California Writers Club at the San Francisco Writers Conference

California Writers Club at the San Francisco Writers Conference

Jordan Bernal and Jane Glendenning offered information at the California Writers Club table during the San Francisco Writers Conference’s Creating a Community of Readers and Writers session.

Question about Posting Interviews

I intend to post an interview a week with authors that have stories, essays, and poems in my anthology, Written Across the Genres. I’d like to know if you’d like shorter interview posts or longer ones like Gary Lea’s whose is the first. Scroll down to see the length of Gary’s interview on my February 11th post.

I’ve wanted to keep my posts short and realized the interview was a long one. I can shorten future ones.

What are your thoughts?

Penny Warner nominated for Agatha Award

Penny Warner has been nominated for the 2013 Agatha Award in the Best Children’s and Young Adult Novel category for THE CODE BUSTERS CLUB #3: MYSTERY OF THE PIRATE’S TREASURE. Her CODE BUSTERS #2: THE HAUNTED LIGHT HOUSE was the winner of the 2012 Agatha Award last year.

Penny presented with Rhys Bowen on Friday at the San Francisco Writers Conference. The title was “Murderers Who Leave Laugh Tracks: Solving the Mystery of Making Crime Fiction Funny”. The humorous pair made the session entertaining and informative.Penny’s website is http://www.pennywarner.com.

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

In the morning writing class I teach, we are using Wired for Story by Lisa Cron as a text book for discussion in class. The subtitle is The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence.

In the Introduction, page 2, Cron states: “Our neural circuitry is designed to crave story.”  She goes on to say, “For a story to captivate a reader, it must continually meet his or her hardwired expectations.”

And, I like what she says, “…a powerful story can have a hand in rewiring the reader’s brain–helping instill empathy…which is why writers are, and have always been, among the most powerful people in the world.”

That idea puts writers in a whole new category. Let’s write and rewire now.

Written Across the Genres Interview

I will be interviewing the authors who contributed stories, novel excerpts, essays or poems to Written Across the Genres. Here is the first one:

Author Interview with Gary Lea

“Countdown” by Gary Lea, appears in my anthology, Written Across the Genres. It is the story of a day in the life of a computer technician. It introduces Keith, computer repair man extraordinaire, who is endowed with a perfect understanding of computers, a photographic memory, and stamina.
One evening Keith searches for a particularly resistant virus that promises to destroy all of the important information on his client’s computer. The virus periodically predicts how much time is left before it takes action.

How did you get the idea for “Countdown”?

I originally wrote it as a storytelling assignment for my Toastmaster’s group. The story came out of my own experience in getting rid of a stubborn virus for one of my own clients and fervently wishing I had the traits displayed by the hero in this story.

 What is a writing day like for you?

Generally I sit down in front of my computer, bring up Word, and stare at the blank page for awhile trying to remember all those brilliant ideas I had while I was riding on Bart and had forgotten paper and pen. If I’m lucky, I will remember something and start writing. When I’m finished it won’t look anything like that original killer idea that I had, so I will start a re-write, straining to remember those perfect words that I had once strung together in my mind.

 What do you enjoy about writing?

I have spent a lot of time in my life daydreaming about what I thought my perfect life would be like. When I am writing, I can give all those wonderful traits to my characters with the power to solve all of the problems that come their way. Of course, I can’t make it too easy for them but Superman was my favorite comic book when I was a kid so I kind of automatically fall into that bent.

 What is the difficult part of writing?

The most difficult thing for me is to throw the monkey wrenches into the life of my protagonist to create challenges for him and to make the story interesting. It is far too easy for me to go off writing about this person who has a perfect life and is terminally boring.

How has publishing a story changed your life?

Publishing a story has reinforced my desire to continue writing. I hadn’t realized how fulfilling it would be to have one of my stories appear in a book where it can be read by friends, family and even strangers.

What are your plans now?

I have a novel in the works and some short stories. Suddenly there seems to be more ideas sprouting for new characters and plots.

What is a tip for aspiring authors?

For me it has been difficult to set aside a consistent time to sit down and write. When I have been able to do that, I seem to make progress much more quickly than I expected. I think this is probably the main key for anyone who aspires to write. Do everything you can to keep from getting in the way of your writing.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

When I was much younger and knew that I wanted to be a writer, I made it a point to be aware of what was going on around me. I trained myself to see the things that everyone else was too busy to notice, to overhear conversations when in public places, jot down interesting bits and pieces and think up stories I could build around them. I think it enriches my life and my writing.

San Francisco Writers Conference Anthology Panel

The San Francisco Writers Conference begins Thursday, February 13th. I’ll be volunteering at the registration desk again and this year I will be speaking on an anthology panel with Barbara Santos, Kate Farrell, and Camille Cusumano. I’ll have Written Across the Genres with me to talk about the experience of putting that book together.