Meet the Members: Andrew Mitin

“I have no grand dreams of my writing taking me anywhere except deeper into my own imagination and ideas about the world.”

— Andrew Mitin

A member of the Writers’ League since May 2020, Andrew lives in Spring, Texas.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Andrew Mitin: I write fiction, screenplays and poetry.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them? 

AM: If I could ask any writer about the love and sorrows of these endeavors I’d have a cigar with Kierkegaard while ambling around Copenhagen.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

AM: If I were stranded on an island (or in my apartment, as the last few months have seen) I would need the Bible and Plato’s Republic to keep me sane.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

AM: I have no grand dreams of my writing taking me anywhere except deeper into my own imagination and ideas about the world.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down? 

AM: I’ve only recently moved to Texas so I can’t pretend to know about the books it has inspired.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

AM: I look forward to meeting all of you and wish you continued success upon the blank page. Feel free to check out andrewmitin.com to see what I’ve been up to. Cheers!

Thank you, Andrew!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Ann Stout

“[The WLT has taught me that] there are a lot of excellent writers in Texas.”

— Ann Stout 

A member of the Writers’ League since April 2020, Ann lives in Houston.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Ann Stout: Memoir, personal essay, poetry, medical public policy  issues, personal letters to friends.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them? 

AS: Barbara Kingsolver. What comes first when you write a novel with a climate issue (ex: “Flight Behavior”) – which comes first, the story or the climate disaster and how do you go about crafting the book?

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

AS: Mary Oliver “New and Selected Poems” for poetry and “Pride and Prejudice” for clarity of writing and mental escape. 

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

AS: That writing as a vocation can be all-consuming, that a lot of writers are willing to share of themselves, that there are a lot of excellent writers in Texas, that writing takes time.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

AS: I have practiced pediatric ophthalmology for 25 years and now have rediscovered my passion for writing. I hope to use it to engage and educate others, to brighten their days, to share my own story of vision problems, and possibly affect public policy in expanding health care access.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down? 

AS: The last Texas-related book I read was “The Drowning House” by Elizabeth Black, published in 2013 about a woman returning to Galveston and exploring her family history with links to the the Galveston Hurricane. It was great to read when I moved back to Houston in 2014.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

AS: I have only just returned to writing after years of medical practice and raising a family, I have been encouraged by some small publications – in Doximity Op-ed and the local neighborhood paper. I have been working on a book about losing vision in one eye from the point of view (no pun) of an ophthalmologist, but am not sure yet of my audience and where it will have the most impact. I have found writing to be the most immersive consuming experience I have had in a long time. It leaves me breathless! One of my favorite authors is the former editor of the University of Portland magazine (a city where I was lucky to live for 14 years), Brian Doyle. He writes wonderfully, and once said: “We are only here for a minute, we are here for a little window, and to use that time to catch and share shards of light and laughter and grace seems to me the great story.” – Brian Doyle.

Thank you, Ann!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Denise Bossarte

“My dark urban fantasy novel, GLAMOROUS, is a bronze medalist in the 2019 The Wishing Self Book Awards in Adult Fiction.”

— Denise Bossarte

A member of the Writers’ League since May 2020, Denise lives in southeast Houston.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Denise Bossarte: Dark urban fantasy, nonfiction – self-help, and poetry.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them? 

DB: Brandon Sanderson. How do you keep all the worlds and characters straight across your multiple series?

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

DB: The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

DB: Just joined!

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

DB: More in my series of dark urban fantasy. Audiobooks of my poetry and dark urban fantasy series. Recording them myself and with help of friends.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

DB: My dark urban fantasy novel, GLAMOROUS, is a bronze medalist in the 2019 The Wishing Self Book Awards in Adult Fiction. It is also a 5-star Readers’ Favorite and an Amazon bestseller.

Two of my short stories in the world of GLAMOROUS also have received 5-Star Readers’ Favorite reviews: RETURN and BEGINNINGS. These are both Amazon bestsellers.

