Julie here! Today is my day to do a giveaway! Reader’s choice–either Just Killing Time or Clock and Dagger! Or, I can give you a Level Best anthology with one of my short stories. Comment to enter, I’ll announce the winner this weekend.
Continuing the our November theme of being grateful, Wickeds tell us about a mentor that helped you along your path to publication. Since I know we all have had a lot of help from a lot of different sources, think waaaaaayyyyy back to someone who helped you early on. What did they do? How did they help?
Edith: My mother said, about my early short stories, “Edie, you’re a good writer,” and I believed her for the rest of my life.
But as an adult, when I started writing fiction again, I’d have to say Kate Flora. She was one of the original Level Best Books editors and has more published crime novels, fiction and non fiction, than I can even dream of. The first story I’d submitted to a Level Best anthology was accepted, but I had a number of rejections after that. More than once Kate wrote a handwritten note on the form letter. “Don’t let this discourage you. You’re a good writer. Keep writing.” And I believed her. Thank you, dear Kate. Hallie Ephron and Hank Phillippi Ryan have also been huge boosters of mine – and continue to be. A big thank you to these talented, gracious, generous authors.
Liz: I was blessed to be able to attend two Seascape writers retreats with Hallie Ephron, Roberta Isleib, and Susan Hubbard. Those ladies were the best teachers ever. They pushed me to put more of myself on the page, hone my craft and become better. I remember Hallie saying to me once, “You’ll do it [get published]. You have the talent, but you also have the drive.” It was the best feeling in the world to tell her about my first contract. Thank you Hallie, Roberta and Susan – you definitely changed my life.
Barb: It’s amazing how certain people have such a strong through-line in so many New Englander’s writing careers. I, too, can never repay Roberta Isleib (Lucy Burdette), Hallie Ephron, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Kate Flora, so I try to pay it forward. I’ve been so lucky in both my work and writing lives to have so many strong women provide such powerful support and advice. Let me recognize another–B. A. Shapiro, author of The Art Forger and The Muralist, and my first mystery writing teacher.
Sherry: Eons ago I attended my very first writers conference — the Cambria Writers Workshop conference held at Asilomar in Monterey, California. As part of the conference we were able to read part of our manuscript. As I was reading I realized my manuscript was all backstory — terribly written backstory. I managed to get through it and thank heavens they were a kind and supportive group. They pointed out the good things and gently critiqued what was wrong. I remember going up to the keynote speaker later and asking if she thought I should continue writing. She said, “You’re talented.” It might have been a lie but it kept me going. I’ve always thought under different circumstances, with different people, it would have been easy to throw in the towel. The writing community is a generous one and I’ve been helped along the way by many, many people.
Julie: I am going to give Hallie Ephron another shout out. At one of my first Crime Bakes, when I was barely admitting aloud I dreamed of getting published, she took the news that my manuscript was being requested with a “that’s really wonderful–they don’t say that to everyone. Be proud of yourself.” Even this last weekend, she went out of her way to tell my how funny one of my Facebook posts was. Also, shouting out to Hank Phillippi Ryan, one of the most gracious women I know. She’s been a huge booster, and continues with that.
Dear fellow writers, who are your mentors? Readers, who has encouraged you along the way in one particular area of your life?