Meet the WLT Members Signing on Sunday at our Texas Book Festival Booth!

The Texas Book Festival is this weekend, and we’re pumped about the weekend’s schedule and the diversity of this year’s offerings. Check out the TBF website for the full list of authors and panels and make sure to check out Lit Crawl Austin on Saturday night for even more fun events (plus cocktails)!

Every year, we look forward to our exhibitor booth at TBF, where visitors can meet our staff and volunteers, learn about membership, and raise a glass to toast our book award honorees. And this year, as in years past, we’re thrilled to offer our members, many of whom are incredible Texas authors, the opportunity to sign and promote their books at our booth. Check out the schedule!

We’ll have signings all weekend, and we wanted to share a little more about each of our signers with you in advance of the festival. Yesterday we shared information about Saturdays’ authors, and check the blog again tomorrow for a post on several special events happening at our booth and around the festival!

You can find us at Exhibitor Tent 3, Booths 320-321. (Find info on the festival grounds and parking here.)

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5
AUTHOR SIGNINGS

11 a.m.
Jess Hagemann and Bernadette Nason (Nonfiction + Memoir)

Jess Hagemann is an Austin-based ghostwriter and accomplished biographer. Her company, Cider Spoon Stories, specializes in helping seniors, veterans, and small business owners write their life stories as books. Whispers is an inspiring collection of ten stories from sexual assault survivors in central Texas.

Bernadette Nason, a native Brit, is an award-winning actor, voice-over artist and storyteller. She has been on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Artists’ Roster since 2002, presenting annually to over 30,000 people. She’s also acclaimed for her solo presentations of biographical stories about growing up in England, and expatriate life: Tea in Tripoli; Dinner in Dubai; Iced Tea in Texas; and Stealing Baby Jesus. Nason is regularly seen in regional theatre productions, and is a company member of Austin Playhouse. She received the Austin Critics’ Table Award for Conspicuous Versatility. Her memoir Tea in Tripoli is her first book and recounts her extraordinary, often perilous, journey of self-discovery in Gaddafi’s Libya, c. 1984-85.

12 p.m.
Lynn G. Abrams, R. Rachel Gauna, & JoDee Neathery (Children’s + Literary Fiction)

Lynn G. Abrams wrote her first story, The Mischievous Puppy, on a piece of construction paper when she was eight. She resumed writing when she became a mom, although on somewhat better paper. She is the author of The Ten Dinosaurs picture book series and is a member of SCBWI and WLT. She holds BA and MSW degrees, teaches adult education, and volunteers with Boy Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and others. In each of her books, she invites children to learn new words and stretch their imagination. Lynn enjoys learning something from everyone, and hopes young readers will do the same! In The Tale Of Lucky The Dog, which won the 2016 Writers’ League of Texas Discovery Prize Award in the Picture Book category, Lucky The Dog gives advice to homeless dogs on how to find a home and train their humans.

R. Rachel Gauna is a lover of the outdoors, be it the ocean or the deep wilderness of a backcountry trail. Her other passion is the magic of words, whether they’re words she writes, words she reads or words she hears through song and other storytelling. The Thinking Log is her first published book, and she is currently working on her second novel. Rachel is originally from New Mexico; has lived in Central Texas; Denver; San Diego; Asheville, North Carolina; and currently resides in Amarillo, Texas.

JoDee Neathery drew from her Texas and California roots to pluck a few personalities off the family tree to create her debut novel Life in a Box, five years in the making. From a diverse professional background she focused on her love of the written word to write freelance articles for a nonprofit and now enjoys a byline in a local newspaper in East Texas where she and her husband reside.

1 p.m.
Rosa Walston Latimer & Bruce Thatcher (Nonfiction)

Rosa Walston Latimer’s interest in preserving women’s history was sparked by the story of her Harvey Girl grandmother and led to her first book, Harvey Houses of Texas, followed by Harvey Houses of New Mexico and Harvey Houses of Kansas – all published by The History Press. Harvey Houses of Kansas received a 2016 “Notable Kansas Book” award. Rosa’s fourth book, Harvey Houses of Arizona, will be released in the fall of 2018. Rosa, who lives in Austin, is also a writing consultant and an instructor at the West Texas Writers’ Academy at West Texas A&M.

