Meet the Members: Scott Semegran

“[The Writers’ League has taught me] that there are a bunch of kind, supportive, and very talented writers living and working in Texas.”

— Scott Semegran 

A member of the Writers’ League since December 2019, Scott currently lives in Austin, Texas. 

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

Scott Semegran: Up until now, I have written mostly Humorous Literary Fiction. My work-in-progress is what I would call Literary Suspense.

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

SS: I talk to so many authors through my web series Austin Liti Limits. But the one author I really would love to talk to would be Larry McMurtry. I would ask him for some writing career advice, and maybe ask him to give some insights into his writing process.

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

SS: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon.

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

SS: That there are a bunch of kind, supportive, and very talented writers living and working in Texas.

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

SS: I’m working on my ninth book, a literary suspense novel, so I hope to see it published in 2020.

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?

SS: The last book I read that is Texas-related (and takes place in Texas) that I would recommend is Hollow by Owen Egerton. Excellent novel! Before that, Ain’t Nobody Nobody by Heather Harper Ellett, which is also excellent. I know that’s two books, but I love promoting Texas authors.

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

SS: My latest book, To Squeeze a Prairie Dog: An American Novel, was the 2019 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Winner: Silver Medal for Fiction – Humor/Comedy and the 2019 Texas Author Project Winner for Adult Fiction. Buy a paperback at BookPeople or Malvern Books in Austin, TX or anywhere online. It’s available in paperback, hardcover, eBook, and audiobook.

Thank you, Scott!

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: Dorothy Paredes

“This is an exciting, challenging, scary and completely new journey for me.”

— Dorothy Paredes

A member of the Writers’ League since November 2019, Dorothy currently lives in South Austin, Texas. 

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

Dorothy Paredes: I am currently writing a memoir. I do have a couple unfinished manuscripts that are short story, novel-esque. 

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

DP: This is a hard one, there are several (of course) but the one that stands out the most, and it’s hard for me to admit this now because I don’t want to be “mainstream,” would be Margaret Atwood. I was first introduced to her through The Handmaids Tale back in the early 2000’s during a Woman’s Lit class and I was so struck by the story that I quickly began to read her other novels. My favorite is Surfacing. What is most impactful to me about her writing is her leading characters. They struggle to find and know themselves throughout the story. Regardless of the hardships faced, the character perseveres to attain a level of personal fulfillment and success. Therefore the first question I would ask is, when did she first start questioning herself?  

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

DP: If I were stranded on a deserted island, I would want to have Lucifer’s Hammer by Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven with me to keep me sane.

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

DP: The value of the writing community to support (directly or non-directly) the mission of writing.

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

DP:  I see my writing taking me into the world of non-profits and motivational speaking.

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?

DP: Okay so I’ll be honest, I haven’t read a Texas-related book that has come out within the past year (2019 Calendar Year). But, the one Texas related book that came out close to 2019 (October 2018) that I read in 2019 and couldn’t put down, was Dare to Lead by Brené Brown.

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

DP: I am currently working on finishing my very first book that I aim to self-publish/promote in February 2020! This is an exciting, challenging, scary and completely new journey for me. The book will tell my story of self discovery, disappointment, and survival in the trying times of cancer at the age of 26. Wish me luck and send vibes of perseverance my way (I am a bit of a procrastinator).

Thank you, Dorothy!

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: JoDee Neathery

“Writers’ League gives authors the ability to grow as artists and individuals…”

— JoDee Neathery

A member of the Writers’ League since 2016, JoDee currently lives in Mabank, Texas. 

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

JoDee Neathery: Literary Fiction

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

JN: Pat Conroy. You have always said that four of the most powerful words in the English language are “tell me a story,” and you’ve given us many classics to enjoy. Do you have a favorite and if so, why?  

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

JN: Beach Music because the words are magical and allow you to read the same beautiful sentence a hundred times and never tire of it.

