Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guest Writer Interview

Today this blog has a special treat for writers!

It's an interview with Linda O'Connell, a blog peeps, pre-school teacher and freelance writer from Missouri.

Her blog has a similar title than this one and that's how we met a few years ago. Her blog is Write from the Heart:

She has been a pre-school teacher for decades and for  that, alone, she holds a special place in this child advocate's heart.

In addition to teaching, she is a published freelance writer.

Linda has had more freelance articles published than anyone else I know.  She is nothing short of amazing.

She's also very humorous, loves the beach, is very pretty, and has a great, supportive hubby!

Here is the interview Writing Straight from the Heart had with this totally delightful writer and friend:

  1. Linda, how long have you been a pre-school teacher?
           This is my 39th year of teaching preschoolers, and I still consider it my dream job.
  1. How long have you been freelance writing?
 I started freelance writing in 1998 shortly after my 52 year old friend died. I realized life is too short not to follow my dreams. 

  1. How did you get into freelancing in the beginning?
I sent a personal essay to my local newspaper, and the male editor contacted me to say my story about one of my students who had passed away, made him cry. After that I sold several essays. 

I also entered a Valentine's Day Contest: "What was your best date?"

 I wrote about not being able to go on a date on Valentine's Day because Bill had to work. But he danced me down the cookie aisle in our supermarket.
Years ago an editor from Parent's magazine called to personally reject an article. He told me I have a unique writing style, and he encouraged me to never stop writing.

  1. How do you find time to write and work your full time job plus do your family commitments?
I have a personal goal of submitting seven things per month. Sometimes life gets in the way, and I write and submit last minute. Some months I write every week, but seldom every day.
  1. Can you tell us about your co-editing experience with the recent book, Not Your Mother’s Book on Family?
"Not Your Mother's Book...On Family" publishers, Ken and Dahlynn McKowen, allowed me to solicit hundreds of stories, rate, and select the best 65 stories. They did the lay out. Editing was a collaborative effort. Developing this book was a labor of love. Some of the stories still resonate with me, especially one about a green toilet seat. The stories are not sad and sappy, they are humorous and uplifting, even a bit sassy.
  1. What do you love about freelance writing?
 I love making a sale, of course. I enjoy receiving correspondences from readers who tell me that my story touched them in a positive way.

  1. Do you spend a lot of time online trying to find markets for your work?
I wake early, usually between 5-6, and I Google search key words for writing markets.
If I see a call out that appeals to me, I jot down an idea, write a first draft, edit as I go and then go back and edit again and again. Always best for me to lay it aside a day.
  1. Do you eventually want to write full time?
No, simply put. I love writing personal essays and definitely have a memoir and a couple of books in me. If I had to write every day, it would become a chore, and I would not enjoy it.
  1. Are you from Missouri?
I have always lived in St. Louis, MO with the exception of the year and a half I lived in Alaska with my former husband, a soldier who was stationed there.

  1. Please tell us a little about your educational background and your family.
I graduated high school, married, raised a family, and then went to college 15 years later. I have taken early childhood continuing education and professional development classes for 35 years. I love teacher conferences. I enjoy learning!

I am a self-taught writer. I took a six week writing class at a community college early on. I research, read, attend writer's guild meetings, critique groups. I believe in myself, and that is fifty percent of writing success, taking the chance to write and submit.

My husband and I have a blended family of four adult children, three girls and a boy, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. We both love the beach.
Many thanks to Linda for agreeing to be a guest writer on this blog. 

She is a great writer and friend.  She's also a wonderful inspiration to freelance writers everywhere!

Be sure to stop by her blog and say hello!


Bookie said...

Yep, she is good inspiration for rest of us! Met her on her blog; like you, Susan, she was one of my first blog peeps and it has lasted!

Linda O'Connell said...

Thank you, Susan. I dropped by expecting to see fall foliage but found my mug. I treasure your friendship, and your blog always brings unexpected joy. The smallest things make me happy, and I think you are similar.

Chatty Crone said...

Linda is a wonderful gal. Great writer. I had always wished Andy could have been in her pre-school class - I think that would have been great for him!

ImSoVintage Laura Walker said...

Thanks for the introduction. Can't wait to visit her blog. xo Laura

Terri Tiffany said...

I love Linda's work! She is the Chicken Soup queen!!

Musings, Tea, and Me said...

Enjoyed this interview very much, Susan...nice job! And I took heart in hearing how another writer approaches her work...thanks for the inside story.

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