Bruce Thatcher wants to share truths learned from our past to avoid making the same mistakes today. He grew up in the Midwest, graduated from Iowa State and University of Chicago, worked in marketing and management, then led a consulting firm until retirement. While living in the Chicago area, he was elected to a local school board, serving a term as its President. He was a Director of Literacy Volunteers of America, and taught classes at Avila University, William Jewel College and the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Thatcher and his wife, Carol, live near New Braunfels, Texas. Rise and Decline: Where We Are and What We Can Do About It derives a critical element of national life cycles through case-study examinations of six nations, including the United States and its present situation.

2 p.m.
Joe Giordano & Meredith Lee (Mystery/Thriller)

Joe Giordano was born in Brooklyn. He and his wife, Jane, have lived in Greece, Brazil, Belgium and the Netherlands. They now live in Texas with their shih tzu, Sophia.  Joe’s stories have appeared in more than one-hundred magazines including The Monarch Review, The Saturday Evening Post, decomP, and Shenandoah. His novel, Birds of Passage, An Italian Immigrant Coming of Age Story, was published by Harvard Square Editions in October 2015. His second novel, Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller, was published by HSE in June 2017. Read the first chapters on Joe’s website.

Meredith Lee is the pen name for the Austin-based writing team of Dixie Lee Evatt and Sue Meredith Cleveland. A former political reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, Dixie taught writing at Syracuse University. Sue’s work-in-progress Young Adult novel was a 2015 finalist in the Cynthia Leitich Smith Writing Mentor Award. Dixie and Sue collaborated on a screenplay that was a semi-finalist for the 2013 Chesterfield Writer’s Film Project and a Hollywood studio optioned another screenplay. Those earnings provided seed money for their publishing imprint, ThirtyNineStars. Shrouded, the first installment in the Crispin Leads Mystery Series, is the story of a graduate student whose trip to Rome to study burial rituals at the Vatican is derailed when she is witness to a murder. Shrouded was a finalist in the 2017 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest.

Stay tuned tomorrow for our special event schedule!


If you read this post and thought “I’ve published a book! I wish I could sign at the Texas Book Festival!” consider joining the Writers’ League! Signing opportunities at our booths at the San Antonio Book Festival and the Texas Book Festival are available to all current members. Space is limited, so sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about when we will start accepting applications for the 2018 San Antonio Book Festival.

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Meet the WLT Members Signing on Saturday at our Texas Book Festival Booth!

The Texas Book Festival is this weekend, and we’re so pumped about the weekend’s schedule and the diversity of this year’s offerings. Check out the TBF website for the full list of authors and panels and make sure to check out Lit Crawl Austin on Saturday night for even more fun events (plus cocktails)!

Every year, we look forward to our exhibitor booth at TBF, where visitors can meet our staff and volunteers, learn about membership, and raise a glass to toast our book award honorees. And this year, as in years past, we’re thrilled to offer our members, many of whom are incredible Texas authors, the opportunity to sign and promote their books at our booth. Check out the schedule!

We’ll have signings all weekend, and we wanted to share a little more about each of our signers with you in advance of the festival. Check out our blog tomorrow for a post on Sundays’ authors and again on Wednesday for a post on several special events happening at our booth and around the festival!

You can find us at Exhibitor Tent 3, Booths 320-321. (Find info on the festival grounds and parking here.)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 4
AUTHOR SIGNINGS

10 a.m.
Lauren Flake & Kathryn Kronenberg (Children’s)

Lauren Flake is an artist, author, Alzheimer’s daughter, and seventh generation Texan. She lives near her native Austin with her husband Travis and their two young daughters. In 2015, her #TexasStrong shirts raised over $146,000 for central Texas flood relief in memory of her mother, Dixie Benton Stucky. Lauren’s children’s books–Where Did My Sweet Grandma Go?: A Preschooler’s Guide to Losing a Loved One and its companion, Where Did My Sweet Grandpa Go?–include original artwork by her late mom alongside her own watercolor illustrations. Purchase her books here.

