B. Lynn Goodwin owns Writer Advice, http://www.writeradvice.com. She’s written Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 (memoir), Talent (YA) and You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (self help). Never Too Late and Talent are multiple award winners.
Shorter works have appeared in Hip Mama, The Sun, Good Housekeeping.com, Purple Clover.com and Flashquake among other places. She is a reviewer and teacher at Story Circle Network as well as Writer Advice and is available to write guest blogs. She lives east of Berkeley and west of the San Joaquin Valley in California, USA with her energizer-bunny husband and their exceptional terrier.
1. What is your debut novel and what inspired its story?
My debut novel was a YA called Talent. The book I’m promoting right now is a memoir that reads like a novel called Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62.
As the title of Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62 suggests, this is the true-life story. How does a 62-year-old woman who’s never been married find happiness with a two-time widower seeking his third wife on . . . Craigslist!? Does she throw caution to the wind and relinquish her freedom, or should she take a crash course in compromises? By our third date, I knew that this relationship would provide material for a memoir if we married, but there was much more motivation, as you’ll see in the book.
In Talent, fifteen-and-a-half-year-old Sandee Mason wants to find her talent and stop living in the shadow of her brother, who disappeared while serving in Afghanistan. I was inspired by a fifteen-year-old boy who was in the orchestra. He was drinking a beer behind the gym, where we performed, and the look in his eyes when he realized he was caught stayed with me.
2. Do you write one specific genre or are you a multi genre author?
I’m a multi-genre author as well as an editor, a writing teacher, and the owner of Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com.
3. Do you have any memorable quotations or ‘one-liners’ that you have written and love?
Here are two from my husband: “The secret to a good marriage is no secrets,” and “You don’t lose until you quit trying.” The second is particularly applicable to writers.
4. Do you have a favourite character that you have penned to life and why is this your favourite character?
Sandee Mason, the heroine of Talent, has asked me to put her in a book I’m working on now. She’s a favorite because she lets me know her fifteen-and-a-half-year-old opinions. Of course my husband is a favorite character, but he’s also a living, breathing human.
5. Are there any close friends/ family who have proven to be a pillar of support to you in your writing?
I’m writing this in a Shush and Write group I started in 2014 for people in the California Writers Club. I’d hate to ask them to be pillars for me, though. Too much responsibility. Reliable friends are enough, and my husband is a very good sounding board.
7. What are you currently working on?
I’m doing lots of flash fiction and flash memoir, writing articles for Writer Advice, and working intermittently on another novel. I’ve already published 3 books.
8. What has been your greatest challenge as an author thus far and how are you dealing/have dealt with it?
Right now my greatest challenge is juggling my various writing projects. I am dealing with it through lists—such joy in crossing things off—and finding time where none exists. A writer’s retreat might be useful.
8. How do you deal with criticism and how has it helped you as a writer?
I always consider where the criticism comes from. If an editor asks for something, I provide it whenever I can. I’m sure suggestions have broadened my perspective and I’m grateful for that. The good news outweighs the bad these days, so when I ask someone to critique, I like to choose those I share with and identify what I’m looking for.
9. How has social media helped in promoting and marketing your books?
Although word-of-mouth is the best advertising, I put a lot on Facebook and Twitter, making personal connections wherever possible. I also do guest blog posts and comment on other people’s comments, especially when we have something in common.
The world of publishing is changing and I am keeping up as well as I can. Some of my best connections are those I’ve made by interviewing authors. I have the good fortune to be on lists from Penguin/Random House and I appreciate all the books they send me.
Writer Advice came into existence online in 1997. Who knows? If social media didn’t exist, I might be doing something very different.
10. When writing your novel which aspect of the writing process do you find to be the most challenging?
Depends on the day, the hour, the weather, my brain… Not a useful answer but an honest one.
11. How do you measure success as a writer/ author?
When strangers write positive reviews, that validates me. When a publishing company asks to see the whole manuscript or a site says, “This isn’t right but please send us other pieces you’re working on,” or a client says, “I found your comments both challenging and encouraging, and that is exactly the kind of response a writer seeks. You have given me plenty to think about as I read and edit,” that is excellent validation. So is this quote from a client: “Your mastery of language and thoroughness was so much more than I expected. I appreciated your insightful suggestions and comments. You are a writing treasure.” So I measure my success in validation—not book sales—though checks are a nice perk.
12. What short term and/or long term goals have you set?
I frequently make a list of short-term goals. Long term (if you consider this year long term) I’d love to acquire more clients and run bigger contests and invent the 28-hour day—just for writers and those who want more of their time.
13. Do you have any upcoming book releases or events?
Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com, is currently running its annual Flash Memoir Contest, so that’s one kind of event. I have two speaking engagements coming up at libraries and a night of comedy in San Francisco, where I’ll be reading from Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62. I’ll also be talking about journaling for caregivers to a group in Antioch.
14. What are your favourite book(s) and/or author(s)?
My favorite book is often the one I’m reading. It varies.
15. What advice will you give to other Indie Authors or those who are thinking of writing and publishing?
Follow your heart. Everyone has great stories to tell, and no one can tell your story but you.
Isn’t it nice to be living in a world where we have the option of Indie Publishing?
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