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

JN: There are many people and organizations that advertise their commitment to authors but few are as informative, supportive, and encouraging. Writers’ League gives authors the ability to grow as artists and individuals…like a 1400 member extended family.

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

JN: I have fulfilled a life-long dream of writing a novel and I thought that would be enough — it’s not. It’s evidently addictive once it gets in your blood. At my “young” age, I don’t imagine a career is on the horizon, but I’m going to write as long as I can still construct a sentence and who knows where that might take me. I’m currently engrossed in writing another novel, A Kind of Hush, and it excites me everyday to create something I love to do. One of my characters, a little four-year-old boy, came to me in the middle of the night and I knew he had to be in whatever I wrote next. I’m pretty sure he will be in my will! 

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?

JN: I loved Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird!

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

JN: I’m a living testament that if you are not blessed with the perfect resume for anything you pursue, you should always strive to be the person you wanted to be before someone told you who you should be. My “author pedigree” is on display in what I write, not on a diploma that hangs on the wall. I was told I was not “college material” but I always knew there was something deep inside that would eventually surface and it did. I’m very proud to have my name on the spine of a book and I hope my story will help others who might doubt their abilities.

Thank you, JoDee!

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: Joanne Easley

“I have attended several Texas Writes sessions and each time have come away feeling inspired and ready to write. “

— Joanne Easley  

A member of the Writers’ League since January, Joanne currently lives in Medina. 

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

Joanne Easley: Accessible Literary Fiction. 

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

JE: Stephen King. I’d ask him about his nightmares. 

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

JEThe Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving.

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

JE: I have attended several Texas Writes sessions and each time have come away feeling inspired and ready to write.

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

JE: I’ve written fiction off and on for years. Now it’s my full-time job. In addition to my upcoming novel, I have two others in first draft and am jump-starting a third with NANOWRIMO. 

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?

JE: Yonderings by Ben H. English, a personal account of the life and people of the Big Bend.

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

JE: My debut novel, Sweet Jane, is set for release on March 19, 2020 from Black Rose Writing.  My book was a 2019 Faulkner/Wisdom Writing Competition Finalist. A brief synopsis: By age six, Jane, a lonely and precocious child, knows vodka makes Mama mean. After years of dodging her drunken mama, Jane runs away at sixteen—during the Summer of Love. Despite seventeen years of keeping secrets while searching for love in dysfunctional relationships, Jane looks good on paper: married, graduate school, coin-carrying member of AA. But her carefully constructed life is crumbling. Returning for Mama’s funeral catapults her back to the events that made her the woman she is.

Sweet Jane is now available for pre-order here. Use the promo code PREORDER2019 to receive a 15% discount.

Thank you, Joanne!

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: Ed Fischer

“The WLT has great online classes, informative newsletters and support/coaching for new writers.”

— Ed Fischer 

A member of the Writers’ League since October, Ed has lived most of his life in the state of confusion. He currently lives in Dallas. 

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

Ed Fischer: I’m new to creative writing. I’m writing creative non-fiction/memoir now. 

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

EF: I’m not sure what they drink in South Africa but I’d love to have a drink with Nelson Mandela. WLT can bring him back, right! 

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

EF: Either an Idiot’s Guide to Climbing Palm Trees or The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams with the Dalai Lama and Bishop Tutu.

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

EF: The WLT has great online classes, informative newsletters and support/coaching for new writers, even folks from the state of confusion.

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

EF: No Joke. I think it will get me killed. I actually hope it will…just not too soon… since it will mean I’m having a positive impact.

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?

EF: I’m a fan of Longmire and Ain’t Nobody, Nobody by Heather Harper Ellett more than matches Longmire.