My unpublished nonfiction self-help manuscript, Thriving, was a quarterfinalist in the inaugural 2019 Booklife Prize Nonfiction Contest, Self-help category. It is entered into the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Nonfiction Self-help competition, winners to be announced in September. Hoping to find an agent for this once things get settled into a new normal.

Thank you, Denise!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Marian O’Shea Wernicke

“I have been humbled by the collegial spirit of the writers I have met in the League.”

— Marian O’Shea Wernicke

A member of the Writers’ League since 2019, Marian lives in southeast Austin.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Marian O’Shea Wernicke: I have written a memoir about my father, and self-published it with Create Space. The title is Tom O’Shea, A Twentieth Century Man: A Daughter’s Search For Her Father’s Story. I write poetry, and now I have my first novel coming out in September of 2020 published by She Writes Press, an independent publisher. The title is Toward That Which Is Beautiful, and it is set in the Altiplano of Peru in the early 60s. I have the first draft of another novel in the process of revision.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them? 

MOW: I’d love to sit on a terrace in Austin and have a gin and tonic with Eudora Welty. I’d ask her about the importance of place in her fiction, how she is able to convey the atmosphere her characters live and breathe in so seamlessly.  I am thinking about her short story, “A Worn Path” especially as well as “June Recital.”

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

MOW: I’d be lucky to have Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love In the Time of Cholera.  Come to think of it, that is a perfect book for right now as we are stranded at home because of this plague. His world is complex yet at the same time so vividly portrayed in sensual detail.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

MOW: I have been humbled by the collegial spirit of the writers I have met in the League.  The speakers I have heard have been encouraging and nurturing to those of us who are just beginning to publish, whatever age we are. There is never a whiff of superiority.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

MOW: I have a historical novel in a first draft based loosely on the life of my Irish great-grandmother, whose story has always intrigued me. It takes place in the 1870s in Ireland and then in the States. Once that book is launched (fingers crossed) I want to return to poetry. Maybe a memoir?

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?

MOW: I loved Oscar Casares’s Where We Come From.  I heard him read an excerpt from this at Book People, and his prose is limpidly clear and engaging. I recommend it highly to everyone.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

MOW: To all writers I would say, never give up on your vision for a work.  I had many publishers reject my novel before it was finally accepted, saying that although they liked the story, the characters, and the writing, they just did not see a market for the book. I think too many books are shoved into a niche in order to sell, but not all books fit so tidily. Imagine Flannery O’Connor trying to get published today! Or Walker Percy. If you keep at the work, it will find an audience.

Thank you, Marian!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Meet the Members: Chris Mullen

“I live by the motto, “Tell me I can’t.””

— Chris Mullen

A member of the Writers’ League since February 2020, Chris lives in Richmond.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Chris Mullen: I am currently writing Western Adventure. I write Children’s picture book stories as well. I also have a Young Adult Romance, a Thriller, and a Sci-Fi in the works.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them? 

CM: Stephen King – Inspiration is sometimes found in the craziest of places- following your accident, what were the first bits of inspiration that came to mind, and how hard was it to create those thoughts into a self-gratifying manuscript?

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

CM: Am I on the island because of something I’ve done, or to discover something I am meant to do? I suppose it would be the Bible. I haven’t read it cover to cover, but the books within it provide hope and inspiration and has people with all sorts of stories to tell. For me, it’s not only a Christian thing, but would certainly be a symbol for me.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

CM: As a new member I find it helpful that WLT has several resources available that provide opportunities for me to grow as a writer.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

CM: I would love to see my (Western Adventure) Rowdy series find success, either through traditional publishing or self-publishing. Will I ever be able to quit my day job? I guess we’ll see. Either way, I will continue to develop and write the saga of Rowdy. As a writer I dream and create, so why not think big…let’s have Netflix or Amazon pick up the first book in the series and see it come alive on screen! I plan to heed some advice from my WIP, Rowdy: Redemption “Shouldn’t dwell on things that are out of your control, Rowdy. No man can go back to fix the past, but he can shape the future.”  I’ll keep writing and shaping ideas. Any way you look at it, I’ll end up where I am supposed to be.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down? 

