Saturday, January 19, 2013

Writers4Higher features Anne C. Petty


Welcome to Writers4Higher

 

 

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

 

 

This issue, Writers4Higher features
 
Anne C. Petty
 
 

 

 

Hi Anne! Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
 
 
 

1.   Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.

I’ve always been a wordsmith.  Even in grade school I remember how cool it was to be able to manipulate words, and somehow I never got over it. The idea of being a writer and book publisher took root pretty early on. At age 8, I remember taking the 8x10 cardboard from the package of my dad’s new shirt and folding it in half, thinking, ‘I’m going to write a book.’ On the front of the cardboard I wrote the title: The Dog Who Lost His Bark, and drew a kind of Scotty-looking dog underneath it. Inside I wrote, “He found it!” I rediscovered that early wordsmithing attempt years later when I was looking through my mother’s keepsakes after her death.

My writing foundation is in myth and folklore, and I’ve been an avid reader of classic horror since I was a kid. J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, and Edgar Allen Poe are probably the biggest influences on my own storytelling approach. I’ve written a lot of non-fiction, as well. My first three published books were non-fiction, literary criticism. The first was a user-friendly version of my dissertation on Tolkien’s mythology, which is now in its 2nd edition from the University of Alabama Press. The second was Tolkien in the Land of Heroes, a study of universal themes in LOTR, and the third was Dragons of Fantasy (how to write about dragons in fantasy/scifi fiction), both from Cold Spring Press/Simon & Schuster.

My literary tastes run toward the dark side, but I really prefer psychological horror and suspense over the guts ‘n gore school of writing. My first novel, Thin Line Between, was mined from the Australian Dreamtime legends. The sequel to that novel, Shaman’s Blood, came out last year from Journalstone Publishing in San Francisco. I also have a writing partner, P.V. “Pete” LeForge, with whom I’ve written a trilogy in a style we call Florida literary suspense. The first book of our North Florida trilogy is Hell and High Water, set in the Gulf Coast area and dealing with Florida swamp legends (Black Bay Books, 2012). The second book in this series, Museum Piece, is due out early 2013. Also, Journalstone will be publishing two of my books in 2013: The Cornerstone, based on the Doctor Faustus tale, and LIMBUS, INC., a shared-world anthology for which I’m both creator and series editor. Looks like I’ll be busy next year!

2.   Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?

In mid-2012, I was diagnosed with lung cancer and not given a very optimistic prognosis. However, I’ve already outlived the shelf-life that hospital physicians projected for me and have turned things around to the point that I now believe I’ll live to write another day, or even another year.

As I wrote in my blog, what has this experience done for me as a writer? I think it has made me less cerebral about the big issues of life and death. It’s so easy to kill off characters on paper, but having stared my own possible quick demise in the face, my perspective is changed forever. I hope it will infuse my storytelling with a level of immediacy and empathy that I think was missing.

I suspect my writing may become more spiritual in nature. My background in myth and folklore has made me aware of symbols and their greater meaning for people, but now those images are more personal. I definitely believe in the transformative power of the human mind. I wouldn’t call myself a religious person, but I’m open to the spiritual aspect of life and the beyond. Do I envision spirit guides of my own? Indeed I do.

3.   How do you use your talents/time to help others?

I love sharing with others what I know about the craft of writing. I’ve spent nearly 40 years as a professional editor, writer, and publisher, so I do have a few words of wisdom I can pass on to those who are curious. I especially enjoy presenting panels and seminar sessions at writing and pop-culture conferences. Dragon-con in Atlanta is one of my favorites,  where I have often been a guest speaker for the Tolkien Track.

Also high points for me every year have been the free summer workshops I’ve presented for the Tallahassee Writers Association at the downtown Tallahassee library. I’ve covered topics as diverse as the fluid landscape of the publishing industry to writing flash fiction to world-building techniques for science fiction and fantasy fiction.  I hope to do more of these, once I regain my health. 

