Lea Wait

BIW Member Interview

Lea Wait writes Scribner’s award winning Shadows Antique Print Mystery series, in which antique print dealer Maggie Summer solves crimes by finding clues in her nineteenth century prints. She is also the author of acclaimed historical novels for children aged 7 and up, set in 19th century Wiscasset. Lea grew up in New Jersey and Maine and is an antique print dealer and mother to four Asian children she adopted.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Lea Wait: Since I was in second grade and the revelation dawned that actual, real, people wrote books! I loved libraries, and books — and I wanted to know everything in the world. Somehow I thought the people who wrote the books were the ones who DID know everything. As I got older I refined that first impression… but I still wanted to be a writer!

Lea Wait, writerMoe: Describe three lessons you’ve learned about writing.

Lea Wait: 1) What most people call “writing” is really “research” + “planning” + “writing” + “rewriting” + “marketing”. All of those things add up to “publishing.”

2) Therefore, most of “writing” is not actually “writing”.

3) If I’d known all that before I started… I’d still be a writer!

Moe: What are you working on now?

Lea Wait: I’ve just finishing rewriting an historical adult mystery set in 1865 New York State for my agent who deals with adult books, and am revisiting an historical novel I wrote half of 5 years ago set in 1847-48 Edinburgh. It’s for young people, and my children’s editor at that time decided she wasn’t interested in it. I now have a new agent for my children’s books, and he’s excited about the concept and wants to shop it around, so I’m resurrecting it and finishing it. I’m also doing research for a children’s historical set during the American Revolution.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Lea Wait: That’s hard — there are so many! I’d say my current favorite is Don’t Murder Your Mystery by Chris Roerden. It’s not just about mysteries — it has lots of practical hints on editing and plotting for anyone writing fiction.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Lea Wait: Easy — BIW, of course!

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Lea Wait: Prepare for BIW the way a runner would prepare for a marathon. Do your homework (research, planning, outlining) first; don’t make any nonessential appointments for that week; stock up on frozen foods and make soups and casseroles ahead. Try to deflect excuses before they appear! The hardest part of BIW (or any writing week) is the “butt in chair” part. And the best part is knowing you have pals all over the world struggling just as you are!

Visit Lea Wait’s website.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Dawn M. Hunt

BIW Member Interview

Dawn M. Hunt is a member of the Connecticut Artists and Publishers Association, the National Association of Women Writers, Sisters in Crime National and Sisters in Crime New England. She grew up in the high desert town of Bend, Oregon where she raised goats, chickens and rabbits. After a 12 year pit stop in California, she’s now settled in Connecticut with her husband, son, daughter and three cats.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Dawn M. Hunt: The moment I learned to put pen to paper. Creating stories has been a passion ever since I can remember, and has become an outer extension of the inner me. Writing enables me to explore my curiosities about human nature and to address my own fears and demons in the safety of words.

Dawn-HuntMoe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing.

Dawn M. Hunt: #1 – When the writing bug nips you, you must be ready to capture its venom. This means having pen and paper with you at all times, and being flexible about when and where you write. There is no “write” place, except where ever you happen to be.
#2 – Like the quote, “Dance as if no one is watching,” write as though no one will read it. Don’t censor yourself based on who may read your words and how they will feel. Get them out, rough and raw and real. There will be plenty of time to edit, but you cannot edit a blank page (can’t remember who said that first).
#3 – You are the only one who can write the stories within you. A thousand writers will take the same idea and write it a thousand different ways. We bring our own unique experiences, views and voice to our ideas.

Moe: What are you working on now?

Dawn M. Hunt: I’m doing final revisions on a cozy mystery about a history professor who investigates an unusual death and finds himself enmeshed in a dangerous web of centuries old town secrets. I’m also in the middle of drafts for two different romantic suspense novels.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Dawn M. Hunt: Oh, I have many. I’d have to say the one that broke me out of my shell and encouraged me to make the time for my writing and to actually call myself a writer is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Dawn M. Hunt: Once I found the BIW resource/links page, that was it for me. Anything I need, I can link to from there. Plus, I can read up on all the great members of BIW!

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Dawn M. Hunt: Don’t try to make your first draft your final draft. And be willing to write in quick stolen moments. You’d be surprised what you can accomplish in five minute spurts!

Visit Dawn M. Hunt’s website.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Ele Greer

BIW Member Interview

Ele Greer is a retired professional artist muddling her way into a writing career while trying to control weeds on her three-acre property with the help of an old-fashioned scythe, an overworked husband, and 22 cats. No one is winning any awards yet, especially not in weed-management.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Ele Greer: I guess I’ve always been a writer, just using the skill in other jobs. It wasn’t until after my husband and I began thinking of retirement and getting out of the liturgical arts business, that we started talking about writing a book for churches on how to take care of their stained glass windows. That book has yet to manifest, but it did kick-start some other ideas which, in turn, lead to all kinds of new avenues I hadn’t previously considered. Like eBooks and ghostwriting for internet content. I’ve even revisited a half-hearted attempt at writing children’s books from 25 years ago. One thing leads to another.

Ele Greer, writerMoe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing.

Ele Greer: First, it’s really hard to hone that writing muscle. It’s analogous to learning to play a musical instrument. You don’t just decide you’re going to play, and then start lining up gigs, because playing an instrument for even an hour is a real challenge when you’re starting out. So you build up to it. Writing is the same way, and practicing each day can be just as boring! But, if you don’t do the time, your end result is not going to be very good. Writers are made, not born.

Second, you’ve got to have friends! I would have given up a long time ago were it not for Book in a Week each month, and for other virtual and real writing pals. Get into a support group that knows this business if you’re serious about succeeding. Peer support is invaluable.

Three, I learned that I don’t necessarily like the process of writing, and just as with my art, I have to have a goal that propels me toward completion of some project. Otherwise, it just feels like wasted time and energy to me. I’m at the “get it done” stage of my writing career now. I’m not giving up until I finish a few projects.

Moe: What are you working on now?

Ele Greer: My usual dozen projects! But there are two focal points. One is a heavy-research book called Big Ideas for Small Towns, that explores ways rural communities can bolster their local economies, before they dry up and blow away. There’s far too much dependence on petroleum to bring everything including food into rural areas, and that’s just not sustainable for much longer. So this book defines those issues and suggests some creative solutions. My other main project is a children’s series about organic farming. Oh, and an eBook… more on that soon.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Ele Greer: Bird By Bird by Ann Lamott.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Ele Greer: I lead a reading group for Women Writing the West so that would be the site I recommend to anyone interested in books heavy on history. As a moderator, I spend a bit of time over there and also promoting it. We just reviewed (BIW member) Ann Parker’s novel, Silver Lies, and she shared some wonderful research tips and historic tidbits. Go here to sign up, and then click on This Month’s Selections.

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Ele Greer: Clean your kitchen the week before BIW and sweep that floor every day! It’ll keep you from procrastinating your way out of a writing day later in the week. A messy kitchen is always my big downfall. Also, eat simply if you can. It frees you up on many levels and helps with creativity.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Holli Harrison

BIW Member Interview

Holli Harrison lives outside of Granbury, Texas and loves to read and write. She is currently the willing captive of a sweet cat named Dorian, who has a great case of separation anxiety. Her hope is that her readers will enjoy stories as much as she did in writing them.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Holli Harrison: When I began to read romance novels, the storylines and characters in them intrigued me and began to stir ideas. Shows I watched also added to that. I wrote some fan fiction and people who read it gave me a lot of positive feedback on them. My mom then encouraged me to write something I could make money at. I tried my hand at writing original fiction and loved it.

Holli-HarrisonMoe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?

Holli Harrison: I tend to work well under a deadline. I learned this when I found the NaNoWriMo in early 2004, which has a deadline of writing a novel in a month. Intrigued by the idea, I gave it a try that November and wrote over 50,000 words that year, and again in both 2005 and 2006. I’m hoping to continue with that success each time the NaNoWriMo comes around. While the novels weren’t completed in November, they were far enough along it encouraged me to keep working on them.

Plotting is one of the best things I can do for my stories. Without plotting, my stories always fell apart with little to redeem them. When I tried my hand a plotting the story, it had a better chance of surviving. Since then, I’ve almost always plotted my stories.

Keep writing utensils with you always. I have a clipboard (one of those you can carry paper and pens in) I carry with me pretty much everywhere I go. My mom can attest to this. When I can’t, I have a small compbook spiral I carry with me in my purse and a cell phone that is also a PDA with a memo function. I’ve had story ideas hit me away from home a lot. If I didn’t write it down then, it left, never to be seen again.

Moe: What are you working on now?

Holli Harrison: I’m currently working on a paranormal romance involving werewolves and a dhampyr (half-vampire) called Omega’s Alpha.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Holli Harrison: I recently read the book Passionate Ink: A Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Angela Knight and it is already my favorite how-to book for the genre. I love how she used snippets of her own books as examples of what she meant instead of just saying “this is what you have to do; you’re on your own figure out how”.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Holli Harrison: Erotica Readers & Writers Association. I visit it a lot to look at their call for submissions page. I published my first, original short story on a site I found on this site.

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Holli Harrison: Write your story as it comes from your muse (or wherever), not from beginning to end. You can organize it later. I write this way, as forcing myself to write from beginning to end seems to kill my creativity. While I do follow my plot notes, I always go for what I want to write first and refer to them later to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything I wanted in my story. I’ve come up with a lot of great scenes I never would have thought of for the story this way.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Louise Sawyer

BIW Member Interview

Louise Sawyer lives on Vancouver Island and loves to walk by the ocean. She is currently crafting dollhouse furniture, and is in love with Stabilo woody crayons. Louise is an online creativity coach and writes a monthly newsletter.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Louise Sawyer: I dreamed of becoming a writer when I was a teenager. In those days I was in love with grammar–possibly because story writing scared me. I was an avid reader of Cherry Ames nurse stories and Nancy Drew mysteries and I managed to write a long fiction story about a nurse for a high school assignment.

However, one summer I was babysitting full time, and when the little girl took a nap, I would sit at the dining room table and write paragraphs. I tried writing description because I thought that was what I was supposed to do, if I were to become a real writer like Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote the Anne of Green Gables series. My paragraph writing was agonizing. I figured that because I wasn’t very observant I couldn’t be a writer, and I gave up.

I became a linguist missionary and ended up publishing an article on the verbal system of a Filipino dialect, as well as doing exegetical research. I also became the editor of a Canadian environmental allergy society. Now finally I love to write from my heart–poetry, essays, stories, novels, coaching exercises, and screenplays.

Louise Sawyer, writerMoe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?

Louise Sawyer: Write what you’re passionate about. I’ve learned to write about what makes me smile or is meaningful to me.

Use your intuition in writing, and just let the words flow from your finger tips. I love to feel awed and surprised by my words. BIW has been a huge blessing in my life, and taught me to just sit and write or type without worrying about the results.

Realize that it’s possible to write a page per five minutes, so that if you only have 15 minutes a day, it’s possible to write three pages a day. You don’t need to wait until things are just “right” in your life to write. I used to feel overwhelmed but now I write 15 or 20 minutes at a time.

Moe: What are you working on now?

Louise Sawyer: I’m writing a screenplay and I’m really enjoying it. I didn’t do a lot of prep work, so there have been lots of surprises along the way. I’m also doing research for my next creativity workshop and I’m in the midst of rewriting lessons from my 2007 creativity retreat. I expect to develop the teaching modules with exercises into a book.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Louise Sawyer: My all-time favorite creativity book is The Artist’s Way, so I can’t help but mention it. However, one of my favorite writing books is the one I’m using right now, which is How to Write a Movie in 21 Days–The Inner Movie Method by Viki King. When I first bought this book I felt all tingly inside, and immediately wrote my first rough screenplay. I’ll never forget the experience.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Louise Sawyer: National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo has been an inspiration to me. I’m using their sister site Script Frenzy as I write my current screenplay.