CM: I usually read Jonathan Maberry, Craig Alanson, and Stephen King; however, Don Winslow released his book The Border last February (2019). This book was the third installment in a series of thrillers and was definitely one that was hard to put down. The storytelling was fantastic, gruesome and truthfully gut wrenching at times (in a great way), and provided such an open window into a world so different from the one that I live in, yet scarily too close for comfort. Although The Border is his most recent release in this series, I would suggest starting with The Power of the Dog (2005) followed by The Cartel (2015).

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

CM: I’m simply a PreK teaching, Taekwondo fighting, book writing, guitar playing Husband/Dad that is still searching for the best corral to handle my adult ADD while continually looking for action and adventure, keeping up with my two teenage sons, and searching for the best Literary Agent that finally realizes they really DO need a Western Adventure series on their “list.” (Breathe…) I live by the motto, “Tell me I can’t” – basically a more sophisticated version of “Hold my Beer”, but with more control and less of an opportunity to wind up in the emergency room. I’d also be crazy not to say that my first novel- Rowdy: Wild and Mean, Sharp and Keen, will be released as an ARC (Advance Reader Copy) through BN.com in April 2020. You can find out more about it as well as me at www.chrismullenwrites.com, or follow me on Facebook & Twitter @Rowdy2019.

Thank you, Chris!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

What We’re Reading Now:

Sam Babiak, Program Director / Member Services Director

The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
Penguin Books
September 25, 2014

Mary Karr said, “Memoir is not an act of history but an act of memory, which is innately corrupt.” This is true for all memories, but if you’re writing about traumatic events you’ve experienced, these memories work differently and will likely be much more difficult to write about. The Body Keeps the Score breaks down the way that trauma affects our bodies and minds and the ways that traumatic memories differ from other kinds of memories. For a memoirist writing about trauma, this is a must read. Untangling these memories and understanding their impact is an essential step in writing memoir, and although reading this book is by no means a substitute for therapy, it is an incredible companion to have on this journey. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. I first heard of this book in November 2019 at our Texas Writes in ATX event. The wonderful memoirist Rachel Starnes gave a presentation on memory in memoir and recommended that anyone writing about trauma should read this book. Then a few weeks ago, this book was recommended again. This time, by Jessica Wilbanks in her Memoir 101 class. This book keeps popping up for a reason and although it was published in 2014, the human experience, our minds and bodies after trauma, the core of writing memoir, that is all timeless and that’s why I’m recommending The Body Keeps the Score once again.


Evan Parks, Project Specialist

Rules for Being Dead by Kim Powers
Blair Publishing
May 12, 2020
Almost immediately in Rules for Being Dead, Powers roots the reader into the setting and narrative. In it we follow Clarke, a third-grader, as he struggles with his mother’s death during the ’60s. That’s a fairly standard plot, however Clarke’s perspective is followed up with the perspective of his mother’s spirit as she watches over him, and the rest of the small Texas town where they reside. There’s a mystery surrounding her death, and it’s one that haunts everyone. This book is drenched with the ghosts of movies at the drive-in, familial drama, and heartache.

Meet the Members: Melinda Wyers

” …[I]f I’m indefinitely stuck somewhere it would be nice to read about immortality.”

— Melinda Wyers

A member of the Writers’ League since February 2019, Melinda lives in Hutto.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Melinda Wyers: I currently write mid to late Victorian Historical Fiction.

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them? 

MW: Virginia Woolf. “Why would you try to cook eggs in bed?”

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

MW: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, if I’m indefinitely stuck somewhere it would be nice to read about immortality.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

MW: I’ve only started but hope to attend a few of the events this March and get to meet folks.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

MW: I’m hoping to write at least two more books in the same genre or with the same characters, then move on to write about something more modern.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down? 

