We are delighted to welcome Anne Schroeder to Writing Warriors United
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
As a teen, I fell in love with the American Western writer Zane Grey: Riders of the Purple Sage, The Mysterious Rider, The Light of the Western Stars, The Lone Star Ranger. Combining romance, western setting and a strong hero created a desire to write stories that substituted women as the hero. I later discovered Lavryl Spencer and added sympathetic angst and a woman’s heart to my Writer’s Box of tricks.
What is the first book that made you cry?
A romance about a discarded mistress of Charles I. Bawled my eyes out.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Being in “the zone” makes me ecstatic like being in love.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
1. Rushing to publication.
2. Wasting readers’ precious time.
3. Spending money for things a writer should learn to do for themselves.
4. Making the same goofy mistake more than 10 times.
5. Taking oneself too seriously.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Anymore, sitting at the computer for hours. I have to get up every hour for 10 minutes. Set my timer. Get those legs pumping.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’ve attended a fair number of writer workshops and spent time chatting up my fellow attendees. That’s how the solitary guy at breakfast turns out to be an editor for a magazine that later names your book the best non-traditional western of the year. My email contact list contains well-known authors. But it was my writers group of “unknowns” who really helped me. Most of the books I read are written by non-famous authors.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Reading reviews in Amazon stunned me because readers took my work so seriously. I choose an unknown-to-me reviewer and keep them in mind as I write my next book.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Early writer conferences. Writer’s Market. I used to “X” out the markets I would never submit to and then submit to the ones that remained. Seeing my short stories and essays in print encouraged me to write more.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
My first book, a creative non-fiction memoir, contained some lazy errors. Before POD printing, 4000 copies were printed. The book became a regional classic and sold out. My careless research came back to haunt me. Twenty years later, I’m now revising it. I hope people find the new edition. The take-away was to never let a book go before it’s the best it can be.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Isn’t it always one that we write ourselves??? Mine is a novella, Willa Cather’s Death Comes to the Archbishop. Another American western author.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I believe I was channeled by an Indian girl named Maria Ines to write her story. So her.
What does literary success look like to you?
Keeping mind, body and spirit in balance. Finding opportunities to change lives and deepen hearts while maintaining balance with my husband. This can be harder than it seems. I know a lot of divorced writers.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Keeping their mannerisms and dialogue true. I’ve read women-written novels where Indian boys cry when they get hurt. Give me a break!
Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Non-fiction is about facts and dates. Fiction is about the emotional truth and it can be more real and authentic than actual life. All good fiction should change our lives and the depth of our soul.
How do you select the names of your characters?
If I’m deep enough into the story the characters do the choosing.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
No, but then I don’t write mysteries. I tie up all loose story lines and threads. Readers hate dangling.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The ones where I cry while I write.
What is your favorite childhood book?
A monthly girls magazine, “Calling all Girls.” Short stories. A gift from my grandparents that made me become a writer.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Trimming the extra words. I’m an overwriter. Tight editing is like pulling teeth for me. But it’s easier to trim my own work. It hurts less.
When you die – what would you like the universe to say to you as you walk into the next life?
“She mattered so much in my life.”
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