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


February Interviews













2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar


Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson

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WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.


Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!


KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.


Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.


Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.



Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

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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 Renée 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.

Jim 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 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.

Anonymous 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.