Meet the Members: Judithe Little

“I love the process of researching, writing, and joining the two together. In particular, I like to write about people or events in history that have been overlooked.”

-Judithe Little

A member of the Writers’ League since 2009, Judithe Little lives in Houston.

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

Judithe Little: Wickwythe Hall, my first novel out now from Black Opal Books, is historical fiction and was inspired by a little-known confrontation between the British and the French during World War II. I’m currently working on another novel that takes place in France around the turn of the 19th century. I love the process of researching, writing, and joining the two together. In particular, I like to write about people or events in history that have been overlooked.

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

JL: I really enjoyed researching Winston Churchill, who plays a part in Wickwythe Hall, and would love to go back in time and have a drink with him. I’d have plenty of his favorite champagne, Pol Roger, on hand. I’d make sure his glass was never empty and would sit back and listen to whatever came out of his head.

I’d also like to ask Anthony Doerr if he has any tricks for coming up with the unique descriptions in All The Light We Cannot See. He has a great talent for using adjectives in unexpected ways. As a writer it can be so difficult to come up with new and interesting phrases to describe the mundane.

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

JL: I don’t like reading books more than once. I’ve never read the Outlander series so I think I’d bring those. I’ve heard they’re good, they’re long, and there are a lot of them. Plus I’m a sucker for a Scottish accent. But if I hadn’t already read The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd, or Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, I’d bring one of those to get me through.

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

JL: I’ve learned that having a community of writers and a resource like the Writers’ League that helps writers connect with agents and publishers and gain insight into the publishing process is indispensable. Also, an excerpt from Wickwythe Hall was a finalist in one of the WLT Manuscript Contests and that was a great confidence booster.

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

JL: I feel like it has already taken me where I’d like to go! I started working on Wickwythe Hall over twelve years ago. To be able to hold the book in my hand is a dream come true. Next, I’d love to see my current work-in-progress published and sent out into the world. A research trip to France would be nice too.

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?

JL: The Promise by Ann Weisgarber, a lyrical novel set against the Galveston storm of 1900. It came out in 2013 but experiencing Hurricane Harvey and seeing the massive destruction the storm caused here in Houston, my thoughts have been going back to the characters and haunting scenes in The Promise.

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

JL: Foreword Reviews says Wickwythe Hall is “a riveting and enlightening mix of history and fiction that puts a human face on the costs of war.”  It was released by Black Opal Books on September 30. River Oaks Bookstore in Houston is hosting a launch party on October 21 at 4 pm.  If you’re in Houston, come by! To learn more about Wickwythe Hall, please visit my website at judithelittle.com.

Thanks, Judithe

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! Please also email us, at the same address, if you’d like to learn more about WLT board service.

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Meet the Members: Stina Leicht

“”If I ever met Ursula K. LeGuin, I’d thank her for being so amazing.”

-Stina Leicht

A member of the Writers’ League since June, Stina Leicht lives in Austin.

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

Stina Leicht: Science Fiction and Fantasy.

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

SL: If I ever met Ursula K. LeGuin, I’d thank her for being so amazing.

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

SL: It’d have to be Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes.

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

SL: I’m looking forward to meeting more local writers!

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

SL: My hope is to actually win a literary award—not just get nominated. I also hope to sell more novels as well as short stories.

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?

SL: A Texas author you should be on the look out for is Nicky Drayden. Her Prey of Gods is a fun read.

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

SL: I’ve four published novels: Of Blood and Honey and Blue Skies from Pain (a duology set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles); and Cold Iron and Blackthorne (books one and two of an Epic Flintlock Fantasy series.) Blackthorne just came out in August, and it was published by Simon & Schuster’s Saga Imprint. I’m currently working on a feminist science fiction novel titled Persephone Station for the same publisher. It’ll debut in 2018. I’m a two time Campbell Award nominee and a Crawford Award nominee.

Thanks, Stina!

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! Please also email us, at the same address, if you’d like to learn more about WLT board service.

Meet the Members: Chip Dameron

“If I were stranded on a deserted island, I’d want to have The Norton Anthology of American Literature. I’d have such a variety of creative voices to keep me company.”

-Chip Dameron

A member of the Writers’ League for 3 years and a current Writers’ League Board Member, Chip Dameron lives in Brownsville, TX.

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

Chip Dameron: Primarily poetry, though I’m in the middle of drafting a novel.

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

CD: I’d enjoy clinking glasses of raki with novelists Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak and asking them about the challenges of depicting life in modern Turkey without triggering censorship and possible imprisonment.

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

CD: If I were stranded on a deserted island, I’d want to have The Norton Anthology of American Literature. I’d have such a variety of creative voices to keep me company.

