featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, July 27, 2012


Our guest today is author, teacher, and speaker Lynda Fitzgerald. Published in novel length fiction since 2007, her mystery series, LIVE, was launched in 2010 with the release of LIVE Ringer. LIVE Ammo followed in 2012. LIVE in Person is due out in early spring 2013. To learn more about Lynda and her books, visit her website.

Lynda is offering copies of both LIVE
Ringer and LIVE Ammo to one of our readers this week. Post a comment to enter the drawing. -- AP

Readers, Writers, and…well, Normal Folks

As a reader, have you ever wondered what made writers… writers? What compels them to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys, as the case may be) day after day, year after year? What gives them the talent, the skill and the drive to crank out novel-length fiction in the face of almost certain failure? Is it something in their genetic makeup, some special hard-wiring others don't have?

Well, I did. I knew what compelled me to write, but I didn't consider myself their peer. I was "just a writer." These people were actual authors.

"Author." What a magical word that is to a writer. I remember being at a friend's book signing not so long after I was first published, someone said to me, "I never met a published author before." "Me either," I said. Then I realized he was referring to me. That could be the first time I realized I was no longer "just a writer." I'd snagged the gold ring.

Now, don't think I'm putting anyone down with my "just a writer" label. I know firsthand what a struggle it is to break into print. I guess I'm a slower starter than most, because it took me nearly thirty years of hard hot work and cold rejections before I was picked up for publication. By then, I'd written seven novels. For all of those thirty years, I wasn't "just a writer" as I thought. I was an aspiring author.

Authors seemed such an exotic breed to my "just a writer" persona, somehow high above the common crowd, floating on intellectual clouds of creativity. Nothing could be further from the truth. These days, I know a whole lot of authors, many of whom are New York Times bestsellers, and I can tell you most of them are just folks, down to earth and friendly. Not that forced kind of friendly you get from someone anxious to hawk their wares, but genuinely interested in something besides themselves. If they seem aloof at times, it's probably because most authors are a bit (or more than a bit) reclusive. Most of us would rather be pounding away at our laptops in a locked closet than out in the public eye.

Writing was an insular profession for a long time, which suited most writers just fine. Lonely, others called it. Solitary and soothing, we countered. But times have changed. Today, when your first book is accepted, the publisher e-mails you a to-do list. It "strongly suggests" you meet with a website designer and set up a website immediately. It includes a half-dozen social media groups on which you have to make yourself known. It instructs you on having your business cards and bookmarks printed for distribution. It tells you how to behave at book signings and conferences, which they also strongly encourage. Nearly all new authors find themselves pulling at their hair, screaming, "When will I ever have time to write?"

But write we do, after that initial flurry. 

Often, even at book signings, readers are shy about approaching an author, but let me put your mind at ease. Authors LOVE to talk to readers, and not just about their own books, but about the readers themselves. Where do you think we get our stories? So the next time you attend a book launch or signing, walk on up to the author and tell him or her all about yourself. That author may be me, and you may just end up in my next book.

Readers, do any of you secretly wish to find yourselves between the pages of an author’s book? Or are you a struggling writer, yearning to become a published author? Let’s hear from you. Post a comment for a chance to win copies of Lynda’s books. -- AP


Anonymous said...

As soon as a crayon was placed in my hand I started scribbling, with a pen I started journals, did poetry, short stories but then reality hit, I got a job, married and as a senior -- I love reading and adore writer's who can get their stuff published! Keep up the good work!

Karen McCullough said...

There is a part of me that wishes writing was still an insular activity. I love writing, but these days the promoting takes up far too much of my actual writing time!

Suzie Tullett said...

Not five minutes ago I was talking to a friend about how my writing time is increasingly taken up by all the promo work I also need to do... But like you, Lynda, I love book signings - these are where I get to meet a whole range of people and actually talk to readers face to face x

traveler said...

I enjoyed learning about your writing and your thoughts. I appreciate all the time and effort which goes into writing since I love reading and continue to admire writers.

Polly said...

You are a damn fine writer too. I've read all of Lynda's published books and some that aren't published. Yet. I look forward to seeing those in print.

I agree with Karen, though. Too much time in the promo business really cuts into writing. But it's hard to make a mark these days without it. Onward!

Liz said...

May I be Miss Marple, please? I certainly don't want to be a victim, particularly in a graphic novel, and murderer doesn't appeal much either.

petite said...

Writers are my inspiration. Reading is my salvation and my only form of entertainment. Keep writing and best of luck.