Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Guest Memoir Writer Post

                                                 (Author Becky Lewellen Povich and her beloved dog, Vern.)

One of the best aspects of blogging is meeting other bloggers and writers!

Becky Lewellen Povich, of Missouri, was one of the very first bloggers and writers I met in the fascinating world of blogland.

Her blog is Becky Lewellen Povich: Writer, Humorist, Bliss Follower.

She revealed  to readers that she was writing her memoir.

Many of us came to know her as a  humorous, kind and thoughtful person.

Early on, she didn't have a title for her book. Eventually, it became, "From Pigtails to Chin Hairs: A Memoir and More."

Fellow bloggers and writers shared Becky's joy when the book was finally finished and then printed!

You know, I think it takes great courage to delve into our past, think about the good and bad things that happened to us and even mistakes we've made, write about them and then share it with the world.

I applaud anyone who does that and that includes Becky!

Today, it is my extreme pleasure, to introduce those of you who have yet to meet her, to Becky.

For those who do know her, it is my hope you, too, will enjoy the question-and-answer format of an interview with Becky.

Here goes:

1. Becky, when you were writing your book, how often did you write and for how long?  Where did you do most of your writing?  
Well, since it took me only 12 years to write it, it’s apparent I didn’t write very often or for very long periods at a time. Since my memoir was my first attempt at writing anything longer than a 500 word newspaper column, or a 1200 word Chicken Soup for the Soul essay, it was difficult to get started and into the “groove.” Thankfully, too, after struggling for months, I heard that writing a memoir is much more difficult than writing fiction. It might seem like the opposite, because after all, writing memoir is about events you already know, you lived them. But remembering them and writing about them are two very different things. And unlike fictional stories with a beginning, middle, and ending, I just kept writing and writing until I felt like I was at a good stopping point. (I still have tons of memories to write about and I’m working on my sequel!)
2     2. Did you write in a notebook and use the same pen each time you wrote or was it all on computer?  What are you most comfortable writing with?

As far as writing anything on paper, I did a lot of what I call “note scratchings.” In the beginning I tried to always have the same notebook with me at all times, so that when inspiration hit and I was away from my laptop, I could jot a few words or sentences down before I forgot them. But, no matter how many large or small tablets I bought, I usually found myself scribbling notes on any tiny piece of paper that was handy, thus: note scratchings! That’s the only time I hand wrote anything, because I’d write so fast, and nothing was legible, plus the fact that my hand and fingers wouldn’t be able to do it for more than a couple of minutes. Typing/keyboarding is definitely the only way for me.

3      3.      How long, from start to finish, did it take you to write the book?
As I’ve said before, it took 12 years from the time I actually declared I was going to write my memoir, until I completed it. But I spent so much time not writing during those years for various reasons. Thankfully, I’m not having too much of a problem…..yet….writing the sequel.

4     4.   If you could give advice to other writers about writing their
           own memoirs, what would it be?
I have a Two-Part answer to that:
A)    I’d say the same things that various authors and journalists told me. Read. Read books by authors you like, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Notice their different styles of writing, their “voice.” You will discover your own voice after you’ve written for a while. Just be yourself.

Search. Search online for blogs and websites that feature articles on writing, anything that has to do with the ups and downs, ins and outs of writing and publishing and platforms and marketing.

Learn. Learn as much as you can while you’re on your writing journey. Join writers’ groups if you can. Attend conferences and critique groups, if possible. Hang out with writer friends! They “get it!”
Feel free to write to authors you admire, famous or scarcely known, asking for their advice, etc. Maybe none of them will reply, but maybe one or two will. What do you have to lose?

      5.     What is the hardest aspect of marketing a book?
There isn’t just one aspect because so much goes into the marketing of a book. I think the biggest difficulty would be if the writer wasn’t quite sure of his/her finished product: the writing, the editing, the overall quality of the book. That may sound silly, but I’ve seen some that are in the category of books that give/gave “self-published” a really bad name. The next hardest is probably for those who are introverts. Fortunately, I’m an extrovert and I really enjoy the marketing part, but it takes a lot of time and energy to do it right, which makes it hard to keep writing, blogging, attending meetings, and doing a load or two of laundry!

6      6.      How many public speaking engagements have you had?
Do you mean during all these past 12 years, or just the time after my book was published? During these past years, I’ve spoken at libraries, elementary schools, and high schools, which included all ages. I’ve been interviewed on radio stations and one local TV show. I’m a go-getter, so I expect to continue with these kinds of events.
      7.  What would you like readers to get out of reading your 
I’d like readers to feel as if they’ve spent time with a great friend, talking and laughing over a cup of coffee, or glass of iced tea, or wine, etc. I’d like them to laugh at the funny incidents, maybe shed a tear when reading a sad or poignant chapter, and feel my strength when they read how I got through the hardest parts of my life.
8       8.     Is it expensive for one to self-publish a book?
It can be very expensive, and there are so many companies online just waiting to “help” writers. This goes back to my answers to question 4. A lot of homework needs to be done to find out which companies are legitimate and have good policies, guidelines, and no hidden costs, etc. Ask around. Ask for advice.

9       9.  Did you give a copy to your local library?
Yes, I gave a copy to a branch of my library district. I also mailed a complimentary copy to the library in Greenfield, Iowa. It’s the small town my maternal grandparents lived in for many years. And I also recently gave a copy to the library in Cahokia, Illinois which is the town I lived in for the first eight years of my life. Both towns are lovingly written about in my memoir.

1      10.  How do you decide where to give a presentation about your book?

At this point in my career, my decision is mostly based on who will allow me to give a presentation! But, I know that will change, too. I have a couple of really nice events on my calendar for later this month, and in July.

