the following about parenting and grandparenting:


...our car seats still have ice cream melted into the seams
--grandchildren, lol. It never goes away!

I have a feeling we will be hearing from Rose Ann again as her book takes on a life of it's own - stay tuned for a possible blog tour! 

Interviewed by Crystal Otto who just keeps on keeping on!


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