I was honored to join an eclectic talented group of writers over fifteen years ago. We’ve worked hard and can each now claim a published work or an Emmy winning documentary. Our mark of a good meeting is shared ideas, a dose of humility, wine, followed by gut-aching belly laughs.
As I have been reflecting, I asked a member of my critique group to do the same. Here are her answers.
Me: What do you write about? Terese: I write non-fiction, mostly about people and situations which teach me some sort of life lesson. Professionally, I am a television and documentary producer, so I’ve written a buhzillion scripts. Many of those, over the last ten years, have to do with the military and wounded warriors. My only book, which has not been published, is about Colonel Greg Gadson, who lost both of his legs in Iraq. I got to know him early in his recovery, during which he became an inspirational speaker for the New York Giants. They won the Super Bowl that year. After all that happened, I said, “We have to write this down!” He humbly agreed. Sadly, his best friend, a guy who was a key supporter while Greg was going through so much, has been diagnosed with ALS. Chuck is strong, but still, it’s Greg’s turn to be the pillar. And now I’m writing all that into the book. Talk about life lessons.
Me: Do you write about anything else?
I write a blog called “On Dogs and Men.” I have two beautiful Rhodesian Ridgeback dogs, which I believe are meant to be shared with the world. (Sometimes they over-share.) We’re working on that. Lillian is a therapy dog. We visit Hospice. It’s an environment rich with inspiration.
Me: What’s your writing process, outline or shoot from the hip?
Terese: I pretty much just sit down and start blathering.
Me: Where do you write?
Terese: Most often I like to write wherever Lillian and Delilah are (the dogs). Lazy as that sounds, sometimes it’s propped up in bed — because that’s where they both fit. They’re big dogs. It saves on the heat bill.
Me: What is your writing process?
Terese: First I vacuum the house. Then there’s laundry…dishes…eyebrow plucking…varnishing cupboards…anything to put it off. Eventually it’s butt-in-chair. That’s it. Think Nicholas Cage in the opening credits of Adaptation. “Maybe another cup of coffee…” I die laughing every time I see that.
Me: What are you reading now?
Terese: I read at things. So there’s always a stack and I read from different things in the stack. Right now A Walk in the Woods is at the top. I just finished Susan Moger’s Of Better Blood which was a horrifying education. And, of course, while I’ve already read most of Death at the Day Lily Café, I’m looking forward to reading it leisurely. Last time I was cramming before producing your book trailer.! I also listen to a lot of books while I drive. Right now it’s the former Sergeant Major of the Army, Al McMichael’s book about Leadership since I’ve had the pleasure of working with him recently.
Terese: No. I just live.
Me: Target audience?
Terese: Anyone who will read it.
Me: Have you always written?
Terese: Since I can remember. I recall, one Thanksgiving, writing an account of the family dinner from the perspective of the dog under the table. My teacher gave me an A++. Definitely the last time that happened, although I have been lucky enough to walk a few stages carrying Emmys.
Me: Advice for writers?
Terese: The most intimidating thing you encounter is a blank page. If it scares you, go run the vacuum. Then sit down.
Me: Who is your favorite author and why?
Terese: This is a hard one. I love Anne Lamott because of the every day life lesson thing. Hemingway is so brilliant you sometimes have to just stop reading and take it in. George Shaw. Abraham Lincoln — have you ever just slowly read his address at Gettysburg? It’s incredibly artful. Then there was Steven Tyler’s autobiography. What?
Me. Offer a writing prompt?
Terese: I always steal from one of instructor Mary Bargteil’s which involves writing out your whole name and just sort of reflecting on it. “Schlachter” brings up some good material, but I think “Jones” works just as well. *Susan Moger and Mary Bargteil are also in the critique group.
Rosalie Hart returns to the sleepy town of Cardigan on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in this delightful traditional cozy mystery series filled with to-die-for recipes and small-town charm.
Rosalie Hart has finally opened the café of her dreams. Decked out with ochre-tinted walls and stocked with delicious organic fare, the Day Lily Café is everything Rosalie could have hoped for. But not five minutes into the grand opening, Doris Bird, a dear and trusted friend, cashes in on a favor—to help clear her little sister Lori of a first-degree murder charge.
With the help of her best friend and head waiter Glenn, Rosalie is on the case. But it’s not going to be easy. Unlikable and provocative, murder victim Carl James Fiddler seems to have insulted nearly everyone in town, and the suspect list grows daily. When Rosalie’s daughter Annie gets caught in the crossfire, the search for the killer becomes personal in this charming cozy perfect for fans of Dianne Mott Davidson and Joanne Fluke.
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Website FB Twitter: @WendySandEckel
Wendy is giving away an autographed print copy of DEATH AT THE DAY LILY CAFE and a Day Lily Cafe coffee mug! Good luck y'all!
Wendy Sand Eckel is the author of MURDER AT BARCLAY MEADOW, the first in the Rosalie Hart mystery series set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A member of the Mystery Writers of America, she has degrees in criminology and social work and a passion for words and their nuanced meanings. DEATH AT THE DAY LILY CAFÉ, the second in this series, will be released by Minotaur Books July 26, 2016.