Kathryn Kronenberg is a born-and-raised Texan with a Big Dream: that people all around the world smile BIG in who they are as they believe in themselves and their dreams! The idea whacked her over the head like a 2 x 4 at a symphony ten years ago. At first, she ignored the call. Then finally after going to every bookstore and library she could find, she chose to follow her dream. Now, she knows following one’s dream can turn life into a grand adventure. Her book Dream BIG is set in the wilds of East Africa long ago, where animals discover a powerful secret—SHHH—that they can use to help make dreams come true.

11 a.m.
Melinda Freeland & Maureen Lomo (Women’s Fiction/Romance)

Melinda Freeland’s novelist aspirations began not long after she learned to read and write, but she’s come a long way since penning her first story about Mr. & Mrs. Texas Toast. Love, Texas – Population 2 is her debut Christian contemporary romance novel. It was inspired by Melinda’s life as a newspaper reporter, her reunion with her first love, and her faith journey. Melinda lives in Canyon Lake, Texas. Some of her favorite pastimes are watching at least one drama or comedy DVD a week, spending time with family and friends, listening to a wide genre of music, and reading novels and biographies.

In high school, Maureen Lomo wrote poetry, but it would be over twenty years before she entertained the idea of writing professionally. She received her B.A. from the University of Texas and went on to a career in H.R. in Houston and D.C. before eventually working for the Dept. of State overseas. There, she experienced many fulfilling moments as she traveled and worked around the world. Now, as Maureen develops fiction, she makes sisterhood and West African culture a recurring theme in her work. She crafts her inspirational literature from her home base in Austin, Texas. Her debut novel Tenth Year in the Sun weaves together the lives of four “soul sisters” from different cultures as the best friends journey into the fullness of womanhood and endeavor to honor their ten-year commitment to reunite in a foreign land.

12 p.m.
Jerry Craven & James Garrison (Science Fiction/Literary Fiction)

Jerry Craven has published 28 books; his 2017 publications are Ceremonial Stones of Fire (short stories set in SE Asia) and Parallel Hours, a time travel novel co-written with Andrew Geyer. He is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the Science Fiction Writers of America. He serves as director for both Lamar University Literary Press and Ink Brush Press, and he is General Editor for the international journal Amarillo Bay. In Parallel Hours, which he’ll be signing at TBF, a Soviet era engineer, Tejmur, uses his newly invented time window to flee the 1990 Soviet invasion of Baku, Azerbaijan—only to run smack into Genghis Khan’s army, which is invading the city 770 years earlier.

James Garrison is a recovering lawyer who lives and writes in Houston, Texas. Born in Statesville, North Carolina, he attended the University of North Carolina, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa majoring in English and history and nurtured an interest in creative writing. Drafted during his first year in Duke Law School, he ended up as an army MP in Vietnam, where the endemic violence, corruption, and poverty—as well as the daily challenges of a military cop in a war zone—left a lasting impression reaching well beyond his years of practicing law in the oil patch. Set in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War, his book QL 4 is not a war story but a tale of intrigue, betrayal, and crime among soldiers on the same side in an unpopular war.

1 p.m.
Donna & Stacy Richardson (Children’s)

Authors of the chapter book The WWG-Mystery of the Town Treasure, Donna and Stacy Richardson share with you their spirit adventures through the eyes of an intuitive child. The WWG Book Series is based on events experienced by the authors and their loved ones while growing up around the Texas Gulf Coast  and hearing tales of Bailey’s Prairie, the 1900 Storm, and the city built around cemeteries. You can find them sitting outside at dusk along Oyster Creek in Texas listening for the next story to write. So, come on Smaggles! Learn the WWG code words, and get ready for an adventure.

2 p.m.
Cynthia E. Davis, Ruth Davis, & Monica Shaw (Spirituality + Historical Fiction)

Cynthia E. Davis is a wife, mom, entrepreneur, military veteran, and most importantly a child of the most High King. She is passionate about people and helping them achieve their dreams. Her goal is to be a difference maker. Her mission is to eradicate poverty of the mind and to illuminate the path to a greater life for others. Her book The Spoken Word – Changing Your Life Through the Word is a devotional to help you on your journey through life.

