Myra McIlvain rejoined the Writers’ League in January of this year and will be attending the Agents & Editors Conference in June. She calls Austin home.
Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?
Myra McIlvain: Texas history is my thing. My last two books are historical fiction set in Texas.
Scribe: What authors would you like to have coffee or a beer with and which beverage?
MM: I am an introvert and can’t imagine drinking anything with a stranger, but I would love a cold beer in summer and a hot cup of coffee in winter with Barbara Kingsolver. In the ’70s, when I was writing a family humor column for the Victoria Advocate, I had a private visit with Erma Bombeck that I shall never forget. She was a gracious, down-to-earth lady who tucked her tiny stockinged feet into her chair and chatted about the pitfalls of syndicating a column. Doris Kearns Goodwin is another author whom I hold in high esteem. I can only imagine a private chat with her. Water would suffice.
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
MM: I read Ann Greenfield’s Scribe interview and agree that the Boy Scouts Fieldbook would top my list of books to have when stranded on a deserted island. I also would want a “how to” book on constructing a raft. It is not my nature to sit and read to stay sane when I am facing a challenge. I usually write when I’m stressed, but on a deserted island, I’d probably work on that raft.
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
MM: In the ’80s, I enjoyed the energy and determination of the Austin Writers’ League members. I shall always remember the evening that James Michener visited Writers’ League. He stood for the longest time, patiently answering questions. His response to one question that has stuck with me was his advice on selling books: “Go anywhere and speak to any group that is interested in hearing you.” I’ve remembered that, and I’ve followed his advice. I hope it works soon.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
MM: I will probably turn my huge collection of weekly Texas history blogs into a book and I want to continue writing fiction. If I “write what I know,” it will be Texas historical fiction, but I have written several short stories I may develop more fully.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world?
MM: I wrote Texas historical markers as a freelancer for over six years, which opened the door to writing five books that tell the Texas story and direct travelers to historic sites all over the state. I also wrote articles for newspapers in the U.S. and Canada and for magazines such as Texas Highways. Stein House, published last November, is a compelling family saga of German immigrants thrust into the bustling nineteenth century Texas seaport of Indianola. Access to Stein House and to Legacy (my book set in a Texas coastal town during the last year of WWII), as well as both my blogs and my website, can be found here: