Lori Nelson Spielman shares her writing advice and literary confession.
1. When you are not writing- what are some of your favourite things to do?
I love to sail, and here in Michigan we’re lucky to have the fabulous Great Lakes. I love listening to live music, baking, travelling, reading, and being outdoors. Most of all, I love time with my friends and family, sharing a meal or chatting over a glass of wine.
2. Could you tell us some of your favourite authors?
Some of my all-time favourites are John Steinbeck, Maeve Binchy, Elizabeth Berg, and Edith Wharton.
3. Do you have any literary confessions?
Ha! Yes, I do! I’ll whisper it to you: I never finished Harry Potter. And I’m not talking the series, I’m talking the first book, The Sorcerer’s Stone. I started reading it with one of my students, but he returned to school before we’d finished and I never picked it back up.
4. What book (or books!) will you always make room for on your shelf?
The Help and East of Eden. Always.
5. What are some of the books that will be in your beach bag for 2013?
Oh my gosh, there are so many fantastic books out there. I’m reading The Glass Wives right now, Amy Sue Nathan’s terrific debut novel, and I just received a copy of Anita Hughes’ Market Street, which is sure to be a fun read. My book club is reading Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter and I hope to find time for Caroline Leavitt’s latest, Is This Tomorrow, along with Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings.
6. Was there a person or a book series that helped start your love of reading?
I remember being at my grandmother’s house when I was about ten, bored to tears, and finding an old dime store paperback called, First Love. It was my first romance/YA and I couldn’t put it down. That’s when I discovered how much fun it was to get lost in a novel. I’d love to see that silly book now.
7. What is your advice for aspiring authors of women’s fiction?
Read and persevere, take classes and attend workshops. But I’m going to throw a curve ball here and suggest knowing when to give up is equally important. Please don’t misinterpret: I’m not suggesting anyone give up writing. I’m talking about setting aside that project that hasn’t garnered a single request for pages after a hundred queries, a piece of work that no longer feels fresh. My dear friend has spent five years querying agents to no avail, yet she refuses to start a new project. Like a woman convinced the man who broke her heart is The One, she’s left paralyzed by her devotion. I know as well as anyone, it’s excruciating to let go of a project you’ve poured your heart and soul into, but sometimes we must. If I hadn’t set aside the novel I’d written thirteen years ago and started another, and then another, I’d still be a frustrated aspiring writer, collecting rejection letters. As Kenny Rogers once sang, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em; know when to fold ’em.”
8. If you were not an author, what would you want to be?
My fantasy profession would be either a pastry chef or an actress. I know — acting seems inconsistent with my not enjoying the spotlight or public speaking, right? But something shifts when playing a character. I’ve dabbled in community theater, and someday, when time allows, I’d love to audition again.
Brett’s Life List
1. Go to Paris
2. Perform live, on a super big stage
3. Have a baby, maybe two
4. Fall in love
Brett Bohlinger seems to have it all: a plum job, a spacious loft, an irresistibly handsome boyfriend. All in all, a charmed life. That is, until her beloved mother passes away, leaving behind a will with one big stipulation: In order to receive her inheritance, Brett must first complete the life list of goals she’d written when she was a naïve girl of fourteen. Grief-stricken, Brett can barely make sense of her mother’s decision—her childhood dreams don’t resemble her ambitions at age thirty-four in the slightest. Some seem impossible. How can she possibly have a relationship with a father who died seven years ago? Other goals (Be an awesome teacher!) would require her to reinvent her entire future. As Brett reluctantly embarks on a perplexing journey in search of her adolescent dreams, one thing becomes clear. Sometimes life’s sweetest gifts can be found in the most unexpected places.
The book bloggers hosting The Life List tour are sharing three goals each. Here is their list so far:
- Swim with dolphins
- Take a trip to Australia and New Zealand
- Stay in an ice hotel
- Travel around America and Australia
- Watch WWE Wrestlemania live
- See my son grow up to be happy, married and have his own children
- Scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef
- Make at least one new friend a year
- Write a book that women will love, and land a deal with a well-known publisher
See One More Page for tomorrow’s post and more goals.