If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our May author interviews: Marla Cooper-5/3, Rhys Bowen-5/10, Cindy Brown-5/17, Martha Reed-5/24, Sherry Harris--5/31.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in May--Paty Jager-5/6 and Maren Anderson-5/13. WWK Saturday bloggers write on 5/20--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 5/27--Kait Carson. E. B. Davis blogs this month on 5/30.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.”

In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on October, 18, 2017. Look for the interview by E. B. Davis here on that date!

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

WHAT LED ME TO WRITING



John at his senior prom with the cane he designed and painted.

Thirty-three years ago today, my oldest son, John at age eighteen died of cancer. I wrote about his death on Writers Who Kill last year. But I didn't write how his death led me to become a writer.

All writers have a back story of what led them to become a writer. This past weekend I went to a writers' workshop event at Lakeland College with my friend Laura. One of the workshops I attended was on writing mysteries. The presenter was a young woman, who admitted in her introduction that she'd never read books until someone gave her a copy of the first Twilight book. Then she saw the author being interviewed on Oprah, and saw a similarity between the author and herself; they both had three small children. Her next thought was this could be a way to earn money while staying at home with her children. So she went to Google to find out how to write a book since she had no idea how to do that. I'm not sure why she chose cozies instead of paranormal, but apparently the instructions were to read everything you could on your chosen genre. Once she thought she knew all there was to know about writing a book, she started writing. She admitted to getting lots of rejections, but finally one of the four or more books she wrote got the attention of a new small publisher, who said they'd take it if she made a lot of major changes. Now her first book is out and she feels qualified to teach a class called "Cozy Mystery Writing." Can you see my eyes rolling?

My back story is quite different. I've been a life-long voracious reader of books of all types, but especially mysteries because I like trying to solve the puzzle of who done it. But I hadn't thought of actually writing a book until some years after John died. His death was the catalyst that led me to becoming a writer, but I went down that path slowly.

Harriet Sarnoff Schiff, author of The Bereaved Parent writes "There appears to be a great need to create something after a child dies . . .In general, most men and women, even those who have done nothing of the sort before, turn to some creative endeavor to help ease their grief . . ." I decided to become a teacher, a profession that involves creativity. So twenty-five years after I graduated from high school, I entered college for the first time. Schiff also writes of herself, "I was no longer afraid to attempt things . . . after all I had survived the death of my son." I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit to some trepidation, but that soon passed, and I found the academic world exciting and gratifying. My first English professor, Vivian Pemberton, suggested I submit an essay I'd written on the death of my son to the campus's literary journal. I did and from then on I submitted poetry for each issue and it was always accepted. I took an overload every semester after the first one so I could fit in extra literature and writing classes not required for my degree. I wrote a lot of poetry in those years and also enjoyed writing essays and research papers. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that while teaching I went on to get a Masters in English, not needed for anything but my enjoyment and a slight raise in pay. And when that was done, with the encouragement of one of my sisters, I started writing a mystery. I'd been considering it for quite a while, but never got around to it since teaching requires a lot of time and energy. It wasn't long before mystery writing became much of who I am. If it's not actively on my mind, it's still lurking on the edges as I plot and create characters. Yes, I still write poetry, especially one for my son each year to be placed in our local newspaper in memory of him.

It's a cliche' to say "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade," but sometimes a cliche' says it best. John's death wasn't the only lemon that's come my way, but once I get over the devastation of whatever awful thing happens (not that I ever forget it), as a survivor I somehow manage to overcome it and make metaphorical lemonade through my writing.

What led you to writing?

If you're not a writer, what led you to what you're doing now?









15 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

I've always characterized myself as a writer, Gloria. The problem was that my writing was unfocused. When I switched from general literature to reading mysteries, something clicked. Then I read a truly horrid mystery by a bestselling author. I thought I could write a better mystery. Conceit? No, I realize that what is popular isn't always what is good. I still think I can, but I'm perfecting, trying to get it right before I submit my work. First impressions are important.

Gloria Alden said...

