Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Interview with client Vickie Phelps

What is your latest project? Tell us about it
Moved, Left No Address is the story of a man who finds himself alone in the world after his father's death. While going through his dad's possessions, he finds some old postcards postmarked Santa Fe, New Mexico, from an uncle who disappeared the year before he was born. He decides to find out if the uncle is still alive and goes to Santa Fe. What he finds there is a life-changing experience through the people he meets and the choices he makes.

How did you research for this book?

I've been to Santa Fe twice and love the ambience of the old city. I ate the food, explored the shops, visited the museums, and observed the people. In other words I soaked up all I could while there. I also read several issues of a local magazine about Santa Fe, did some online exploring, and studied a map to be sure I had correct streets, etc.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

From personal experiences and stories I hear other people telling. I don't use their stories necessarily, I use an idea or thought that sticks with me from listening to them.

What has been the hardest part of writing your latest book and how did you overcome it?

Rewriting the book or parts of the book over and over until I felt like it worked. Sometimes I had to lay it aside for awhile and work on other projects. My critique group has been invaluable to me. We're very honest with each other about whether something works or doesn't work.

What do you hope people will take away from reading your book?

That we all need someone else. No man is an island unto himself. We can't hibernate or stick our head in the sand.

What new projects are you working on?

I'm working on some personal experience articles and some poetry. I also have a devotional book that's been in the works for some time.

What is the best writing advice you ever got?

An editor once told me that the mark of a professional was someone who could take criticism. I've never forgotten that and try to keep an open mind when people comment about my work as long as their comments are constructive.

The worst?

I don't know if I've ever gotten bad advice, just some poor criticism that threatened to sideline me as a writer.

Anything else you'd like to take this opportunity to say?

Persistence pays off. This can be a tough business, but if you feel writing is more than a hobby, that it's a real calling for you, stick it out. Don't give up. When I first started writing, I sent a children's article to a magazine which they promptly rejected. So I sent it somewhere else, but it came back again. I kept sending it out to different magazines and it kept coming back. For ten years. Meanwhile I was selling other articles on a regular basis, but I wouldn't stop submitting this one because I'd had it professionally critiqued by an editor who told me she saw no reason why it shouldn't be published. Ten years and 31 submissions later, I sold that article to the first magazine who had turned me down ten years earlier. Persistence pays. Don't get discouraged.

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