Ruth Davis recently released Thirteen Rivers, the Last Voyage of LaBelle a novel of historical fiction based on the true adventures of French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and his colony. Ruth, a fifth generation Texan, lives in Palestine, Texas. Her family’s homestead in Henderson County dates back to 1887. She and husband Dan Davis, both avid history enthusiasts, have a real estate office and working ranch in Anderson County.

Monica Shaw is a native of Texas where she has been a successful entrepreneur.  Her debut novel, The Rainwater Secret, started off as a personal research project looking into the life of her great aunt who became a missionary later in life.  Shaw is married with 3 children and resides in Dallas, Texas.

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for our Sunday schedule!


If you read this post and thought “I’ve published a book! I wish I could sign at the Texas Book Festival!” consider joining the Writers’ League! Signing opportunities at our booths at the San Antonio Book Festival and the Texas Book Festival are available to all current members. Space is limited, so sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about when we will start accepting applications for the 2018 San Antonio Book Festival.

Meet the Members: John Payne

“I write on what I have most experienced. I value my crediblity.”

-John Payne

A member of the Writers’ League of Texas for three years, John Payne lives in San Antonio.

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

John Payne: General fiction, as well as sci-fi and fantasy.

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

JP: Lee Child – When is Jack Reacher going to suffer a serious, incapacitating injury?

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

JP: Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s Killing Jesus: A History.

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

JP: Tips on how to develop characters.

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

JP: Moving solely into fantasy or historical romance.

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

JP: I recommend Vince Flynn’s Order to Kill (co-authored by Kyle Mills).

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

JP: I write on what I have most experienced – even in the fiction and fantasy works. I value my credibility.

Thanks, John!

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.

What We’re Reading Now: LONE WOLF

Lone Wolf: An F.B.I. K-9 Novel #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Sara Driscoll

Published in August 2017 by Kensington Books

Reviewed by Kirsche Romo

In the first of her FBI K-9 novel series, Sara Driscoll takes us into the world of the FBI’s Forensic K-9 unit. The story opens with Meg Jennings and her tracking Labrador, Hawk, pursuing the scent of a teen girl’s murderer in the woods of Maryland.

Meg and her sister Cara have always been dog lovers. Cara operates a dog obedience training school, and their parents are lifelong animal advocates, running an animal rescue in Virginia. Meg and Cara have spent their lives saving animals and nursing them back to health. After they moved in together as adults, they adopted several dogs with the goal of turning them into working dogs – providing therapy or being trained in the art of search and rescue, like Hawk.

Before Meg and Hawk can recuperate from their Maryland tracking assignment, they are again called into action. A bomb has exploded at the Department of Agriculture Building in Washington DC, and their mission is to find and rescue as many people buried under the rubble as possible, including a group of school children who were there on a field trip.

Upon investigation, the FBI makes a chilling discovery – the method used to place and detonate the bomb is unlike any ever seen before.

The bomber soon contacts a well-known Washington journalist with a cryptic message voicing his anger with the government and making it clear his goal of vengeance is not yet complete. Meg and Hawk team up with the FBI to diligently work to stop the bomber.

But how many more bombs will the killer set off before his revenge is complete? Will Meg and Hawk, and the rest of the K-9 team, be able to track him down before any more lives are lost?

Reading Lone Wolf, I enjoyed getting a first-hand glimpse of the world of K-9 teams and the methods used for tracking, detection, and search and rescue. Driscoll has also inserted terms relevant to K-9 search and rescue procedures at the beginning of each chapter to help clarify jargon for readers.

Lone Wolf was an interesting and enjoyable read and will appeal to dog lovers and those who love a fast-paced mystery. I’m looking forward to what Driscoll has planned for book two of the series.

K.L. Romo writes about life on the fringe: teetering dangerously on the edge is more interesting than standing safely in the middle. She is passionate about women’s issues, loves noisy clocks and fuzzy blankets, but HATES the word normal. Her historical novel, Life Before, is about two women separated by a century who discover they’ve shared a soul. Web: KLRomo.com or @klromo.