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

EF: I want to use my first book (working title: Walking for Water, Fleeing for Our Lives) as a platform to help impoverished Guatemalans in Guatemala as well as the refugees coming to the US. I expect to continue writing about Guatemalans telling their stories and pushing for policy changes with a heart and sense of responsibility for what “we” have created. My character arc shows a crazy Eddie Fischer chasing attention and adrenaline rushes before and after turning my life around.  Instead of bar room brawls and one nighters; I lived among the poor in a shantytown and then the Mayan highlands, walked from Guatemala to Philadelphia raising $350,000 for water systems, was chased through the streets of Guatemala at gun point, landed on a death squad hit list, was taken out to an isolated spot on the Mexican airport to be executed, studied to be a Catholic priest and continue to stand up to injustices and rigged economic and political systems. Oh, yes. I made a whole slew on dumb decisions too.

Thank you, Ed!

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: C.M. Mayo

“It’s very encouraging that there are so many writers in Texas, and so many opportunities to learn from one another.”

— C.M. Mayo

A member of the Writers’ League since September, C.M. is between a lot of places right now but her forwarding service is in Wichita Falls, TX.

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

C.M. Mayo: Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. 

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

CMM: Edith Wharton. I’d ask her about her dogs. 

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

CMM: Tolstoy’s War and Peace. That would do for about a month. That’s my max for deserted islands.

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

CMM: That I wish I lived in Austin! But seriously, it’s very encouraging that there are so many writers in Texas, and so many opportunities to learn from one another.

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

CMM: I’m going deep into questions about Texas in the book I’ve been working on for a while, tentatively titled World Waiting for a Dream: A Turn in Far West Texas. I see myself finishing it, then moving on to complete a collection of essays, many of them about Mexico and the US-Mexico borderlands–– a part of the world that has absorbed me for many years, in fact, most of my books to date. For me, writing is at once a journey towards understanding and play, pure play. Any day I can get some writing done is a very good 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?

CMM: I found Ty Cashion’s Lone Star Mind: Reimagining Texas History, at once fascinating, thought-provoking, and mega-crunchy––and by the way, it combines well, like a good wine with a good cheese, with Lawrence Wright’s God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State.

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

CMM: My latest book, Meteor, won the Gival Press Award for Poetry. My blog, Madam Mayo, www.madam-mayo.com posts every Monday, the second Monday of every month being dedicated to my writing workshop students and anyone else interested in creative writing. And I invite you to listen in anytime at www.cmmayo.com/marfa to the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project, with 20 of 24 projected podcasts to date.

Thank you, C.M.!

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: George Arnold

“[I’ve learned] there exists a small universe of wacky, driven, and skilled individuals who, against all odds, manage to write books and get them published.”

— George Arnold 

A member of the Writers’ League for 17 years, George lives in Garland, TX.

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

George Arnold: My 25 published books include five genres: Detective mysteries (10), semi-bilingual international adventures for YA (11), non-fiction humor (2), how-to for writers wanting to be published (1), and historical fiction (1). 

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

GA: Winston Churchill, one of the best craft-persons of the English language ever. What do you think would have happened if you had been Prime Minister in 1938 instead of Neville Chamberlain? 

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

GA: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.

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

GA: I’m not the only one. There exists a small universe of wacky, driven, and skilled individuals who, against all odds, manage to write books and get them published.

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

GA: I set out to write 25 books. I’ve accomplished that. I may concentrate on marketing these books and writing short stories, a form that has fascinated me. 

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?

GA: Not sure of publication years, but any of the Hackberry Holland books by James Lee Burke are worth reading, if for no other reason than the brilliant use of descriptive language.

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

GA: I sold the manuscript of my first book to the first publisher I approached. Didn’t know it’s supposed to be hard. Never had a rejection. Borders Books asked me to write a how-to book on that subject. The result is BestSeller: Must-Read Authors’ Guide to Successfully Selling Your Book. I have conducted free 90-minute workshops, principally, in Barnes & Noble stores, to help writes get started in the right direction. Available to conduct workshops if anybody’s interested.

Thank you, George!

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!