MW:  I haven’t read one that has come out in the past year, most of what I read was written a while back but I’m starting research on Galveston in the late 1800’s (before the hurricane) so I’m about to jump into Isaac’s Storm by Erik Larson.

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

MW: My current book, The Widow of Redbriar has been out for a year now, and is available in print and ebook. To get updates on my work and other projects you can visit my website.

Thank you, Melinda!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!

Community Member Q&A: The Writing Consultancy

“I have gained so much knowledge and wonderful friends volunteering at Writer’s League events, watching authors grow at the annual A&E Conference and witnessing so much talent make its way into print.”

– Britta Jensen

The Writing Consultancy offers mentoring and coaching for stories in development, a range of editing services for fiction and non-fiction, and literacy tutoring.

In addition to supporting and promoting authors, The Writing Consultancy is a proud Community Member of the Writers’ League of Texas. Read the interview below with founder Britta Jensen to find out more.

Scribe: Tell us a little about the Writing Consultancy and the work that you do.

Britta Jensen: I started the Writing Consultancy to meet the needs of writers who might fit into one of the following three groups: authors seeking to get published, writers pursuing indie publishing, or aspiring writers wanting to improve their narrative skills and voice. For fifteen years I taught secondary creative writing and literature. In the evenings, I worked with authors I met at writing conferences on developing their manuscripts. Years of working with both these populations spurred my desire to blend my favourite parts of teaching and editing to create a holistic approach I felt was missing from a lot of editing services. Some writers want a more hands-on approach: a mix of editing and writing instruction. Others want incisive, honest feedback on their manuscript to get it published, while others need mentoring: a mix of writing instruction and project planning to guide them through finishing a book that otherwise may linger on their hard drive for years without finishing the book. I wanted all three of these services to be available to writers, but also at a price that would allow as many authors as possible to achieve their publishing dreams.

Scribe: What is the biggest takeaway from working as a writing consultant, editor, and mentor? 

BJ: One of the biggest advantages of working with me is that there isn’t any middle man. The Writing Consultancy is just me, Britta Jensen. You get a lot of one-on-one attention as a result. I have a broad base of knowledge: characterization, plot, dialogue, thematic issues, story structure, and a huge treasure trove of exercises and techniques. It helps that I started out as a playwright/poet and had many years of Off-Broadway theater experience to solidify my knowledge of story structure (while reading novels by flashlight backstage). I make it my goal to first identify what is working well with an author’s developing voice and story and then focus on ways to restructure their narrative to bring clarity to the reader. Clients appreciate my honesty and high level of detail in my feedback. My primary goal is for my clients to go further than publishing a book: I want them to be the writer they envision becoming.

As a mentor, a lot of clients appreciate the accountability part of our relationship: I design deadlines that will work with their vision for their book, we create benchmarks for achieving those goals (often crafted around their job and life circumstances), and I check-in with them regularly before and after we meet. I love working for a longer stretch of time (usually for an entire book) with an author and watching them progress. As result, I feel like an advocate of their work: the relationship doesn’t end with the project’s conclusion.

As an editor and writing consultant, clients like that I sit down with them and answer all of their questions. Built into the cost of editing is a block of time for meeting one on one (either in person or via phone/video conference). Since half of my clients don’t live in the Austin metro area, the outbrief helps a lot with outlining next steps and clarifying anything that may have come up when they reviewed my edits. All editing clients receive a letter with their developmental or copy edit that summarizes my feedback to help them parse through all the notes in the margins and tracked changes (which can be really overwhelming without that editing letter).

To make sure that clients feel I’m a good fit for their project I always offer a thirty-minute free consultation via phone and offer a sample critique.

Scribe: As a writer yourself, what is one piece of advice you’d give to aspiring writers?

