Meet the Members: Rob Witherspoon

“There are many authors striving toward the goal of publication, and WLT offers support, guidance and information to help us achieve that goal.”

— Rob Witherspoon 

A member of the Writers’ League since 2015, Rob lives in Graham, TX.

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

Rob Witherspoon: Humor applied to any genre that fits the story. The first book I wrote satirized conspiracy/international thriller. My WIP is a science fiction satirical treatment of religion and afterlife.

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

RW: Christopher Moore. I’d like to sit down over a plate of waffles with him and ask, ‘How can absurd, humorous fiction compete with absurd, not always humorous reality?’

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

RW: It’s too late for keeping me sane, but I’d want Slaughterhouse Five to keep it in perspective.

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

RW: I’ve attended the conference 3 times and sat through dozens of presentations. There are many authors striving toward the goal of publication, and WLT offers support, guidance and information to help us achieve that goal.

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

RW: I’m just along for the ride, as far as writing takes me. I have ideas for a series featuring the characters I’ve created: QED Morningwood and Cotton Widdershins.

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?

RW: Jackrabbit Smile by Joe Lansdale is what I’m reading now and waiting for the release of his next book.

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

RW: The Square Root of Texas is available. Deus Tex Machina is going to the editors at the end of September. Visit www.robwitherspoon.com.

Thank you, Rob!

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!

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Meet the Members: Christa Allan

“[I’m] amazed at the extensive network of writers, lessons, conference and overall support for writers [from WLT].”

— Christa Allan

A member of the Writers’ League since April 2017, Christa lives in Spring, TX.

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

Christa Allan: Women’s Fiction.

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

CA: How to Survive on a Deserted Island. Otherwise, The Complete Works of Shakespeare.

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

CA: Amazed at the extensive network of writers, lessons, conference and overall support for writers, writing and literacy.

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

CA: Actually, I hope it can take my entire family on a vacation to thank them for their consistent support and encouragement as I hunkered down to write. I simply love to write.

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?

CA: Oh, I’m mortified…I’ve not read any published in the last year that are Texas related. I’ll definitely work on that!

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

CA: I can be found on Facebook and Instagram (@christaallan.author). My last novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, has been an Amazon best seller. I’m presently shopping my next novel which I completed a few weeks ago! Thanks for this opportunity to meet the members!

Thank you, Christa!

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: Brenda Marie Smith

“I think it’s wonderful the way WLT supports Texas writers and encourages us to support each other. Writers need strong support networks.” 

– Brenda Marie Smith 

Member of the Writers’ League since 2006, Brenda lives in South Austin.

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

Brenda Marie Smith: My current novel, If Darkness Takes Us, is a dystopian sci-fi thriller from a grandmother’s point of view. My first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller based on theories of Timothy Leary, Carlos Castaneda, Zen Buddhism, and Carl Jung. I think you could say that unusual character-driven thrillers are my genre.

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

BMS: John LeCarré. First, I would ask him how he manages to give such full pictures of characters with such subtle strokes and spare descriptions, then I would ask how he gives international scope to the most personal of stories, again with only spare strokes. I’ve read all his books, some more than once, and I still can’t figure out how he does it.

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

BMS: There are so many, but I’d pick To Kill A Mockingbird, to help me have courage in the face of adversity, and also because the rich Southern atmosphere would remind me of home.

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

BMS: I think it’s wonderful the way WLT supports Texas writers and encourages us to support each other. Writers need strong support networks. From attending the Agents & Editors Conference, I learned so much about improving my writing and about pitching books, and I met some amazing writers, agents, and editors. I’ve also received valuable feedback from entering WLT’s manuscript contests. And I love the way you keep us informed about the great accomplishments of other Texas authors. I can’t attend many WLT events due to my disabilities, but I still feel that I’m a part of the community.

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

BMS: I’ve written a sequel for If Darkness Takes Us in the voice of the 18-year-old grandson, and I’m outlining a novel involving hippies living in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. My main writing goal is to have fun with my writing and get my stories out there where people can be aware that they exist and enjoy them. Modest success would be nice as well.

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?

BMS: I’ve heard from another WLT member that Secrets of the Casa Rosada by Alex Temblador is great, and I’m looking forward to reading it. The last Texas book by an Austin author I’ve read is less than two years old, Laura Creedle’s The Love Letters of Abelard & Lily, about a teen girl with ADHD who falls in love with a boy on the spectrum. It’s beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking all at the same time. That book is one of my all-time favorites, and it sticks with me to this day.

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

BMS: Yes, thank you. My novel, If Darkness Takes Us, was the winner of the 2018 Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest and is coming out on October 15th. Since the story takes place in an altered version of my far South Austin neighborhood, I think Texans will enjoy it. Here’s a short book description:

A solar pulse destroys modern life, and Bea Crenshaw is left alone in South Austin with four grandkidsShe must teach them to survive without power, cars, or running water in a world fraught with increasing danger.

