Posts Tagged Margaret Mitchell
A First-Timer at SIBA
By Ellen F. Brown, author of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey from Atlanta to Hollywood
This snapshot of my desk sums up my experience in Daytona better than anything I could write. For me, it was all about making connections. Meeting booksellers and bloggers. Getting to know and learning from other writers.
The weekend was so chock full that I am still trying to process it all. Things got off to a brilliant start on Friday morning at Steven Johnson’s talk on innovative ideas – loved his comment about the value of the internet as a “serendipity engine.” The panel discussions the rest of the day were each fantastic in their own way. As I tweeted that evening, I laughed at some, cried at others. I learned something at all of them. Then the fun really began: drinks and good music courtesy of Bookazine and Marshall Chapman, followed by a fortuitous dinner with author James Swanson. I stumbled back to my room ready to sleep when a Tweet came through that the Late Night Readings had started. Ooops… had forgotten about that. I got back in the elevator and headed downstairs for a literary night cap.
Saturday was another whirlwind. The tradeshow is a blur of books, people, and good conversations. And, I experienced a random act of kindness that day I will always treasure. Rhodi Hawk – author of Okra nominee The Twisted Ladder – had been invited to appear on Book Marc, a local radio show, and invited me to join her. If all writers are as generous, I have indeed landed in the right profession.
I was riding on a complete bookish high by the time the taxi came to take me to the airport Saturday afternoon. I snapped back to reality when I got on the airplane and realized that I had been assigned a seat in the very last row, right next to the bathroom. I was within moments of asking to find another seat when I saw Shellie Rushing Tomlinson – one of my favorite panelists of the entire weekend – headed for my row. Let’s just say an hour and a half with her was well worth the noxious fumes. I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. When we got to Atlanta, we carried on our conversation over a plate of nachos at an airport bar. More laughs ensued with a young waiter who kept referring to us as babies. “You want another glass of wine, baby?” “Baby, do you need a napkin?” “I’ll get your check right now, baby.” And don’t even get me started on all the life-changing advice Shelley gave me about the writing biz.
My only regret is that my co-author John Wiley, Jr., had to cancel his trip to SIBA due to illness. The poor thing is still in the hospital. I haven’t yet had the heart to tell him what a productive, inspiring, and fun trip he missed.
Now off to spend a rainy day entering all these new contacts into my address book.
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Below find Rhodi Hawk’s #SIBA10 Twitter Answers but first enjoy some original content from this award winning thriller writer:
The year I was born, a hurricane tore through South Texas and carved a twelve-foot deep gulley into my grandparents’ land. I take perverse pride in that fact. Of course grandpa turned the (dry, after the storm) gully into a dump, because there wasn’t any garbage collection for our 76 acres out in the middle of nowhere. What we did have was cactus, weesatch, the family graveyard (no body collection out there, either, apparently), grass burrs, and deer, hog, and rabbits. From time to time, the well would poop out on us and give over to salt water. There was also a creek bed that ran for two weeks out of the year. My sister and I used to dam up a stretch of it and for fourteen glorious days during the rainy season, we’d have a swimming hole.
That time has been strong on my mind lately, probably because this year’s SIBA conference made me a bit nostalgic. Being around so many other southerners brought it all back, and I loved reading the other authors’ works (Kathryn Magendie’s Sweetie, and Ellen F. Brown’s story-behind-the-story about Margaret Mitchell). The best part of SIBA, by far, was the Feed an Author auction, which was an absolute hoot. My fellow authors are fraught with sass. I also enjoyed a wonderful dinner with Eagle Eye Bookshop where I learned a bit about growing up in Alabama.
I could have flown, but had decided to drive to SIBA because I can never resist a good road trip, and it allowed me to bring along my dog and my sweetheart (not necessarily in that order). I’d stopped along the way to let my dog frisk along the Ponce de Leon Springs, and I thought about that old creek from my childhood. My novel, A Twisted Ladder, is all about heritage—of the spooky sort. The title is a metaphor for DNA. Back in the day, my grandmother used to tell us the family ghost story: a mishap that occurred along that old dry creek and left it haunted. She was spooky, my grandma. She could sleep with one eye open, and she could heal our ailments with a wave of her hand.
Now I’m back home after SIBA, and three car washings later I’m still dealing with a constellation of bugs. But it was more than worth it. All that time spent laughing and scratching with new friends? So many fresh memories to add to the old ones.
Rhodi Hawk, A Twisted Ladder, SIBA Fiction nominee: won the International Thriller Writer’s Scholarship Award for her first novel, A Twisted Ladder, a gothic tale of old Louisiana.
Favorite book as a child? My sister and I shared an illustrated copy of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. It had belonged to my father and aunts when they were children.
What are you reading right now? I’m reading a wonderful, very spooky book called The Sound of Building Coffins by Louis Maistros, also a southern author.
Share a favorite segment from your book… Honey if you say so, I’ll never work no mo,I’ll lay around yo shanty all the time, time, tim, I’ll lay around yo shanty all the time
Why that title? A Twisted Ladder is a term for DNA. The book explores whether clairvoyance and curses and such might be handed down through generations.
Why independent bookstores matter? In this digital age, paper novels feel more treasured than ever. Going to an independent bookseller makes it all the more personal.
Favorite part of writing a book? Finishing!
Least favorite part of writing a book? Having to color within the deadlines.
Are you working on anything new? Hard at work on the sequel to A Twisted Ladder. It’s called Framing the Bridge, and it’ll hit the shelves next fall.
Do you have any superstitions, lucky charms, or rituals around your writing? I keep a kind of writing journal / progress tracker to help me focus. I also like to have a candle burning when I write.
Comment on the writing life… Writing is for the brain what going to the gym feels like for the body. Sometimes it’s torture. Mostly it’s just a matter of showing up.
Hardest part of the creation to publication experience? Keeping up with the non-writing end. Sometimes I get so drenched in story that I forget to tend to the web site, interviews, and business matters.
Why do you write? Beats the funny farm! If I didn’t write I’d be telling tall tales to every store clerk, UPS driver, or flight attended who crossed my path.
When do you write? First thing in the morning after running the gully. I guess that makes it second thing. Wait, no, it’s third, because I also shower.
When did you know you were a writer? Before I could even read. Grandma used to read illustrated books to my sister and me. My sister became an artist, and I became a writer.
What, or Who, will you dish on, as in gossip about? Other writers, Wanda Jewell, Daytona beach bunnies, Marc Bernier, the cute shoes people wore to the auction, and airport security.
What would make you a scintillating dinner guest? I’ll tell my family’s own ghost story about Dead Man’s Holler. If that falls flat I can always play “Swanee River” on air-banjo.
Who is your favorite new author? Hank Schwaeble. Also a southerner.
What is your drink of choice? Wine!
What is your favorite food? Ice cream or Frito pie. Otherwise, anything that involves peanut butter, chocolate, or peanut butter and chocolate.
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