5 Questions for Stuart Horwitz

“There is a false debate between pantsers and outliners, those people who write by the seat of their pants and those who meticulously plan every writing session. In truth, we are all both of these — they are two sides of every writer’s psyche.”

-Stuart Horwitz

Stuart Horwitz is a ghostwriter, independent editor, and founder and principal of Book Architecture. His clients have reached the best-seller list in both fiction and non-fiction, and have appeared on Oprah!, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, and in journals in their respective fields. He is the author of three books on writing: Blueprint Your Bestseller, which was named one of 2013’s best books about writing by The Writer magazine; Book Architecture, which became an Amazon bestseller; and Finish Your Book in Three Drafts.

On November 11, Stuart will teach “Plotting Your Book with Scenes and Narrative Arcs” at ACC Highland in Austin, TX. This class will introduce strategies for developing plot lines around recurring themes and breaking a novel into scenes to diagnose missteps and missed opportunities. We asked Stuart about the books he’s learned from, advice he gives often and advice he thinks is overused, and what people will take away from the class.

What is a book that you recommend to people over and over? What makes it so compelling?

One of my favorite books on creativity is by the filmmaker David Lynch: Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. As writers, frequently all we read are books about writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Paris Review “Writers at Work” interviews as much as the next person. I just think a lot can be gained by immersing oneself in the creative life as a whole, and not just our literary slice of the pie. Lynch’s essays are very short — they can be digested before a writing session to help you sink in. And then sink all the way down.

In your own work, what has been one challenge posed by the craft, structure, voice, etc., of a book that you’ve had to puzzle out?

I recently completed a short memoir for my daughter who was going to college at her request (actually, at her insistence!). The challenge was that I know her so well, and she knows me so well, that I couldn’t find a narratorial voice that felt authentic. It all seemed like a big put-on, until I started writing each chapter as a letter to her. Then it fell into place and is probably the best thing I’ve ever written. But I got there by admitting to myself that I didn’t know what I was doing . . . which opened up a way to do it.

What piece of advice do you find yourself giving to writers again and again?

Trust the drafting process. This sounds like an ad for my class coming up in November, but I really mean it. Know what draft you’re in. The first draft requires a very different approach than the second or third draft. You start in different places, you expect different things, you find your writing session “win” differently. Every writer needs to have her or his own process by which they try out material, see what the best parts are to bring them up a level, and then decide on an idea’s best expression before moving on.

Is there a common piece of writing advice that you wish people wouldn’t put so much stock in or follow too closely?

I think finding your voice is largely a misunderstood concept. Your voice is your voice when the outside world doesn’t interfere. Saul Bellow called it the “prompter” (and he said we all have one, so don’t think it’s reserved just for geniuses!) — that source of words that is fed to you just as you become conscious of them. To hear that voice we might exercise before a writing session, meditate, consume adult beverages (it’s been done before) so that we can listen for that voice. We can’t go get it somewhere else though without it sounding terribly affected.

What is one thing that people will take away from this class?

I won’t cannibalize on my trust the process answer above, although it is tempting. That’s really the heart of it, but I will say one more thing. There is a false debate between pantsers and outliners: those people who write by the seat of their pants and those who meticulously plan every writing session. In truth, we are all both of these — they are two sides of every writer’s psyche. It’s knowing when in the drafting process to lean on which side that is the real trick. Plus, it will be fun.

Thanks, Stuart!

 

Click here to learn more about and register for Stuart’s class.

Click here for our current class schedule.

Meet the Members: Kate Winkler Dawson

“Writing a book is a thorough education that’s invaluable to anyone hoping to learn more about themselves.”

-Kate Winkler Dawson

A member of the Writers’ League since 2015, Kate Winkler Dawson lives in Austin. Her book Death in the Air is out this month from Hachette Book Group.

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

Kate Winkler Dawson: Historical narrative nonfiction and true crime.

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

KWD: Truman Capote, and I’d ask to see his notes from In Cold Blood.

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

KWD: Would it be odd to say Lord of the Flies? 

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

KWD: There are so many wonderful writers out there and there are also quite a few people who want to be wonderful writers, which is just as important.