Also, I’m having a Book Launch Event at BookPeople in Austin on Saturday, November 16th at 5 p.m. and I hope that lots of WLT members will attend. I would love the opportunity to meet local writers.

Finally, I want to thank the Writers’ League of Texas for this interview and for everything you do to help Texas writers. We are very fortunate to have your amazing support.


Thank you, Brenda!

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: Joy Don Baker and Terri Goodman

“For our readers we want to share enjoyment, writing, and learning through meaningful stories about diverse nursing characters.”

— Joy Don Baker

Members of the Writers’ League since 2017, Joy Don and Terri live in the DFW area.

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

Joy Don Baker & Terri Goodman: We write women’s fiction and nonfiction. We have recently written nonfiction on the “A, B, & Cs of Author Partnering.

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

JDB: Penny C. Sansevieri. I’d ask: What are the top three marketing strategies you recommend to authors?
TG: I would have a drink with Anne Rivers Siddons. I would ask: What’s your secret for engaging your readers?

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

JDB: Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way.
TG: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.

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

JDB: There are wonderful speakers and often I can take advantage of the online opportunities.
TG: Through [WLT’s] resources, we’ve both improved our craft.

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

JDB: For our readers we want to share enjoyment, writing, and learning through meaningful stories about diverse nursing characters.
TG: I want us to develop a community of readers interested in the lives of our characters.

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?

JDB: K. Wendt’s Emma’s Journey. An intriguing romance that is kicked off by the death of her friend and mentor.
TG: N. Brown’s The Arrival. A turn of the century historical fiction taking place in Galveston, TX.

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

 

JDB & TG: Joy Don Baker and Terri Goodman were nursing students in the ’70s like the characters in their books. They are both published authors in professional nursing literature. They met in the ’80s and have remained friends for years. Both authors reside in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex where Baker is a Clinical Professor in the graduate nursing program at The University of Texas in Arlington, and Goodman is self-employed as an Approved Provider of continuing nursing education.

Frannie, Robin, Katie, and Leslie represent the rich diversity found among nurses. Follow the Nurseketeers as they move through nursing school and into their careers. Check out our website at https://www.bakergoodman.com/

Thank you, Joy Don and Terri!

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: Amy Brazda

“I have been a member [of WLT] for just a few days, but I know I will be given many opportunities to learn, grow, and share as a writer, and I very much look forward to all three!”

— Amy Brazda

A member of the Writers’ League since June 2019, Amy lives in Houston, TX.

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

Amy Brazda: I write books for kids, aged 3-9.

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

AB: I would like to have a drink with Wes Moore, and I would ask him how he felt about another man bearing his identical name, yet having the experience of a life totally different from his. The Other Wes Moore is a fantastic read, and I could not put it down. I have wanted to meet him since I saw him give an emotional and sincere presentation to high schoolers here in Houston.

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

AB: If I was stranded I would seek humor so I would want my fave all-time book of poetry by Shel Silverstein, Where the Sidewalk Ends, to help me survive.

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

AB: I have been a member for just a few days, but I know I will be given many opportunities to learn, grow, and share as a writer, and I very much look forward to all three! I am a “people” person, so I hope to make many new friends who share my same love of writing and allowing readers of our books much happiness, whichever genre they write!

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

AB: I am looking forward to doing my own kind of marketing! I love getting out into the community, not sharing this book in big stores or social media, but meeting people, especially kids! (I don’t even want to do large-scale PowerPoint presentations.) For school visits I will get down in reading circles with small classes and read so I can connect with the kids! Since the book is about my puppy, I have already met the nicest pet store, groomers, and pet store owners who love dogs and want me to share my book in their small business stores, which I want to promote! I hope the poetry I wrote as the text of the book inspires others to write poetry, which I have always loved.

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?

AB: It did not come out in the last year, but in light of his passing I loved, loved the book George Bush wrote — All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings. It shows the power of the written word, especially in our electronic world!

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

AB: I have two amazing kids in college who have taken on writing as journalists! They were taught by me at very early ages, and I am thrilled they have chosen to be writers so they can get out and meet a diversity of people, have great adventures, travel, and enjoy their lives! I was a competitive junior tennis player and my kids took up tennis, so I have loved being a “tennis mom,” I love to cook, and I absolutely love being a one-on-one tutor/business owner of my own tutoring company so I can help kids learn and grow as students and make an impact in these families’ lives.

Thank you, Amy!

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: Laura Bray

” I haven’t been [a member of WLT for] long, but hope to learn a lot and meet a lot of folks at the upcoming Agents and Editors Conference.”

— Laura Bray

laura headshot

A member of the Writers’ League since March 2019, Laura lives in Boerne, TX.

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

Laura Bray: Historical fiction, freelance nonfiction articles (travel, food/wine, community interest, business).

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

LB: Elizabeth Gilbert: “What is your strategy for putting your rear in the chair and words on the page every day?”

