Writing Process Blog Hop!

Merci and gracias to both Caroline Leech and Sandra Guy for inviting me to participate on this wonderful blog hop about the writing process!

What am I working on?

Sometimes I think a better question is what am I not working on. In addition to family life, I have a day job as a librarian in a local elementary school. Mix that up with my indie publishing company MAB Media and my own writing, things are rather busy.

On the strictly writing part, I am in the middle of three different projects that I have promised myself will some day be finished! One is a middle grade ghost story, the other an urban fantasy (which I am writing with the awesome Sandra Guy) and finally an adult fantasy novel.

Why do I write?

I write because I don’t have a choice. Really, I would probably do anything buy write if I could. It is so difficult 99% of the time. I have actually tried on multiple occasions to quit writing. The last time I did this I even went and told all of my writing friends that my writing career was over. Then I started a publishing company a few weeks later. Go figure.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

I write almost always in the genres of fantasy or even magical realism. Where my writing differs is in the fact that even though the situations surroounding my characters are fraught with danger and power, I still find a way to make my characters as real as possible, complete with bad attitudes, zits and flaws.

How does my writing process work?

Again, it is easier to say what doesn’t work. In Leonard Marcus’ amazing tome, Dear Genius, the editor extrodinarire Ursula Nordstrom begs one of her authors to never have a family. Ms. Nordstrom knew that the boundaries of family and home were often too constraining for a writer. As I type this I have just slammed my office door in defense of the noises coming out of the kitchen (part of which I should say in the fire alarm because I burnt most of the dinner). That being said, I find it very difficult to write in an empty house. For a few years I worked as a free-lance marketing and ad copy professional. I never seemed to make it out of my yoga pants – or even do yoga for that matter. I’m much happier and productive grabbing five minutes here, eight minutes there towards my projects and goals.  Which is good since that works rather well with my family’s schedule.

Two wonderful writers who will continue this blog hop are McCourt Thomas and JoAn Watson.

McCourt Thomas has to be one of the funniest people I have ever met. Everytime I chat with her she leaves me in stiches. She’s a wife, mother, volunteer, writer, reader, and currently a graduate student in library science at Texas Woman’s University. (Go Librarians!) She has a degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and before staying home with her four (!) kids, she was a television news producer. Her favorite TV show to watch while folding laundry is House Hunters International, which has led to a not-so-secret desire to live overseas. She’s currently enjoying the “Hero’s Guide” series by Christopher Healey on audiobook, and reading about 10 other books at the same time.

Check out her blog at http://mccourtthomas.blogspot.com.

I had the pleasure of meeting JoAn via the SCBWI-Houston chapter. Now we are co-workers as we both write for the same independent newspaper. After teaching in Baytown schools for 22 years, she retired, but continued as a reading/writing consultant for Houston area schools. Her most recent novel is Pine Cones and Magnolia Blossoms (2013) available in print and an E Book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

You can learn more about JoAn and her writing process on her blog at http://josbookblog.wordpress.com.

Happy Writing!

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Interview with Barbara Younger

Barbara and Grandson Mazen

Most people consider me a relatively positive person, but I pale in comparison to the author and blogger Barbara Younger. A successful author of over twenty books, Barbara somehow finds time to blog about her experience with menopause and endometrial cancer. Her creative gifts are apparent as she deftly discusses these topics with humor and grace. Recently, I caught up with Barbara to chat with her about her blogs, her books and her adorable grandson, Mazen.

How did you decide to become a writer?

When I was in third grade, our teacher gave us a writing prompt, something about a silver loving cup discovered in a horse barn. A shy child, I wasn’t happy when she made us read our stories out loud. After I read mine, she said, “Barbara, your story is really good.” In that moment, I understood that I might have a way with words. 

In fifth grade, I won First Prize in an Archie comic book writing contest, and in sixth grade, I won two school writing contests. Those early successes showed me how it feels to have others appreciate my writing and probably gave me the courage I’ve needed to endure hundreds of rejection letters.

Where did you grow up and how did where you grew up shape your writing?

I grew up in Towson, a Baltimore suburb. Our schools were good, and they stressed reading and writing. Our libraries were good, too! My home was a creative one, filled with books, music, art, dogs and cats, and lively conversation.

How has being a mother and grandmother changed you as a writer?

As a mom to two girls, I learned the struggles kids go through and what’s important to them. As the grandmother of a little boy, I’ve discovered that toy trucks have personalities. They can even eat oatmeal and take a sip of milk. Who knew! I hope to write a truck picture book in the next few months.

What is a normal “writing” workday like for you?

I do my best fresh writing in the morning when I’m the most energetic. I’d like to figure out how to work harder and longer and not be so influenced by energy and mood. A challenge! I’m happy editing any time. Chopping and rearranging words  are favorite activities.

Describe some of the books and authors who have influenced you as a writer.

As a kid, I was nuts over Beverly Clearly, and as a young children’s librarian, I loved Judy Blume’s Fudge books. In recent years I’ve admired the whimsy of Polly Horvath; the depth of Kevin Henke’s novels; and my friend Lisa Doan’s The Berenson Schemes, where funny things happen fast.

Blogging has sparked an interest in creative nonfiction and humor writing. I’m studying two masters, Erma Bombeck and Nora Ephron, for their ability to capture what’s amusing, confounding, and significant about the stuff of every day.

What are you working on now?

I put lots of time into my blog, Friend for the Ride: Encouraging Words for the Menopause and Midlife Roller Coaster, selected by Healthline as one of the top menopause blogs of 2014. I’ve recently recovered from endometrial cancer and am having a wonderful time blogging my experience. (Yes, wonderful. Cancer has some hidden rewards.) 

I’ve got a novel in progress, Eva Heaven and the Summer Pie Blog. I’ve had trouble letting the main character sing, so I’m soon to start another round. My insightful agent, Erzsi Deak, suggests Eva is too full of herself. Hoping to fix that!

I’m pleased to have fourteen selections in Toasts: The Perfect Words to Celebrate Every Occasion by June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling, coming this fall from Viva Editions.

I’m the author of 21 books. You can read more about them on my writer’s website, BarbaraKyounger.com

Do you have any upcoming appearances or events?

No appearances at the moment but I’m always looking for guests posts for Friend for the Ride. It’s okay if you’re young! We’ll find a topic that suits you. If you’ve got a book you’d like me to promote, I’ll buy a copy and offer it as a giveaway to go along with your post. Email me at BKYounger at gmail.com. Thanks!

You can read more about Barbara at her blog https://friendfortheride.wordpress.com and purchase her books at your local bookstore or online book seller. 

 

Toasts Cover