Thank you very much, Susan, for having me as your blog guest! You asked terrific questions and I really enjoyed answering them. I hope your readers will want to run out and purchase my memoir J  which is available in print, at various online locations, and e-book for Kindle.



Anonymous said...

First of all, I love Becky. We met via blogging about 4 years ago, but I consider her more than a blog friend.

Awesome photo of her with Vern. I adore that dog!

I won a copy of Becky's memoir on another blogger's giveaway a couple weeks ago. I am really excited to read it. I'm sure it will be wonderful and just like sitting down and having a chat with Becky.

I AM working on a memoir. It's called Smiling Through the Tears, and it's about my nearly 2-decade long struggle with fertility issues. (I may or may not market this. It's more for my own purposes and to share with others also battling infertility.)

I'm also working on a family narrative, but again, it's not for mass-market publication...just for family.

Musings, Tea, and Me said...

I definitely plan to buy Becky's book! I've been reading about it on various blogs and memoirs are my favorite genre. Becky is an inspiration!And Susan, this is a great post! Vickie

Bookie said...

I have already read Becky's book! Can say I enjoyed it and am sharing it with others!

Martha's Favorites said...

Hi Susan: Had to stop by and say hi! Hope all is well. Have a great week. Blessings, Martha

BECKY said...

Susan, thank you again for hosting me on your blog! Your questions were great, I enjoyed answering them, and I hope your readers enjoyed reading them. I think you and I were both fairly new to blogging when we met and that makes our friendship extra special! Have a blissful rest of the week....and thank you, again!

BECKY said...

Hi Patti - You've always been one of my best "cheerleaders" and I so appreciate your support and friendship. I'm really happy you're writing a memoir and family narrative! It's wonderful to share some of the highs and lows of our lives that may help many people. Good for you! Thanks for leaving such a nice comment, too! :)

BECKY said...

Hi Vickie! Even though you and I have just met, I feel a connection to you. I really enjoy reading your blog and I'm looking forward to getting to know all about you and your family! Are you writing your memoir, too? Somehow I feel like I read that, maybe on your blog!? Thanks for commenting and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on my book.

BECKY said...

Hi Bookie/Claudia! You're another one of my best writer-bloggy friends...and fellow Missourian! One of these days, we'll get together in person and have cups of tea, talk, do a little writing, and have a great time! Thanks for all your support, too.

BECKY said...

Hi Martha! Seeing you here reminded me of my Teacup Tuesday days. I always enjoyed participating in those and I hope to do so once in a while again!

Terri Tiffany said...

You are so right about Becky. She is sweet and nice from what I know about her online. I enjoyed the straightforward questions you asked and the answers. I think it's hard to market your book in any way and sounds like Becky is right on track!

BECKY said...

Hi Terri! How wonderful to see your smiling face here! Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the interview!

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Lovely to meet you today Susan. I followed back. Judy is the kindest of friends. Enjoyed reading back through your posts. Love water dogs.

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

What fun... I love the title of your guest blogger's new book. And I enjoyed the interview you share here.

So glad I stopped by, Susan. Have to go check out what else you've been posting of late.

Wishing you glimpses of beauty...

Marta said...

Hello from Spain: Becky is a great writer. I like the idea of memoir. Thanks for recommending. Keep in touch

Susan said...

Welcome to Joy@aVintage Green, this blog's newest Follower.

Thanks for Following back, Joy. I just know it's going to be a "joy" getting to know you through reading your sweet blog.

Hope each of you is having a really good Wednesday. Susan

marianne said...

Would love to read Becky's book as memoirs are one of my favorite types of books.

I do think or writing my memoirs, especially since I now have a grandaughter, but haven't taken any steps in that direction. Maybe this winter when the snow is flying and sitting by the fire to write sounds like a good idea.

Myrna R. said...

I've known Becky for some time. She's truly a gem of a person. I recommend her book. She shares of herself so openly that one feels like she's talking intimately to you alone.
I enjoyed your interview Susan. You asked questions I haven't seen before. I love the picture of Becky and Vern.

Chatty Crone said...

Do you know I have had the blessing of meeting Becky in person? And she is as wonderful as her books!

BECKY said...

Hello Joy@VintageGreen! Lovely to meet you here at Susan's blog. Have a beautiful, blissful week.

BECKY said...

Hi Brenda! How fun to see you here. I haven't had a chance to get to your blog in quite a while, nor you to mine. Life just keeps on rolling by, doesn't it?! Glad you liked the interview and the title of my memoir!

BECKY said...

Hello Marta in Spain! How nice to meet you! Thank you for your kind comments. I hope you get the chance to read my memoir sometime!

BECKY said...

Hello again, Susan! Thank you again for having me as your guest! It's great fun!

BECKY said...

Hi Marianne! Writing your memoir by the fireplace on a cold, snowy day/night sounds perfect! :) So nice to hear you'd like to read mine. I'll be having other giveaways, I'm sure!

BECKY said...

Hello Myrna dear! Thank you for your wonderful comments. You truly are a gem, too! :)
And yes, weren't Susan's questions great? Loved them!

BECKY said...

Okay, Chatty I'm gettin' embarrassed here! :)
Seriously, thank you so much. You are a wonderful person, too! It was great to meet in person!

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I met Becky along with my friend Sandie and we had the best time! I have been waiting to read Becky's book! I am so proud of her for sticking with it and achieving her goal!

BECKY said...

Thank you, Linda! I'm so glad I was able to meet you and Sande/Chatty Crone in person, too. I hope to get back to my sister's sometime in August...but no definite plans yet. And thank you for all your support. I hope you enjoy reading my memoir! Hugs back to you.

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