An Interview with Lynn Goodwin: Author of Talent

November 17, 2015

 

Blogger’s Note:  Please join Lynn Goodwin at the December 12, 2015 Mt. Diablo California Writer’s Club Holiday meeting.  Lynn will be speaking on the Prompts aspect of the Three Ps of Publishing.  We have a seated meal for this event and you can choose from: pasta primavera, salmon, chicken parmesan, or NY steak.  Costs are $20 members and $25 nonmembers. Reservations required, contact Robin Gigoux at ragig@aol.com , leave a message at 925-933-9670, or sign up via PayPal: Click “buy now” on the Mt. Diablo website, http://cwcmtdiablowriters.wordpress.com/next-program/ . Add the $2 transaction fee.  In all cases, please let Robin know your meal choice so the restaurant can plan. Sign-in starts at 11:15 am. Luncheon 12 – 12:45 pm. Speakers 1- 2 pm at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant: 611 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill. $25 members, $30 guests Reservation deadline: noon, Wednesday, December 9th.  If you need to cancel, you must do so before noon on Friday, Dec 11 to avoid forfeiting the cost of the meeting.

  1. Can you give us some highlights from your new book, Talent?

Fifteen-and-half-year-old Sandee Mason wants to find her talent, get her driver’s license, and stop living in the shadow of her big brother, Bri, who disappeared while serving in Afghanistan. You can read the first chapter at http://blynngoodwin.com/an-excerpt-from-talent/.

It’s a good book for teens, parents, military families, and those who love shows and drama. There’s no crowd like the drama crowd. I know because I used to teach drama in high school and college.

  1. Describe your most memorable moment as an author.

Just one? Every time I make a scene work or create a moment that rings true or read a compliment from a reader or a client, I store it away and all of those moments have formed a collage in my head.

  1. What authors have most influenced your writing?

I’m often influenced by whomever I’m reading. Today that would be Travis Hugh Culley, author of A Comedy and A Tragedy, who is telling a story I wish I had heard beforeI taught high school. Earlier it was Mary Karr, or Elizabeth Gilbert or David Arnold, whose wonderful debut, Mosquitoland, reinforced my love of the YA genre and of teens discovering themselves.

  1. Describe your path to publication. The music for “A long and winding road” just came up in my head. Followed by “To dream the impossible dream…” Followed by a line Cicely Tyson said at the beginning of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. “Where to start? Where to start? So here are 9 Steps Toward Publication:
  2. Long ago I directed a high school production of Oklahoma!
  3. A few years later I created Sandee, Diego, and maybe Jenn as characters in a series of 9 articles describing warm up and improvisation activities for a high school drama class. It was called “Dear Diary” and published in Dramatics Magazine.
  4. I decided to use those characters in a novel about a high school production of Oklahoma! I used the format of a rehearsal schedule to help me build plot and tension and thought it was good until the rejections came in.
  5. I put it aside while I worked on Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com, interviewed authors, reviewed books, and later used my draft for submissions to an online critique group.
  6. Later still I took a Media Bistro class called “Writing the Young Adult Novel” where I learned the plot of TALENT was thin. I remember typing that the narrator, Sandee, needed to prove that she was as good as her big brother, and as I wrote the words they rang true. The instructor loved the idea.
  7. I put it aside again while I wrote You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers, which had some agent interest.
  8. Went back to TALENT after I blogged for Caregiver Village and Inspire Me Today and continued with Writer Advice. I decided that Sandee’s older brother, Bri, disappeared while serving in Afghanistan. The stakes around sibling rivalry and loss escalated.
  9. Eventually I decided I wanted this published before I died and resolved to put it out to anyone who read YA. I told myself I would take the first offer from either an agent or publisher, so when Eternal Press, now an imprint of Caliburn Press, which is part of Spero Press, sent me a two-sentence acceptance, I took it. A year and a half later, I have a whole new appreciation for the challenges small publishers face today.
  10. What are the biggest mistakes you see as an editor?

It’s hard to find my own mistakes because I’m reading what I think I wrote instead of seeing what’s actually on the page. In other people’s writing, I frequently find description for its own sake and erratic pacing. Sometimes characters want nothing. Sometimes I feel indifferent towards them. Sometimes the writing is passionless. Sometimes grammar and spelling are either “creative” or optional.

  1. Do you think a social media presence is necessary for authors?

Only if you want to increase your sales by letting people know about your book. <g>

  1. What is favorite writing prompt?

“Today I want…” or “I am proud to say…” or “If only…” or “As we join our story today…” I’ve probably written over a thousand prompt over the last 12 years for a free-writing group I am in. I should do something with them besides keeping them in a file on my computer.

  1. What is your greatest writing weakness?

I get incredibly tired sometimes, but I’d call that a condition rather than a weakness. Maybe I’m spread too thin, but it’s exciting to have lots to do. I don’t like to focus on my weaknesses. I’d rather not give them any more space, focus, or spotlight-time than they already have.           

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about B. Lynn Goodwin. To learn more visit her websites: www.writeradvice.com and blynngoodwin.com, where you can find the opening chapter of TALENT.

TALENT is available at “Amazon, Scribd, Sony, Kobo, B&N, and a lot of others” according to her publisher. The Amazon URL is http://www.amazon.com/Talent-B-Lynn-Goodwin/dp/1519329830/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1447695405&sr=1-1&keywords=Talent+%2B+B.+Lynn+Goodwin.

You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers is available at http://www.amazon.com/You-Want-Me-Do-What/dp/1606962973.

Lynn is open to all invitations for guest blogging and invites those who’ve published a YA, NA, or MG to contact her about guest blogging opportunities on blynngoodwin.com. She’ll open the field to more genres in February. She also runs a Manuscript Consultation Service, http://www.writeradvice.com/manuscriptconsultation.html.