And finally, there’s my publishing company, Kitsune Books. I started it 6 years ago with the mission to publish literary fiction and book-length poetry collections that were highly deserving but probably didn’t have a prayer of getting published by larger mainstream companies. Our motto was “Quality books for eclectic readers.” I’ve reluctantly decided to close the company at the end of 2012, because I just can’t manage the demands of running the company while I’m concentrating most of my energies on staying alive. That said, I feel I’ve accomplished what I set out to do with the press, which was to make sure that each book was a work of art, from the text to the cover, typeface, and layout. Working on a personal level with the authors and artists who crafted our thirty or so “Kitsune” books was a great joy and possibly the most rewarding period of my wordsmithing career. The fact that so many of these books won literary awards in our short history is icing on the cake.

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Would you like to find Anne?

 

Check out the links to this talented author:
 
 








Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 

 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Writers4Higher features Gayle Swedmark Hughes



 

 

The purpose of the Writers4Higher blog: to feature authors in a new light, a fresh look at the way writers use their talents and life energies to uplift humankind. Writers4Higher doesn’t promote religious or political views. Authors are asked to answer three simple questions: simple, yet complex.

 

 

This issue, Writers4Higher features
 
Gayle Swedmark Hughes

 

 

Hi Gayle. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!
 
 
 
1. Tell me about yourself. Your book, your life, your inspiration.
 
As a product of small town life, I am a person who treasures long-term friendships and has a strong sense of place. Amelia Island, Florida and nearby Cumberland Island define me in many ways and find their way into my stories. I am a watercolorist who uses scenes from the water and land of my childhood. I write piano themes that are reflective of those moods as well.
 
I grew up as an adventurous little girl exploring every nook and cranny of my area. Later I left for college and law school and returned to North Florida after an important and broadening time of personal growth in New York City and Washington State. I became a pilot. I had an exciting career as a trial lawyer and draw on some of those experiences in my writing. Living quietly and simply on the Georgia side of Tallahassee, Florida, suits me perfectly.
 
My first book Two Thousand Daffodils is the story of surviving early trauma and thriving later in life, due in part to remarkable influences and events. A kindly black woman intervened in abuse and told me that I was "the Good Lord's happy child". She gave me a glass prism to remind me of that. It is by my bedside today. When I told my husband that I would marry him, he planted two thousand daffodils in my pasture. That is obviously the origin of my title. The central theme is overcoming fear. It is optimistic just like me. Some reviews have called it a love story not only to my husband but to my island.

2. Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
 
Writing from today forward, I plan to explore the emotional growth of women and to chronicle their close relationships with men and other women. I want to use the vehicle of the novel to be more open and frank. It is important to me to understand and explain the process by which women become self sufficient and depend upon themselves for their own values and happiness.

3. How do you use your talents/time to help others?
 
Story-telling skills are honed by visiting Nursing Homes in the area to call upon older men and to argue about sports with them and to play cards with them. Hoping to comfort and entertain them I, instead, find myself being comforted and entertained. Some of my income is devoted to breast cancer research since I am a survivor. I also spend a portion of my time with college girls in making an attempt, sometimes futile, to help them see the long term consequences of their decisions and to help them make good choices. As President of Tallahassee Community College Foundation, I worked to raise money for the second chance institutions and to raise the standards of such colleges. Now I want to find more ways to help young authors and to encourage them to record their impressions of life. Helping others to be their best is the most satisfying work I have ever done.

 

Would you like to find Gayle?

Check out the links to this talented author:
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 

Thanks again, Gayle!

Be sure to visit the Writers4Higher Market! We have gear for the writer in you.


 

Rhett DeVane

Fiction with a Southern Twist




 

 

 

 

Writers4Higher features author and blog master Darrell Laurant

  Hi Darrell. Welcome to Writers4Higher. Tell us about yourself. I am something of a hybrid creature, geographically speaking...