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Monday, February 15, 2010

Authors Know How to Write, Right?

Authors just write, right? Hardly.

When we pick up a book to read we rarely consider the author other than perhaps name recognition. Oh, yes this is another Shakespeare, Susan K. Marlow, Jeanette Windle, Gail Martin, Kathi Macias, Candy Arrington, Sandra Glahn, Todd Bottorf, Cara Putman, Jocelyn Green, Shelly Beach, or Virginia Smith... These are some of the traditionally published authors I've interviewed on my radio show for authors: ... okay, it goes without saying I have not interviewed Shakespeare. Just checking to see if your listening.

Rarely do we consider that at one time these accomplished authors were unpublished. They were learning to write, honing their craft, perhaps taking classes and learning by trial and error. Are these people talented? There is no question the answer is yes. Are they motivated? Again yes. Writing is hard work.

One of my guests explained that she did things in threes, she studied some aspect of writing, she taught a class to authors, and then she wrote a book. She explained this kept her on the cutting edge of her craft. Others have shared they wrote a book and then studied ways to make it shine. For some there is an innate talent and for others sweat, determination and perseverance are the hallmarks of the work.

Don’t you want to know what makes an author tick? Don’t you wish you could sit and ask them questions that delve into the reason for their success? Yes, it is exciting to talk about the published work, where they will appear at book signings and perhaps the conferences they will teach. But more than that I want to know what makes their work shine. Are they adept at writing plot, setting or characters that you think of long after the book is read?

When I considered a format for my weekly radio shows, I used the same process as deciding whether I will write a particular book or publish a particular author. Yes, some of it is gut feeling, but even so I am in the business to be profitable so many considerations must be made. As an educator, I enjoy teaching others and so I decided this format, one of education would be the focus of each show. Whether it is a printer, a publisher, editor or author, each brings information to the broadcast. Things that worked, elements of style, do’s and don’ts and above all the success they have attained.

In my weekly radio broadcast, I often take notes as the authors share their inside-information with the listeners. I’m still learning and I’m happy of the fact. I enjoy asking questions and often these are not prepared ahead of time. I’m looking forward to today’s interview with Virginia Smith and will be posting what I learned from her later this week. I invite you to send your questions ahead of time to Felice (at) or comment here. What would you ask a published author if you could? What are your struggles?

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