A WFW Book Review: THE STORIES WE TELL By Patti Callahan Henry

There are several reasons I wanted to read THE STORIES WE TELL by Patti Callahan Henry.

I’ve loved every book of Patti’s.

She lived in Philly until she was about 12 (so we’re technically related).

We share an editor (THE Brenda Copeland) at St. Martin’s Press (also making us technically related).

Another reason is that while steeped in editing my second novel—GASP—I didn’t read much. What better way to get back into reading than with a sure thing? That’s what you get with Patti. A sure thing. THE STORIES WE TELL did not disappoint me in any way. It’s a layered family story, it’s complex, the language is lovely, and it’s easy to read. Combining those elements is not easy though. I used to think that “easy to read” was a criticism, but have come to realize it is a compliment. When an author can sweep you away with her characters, details, dialogue, and story, that takes some SKILLZ, folks. There is depth in the delightfulness of this book. There’s hope and there’s heartache.

Continue reading

Author Interview: Natalia Sylvester Says Always Be Willing To Listen, Learn, And Grow As A Writer

ChasingtheSun_RevisedFinalFrontCover_jpegHappy July, friends! To kick off the month I’m excited to introduce Natalia Sylvester, whom I feel like I’ve known forever! Below, Natalia shares with us a wide range of wonderful thoughts—from her journey to publication, how the novel has impacted her family connections, what it’s like to write a novel set in another country. Natalia’s advice for writers is priceless: don’t forget to keep learning while you’re striving. Be willing. That’s the key. What an important reminder.

Please welcome Natalia Sylvester to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

Continue reading

Guest Post: Four Reasons You Shouldn’t Try To Be Perfect by Author Kathryn Maeglin

HunkaHunkaCover225pixelsYou heard it here first. I am a fan of writing horrible drafts. Not publishing them, not reading them, but the only way I can get from HERE to THERE and from THIS to THAT is to let go of any notion of perfectionism in writing. You know, the same philosophy I have with the laundry. That’s not to be said that I don’t polish my work to a shine in the end, the way I iron my clothes (yes I do, pretty much daily). But to get there I LET GO.

Today, author Kathryn Maeglin shares her thoughts on perfectionism as well as her Serenity Prayer for Perfectionists. Do you need to reform? Or do you have advice? Chime in below.

And please welcome Kathryn Maeglin to Women’s Fiction Writers.

Amy xo

Continue reading

How Many Dead Flowers Does It Take To Edit A Novel?

editing office

This is what editing looks like for me. I figure this is a service to aspiring authors and winsome readers who think writing novels is a pretty job. I mean, it started off that way with the crocheted blanket (circa 1992, made by my grandmother for my oldest when he was born), photos of my childhood street (the inspiration for my novel), the vase full of yellow blossoms, ample natural and artificial light, and a dog who lies on the bed and stares at me. The notebook on the floor is so that I remember to see it, which might not have happened if it was on the desk. It was there for days. The cups are coffee-scented reminders of days gone by. I rinse them when I remember, or when they become science experiments. I hate science.

And this, my friends, was two weeks ago.

So I’m sure you’ve surmised from the mess that IZZY is coming along great. The mess may be unbecoming but it’s not daunting to IZZY or me. I’m now fine-tuning IZZY into the character you all deserve to read about, with a story to match her wit, her troubles, and her resolve, and with secrets that will make you wonder what you really know about your own friends and family.

In addition to editing, I’m happy to say that winter has finally ended in Chicagoland. Although I’m definitely indoorsy, I have the potted herbs and hanging baskets to prove I have a bit of a green thumb, at least until it’s more than 100 degrees. Doing something besides editing—like gardening or exercising or driving or showering—always helps me work out a problem or issue with a scene or a sentence or a word choice.

As does snacking.

red fish

Red fish are a perk of the job. This writing gig is 24/7. IZZY and her cohorts are never far from my thoughts. My fingers are never far from a keyboard. Or SkinnyPop.

Editing a novel: it’s consuming, it’s enchanting, it’s hard work—it’s like rearranging your favorite furniture and then finding the room looks only a little different, but infinitely better.

Hope you’re enjoying summer! I’ll back with more IZZY news (like a new title, perhaps) as soon as I can be!

In the meantime, tell me: is someone’s character linked to the truths they tell, or to their lies?

Amy xo 

 

Author Interview: Kellie Coates Gilbert Juggles Writing, Life, And A New Novel With Finesse, Wisdom, And Humor

A-Woman-of-FortuneMy friend, author Kellie Coates Gilbert, is here today to share with us her new novel, her theories on women’s fiction, and how she manages a full writing life and a full life in general and how she does it all so well.

Please welcome Kellie Coates Gilbert to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

 

Continue reading

Guest Post: Mary Gottschalk Discusses The Difference Between Memoir Vs. Novel Writing (Other Than The Obvious!)

AFittingPlace_FrontCover_3.5I remember the first time I thought, “Hey, I’ll write a novel.” It was immediately followed by the thought, “What am I? Crazy?” I was steeped in the journalist world of who, what, where, when, and how; my writing life was comprised of truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I’m glad I took the leap even though the answer might still be that yes, I’m a little crazy. 

Today, Mary Gottschalk shares with her experience of going from the idea of a memoir to that of a novel. 

Please welcome Mary to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

Memoir Vs. Novel: Training Wheels for Any Writer

by Mary Gottschalk

Continue reading