Today I'm thrilled to be featuring author Rea Nolan Martin, a fellow member of the RWISA (Rave Writers International Society of Authors).
RWISA BLOG TOUR INTERVIEW
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for fifty years.
How many books have you authored? Please give us up to 3 titles.
I’ve authored 4 books and many more published short stories, essays, and poems, as well as edited literary journals. My 3 titles are: The Sublime Transformation of Vera Wright; Mystic Tea; The Anesthesia Game.
Do you have a writing schedule?
I generally write in the middle of the day for about 4 hours, sometimes longer.
You’re a member of RAVE WRITERS—INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA). Why do you think you were accepted into this exclusive group?
Hopefully, for the quality of my work.
Modesty aside, what separates your writing from the millions of other writers in the world?
What separates me from some authors is the depth of character I seek and the way the plot derives organically from character development and behavior. For me, this is what makes a story come alive. This is what allows a reader to step into the story and relate to it on a human level. These are the stories I like to read, so of course, they’re also the ones I want to write.
If you could spend a day picking the brain of one author, who would that be? Why?
Anne Tyler. Every book she’s written is a masterwork of character development.
Are you a die-hard INDI writer who loves having complete control of your work, or if you were offered a publishing contract today, would you sign on the dotted line?
I work with an indie publisher which is a wonderful small publisher. I’ve been approached by others, and would possibly consider a larger publisher only if they were to guarantee the marketing piece, which is so time-consuming. However, sadly, even the largest publishers do very little author promotion these days, so it’s unlikely that I’d move.
As an author, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I see myself moving into more and more complex scenarios as far as characters and situational plots are concerned. We always have to challenge ourselves, after all!
What is ONE tool that has been the most beneficial tool in the marketing of your books?
My (genuinely) honest reply would be RRBC because of their relentless support.
What is the one piece of advice that you could share that would be most valuable for those aspiring to not only be writers, but those aspiring to be great writers?
To really fulfill any gift, skills must be acquired. Too many writers dive in without really understanding the craft. So, I would say, take classes; attend conferences; and read, read, read before you even think of publishing.
Do you believe that writers who churn out several books a year are really putting out quality work?
I wouldn’t judge how good a work is by the time it takes to produce it, though it’s tempting. Having said that, I do think that for most authors, fast production equals less plot and character development and more errors. This is actually a choice (whether conscious or subconscious) of quantity over quality. After all, not everybody aspires to write quality literature. (Not everybody even knows what quality literature is.) If an author has never read quality literature, s/he has little hope of producing it.
If you had promised your fans a book by a certain date only to find that your book wasn’t the best it could be, would you go ahead and publish your book just to meet that self-imposed deadline and deliver as promised, or would you disappoint your fans and shelve the book until it was absolutely ready? No matter your reason, please explain why?
I would never allow a book of mine to be published until I had personally scoured it scrupulously many times over for the tiniest of imperfections, not just grammatic, but also story-related. Then I would be sure that trusted associates had also scoured it with the same critical eye.
In your opinion, what makes a book “a great book?”
Great books can exist in any genre. For me, it’s one with depth and complexity on many levels, even down to the characters’ names. Everything should have meaning in the context of a particular story. Absolutely nothing accidental, random, or tossed in for the fun of it.
If you received a review of your book which stated that there were editing and proofing issues, what’s the first thing you would do? And the second?
If I received a review that stated my book was overrun with grammatical errors, I would immediately withdraw it and make the necessary corrections. Then I would apologize to my readers for my carelessness.
You can follow Rea at the following:
TWITTER HANDLE: @reanolanmartin
FACEBOOK URL: www.facebook.com/reanolanmartinauthor
More wisdom from Rea:
How to Find Your Author ‘Voice’
In the world of contemporary publishing, Voice may be the trickiest and most overlooked aspect of a story. But the truth is, if you want your story to rise above the hoard of others, you must gain a handle on the Voice, not only of individual characters within your story, but of the story itself.
Let me back up.
A few years ago, I taught writing at a New York college. Because it was a Master’s program, some of my students had already published small pieces, and others aspired to do the same. All the students were talented, but it was easy for me to spot the most likely to succeed by the ‘Tone’ or ‘Voice’ that came through even in spontaneous writing exercises.
What is this mysterious element?
Voice is that illusive aspect of a story that keeps a reader reading, even if other aspects of the story aren’t quite developed. It’s the unmistakably unique fingerprint of a specific author. Voice is how an author enters the mind of a character and inhabits it. It’s the pace, rhythm, and spirit of a story. Voice is what brings not only the story to life, but breathes air into each line of description and dialogue.
Even though I was often told by my own professors that I had distinct Voice, the first time I fully understood the concept was when I picked up a novel by a particular Southern author.I was instantly blown away. He had a Voice so powerful it jumped off the page, making me question everything I’d written up to that point. It was like the difference between a crude figure etched on a cave wall and a cinematic opus. That novel (and everything else he wrote) helped me to up my game.
One thing I can tell you from five decades of writing, editing, publishing and teaching, is that it is impossible to produce a great story without a great Voice. To find yours, read all you can by authors whose styles you love. Then write and write and write until your own Voice comes into focus and becomes clear, distinctive, and consistent.
If I were a writer starting out today, I would not attempt to publish a single sentence until I developed my Voice and knew how to use it.
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