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Louise Sawyer: Have fun! I’ll share a secret–count important e-mails where you waxed eloquent. I often do my best writing when I’m discussing issues or sharing personal experiences via e-mail, so I include them in my page count during BIW

Visit Louise Sawyer’s website.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Elaine Hanna

BIW Member Interview

Elaine Gounaris Hanna is from Massachusetts where she received a B.S. in Biology and a Master of Divinity in Orthodox Christian Theology. She currently resides in Indianapolis with her clergy husband of twenty years, Fr. Nabil, 18 year old daughter Sia (along with her two pet rats, Bubos amd Rabie), and two sons, Basil, 15, and Gregory, 12. In addition to writing, she is active in the life of the church, home schools Gregory, and is one of those people who train teams of evaluators to score the state exams your children take every year from elementary through high school.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Elaine Gounaris Hanna: By the time I was nine I was playing with words to write little nonsense pieces. In early adolescence I graduated to sappy poetry, by high school I was writing short fiction stories. I loved doing non-fiction research papers in college (egad!) and have continued doing that, having written numerous articles and papers on spirituality, theology and women’s issues. Some of which have been published in a variety of church publications and others of which I’ve offered as workshop presentations, sermons, or academic talks. A couple of years ago I took a writing course called Writing from your Life and loved it. It brought out another side to my writing, so I’m now trying my hand at Young Adult fiction, based very loosely on my experiences growing up near the ocean.

Elaine Hanna, writerMoe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing.

Elaine Gounaris Hanna:
1. Despite my detailed outlines, prolific notes, and firm intentions, writing doesn’t always go as planned, so I have to be flexible and be prepared for surprises. The characters and plot seem to have a life of their own and defy me at every turn, jolting me into directions I had not anticipated. Little did I know when I started writing fiction that I was not necessarily in charge!
2. Rewriting is essential. I absolutely love tearing apart what I’ve written to come up with something much better. I concluded a long time ago that I am married only to my husband, not to my words.
3. Writing doesn’t happen by itself. After I permit myself the luxury of mulling things over in my head for a time, then I have to commit myself to the motto of BIW – BIC HOK TAM!

Moe: What are you working on now?

Elaine Gounaris Hanna: In addition to continuing with church things, I’m working on two young adult fiction novels simultaneously: High Water and Deep Water. After I had written the first book, I started on its sequel immediately, to not lose momentum, and have been adjusting High Water as I write Deep Water. I realized quickly if I said something in the sequel, I had to set the stage for it in the first book, so I’ve been going back and forth between the two and am close to finishing.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Elaine Gounaris Hanna: When I started writing High Water I rehashed the same twenty five pages I had initially written for a whole year. During that time I read more books on writing in general and for kids in particular than I can remember. A number of those books slapped me upside the head and directed me to radically readjust my approach, so not only did I tear those pages apart and significantly rewrite them, but wrote another 700 or so in the following year through BIW. So, I can’t choose one book, but was helped tremendously by a whole conglomerate of them.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Elaine Gounaris Hanna: I’ve only looked at a couple of sites like Writer’s Digest and SCBWI, because I prefer to curl up with a good book rather than sit at a computer screen reading. Though I’ve found them helpful, I always come back to the BIW site, which has enough info to keep me busy and is easy for a computer klutz like me to navigate, so BIW it is!

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Elaine Gounaris Hanna: Do the research in order to have accurate information for solid outlines and useful notes before BIW starts. I pour through books at the library and search on-line for information frequently. Since my books take place in a seacoast town in northeastern Massachusetts, for example, I research things like water temperature, tides, currents, what fish might be swimming in the area at which time of year, life in a seacoast town, what happens in an estuary, how lighthouses function, even how to make a lobster trap. The details matter, even if it’s only a phrase or passing remark.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Cornelia Barr

BIW Member Interview

Cornelia Barr lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with her husband Matt, two exuberant dogs, and six cats; they all follow the adventures of her daughter Annemarie, from teaching in New York City to sailing on a tall ship to dancing flamenco in Spain.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Cornelia Barr: For years and years I was what Julia Cameron calls a “shadow writer.” I worked as a copy and developmental editor for book publishers and really liked helping other people bring their vision into focus. Once, someone introduced me as a writer, and I corrected her: “Oh no, I’m an editor–that’s different.” Around 1999, I realized that instead of editing other people’s bad writing, I could produce my own bad writing and enjoy it a lot more! I also got the idea for a novel that wouldn’t let go–about historical secrets at a living history museum that come out and wreak havoc. It’s now finished, and I’m seeking an agent.

Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing.

Cornelia Barr, Cornelia Barr:
1. Rewrite! Having been an editor, I know I can write absolute drivel, come back and revise it, and make it into something good.
2. Always keep the reader in mind, whether you’re writing fiction, ad copy, or a travel article. My mantra is, “We’re in the communication business–so communicate!”
3. Don’t lose focus of submitting work for publication, if that’s your goal. It’s hard for me to finish a piece and send it out the door, but it’s really important.

Moe: What are you working on now?

Cornelia Barr: Pitching my novel, The Tanner’s Tale; launching a blog, working on another novel; and seeking publishers for some short stories in order to enhance my “fiction cred” with agents.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing-related book?

Cornelia Barr: Definitely, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I like the structured approach to unleashing creativity (I think it appeals to the workaholic in me).

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Cornelia Barr: Right now, I have to say Backspace, because of my focus on finding a berth for my novel.

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Cornelia Barr: Preparation is key–not only getting chores out of the way and the kids stashed somewhere, but getting your papers and ideas in order beforehand. In my most productive BIWs, I begin to write, or at least outline, before the start of BIW to get the juices flowing. (Note to self: Follow this advice!)

Visit Cornelia Barr’s website.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Patricia Kennelly

BIW Member Interview

Patricia Kennelly is a freelance writer, chef and restaurant owner who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is a contributing editor at Garden and Hearth and the editor of Pikes Peak Writers News Magazine.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Patricia Kennelly: I was ten, my cousin and I wrote the Princesses of Gugalachi, which my mom handwrote, and we made copies at school. We sold each copy with construction paper covers for two cents a piece. It wasn’t a best seller but I loved the whole process of getting my thoughts on paper and sharing them with others.

Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?

Patricia Kennelly, writerPatricia Kennelly: Like any other career you have to work at it to be good, my uncle’s advise, “don’t be a lazy writer”. Be persistent; don’t let rejections stop you if you’re passionate about your words. Write every day, even when you don’t feel like it, if you just commit to five minutes a day, you’ll find yourself looking forward to the writing time and five minutes will turn into fifty in no time.

Moe: What are you working on now?

Patricia Kennelly: I am writing a women’s fiction manuscript that I hope to have finished by the end of the year thanks to BIW. I’m also working on a collection of short stories and I try to write a poem everyday. That’s in addition to my food writing.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Patricia Kennelly: I’m kind of a writing book fanatic but if I had to pick one I would say Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. When I’m
feeling overwhelmed with life I reread it. It should be required reading for every beginning writer.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Patricia Kennelly: I’m a big fan of Duotrope’s Digest, they make it easy to find publishers for your poetry, short fiction and novels. They also have a theme calendar that I use when I’m looking for inspiration.

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Patricia Kennelly: Plan your BIW week in advance. Learn how to say no to other commitments, you’re working on your craft. If you just joined get ready to be motivated
to write.

Visit Patricia Kennelly’s blog.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Bonnie Saunders

BIW Member Interview

Bonnie Saunder’s work has appeared in local and regional publications. While in the U.S. Air Force she edited a weekly base newspaper and a 40-page, full-color, monthly magazine. She currently works with computers. She finished her first novel (unsold) and is working on the second one.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Bonnie Saunders: Almost from the time I could read. I spent hours making up stories and plays. My first ‘book’ was completed as a junior in high school. I still have it somewhere.

Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?

Bonnie Saunders, writerBonnie Saunders: Writing fulfills a need I have to create. Writing means making sure your facts are correct and the story balanced. I’m speaking about non-fiction here, but it applies to fiction too. Writing is work — hard, intense; rewarding work. There is no substitute to BIC HOC TAM.

Moe: What are you working on now?