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

CD: That there is a great thirst across the state for interacting with other aspiring and practicing writers, for learning more about the craft through short courses from accomplished writers, and for pursuing avenues to publication. The Writers’ League serves as catalyst in creating opportunities for all these activities to happen. I’m extremely impressed with the dedication of the staff of the Writers’ League and the board members I have the privilege to serve with.

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

CD: While I continue to write poems, I’m currently immersed in, and (mostly) enjoying, the process of spinning out a novel. I still have a long way to go.

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?

CD: I’ve just finished Amy Gentry’s Good as Gone, a fast-paced novel with memorable characters and a plot full of twists.

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

CD: I invite everyone to check out my recent book of travel poems, China Sketchbook, published by Purple Flag and available online from Powell’s Books, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

Thanks, Chip!

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! Please also email us, at the same address, if you’d like to learn more about WLT board service.

Meet the Members: Martha Miller

 

“While writing may seem a solo activity, there is a huge, generous community of knowledgeable writers in the WLT that are happy to help.”

-Martha Miller

A member of the Writers’ League since 2004, Martha Miller lives in San Antonio, TX.

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

MM: Solely non-fiction including essays and a travel memoir about the 21-months my husband and I lived in Rome.

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

MM: Nora Ephron. Shall we just go ahead and order a bottle?

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

MM: A huge blank journal so I could write about what I was feeling, discovering and doing. I’ve kept a grateful journal for nearly 20 years; it is one of the keys to my happiness. No matter how tired I am, every night I note five things (different things) that I’m happy or grateful for from the day. It keeps me focused on the positive. Flipping through these books brings back a ton of details, special memories that would have been forgotten forever.

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

MM: While writing may seem a solo activity, there is a huge, generous community of knowledgeable writers in the WLT that are happy to help.

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

MM: I just published my first book, Times New Roman: How We Quit Our Jobs, Gave Away Our Stuff & Moved to Italy, and am thinking about a sequel. I’ve always wanted to live in New York, so how does Times New York sound?

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?

MM: Running on Empty: The Irreverent Guru’s Guide to Filling up with Mindfulness by Shelley Pernot (Austin). Pernot mentions Austin and Houston throughout with her hilarious writing style. Not too “woo woo,” she makes mindfulness accessible and actually fun.

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

MM: I’ll be doing a short talk and signing copies of Times New Roman at Barnes & Noble (San Antonio, San Pedro, across from Northstar Mall) on Saturday, May 27 from 2 to 4. Please come and bring friends! TNR is also available from Amazon and it’s on the shelf at Book People, travel section, first floor, near the cafe. Last time I looked it was between Under a Tuscan Sun and Wild. Pretty sweet place to be.

Thanks, Martha!

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: Walt Gragg

“Getting published is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s those writers who understand that and continue to persist, despite all the rejection along the way, who will succeed.”

-Walt Gragg

A member of the Writers’ League of Texas who recently rejoined after having previously been a member in the early 2000s, Walt Gragg lives in Georgetown.

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

Walt Gragg: Military thrillers.

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

WG: Tough question. It would likely be James A. Michener, Leon Uris, or James Clavell. Question — “How in the world were you able to write the incredibly complex stories you so masterfully wove together?”

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

WG: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.

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

WG: A tremendous amount of things. Attending a number of the annual conferences really helped me to learn how to interact with agents and pitch my work. That paid off when I pitched my soon-to-be agent, Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency at ThrillerFest in New York in 2014. If asked to give advice to an aspiring writer, I would probably say the most important thing you need to learn is getting published is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s those writers who understand that and continue to persist, despite all the rejection along the way, who will succeed.

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

WG: If you ask my agent and editor, they would tell you the sky’s the limit. I was lucky enough to sign with a vice president and editorial director (Tom Clancy’s editor) with the Berkley Publishing Group at Penguin Random House. So I have one of the most highly respected editors and the force of the world’s largest publishing house behind me. My debut The Red Line comes out on May 2, 2017. In the February 13 edition of Publishers Weekly, I not only received a glowing “starred” review, but out of the 100 or so books they reviewed, The Red Line was one of only two books to received the highly coveted “boxed” review.  I’m getting up in age so will probably only write another five books or so, but I hope to eventually be on the New York Times bestseller list. On top of that, we’ve already signed with a producer in Hollywood who is looking to turn The Red Line into a blockbuster movie trilogy. So — so far, so good.

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?

WG: The Right Side of Wrong by Reavis Wortham.

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

WG: I’m told The Red Line is a great book. Something really special. Big, bold, and unique. Publishers Weekly confirmed that in their review. I hope it really is a novel everyone will want to read. We are having a huge release party hosted by Gather at 5540 N. Lamar in Austin on May 6, from 1 pm to 4 pm. Food, drink, free parking, and music by Austin’s great Beatles cover band, The Eggmen. There will also be 2-3 guest authors signing their work. We would love for the Writers’ League members to come out, have some fun, and chat a bit with us about writing.