E.B. I've read some of those kinds of popular mysteries, too. I agree that you can write a better mystery. It shows in the short stories you've written. Good luck on getting that novel to where you are ready to submit. I look forward to reading it.

Yolanda Renee said...

I've always wanted to be a writer, was told I should be a write, but lacked confidence, and then I met a writer - and she was just like me - in that she was just a regular person. Don't know why that surprised me, but it did, and it spurred me to action. I got serious, but learning to write took years. I needed lots of practice! And as a reader mysteries have always been a favorite so I had to write one.

Yes, all our journeys are different but one pet peeve, a writer who says, after the their book is published, "I never even wanted to be a writer, but look what I've done!"

Thanks for sharing your journey, so sorry for the loss of your son, John, but so glad to see how it inspires you.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks for leaving a comment and telling your story, Yolanda. I've never heard anyone say they never wanted to be a writer after they published a book or at least don't remember it, but that would annoy me, too. It makes it sound as if it were something easy to do, and it's not.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I’ve written off and on since I was a kid. When I retired I took six months to think about what I wanted to do and writing kept popping up.

That was over eleven years ago now.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

I don't remember ever not writing. MY mother saved a pile of note books that I filled with stories as a child. It's touching that you write poems for your son. I bet he would appreciate that.

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I wrote some poetry and one short story as a teenager, but most of my writing then consisted of a binder filled with hundreds of pages of my daily journal that unfortunately got lost years later when the basement with lots of remnants of my earlier life flooded.

Thanks, Warren. I'm planning someday to write a book with essays and poems for John - sort of, but not quite a memoir.

Patg said...

I can't remember not wanting to write, but just never did until I went to my first con. SF, and then I just started trying.
That sounds so mundane, in the SF way. :)
Good post.
Patg

Gloria Alden said...

I guess writing a journal that filled reams of notebook paper sort of fulfilled my need to write then, although at a recent class reunion, someone brought an old copy of our high school newspaper when I was the editor, and I had written a short 4 line poem for everyone of my senior classmates. I was appalled with how trite they sound now.

Kara Cerise said...

Good blog, Gloria. I’d like to read more of your poetry.

I wrote my first mystery when I was eight years old but didn’t seriously pursue writing until recently. Being an avid reader led me to writing. Plus, I found the only way to get rid of all the stories bouncing around in my mind was to write them down.

Carla Damron said...

I wanted to write but took a LONG time getting to it. Now it's so much a part of who I am.

Gloria Alden said...

Kara, I have all those story ideas and characters bouncing around in my head, too. In fact, often in my dreams I'm someone else surrounded by people I don't know, but being this other character I do know them. It's given me some ideas.

Carla, I'm glad you finally got around to writing because I love your Caleb Knowles books.

Judy Hogan said...

Interesting, Gloria, how you started to write after your loss. I was put to bed during WW II with rheumatic fever, and I wrote stories and illustrated them to entertain myself. But my decision to be a writer came at age 10, when I felt that there was something missing from every book I read, so I was going to put in the missing part. It's hard to articulate what that was. Not even sure I know to this day, but maybe it was simply the way I see the world and other people. Good post. Judy Hogan

Gloria Alden said...

Judy, my mother had rheumatic fever when she was 16 and it caused damage to her heart. Later she suffered from several bouts of rheumatoid arthritis they said was caused by that. Apparently you suffered no after effects of rheumatic fever. I'm glad.

KM said...

I admire your ability to talk frankly about the losses in your life. I know it hasn't been easy and that you have found a creative outlet that lets you both remember and express your feelings.

Telling myself stories is something I can always remember doing. Some of the characters took on more substance when I was working rote jobs in a steel fabrication plant & a fiberglass manufacturing facility. Once you get yourself going, you can get on automatic pilot, kind of like driving a familar route. And that gives you almost eight hours to daydream (although since I usually worked midnight to eight AM, it wasn't really daydreaming)

As I get older, I've felt more and more urgency to give a voice to some of the marginalized people I know who are struggling to survive on the fringes of society. I realize that it is a combination of good choices, hard work and luck that I'm not there myself.