Saturday, April 20, 2013

Writers4Higher features Amy Hill Hearth


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

Amy Hill Hearth



Hi Amy. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!




Tell me about yourself. Your book(s), your life, your inspiration.
I am inspired by older people and the stories, perspective, and wisdom they are able to share. When I was growing up, I had several great-aunts and a great-grandmother who lived into their nineties, and my paternal grandmother lived to 101. I grew up listening to their stories.

My dad was an executive with General Electric, and we moved several times when I was a kid. My favorite place while growing up was Columbia, South Carolina. I loved South Carolina and had a happy childhood there.

I studied Sociology in college, then switched to Writing, graduating from the University of Tampa with a B.A. degree in 1982. I worked as a newspaper reporter in Florida, New England, and in New York. In 1993, I published my first book, HAVING OUR SAY: THE DELANY SISTERS’ FIRST 100 YEARS, an oral history of two centenarian sisters who were the daughters of a man born into slavery. HAVING OUR SAY was a New York Times Bestseller for 113 weeks. There was even a Broadway play adaptation, followed by a Peabody Award-winning telefilm adaptation. I worked on both adaptations as an advisor and also wrote two sequels. I went on to write several more nonfiction books, most recently, “STRONG MEDICINE” SPEAKS, an oral history of the matriarch of a Lenni-Lenape tribal nation. In 2009 I decided to take a break from the competitive world of book publishing and to write “just for fun” for a while. I had never tried my hand at fiction and ended up writing a full-length novel, MISS DREAMSVILLE AND THE COLLIER COUNTY WOMEN’S LITERARY SOCIETY. It sold immediately to Atria/Simon & Schuster and was published last fall. It’s about a middle-aged housewife and mother who moves with her family from Boston to a sleepy Southern town in far-south Florida in 1962. It’s told through the eyes of an 80 year old woman looking back on those days.

Where do you see your writing taking you in the future?
I have no idea, and I think that’s a good thing. When I was younger I tried to plan everything, but now I see the beauty in being open to new possibilities. Sometimes, you can try too hard.

How do you use your talents/time to help others?
I have mentored many young people, helped writers of all ages, served on nonprofit boards, and written hundreds (maybe thousands) of pro bono newsletters for worthy groups and causes. Unfortunately, I have far more requests than I can handle, but I do my best.








Would you like to find Amy?

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, April 6, 2013

Writers4Higher features JoElle Martin


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

JoElle Martin


                       Hi, JoElle. Welcome to the Writers4Higher family!

                                                


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

If there is such a thing as reincarnation, then I was a gypsy in all my former lives. I love to wander. I love not having a plan and just taking each day as it happens. To me life is an amazing gift and shouldn’t be wasted. Each day is a promise of adventure, knowledge, and making a difference. Each day is about really seeing the world and living, not just going the motions and existing without awareness.

One of my favorite quotes is from the movie “Tuck Everlasting” (based on the book). Angus Tuck tells Winnie Foster, “Do not fear death, but rather the unlived life. You don't have to live forever. You just have to live.”

My life hasn’t been perfect. I’ve experienced pain, disappointment, poverty, and other unhappy events. But I am thankful that somewhere my family had healthy resiliency and emotional intelligence genes and that they were passed on to me; as well as a dab of storytelling genes.

In school I was told I was a good writer, but I didn’t really know what to do with it. I wrote my assignments and received A’s. I competed in Journalism writing events and won awards. But that was about it. I didn’t keep a diary. I didn’t like writing about me. I liked making up stories and writing about other people.

Shortly after I graduated high school I proposed to my boyfriend and we were married. We are still together. I’ve had a happy married life and my husband and I raised a wonderful son. It was during the time I homeschooled him that I began to think about my writing. I was telling my kid that he could live his dream of being a firefighter (and he did become a firefighter), and that’s when I realized I didn’t want to reach my last day and regret never having written a book.

I began to write. I wrote stories for the local newspaper. I became a writer and regional editor for our homeschool newsletter. I became a staff writer for a bilingual area newspaper. And soon
after that began working on my first manuscript.

While my newspaper and newsletter articles are non-fiction and cover items of community interests, my novels are fantasy, romance, and adventure. My published novels are a four book young adult fantasy series. The manuscripts I am currently working on are fantasy/paranormal romance. I’ve always loved fairy tales and I consider my stories as modern day fairy tales. They take place in the world of today, however the characters are elves, dragons, fairies, witches, and humans too. The stories are mostly fun and filled with adventure. I avoid too much drama. There is enough of that in real life. I like my characters to have a sense of honor and a sense of humor.

My inspiration comes from everywhere. I was driving through the Deschutes National Forest on a clear night with a full moon. The forest looked absolutely magical and that combined with an early childhood memory and I had the inspiration for my first novel ….and that evolved into the four books. Nature inspires a lot of the scenes in my books. My characters are not any particular people I know. But I have had characters inspired from people watching. People are fascinating.



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

I don’t really think about this. I love that I’ve written not one book, but several. I knew that I had it in me and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment in what I’ve already done. Though my series has not been a commercial success, I feel successful in that the reviews I have received have all been positive. I feel honored that people have read my stories and liked them. Do I hope to be able to quit my “day job” and write full time? Sure. Would I like my audience to be bigger? Of course. I have stories inside my head pushing me to let them out and get them on paper. I do see myself writing until there are no more stories … and that won’t be anytime soon. I have four manuscripts in various stages of completion and three or four more stories waiting inside my head. Oh wait! And many of my series reviewers have said they could see Dreamer’s Forest as a movie. I was told that as they read it, it felt like a movie. I need to look into making that happen.



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



I volunteered as regional editor for California Homeschool News for three years. Our family raised a guide dog puppy for a guide dog school and I wrote of the experience in our city newspaper. Actually most of my non-fiction pieces are on community topics. I’d like to do more in the way of volunteering, however between work, school (I will finally get a degree this spring), and family I keep pretty busy. I do try to find gentle ways of helping others (and being kind to animals and the planet) each and every day. I truly believe if you send out good energy it makes a positive difference in the lives of others.




JoElle's Books: A Bridge in the Forest, A Promise in the Forest, 
A Secret in the Forest, and Moonlight in the Forest


Would you like to find JoElle?

Check out the links to this talented author:


JoElle's website

JoElle on Facebook





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...