We asked our keynote speaker for A Rally of Writers, Lori Nelson Spielman a few questions about being a part of the close knit community of writers and her work. She will be joining us on April 8, for her keynote and a session on novel writing.
Q: You have been a part of the Lansing area community of writers for a long time. What do you think being connected in this way does for a writer? And specifically what do you think it has done for you?
A: I have an incredibly supportive spouse and family, along with great friends who cheer me on. But nothing beats the camaraderie among authors, people working towards the same goal, suffering the same rejections and insecurities, struggling with deadlines and day jobs. It’s invaluable, being part of Lansing’s community of writers, and I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say how fortunate we are to have Linda Peckham at the helm.
Q: After attending Rally, what does it feel like to be the keynoter on the 30th anniversary?
A: Oh my gosh, seeing my name as the keynote speaker in the Rally brochure was one of the most surreal moments in my career. I’m honored and thrilled and scared to death! I attended my first Rally fifteen years ago, the same time I enrolled in my first writing class with Linda Peckham. It just shows that anything is possible. I want so much to deliver an inspiring keynote address, speaking to people just like me—anxious and insecure, but for some crazy reason, driven to write. I’m truly honored that the Rally committee felt I was up to the task.
Q: What would you say to writers who get discouraged before they reach the finish line and type THE END? What kept you going?
A: We writers have one thing in common: We appreciate good writing. Sadly, when we start out, most of us aren’t good writers. I think this frustration contributes to many unfinished manuscripts. I’ve always been stubborn, but believe me, there were times when rejections were pouring in and I felt like giving up. Instead, I enrolled in another writing class, attended yet another workshop, read more books on the craft. Through it all, I kept writing. With education and continued writing, we really do become better writers, and seeing my writing improve is what motivated me to continue.
Q: What was one of the biggest surprises you found about publishing and making your book a reality?
A: I’d have to say the biggest surprises were the foreign sales. I had no idea my agent was pitching the book to foreign publishers. And the notion that someone in Taiwan, or Lithuania, or China, might read my book was—and still is—astonishing.
Q: How hard has it been to move back and forth from writer mode to book promoter mode?
A: I enjoy bookstore events and book clubs, but the social media piece—not so much. In addition to the time it takes away from writing, it’s awkward to promote your own book! Like many writers, I’m an introvert, and I’m much more comfortable writing my novel than talking (or posting or tweeting) about it.