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

KWD: I don’t plan to specialize in one time period or even one genre, so I’m excited to learn about different eras, different cities, and even different countries. Writing a book is a quick, but thorough education that’s invaluable to anyone hoping to learn more about themselves. I’m grateful each time I’m able to explore a new world; with each project, I learn something new about myself.

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? 

KWD: I loved Skip Hollandsworth’s The Midnight Assassin.* He did a beautiful job with an incredibly difficult subject. Historical true crime is difficult because, many times, your sources are so limited. He really captured the spooky atmosphere of 19th century Austin.

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

KWD: I think many readers will buy my book, Death in the Air, because one of the characters is a serial killer; there’s a massive audience for true crime (thank goodness). But at its heart, the book is about a ghostly fog that morphed into a deadly smog, fueled by pollution caused by coal, sold by a desperate British government. Air pollution is still deadly, still frightening, and still bolstered by callous governments. I ask readers to decide for themselves, which murderer was more fearsome–a killer who buried at least six people or a one that strangled to death thousands? 

On October 28 at 6 pm, I’ll be signing my book and speaking with WLT Executive Director Becka Oliver at BookPeople.** Hope to see some of you there!

Thanks, Kate!

*Editor’s Note: We agree! The Midnight Assassin won in the nonfiction category of our 2016 Book Awards. Submissions are open now for the 2017 Book Awards – details here.

**Editor’s Note: Kate Winkler Dawson is one of WLT’s success stories. She met her agent at our Agents & Editors Conference and is an active member of our writing community. At her BookPeople event, she’ll be in conversation with WLT Executive Director Becka Oliver about her new book Death in the Air.  Find the Facebook event here. We hope you can join us!

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.

 

5 Questions for Allie Pleiter

You’ll come away with a system that takes your individual style and speed and plots your way to the accomplishment of your writing goal.

-Allie Pleiter

Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and nonfiction, working on as many as four novels at a time. The highly organized but slightly untidy bestselling author of over thirty books, Allie spends her days writing, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the Midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced a seventeen-year career with over 1.2 million books sold. In addition to writing, Allie regularly speaks on faith, the creative process, women’s issues, and her very favorite topic—time management for writers.

On October 21, Allie will teach “Project Management for Writers: Finish Your Book On Time with Less Stress” at St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. This class will introduce strategies for actually getting your writing done, not just beating yourself up when other people’s writing routines don’t work for you. We asked Allie about the books she’s learned from, challenges she’s faced in her own work, and what people will take away from the class.

What is a book that you recommend to people over and over? What makes it so compelling?

A book that has stuck with me since my first reading is The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s a smart, inventive, totally unique tale about a magical circus and its performers and fans. Incredible characters, a great plot, and just an extraordinary voice from the author. Definitely among my top favorite novels of all time.

In your own work, what has been one challenge posed by the craft, structure, voice, etc., of a book that you’ve had to puzzle out?

I would be such a happier writer if I could plot well! My work is so character-driven that plotting never comes easily for me. It does reveal itself, a bit at a time, but I feel as if it would be so much easier if I could know it all ahead of time.I’ve made some improvements over the years, but it’s still the biggest struggle I have as a writer.

Has there been a moment of epiphany in terms of your work, when you thought, “This is it! Now I know what I’m doing?” How long did that feeling last?

Excuse me? That actually happens to people?? Why was I not informed?

What piece of advice do you find yourself giving to writers again and again?

Just do the work. Plant yourself in the seat (or in my case, at the treadmill desk) and do the work. There is no secret handshake or clever shortcut. The only way to get writing done, to get better at writing, and to build a career is to write. Simple, but most of the hardest stuff in life is, I’ve found.

What is one thing that people will take away from this class?

How to get the work done. And, done in a way that makes sense for you—not someone else. You’ll come away with a system that takes your individual style and speed and plots your way to the accomplishment of your writing goal. Fans of The Chunky Method have told me it is incredibly empowering and motivating to walk away with that system in place.

Thanks, Allie!

 

Click here to learn more about and register for Allie’s class.

Click here for our current class schedule.