Happy Wednesday, everyone! As I strive to put structure to this virtual rest-stop on the World Wide Web, Wednesdays will be designated to craft and/or getting to know the awesome individuals life puts in this author’s path! I contacted today’s guest after reading her winning entry in Writers’ Digest’s monthly column/contest: YOURSTORY. (I may have discovered a soul-sister in Oklahoma—and she loves my favorite Fran Fine, too.) We’ve had a blast connecting through Facebook and email messages for over a week now. You all know I had to ask her to visit with me here.
To keep things brief, I’ll run the prompt and her winning story tomorrow. Anna also explores and creates in other areas of writing. She’ll share as we go.
Welcome, Anna! I’ve had the best time getting to know you this past week. Definitely one of the perks of writing and social media: the wonderful people we get to know.
What do love best about writing? Writing transports me back to my childhood, in a sense. Creating characters and the world they live in allows me to indulge in two of my favorite past times, pretending and escaping.
What do you like least? It upsets me when I allow myself to lose valuable writing time by obsessing over one single sentence, or sometimes one single word, during the writing process, instead of letting my writing flow.
What got you started? I have been writing stories and poetry since I was a little girl, and have saved several of my childhood manuscripts to this day. I used to bring my handwritten stories to school, and at times my teachers would let me read them aloud to the class. Sometimes I would sell them to classmates for a dime a piece afterwards! (Do you consider yourself self-published, lol?)
Couldn’t resist, Anna. What keeps you writing? At times I feel a sense of dread at the beginning of a project because I know that stories are selfish, and will not rest until they are well written. But it is during the writing process, within those inspired, magical times when I am pulled into the vacuum of my own story, and the hours tick away like moments, that I remember why I love what I do. (Amen.)
Where do you get story and character ideas? A great deal of my story and character ideas are inspired by the people and places within my memory, especially my childhood memory, which makes considerable contributions to my work.
How has writing impacted your life? Writing deeply impacted my life through my favorite teacher. When I was a freshman in high school, I could not wait until I was a sophomore, because creative writing class was available as an elective to tenth graders. On sophomore pre-enrollment day, I excitedly circled Mrs. Tinch’s creative writing class as my first choice, and can honestly tell you it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Mrs. Tinch often disassembled our entire class, sending us out to find interesting, unpopulated spaces in which to write individually. I would creep silently into the shadows of the quiet auditorium, or sneak up into the rafters and put pen to paper while perched on the catwalk over the stage. Other times I would lope down to the tree line behind the football field to enjoy some fresh air and shade. An hour later we would regroup, holding spiral notebooks filled with the most amazing creative stories, poetry, and self reflections. Mrs. Tinch taught me, along with the rest of her students, how a fresh perspective can be the life’s blood of creativity. I’m twenty two years past my last creative writing class with Mrs. Tinch, and she still receives my excited emails when I accomplish a goal in the world of writing.
Writing has also impacted my life by introducing me to countless interesting people. I write customized poetry for individuals in honor of birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, etc. In preparation, I give the person requesting the poem a questionnaire to fill out using the recipient’s information in order for me to create a personalized poem. The information I receive always astounds me. Once, a daughter asked me to write a poem for her father. While we filled out the questionnaire together, she informed me that her father had worked for NASA when she was a little girl, and had designed the lightweight American flag planted on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin! On another occasion, a wife’s questionnaire revealed to me that her husband had invented an early rendition of the color copier machine, invented a vibrating toilet seat, and that he had developed a technique which allowed him to extract gold from sand.
Even more amazing than the information provided on the questionnaire, is without fail the love that is expressed by the person requesting the poem for the recipient. People are very appreciative of my services and don’t normally realize that they are the ones who write the poems for their loved ones. I merely rhyme their information.
You commented in our FB messages about exploring romance and having written short stories—tell us about those and other works in progress.
I enjoy writing short stories, and have had the thrill of seeing a couple of them in print. My short story, Ashes, placed first in the “anger” category of Faithwriter’s short story competition in 2005, earning publication in Faithwriter’s anthology entitled, In the Beginning. I am still giddy over my win in Writer’s Digest’s YOURSTORY competition #29. My winning entry, Sanguineous, appears in the March/April 2011issue of Writer’s Digest, presently on shelves.
In addition to customized poetry, I write inspirational poetry which appears weekly in the church bulletin of First Assembly of God in Anadarko, Oklahoma. I have written one small middle grade novel, entitled, Madstone, and am currently working on a longer middle grade novel entitled, Witcha’be. Both novels are thrillers with Christian elements.
For my next project I want to write a romance about a forty-something couple who have been together since their teens. After raising their children they find themselves alone together, and decide to recapture the excitement of their youth by making a list of their favorite teenage moments and reliving them all over again, over twenty years later.
If Sanguineous was any indication of what your stories are about, Anna, I know I look forward to the original spin you’ll put on a romance.
Don’t forget: stop by tomorrow to read a sampling of Anna’s poety and her winning entry! Visit her on Facebook, too, and check out the incredible job Anna and her family did restoring the 1925 Victorian they call home. Is it possible a little inspiration for Sanguineous came out of THAT undertaking?
See you then,