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

LB: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

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

LB: I haven’t been here long, but hope to learn a lot and meet a lot of folks at the upcoming Agents and Editors Conference.

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

LB: Once I finish my current book (see below), I have three or four more ideas kicking around in my head. It will be fun to figure out which one to start on next.

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?

LB: Ticker by Mimi Swartz (also….cannot wait for Stephen Harrigan’s Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas).

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

 

LB: I’ve recently completed work on my new author platform (www.laurabray.net), which includes a blog (“Write Before Ready”), Facebook page, and Twitter feed (@LauraBrayAuthor). My goal is to build an audience for my in-progress historical fiction novel Springs from Winter Rise.

Thank you, Laura!

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: Samantha M. Clark

“The WLT conferences and webinars (which I also really LOVE) have taught me about craft, persevering, and the business of publishing, as well as continue to inspire me.”

— Samantha M Clark

A member of the Writers’ League since 2012, Samantha lives in Cedar Park, TX.

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

Samantha M. Clark: My middle-grade novel The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast which came out from Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster in 2018, is contemporary fantasy, and nearly all my stories come to me with some kind of fantastical element, whether fantasy or sci-fi. I also write young adult novels and recently have been playing with picture books and chapter books, and I have an unpublished novella for adult readers that I love and ideas for more of them. I basically love to read and write stories for all ages and in many genres, as long as they stretch my imagination, make me think, and dig into my heart.

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

SMC: Hmmm. I don’t do well narrowing down my choices with questions like this. There are so many! I’d love to have a drink with Shakespeare and ask him — or her — who really wrote those plays and sonnets? But seriously, I’d love to learn how Shakespeare and other poets like Emily Dickinson and Maya Angelou translated their worlds into words, whether their amazing use of symbolism just came to them or took a lot of brainstorming. I’m hoping the latter, since that’s what I have to do.

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

SMC: Could I have a Kindle stuffed with books? In that case, I’d have the whole Harry Potter series, Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Cosmic, Ready Player One, the Narnia books, the Lord of the Rings books, The Hunger Games series, all of Linda Sue Park’s books, all of Laurie Halse Anderson’s books… If it has to be one print book, I’d want a notebook with lots of blank pages. I’ll find something to write with…

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

SMC: So much! Early on in my membership, I attended a class by the amazing author Liz Garton Scanlon on writing poetry. I left feeling, for the first time, that while I don’t consider myself a poet in any way, I could perhaps write like a poet. Years later, I put those lessons to use while I was revising The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast before it sold. I’ve also learned a lot at the WLT conferences over the years. Agent Sarah Davies did a fantastic session on writing thrillers a few years ago, which was so informative. The WLT conferences and webinars (which I also really LOVE) have taught me about craft, persevering, and the business of publishing, as well as continue to inspire me.

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

SMC: I’ve always hoped for a career in fiction, just the chance to tell stories full-time. I had a career in nonfiction, as a journalist and editor, before I started to focus on fiction. But having a sustainable career in fiction has many more challenges. For a long time, I didn’t believe it would happen. I queried four novels and had more than 100 rejections before I signed with my agent. And when we went on submission with The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast, I got around 14 rejections and had to do another big revision before it sold. After it sold, I kept expecting an email saying they’d made a mistake and had meant to acquire another book about a boy who wakes on a mysterious beach with no memory. It wasn’t until I got printed advanced reader copies that I thought, “They’re probably not going to back out now.” Now the book is in bookstores and libraries, the hardcover has gone into a second printing, and foreign rights have sold in three languages. Of course, one book doesn’t make a career, but I just finished another middle-grade that’s with my editor now, and I have a young adult that will be going on submission soon. I’m working on other books and have folders full of ideas that I want to tackle in the future. There’s no guarantee that any of these will sell, but having gone through it once, I have more hope, primarily because I now know what it takes: Hard work and never giving up. I did that for The Boy, The Boat, and the Beast. It was the third novel I wrote, but by the time it sold, I had written three more novels and a novella, learned from them and used what I’d learned to revise. My plan now is to keep on doing that. Write, revise, submit, repeat. Perhaps not every book I’ll write will sell, but if I keep working hard and never give up, hopefully this first novel can build into a career.

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?

SMC: I loved Sean Easley’s The Hotel Between, which was also published by Simon & Schuster last year. It’s a middle-grade fantasy about a hotel that magically connects all these different places all over the world, and the protagonist discovers the hotel through its Dallas door. It’s such a fun adventure. Check it out! And if you’re older than 12 and saying to yourself that middle-grade is too young for you, I challenge you to change that thinking. No book should have a maximum age. So dig into those younger books too. You’ll be surprised what you find.

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

SMC: Well, not so much about me, but… Keep writing. Keep believing. Keep reading! Oh, and if you’re looking for books to read, The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast comes out in paperback on June 25!

Thank you, Samantha!

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!