I fell into banking as an adult and I used to try to make my business memos interesting and funny out of sympathy for the poor bankers and customers and vendors who had to read them. Sometimes people would say, “Jamie, you write the best memos. You should be a writer.” And yet, it still didn’t occur to me to actually try it until I was in my thirties.
Suspense author Jamie Mason writes ‘whydunnits’ filled with normal people finding themselves in dangerous, extraordinary situations. She tells us about her ongoing fight to be a more disciplined writer and the evolution of her outlining process.
I’m a horrible procrastinator. I have the worst time starting new chapters or scenes, and I just force myself to sit in front of my blank screen and just type whatever I need to in order to get started.
Angie Kim had four careers prior to becoming an author. Family medical issues prompted her to begin writing in her forties, leading to the release of her award-winning debut novel. We catch up to talk about the value of short stories, finding a literary agent that champions your work and pushing through procrastination.
I have learnt to sit down and write, anytime and anywhere. It’s an important lesson: I see too many writers who wait for inspiration instead of just sitting down writing. You can always rewrite and improve a story. You can’t do that with a blank page.
Swedish thriller author Mattias Edvardsson began writing in secret, never attending a writing class until his debut novel was published. Now with his fourth novel reaching the top of the charts in Sweden and being released internationally, he talks to us about prioritizing writing and creating your own writing rules.
My mentor told all of her students that if we hadn't sent at least fifty queries we hadn't even tried… I ended up sending fifty-five in total and my agent was the fifty-first agent I'd queried.
Thriller author Mindy Mejia told herself she would write at least one great book before she died. So far she has written three. We chat to her about her long road to securing a literary agent, writing to process fears and maintaining daily motivation.
Writing was something I’ve always loved in theory, but it felt like a pipe dream. Beyond the shaky economics of the profession, writing meant putting myself out there in ways that can be really, really uncomfortable. Writing a story and sending it out into the world is a humbling, unnerving, terrifying thing. Did I really want to roll over and show the world my underbelly? Did I dare?
For Kimberly Belle losing her job, in the financial crisis of 2008, was a now or never moment when she could either look for another job or write the novel she had always dreamt of writing. She chose the novel and is now a bestselling domestic suspense author. We catch up with her to talk about her intensive outlining process, maintaining life-work balance and the number one trick to keep readers turning pages.
When I was nineteen, I lost a job that I thought I'd have forever and was totally crushed about it. I went to the library hoping to comfort myself with a big stack of books. When one of the books didn't end how I felt certain it would, it was like a light switch went off in my head. I realized for the first time that I was capable of writing my own story… It all came on very suddenly and out of nowhere, but it also felt very right.
Ever since she was little, Amy Lukavics was intrigued by horror books and movies. Yet it wasn't until an unexpected job loss that she realized that she could write her own stories. Now with a string of books, and literary award nominations, to her name she talks to us about the rollercoaster ride of publishing, including a catastrophic book rewrite that ended up being the being the biggest learning curve of her career.
Embrace the fact that you are your biggest advocate. Don’t be afraid of it. While you will come across wonderful supporters along the way, it will always come down to you to advocate for your work.
Rae del Bianco is a former teenage cattle rancher, Duke University Robertson Scholar, and alumna of literary magazine Tin House’s summer workshop. With her debut novel releasing this year, she talks about building a strong social media following and being fearless above all else.
It doesn’t matter when, it doesn’t matter how, but you have to make time to write consistently if you want to get enough momentum to make it all the way through a book, let alone polish it to the point that anyone would want to read it.
Author and publishing consultant Andrea Dunlop wanted to be a writer for as long as she could remember. It took a confronting conversation with Irish author Polly Devlin to push her on to create a regular writing practice and finally publish. Now with her second novel nearing publication, she talks to us about the importance of patience in publishing, bringing a sense of place to writing and seeing your author career as a long-term game.
It’s not always physical or social isolation that affects writers, it’s the isolation of being misunderstood... Sometimes the non-writers among us might not “get” what it is we do, or they don’t understand that staring at the wall and daydreaming is a legitimate part of the creative process.
Young Adult author Rachel Rust, creator of the Escape series, begun her love affair with writing while penning her first short story in first grade. We chat to her about approaching publishers with bravado, the value of beta readers in strengthening a plot and writing as a family affair.