In episode 4, Melissa welcomes fellow writer, Laurel Wenson to the show to talk about National Novel Writing Month. Listen in...EPISODE 4, Season 2 – NaNoWriMo
Welcome to the Indie Chicks show! I’m your host, Melissa Koberlein. I’m an author and professor of publishing. If you’re just tuning in for the first time, let me tell you about the show. Indie Chicks celebrates and supports independent women in publishing. We’re a place for writers at all stages of the publishing process. So, whether you’re on the traditional route to publication or self-publishing, you’ve come to the right place for advice. Each week, I invite a guest host to join me for a hot topic in publishing or a book review. I end each episode with a tip of the week.
This week I was joined by Laurel Wenson. Laurel grew up with a love for reading, writing, music, and theater. She wrote her first “novel," “Mystery at Grizzley Mountain,” in response to a challenge from her 8th grade English teacher. In high school, her writing turned more toward journaling and poetry, and she found inspiration in the writings of the Concord authors that had lived in her hometown a century before she did.
She got her Bachelor’s Degree from Fitchburg State College, where she served as a co-editor to the school’s Literary Magazine, “Scrimshaw." For many years she turned her creative pursuits to the areas of music and theater, working as a music director in numerous theater organizations in both MA and PA.
Her love of reading and writing returned when she began homeschooling her children back in 2004, and she eventually helped to found a local homeschool co-op where she taught English and music theater until her retirement in 2016. She also taught theater classes and served as music director at a local performing arts studio, where she retired in the spring of 2018.
This past year she wrote a nonfiction theater handbook called “Sets on a Shoestring,” and she is currently working on a Young Adult novel entitled “A Promise to Keep.”
She continues to teach online classes to homeschool students through her business Lessons by Laurel, manages to find time to write and also attends NCC for the specialized diploma in Publishing. She lives in Lower Nazareth with her husband, two daughters, and two cats.
Laurel and I first chatted about the start of NaNoWriMo. According to the NaNoWriMo website, “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) believes stories matter. The event began in 1999, and in 2005, National Novel Writing Month became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. NaNoWriMo’s programs now include National Novel Writing Month in November, Camp NaNoWriMo, Young Writers Program, Come Write In, and the “Now What?” Months.” In 2017, almost 400K participants / 95K of them students / over 58K met their goal. Laurel mentioned a quote she likes from Grant Faulkner, executive director, “Our stories help us to understand ourselves and others, so we need our stories more than ever in this age, to bridge connections and heal divides.”
In addition, also included on the website, "Hundreds of NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder."
Next, I asked Laurel about her experience with NaNo and her family. She told me about her husband and two daughters, who are all writers like her. Laurel writes both non-fiction and fiction. Her daughter, Beth writes fanfic and poetry. Her other daughter, Rebecca writes fantasy and sci-fi, and her husband Bob, writes children's books, mystery, and science-fi.
Laurel said that she was pulled into NaNo after years of being inspired by her daughter, who started in 2010. Laurel attempted Camp Nano in April of 2017 and is now completing her first NaNoWriMo this month.
I couldn't wait to ask her what she's writing, and I'm glad I did because it sounds amazing!
Her novel is called A Promise to Keep and is young adult fiction. Teagan, an ACE/ARO teen, is healing from the loss of one of her best friends as she prepares to audition for a school musical. There, she faces the stigmas surrounding not just her sexuality, but her size. As she teaches her world to be more body-positive, she may just save a life -- and make a friend in the process.
The story deals with the issues of asexuality, aromanticism, and body positivity (whatever size - fat/anorexic).
I finished up the episode with a Tip of the Week on mindset. Don’t shy away from challenges. No matter how uncomfortable or daunting the task might seem, go for it. If you've self-published a novel and haven't approached a local indie bookstore about carrying your book, do it. If you've never attended an author event to sell your book, but have the opportunity, do it. If you’ve never tried NaNoWriMo, give it a shot. Laurel added a great plug for my Publishing 101 course at Northampton Community College which is being offered online in the Spring semester. She said that the course had pushed her further than she thought possible. She's right, too. I push students outside their comfort zones with a 'yes, you can' attitude.
I thanked Laurel for coming on the show. This is where you can find Laurel:
On my next podcast, Sarah Neville will be back to review The Spider in the Laurel audiobook by Michael Pogach. I will also have another Tip of the Week.
Don’t forget where to find me! Find my podcast at indiechicks.net or follow me on Spotify or subscribe to Indie Chicks on iTunes. Please rate me! You can follow me on Twitter @Indie_Chicks or Facebook.com/TheIndieChicks or @TheIndieChicks.
So, remember, we’re all part of a publishing community, be kind and review your fellow authors’ books! Thanks for listening!
Indie Chicks out.