Everyone in my circle of writer friends approaches their work differently. I'm a sucker for insider info about writers' attitudes and practices, and this year, I want to share a few of their stories on my blog. This thread is as much for me as anyone. I need encouragement, and knowing about their writing lives helps me to stay the course.
I asked my friend Marjorie Thelen to go first. We latched onto each other a few years ago after meeting at a writers conference, because sometimes you just click with a person. She lives many miles away from me in ranch country near Burns, Ore. We email regularly, sometimes talk by Facetime, and try to keep up with each other's projects. I admire her seriousness and also her motivation. She's published five titles
, some mystery, some cozy romance and one space opera! But I'll let her tell more.
|Marjorie Thelen, Writer|
You've been writing fiction for more than 10 years. What on earth
desire to follow my creativity. Most of my career I worked in
business in marketing and finance and had to follow the rules.
Writing let me out of the box. I saw an artistic career in my
retirement, something to keep me engaged.
What was your reaction when you wrote THE END on your first novel?
Terror? Elation? Relief?
It was a romance novel set in Galveston, Texas in the 1840s, a novel
that will remain forever buried in my file cabinet. But it was only
my first draft. I was naïve. I didn’t understand about the endless
How do you manage your writing life? In other words, describe your
process, from inspiration to book published. This obviously will take
you more than 140 characters.
am notorious for writing on a schedule with a goal. I write mornings,
five days a week, and my present word goal has advanced to at least a
thousand words a day. I don’t know how else to write a long work
of fiction. I get an idea, maybe from a place I visited since I like
to write mysteries and set them in exotic places, or from something I
read or someone said. Like my next book will be based on a watercolor
of a cowboy my friend Dona Townsend painted, entitled “My Heroes
Have Always Been.” Then I plug along on my daily word count till I
have the first draft. I don’t outline, I just write the story
chronologically as it comes. I don’t edit much with the first
draft, only reviewing and revising the previous day’s work before
beginning on today’s. Inevitably about half way through a book,
the little voice inside says, “No one is ever going to read this
sh*t.” I get over it and tell myself, “Just write something, no
matter how bad. Just write something.” Somehow in the end it comes
together and doesn’t read as bad as I thought it would. Then I
re-write until I have what I want. Then I give it to one or two
readers who understand my work to see what they think. I try to write
one new book a year. Since I have a backlog I also edit and publish
at least one book a year. In the last two years I published two books
The top three reasons why you keep writing:
entertains me, it entertains me, it entertains me. When it doesn’t
anymore, I will give it up.
The top three challenges of being a writer:
The lack of understanding on the part of the general public of how
hard it is to write a novel or write, period. Everyone (I kid you
not) seems to want to write a novel but only one percent ever do. At
least, that’s what Jane Kirkpatrick told me.
Having to market one’s work after going to all the trouble to write
and publish it. One never earns back all the time and effort it takes
to write, publish and market a book. Unless you hit the big time.
Stamina: writing requires stamina, perseverance, and focus and
sometimes it is hard to hang in there. Having an IPA with a writer
Where do you seek inspiration to keep at it?
mainly. One has to develop a belief in oneself as a writer to keep
going. I must admit I have been known to flounder. Then, too, I try
to keep in touch with other writers through conferences and meet
weekly with a local writer group, who cheer me on. A writer needs
that sometimes. Jennifer Fulford is a pretty good cheerleader, too.
What would you like to see change in the publishing industry?
so much emphasis of literary fiction in awards and contests. Literary
fiction doesn’t usually sell a lot of books. More acceptance and
recognition of indie publishers and reviews of their work without
having to pay for it. Literary snobbery annoys me.
Tell us about the project you're most proud of.
Forty Column Castle, my mystery set in Cyprus, is my favorite book.
I’m not sure I ever think about pride when it comes to my work, but
this book always puts a smile on my face. I like all my books, even
though I’ve heard literary types say they are never satisfied with
their work. I am.
Name three writers, all living, who you wouldn't mind being stuck on
an elevator with? We'll arrange for a conference later.
Fulford who would be very funny about the whole experience and would
figure out how to get us out. Jayne Ann Krentz, who writes romance
and lives in Seattle, and who seems like a pretty savvy and
successful writer. I want to know what she thinks about the industry
today. Brian Greene, theoretical physicist, who writes cool books
like Fabric of the Cosmos. I want him to explain in detail why we
can’t go faster than the speed of light. Stuck in an elevator
might be the time. Actually, I’d prefer the opportunity to sit
one-on-one with any of them, have a beverage and talk over the
Find Marjorie's work on her website
and on Amazon
. Thanks, Marjorie. I owe you several IPAs.