Thanks, Walt!

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: Stacey Berg

“It’s been wonderfully affirming to meet other writers in various stages of our journeys to publication.”

-Stacey Berg

A member of the Writers’ League of Texas for five years, Stacey Berg lives in Houston.

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

Stacey Berg: I write speculative fiction — science fiction and fantasy for adults and teens. My first novel, Dissension, was published by Harper Voyager Impulse in 2016.

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

SB: William Gibson, the author of seminal speculative fiction like Neuromancer and The Peripheral (and inventor of the word “cyberspace”). I’d ask him how he comes up with his astounding metaphors; for example, the description in his essay “Since 1948” of punk as “the detonation of some slow-fused projectile buried deep in society’s flank.”

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

SB: The complete Shakespeare would be my one indispensable book. There are dozens of worlds to explore in there, and hundreds of people to keep you company. The Riverside version is the one I grew up with, but maybe I’d pick the Norton so I’d have a new (to me) edition for the desert island.

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

SB: It’s been wonderfully affirming to meet other writers in various stages of our journeys to publication. The Writers’ League’s Agents & Editors Conferences definitely helped me take the crucial step from writing secretly in my study to submitting my work to agents and ultimately publishers.

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

SB: My first two novels have been set in the moderately distant future; I’m looking forward to stepping sideways into whole other worlds.

Scribe: Here are 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?

SB: I’m so far behind in my “to-be-read” pile that I’m not sure I read anything that technically qualifies. But I’m counting Maria Dahvana Headley’s Magonia, since she was at this year’s Texas Book Festival.

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

SB: Regeneration, the sequel to Dissension, is out now from Harper Voyagers Impulse. You can buy it here.

Thanks, Stacey!

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: Elise Holland

” In November 2016, I co-founded 2 Elizabeths, a short fiction and poetry publication, with my mother. We are committed to reading each and every single submission we receive, as there is no slush pile for us.”

-Elise Holland

A member of the Writers’ League of Texas since October, Elise Holland lives in Houston, TX.

elise-hollandScribe: In what genre(s) do you write?

Elise Holland: I write articles, essays, short fiction, and poetry for 2 Elizabeths, which is a grassroots publication I co-founded with my mother late last year.

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

EH: That’s such a tough question! There are so many incredible authors that I would be honored to meet. A few that come to mind are Emma Straub, Erin Loechner, Gabriela Pereira, Mirtha Michelle Castro Mármol, or the literary ghosts of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I recently had the opportunity to interview Mirtha Michelle Castro Mármol for 2 Elizabeths. She continues to inspire me as a poet, but also as a woman. She is ceaseless in her innate ability to encourage women to uplift other women. Hearing her discuss how her mother helped to shape her, how her own girl friends support her, and her desire to continue to help other people to grow was both inspiring and motivating. She is truly a rare gem.

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

EH: Any one of Emma Straub’s books would most likely be among my top choices on a deserted island. Her witty sense of humor would keep me sane in a situation like that! If I truly had to select one, it would be Other People We Married. For one thing, I am a lover of short stories. (Very few people know she published a collection of short stories, and they are excellent!) For another thing, it could not be her book The Vacationers, as I would likely just grow far too jealous of the luxurious European vacation featured in that novel. I suppose it could be Modern Lovers, which is also fantastic, but for the purpose of this conversation, Other People We Married it is!

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

EH: I am still a relatively new member; however, the most important thing I’ve learned thus far is about the endeavors of other writers in Texas. I am a massive fan of Scribe, and I adore the opportunity to read these interviews of fellow writers. It is a massive honor to have the opportunity to participate as well!

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

EH: We are massively focused on 2 Elizabeths and the opportunities that it creates as a platform for other writers of short fiction and poetry. At this point, after only a couple of months, we have been able to publish the work of five writers and pay them for their contributions. In five years I hope that 2 Elizabeths grows to a point that we can offer exponentially more to writers of short fiction and poetry.

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?

EH: I just finished reading The After Party by Anton DiSclafani. The novel centers around the epitome of Texas glamour in the 1950s and focuses on Houston. Being from Houston myself, I found the entire story to be enthralling.

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

EH: In November 2016, I co-founded 2 Elizabeths, a short fiction and poetry publication, with my mother. We are committed to reading each and every single submission we receive, as there is no slush pile for us. We will always pay for the pieces of fiction, poetry, and cover art that we select to publish. For a copy of our submission guidelines, click here. We would love to hear from you!

Thanks, Elise!

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!