Bonnie Saunders: A novel tentatively entitled, Whole Cloth. Its themes include grieving and forgiving and getting on with life.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Bonnie Saunders: Oh, dear. Telling Writing by Ken Macrorie.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Bonnie Saunders: Writer’s Village.

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Bonnie Saunders: Keep trying. Some months are good, some are great. Writing is the key.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.

Candie Moonshower

BIW Member Interview

Candie Moonshower’s The Legend of Zoey (Delacorte) won the SCBWI “Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award.” The book was inspired by the legends her great-grandmother, a Creek Indian born and bred in Tennessee, told her about Reelfoot Lake. Candie grew up in Okinawa and in Tennessee, and she lives in Nashville.

Moe: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Candie Moonshower: I realized I wanted to be a writer pretty much simultaneously as I learned how to read. As I read my first book–my first book read solely by me with no help from Mom or teachers–I knew in my gut I wanted to write, too. That book was How Joe The Bear and Sam the Mouse Got Together by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers. When I finished reading that book for the first time, I sat there, on my stone front porch, absolutely astounded by the pure magic of those twenty-six symbols–the alphabet–being put together in such a way as to make a story! It was one of those rare moments of sheer bliss. It took me two years (laughs), to “seriously” begin to pursue a writing career. That was the summer I was eight years old, and I taught myself how to type on my mother’s old Smith-Corona Selectric typewriter (which, at the time, was pretty newfangled). I used a college typing book and taught myself to type because on TV, writers were always typing, and if I’d seen it on TV, it had to be true, right?

Moe: Describe three lessons you have learned about writing?

Candie Moonshower, writerCandie Moonshower: Wow, only three things, huh? Over the years, the things I’ve learned about writing have changed and ebbed and flowed, depending on what I was writing, but, overall, here are three constants that I can say about my writing and the way I work at it:

1. Writing is rewriting.
2. The smallest word can pack as much of a wallop as the longest, most contrived description.
3. Failure to plan is planning to fail.

Moe: What are you working on now?

Candie Moonshower: I’m working on several things right now, as I always do. Two are pieces that are due imminently–short pieces for a business magazine I write for monthly. I’m also finishing up a biography that is under contract with Enslow for their “Authors Teens Love” series–a biography of the wonderful and prolific Young Adult author, Vivian Vande Velde. On the fiction end of things, I just finished a Young Adult romance, and I’m currently working on a related book. My agent has two novels of mine that she is pitching right now–a Vietnam-era Young Adult and a contemporary middle-grade novel.

Moe: Do you have a favorite writing related book?

Candie Moonshower: I’d have to say Dick Perry’s One Way to Write Your Novel because in it, dear Mr. Perry describes how, if you put your nose to the grindstone and just stick with it, day after day at just a page a day, you, too, can write a nice-sized novel in one year. This one is meaningful to me because, more than anything, during all the times when I was starting and never completing manuscripts, his book showed me a practical way that, yes, it could be done. I never did it that way (laughs), but his “plan” was like a carrot dangled in front of my desperate face.

Moe: What is your favorite writing website?

Candie Moonshower: My fave writing website that is not my own would have to be… well, gee, that’s a hard question… Okay, Harold Underdown’s Purple Crayon.

Moe: Do you have an important BIW tip you’d like to pass along?

Candie Moonshower: The motto says it all: BUTT IN CHAIR. More than anything else that I’ve learned from Book-in-a-week, it is that nothing gets written if you’re not in the position to write (laughs). I never wait for my muse–she ran off a long time ago with a purple unicorn, I think (probably about the time I taught myself to type)! If I waited for my muse, nothing would get done. I force my brain to put itself to the task of putting words together. They’re not always great words, but you can’t revise what you haven’t written. I think a lot of people like the idea of “having written something,” but not the idea of writing something. Book-in-a-week is about writing. A goodish bit of my middle-grade novel, The Legend of Zoey, was rough-drafted during Book-in-a-week weeks!

Visit Candie’s official website.

About Maureen Wood

M. E. Wood lives in Eastern Ontario with her husband of fifteen years. She has been moderating BIW for over nine years and works on the Internet. You can learn more about her projects on her official website.