BJ: Develop a vision for your work. This might sound self-evident, but there can be a lot of conflicting advice about the writing process floating around if you aren’t thoughtful about where you want your writing journey to go. If you elucidate your vision, your individual goals (I’d love to publish ten stories by age fifty), and what benchmarks will help you feel successful, when the hard knocks come you still have a navigable pathway before you. Critique partners, professional editors and mentors can also help you refine your vision as you learn more about your process as a writer, which will be unique to your circumstances and skills.

Scribe: What’s important to you about supporting the Writers’ League of Texas and being a community member?

BJ: The best thing about moving to Texas was definitely the Writer’s League. I wish I had known about it while I was still living overseas because you have so many great online classes! I have gained so much knowledge and wonderful friends volunteering at Writer’s League events, watching authors grow at the annual A&E Conference and watching so much talent make its way into print. Because my life has always surrounded literacy, it is wonderful to feel like I’m “with my people” and can support fellow writers, get new ideas for my books and learn from seasoned veterans. Writer’s League truly fosters a growth mindset in authors and that is essential in our careers! One worry I had when I moved to Texas, after twenty-two years living overseas, was that I wouldn’t be able to connect with people stateside. Writer’s League has such a diverse group of people to learn from. I’m so honored to be a member of this organization!

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down? 

BJ: Two Texas author’s books I’m enjoying at present are: Nicky Drayden’s Escaping Exodus and Tears of a Trufflepig by Fernando A. Flores. I’m in awe of both these authors magnificent minds and wonderful prose.

Scribe: Anything else you’d like to share? 

BJ: A lot of writers ask me how I find time to write my books. My biggest discovery, when I transitioned from a playwright to novelist, was creating consistency of practice. I’m the daughter of a professional musician. As a kid I had an allotted time when I could practice voice and piano every day. And if I didn’t practice six days a week, I was in big trouble. When I took that same approach to my writing, it made it a lot easier to draft and edit. Consistent practice, even if it’s twenty minutes, means I don’t waste time forgetting what I edited, or having to spend hours reconnecting with a manuscript via my notes in Scrivener. (This has all been while working full-time). Early mornings tend to be golden. No one is awake to bother me and I’m free to get lost in my work. I’ve written five books as a result of seeking the best time to work, staying consistent in writing/editing my work 4-5 days a week and constantly looking at ways in which to be more efficient with my time. As a result, I feel like I have an aspect of my writing career that is within my control.

Thanks, Britta!

Click here to visit The Writing Consultancy’s website.

Are you a business or organization interested in getting involved?

Community Membership is a great way to connect with the Writers’ League’s membership base and share news and information about writing-related services and events. For more information on Community Membership click here or call our office at (512) 499-8914.

What We’re Reading Now:

Becka Oliver, Executive Director  

American Sherlock by Kate Winkler Dawson
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
February 11, 2020

Kate Winkler Dawson has been the featured author for our latest series of “WLT On the Craft of Writing” events around the state. Which means that I’ve been lucky enough to hear her talk firsthand about her wonderful new book, American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI, in Austin, Dallas, and Houston (with events in Georgetown and Waco still to come). Honestly, I could listen to her all day long and not get bored – and reading the book is just as much of a treat. During her research, Kate opened box after box containing the life’s work of Edward Oscar Heinrich – a forensic science pioneer who kept meticulous notes documenting his many breakthroughs – and managed to distill that enormous pile of information into a narrative nonfiction read that is suspenseful, surprising, and beautifully written. Whether studying the sand at a grave to determine its origins, or analyzing a pair of overalls left behind by a band of murderous train robbers, or testifying against Fatty Arbuckle in one of the most famous trials of the 1920s, Oscar Heinrich took forensics science into the modern age and forever changed crime scene investigation. His story needed to be told and I can’t imagine another author telling it as well or as thoroughly.

If you are a fan of true crime tales and police procedurals, this book is for you. If you’re a history buff and love discovering people you’ve never heard of who have made extraordinary contributions, this book is for you. If part of the pleasure of reading for you is the learning, this book is for you. If you’ve ever binge-watched CSI or Criminal Minds or Law & Order or, fittingly, Sherlock, this book is for you. (In other words, this book is for you!)


