Congratulations, Jean, we loved your story, Wanda and the Car Mechanic. We'd like to learn more about your and your writing success. Let's start with any work you have had published.
I've written several novels and just recently gained representation with an excellent literary agency in New York: Levine Greenberg. They are going to market my latest novel: "The Real France." I'll keep you posted. Don't have a personal website yet, but am working on it.
Q. What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
Good writing has to create a world that the reader can enter and believe in. Good writing is specific and perhaps quirky, but always believable.
Q. How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
Don't use a set formula. I usually find things that make me laugh, stew about them for a while, keep a list and look at it, and if I stay interested in the topic, I write about it.
Q. What would you like our readers to know about you?
I love to write, have written since I was a child, worked first as a poet and then moved into fiction. Also, I come from a family of writers, including my grandfather, father and sister.
Q. What do you do to unwind and relax?
Play tennis and try to train my cat.
Q. What does your family feel about your writing? Are they supportive?
Yes, they are supportive and have stuck with me through years of frustration. It took me 66 tries to find an agent for my present novel.
Q. What inspires you? Who inspires you?
I'm imspired by the natural world. I love to be outdoors, to garden, hike, etc. And I'm inspired by the things ordinary people do.
Q. Are you working on any projects right now? If so, what are they?
Yes. I'm editing my novel, "The Real France" to get it ready to go out to publishers, and I'm working on a new novel, "Summer of the Yellow Box." At the same time, I edit and write short stories. My most recent is titled "The Massage Therapist Next Door."
Q. Do you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, what do you do about it?
Don't so much get writer's block as writer's frustration from all the rejection. But tennis helps, as does reading.
Q. What is most frustrating about writing? Most rewarding?
It's frustrating to know a piece isn't working but not know how to fix it. The most rewarding is the days when the words fly out easily and something happens that I never could have imagined.
Q. Do you have any kind of writing schedule? Can you tell us about it?
I write three days a week (I have a job the other two) and have learned over my career, to work quickly.
Q. Do you have any links you’d like to share with our readers?
None off the top of my head.
Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given as a writer? What’s the worst?
Best advice is from a Russell Banks article. He wrote that it takes ten years to become any good at all and then another ten to get regcognized. And that it's the second ten years that weeds out the real writers from the wanna-be writers.
Worst advice: Give up, it's hopeless! (Have heard this in writing groups and seminars.)
Q. If I were sitting down to write my very first story, what would your advice be?
Have fun. Don't edit yourself. Play. And when you've done all you can do, put it aside, start something else, and don't show it to anyone for a while.
Q. What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Same as above.
Q. Any last comments or advice?
Read, read, read. And be generous to other writers. It's a competitive field but no one else writes the way you do.