Kelsey Williams, Office Manager   

Harleen by Stjepan Sejic
DC Comics
February 11, 2020

After watching DC’s Birds of Prey in theaters, it struck me how much I love the character Harley Quinn but how little I’ve actually read about her. Cue me in a comic shop, scouring the shelves for more stories about my favorite anti-heroine. With great luck, I got my hands on Harleen – an incredibly beautiful graphic novel with story and art by Stjepan Sejic.

Sejic reimagines the origin story of Harley Quinn – if you’re not familiar, she’s a psychiatrist turned crime doer after becoming enmeshed with the Joker – and pays particular attention to the subtleties of how empathy and desire activate and diminish. Harley Quinn, or Harleen Quinzel, gets to tell her own story in this stunning work by Sejic. The artwork in Harleen is gorgeous, the story is moving and fits seamlessly into Sejic’s art style and graphic narrative pacing, and Harley gets the chance to be messy, complicated, ambitious, and fully realized.


Neena Husid, Leadership Austin FellowA Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat
Candlewick Press
March 24, 2020
Riveting, rich and meaningful, A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat gets this reviewers enthusiastic thumbs up. Though set in a fantastical Southeast Asian dystopia where light is doled out by a suspect Governor, this middle grade fiction shines lights on such heady issues as truth, justice, ownership and power. The story follows Pong, and escaped prison waif, through a series of experiences, often white-knuckled, which lead him beyond a need to survive and into a  realm of understanding the hard choices a woke citizen, and friend, must make. Inspired by Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Soontornvat’s A Wish in the Dark, is peopled with characters no less inspired. Pong, the misunderstood fugitive, Nok, the girl who wrongly pursues him and Somkit,a resourceful best friend who never disappoints all illuminate the bleakness of a dark world with a fire that won’t be extinguished. Not by despots: not be circumstance; and not by fear. This is a wonderfully written, smart book you won’t want to miss.

Meet the Members: Amanda Waters

“There is such a supportive community of writers in Texas who are generous with their time, support, and knowledge.”

— Amanda Waters

A member of the Writers’ League since July 2019, Amanda lives in Houston.

Scribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Amanda Waters: Sweet Romance, YA

Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them? 

AW: Sally Lloyd-Jones. She’s a children’s book author, and seems like such a delightful person. The first question I’d ask her is what interesting thing she saw along the way to meet for our drink, because she seems to have a real gift for observing and noticing things, and I’d love to get a peek into her brain in that way.

Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?

AW: The first thing that popped into my mind is The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, because it would keep me entertained for a long time! Although if I could cheat a little and pick a whole series, I’d take the Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery.

Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?

AW: There is such a supportive community of writers in Texas who are generous with their time, support, and knowledge.

Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?

AW: I’d love to write and publish more novels that people enjoy reading and passing on to their friends — sounds simple, of course, but we all know it’s not! I’m currently working on a short story and a second novel starring minor characters in my first book, and I have an idea for some YA fiction that I’d like to branch off into one day.

Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down? 

AW: I really enjoyed the non-fiction book It’s a Love Story, by Houston based writer Lincee Ray. It’s part memoir, part collection of essays about love in many forms. The author grew up in a small town in Texas and writes some really touching and humorous stories that are so relatable and entertaining and very much capture growing up and living in East Texas. I like a book that makes me laugh, and this one definitely had me laughing out loud at times!

Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!

AW: My novel You Again is available now! It’s a sweet character-driven romance about a 62 year old widow who unexpectedly reconnects with her first love who broke her heart at 17. You can find out more information on my website along with book club resources and a link to my monthly newsletter where I talk about books I’m reading and other fun stuff. It’s also where you can hear about upcoming projects.

Thank you, Amanda!

If you’re a Writers’ League member and you’d be interested in being interviewed for our Meet the Members feature, email us at member@writersleague.org for more information. It’s a great way for other members to get to know you and for you to share a bit about what you’re working on!