Interview: Women’s Fiction Writers Association

I am very pleased to share that I was recently interviewed by Maggie Smith of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association for the podcast “Hear Us Roar.” I roar to Maggie about my debut novel Telling Sonny: what the book is about, the process of researching and writing it, and the road to publication.

https://www.womensfictionwriters.org/debut-author-podcast–elizabeth-gauffreau

And of what relevance is the header photograph for this post, you might ask? Why, it’s my very-pleased-with-my-little-self face, of course!

 

158 thoughts on “Interview: Women’s Fiction Writers Association

  1. Congratulations to the interview, Liz. Wow, it took 14 years to write. It was a lot of research you put into the story. You were fortunate to have a publisher approached you for your novel. Your other publications paved your way. It’s great you’re working on another novel! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. A wonderful podcast, Liz. You and I are very alike in many ways. I am also a workaholic and I have also made a decision to not let work take over my life and to enjoy my hobbies like baking and writing. Unfortunately, I haven’t pushed work away as much as I should have and my hobbies have also become obsessions. It takes me 2 weeks to finish a short story and it will have taken 18 months from first word to publication for A Ghost and His Gold. I also had to do a ton of research for my book.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. A great listen, Liz — the skillful podcaster and your interesting/eloquent answers! Fascinating to hear how your novel came about, the research involved, writing the book after writing various short stories, how you plotted the novel, how you got published, the marketing, etc. Fourteen years to write “Telling Sonny” — wow! Day jobs can indeed be all-consuming.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. How fun to hear you talk about your creativity and the processes that you’ve found over the years to come up with those incredible stories that you’ve written. You have mastered that! It was fun to hear your engaging voice and to begin to think about my own writing process in light of your experience. I’m still growing my blog and may not have the years left to reach your level, but I’m so glad that we’re blogging friends! Congratulations, and may many happy creative days be yours!!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I really enjoyed listening to your interview, Liz. The research you did for your novel sounds fascinating. I hadn’t realised you are in Vermont. One of the people who I’ve mentioned in my blog is currently there with his wife visiting their son. Jawad appears early in the blog posts when he was Hussain’s driver in Jaghoray but of course not so much when I visited other clinics. Their son did his degree in Vermont and his now studying for his Masters and also working at the university – not sure which one. Jawad and his wife are loving being there – so green and beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for listening, Mary! The research I did for the novel was fascinating and a lot of fun. So much fun, in fact, that I ended up cutting a good hundred pages of research-inspired scenes that didn’t advance the story. Isn’t that interesting that one of the people you’ve written about is visiting Vermont. The college where I work, Champlain, is in Burlington, along with St. Michael’s and the University of Vermont, which is the largest in the state. You’re right about how green and beautiful Vermont is–which I totally took for granted growing up.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dan and I used to travel the back roads to visit hubby’s relatives in New Hampshire (Hanover) and Vermont (Morgan) decades ago. Such lovely drives–especially the sparkling streams along mixed forest roadways. Happy traveling, Liz! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  6. A fascinating insight into your writing world Liz: the interview was compelling, and informative, from start to end: a joy to listen to. What struck me most was your unbridled enthusiasm and palpable passion for writing, which permeated every eloquent answer.

    Sincere best wishes entrenching yourself into the new novel.

    As an aside, there is a ‘new town’ in the U.K called Milton Keynes. It is famous for its Concrete Cows sculpture created by Canadian artist Liz Leyh in 1978, which features three cows and calves constructed from scrap that were originally located in Bancroft.

    Stay well, stay safe. Happy writing!

    DN

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for listening and commenting, Dewin! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview. I do love the writing process! I go back to teaching it next week.

      I checked out the Concrete Cows. They have quite a history, including acquiring concrete cow pats at one point!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome Liz. I hope you’ll be asked to do another podcast: perhaps upon release of your next novel you’ll consider its merits in helping to market your work?

        Pleased indeed you checked out the M.K Cows. On occasion throughout their history the sculptures are mooved: their position in relation to each other is changed creating the impression they are alive. Concrete cow-pats, how very amusing!

        Best wishes returning to the teaching. I trust you’ll make the most of the days you have left.

        Take care,

        DN

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I’m starting to learn about marketing, thanks to my WordPress friends, to whom I’m eternally grateful.

          Who can resist a cow sculpture, right?

          Yes, my husband informed me tonight that we are going on a completely aimless drive this Saturday, with a picnic. It should be fun!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed the interview, Liz. I had no idea it had taken so long to write – now I don’t feel so bad about my glacial pace (except I can’t claim a full-time job to distract me…unless you count my husband😉).

    Thanks for sharing some tips and discussing your processes. I appreciate your generosity also in how you support other writers with all your insightful comments.

    Good luck with your next project. In the biography I started last year, my research shows that overseers of the poor were around even before 1840, but not poor houses, necessarily. I noted that citizens were reimbursed from county funds for helping people like homeless widows.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the interview, Eilene. Thank you for listening. Some writing projects do tend to move at a glacial pace, particularly when there is a lot of research involved.

      I’m happy to share my bag of tricks with other writers and do what I can to support them.

      I found town reports on Internet Archive from the first part of the 20th century that itemized what funds had been dispursed to whom and for what reason, right down to the penny. I haven’t been able to find reports online from the 1960s. If we ever emerge from this pandemic, I should be able access them at the town clerk’s office or the library. What’s been striking about the research I’ve been able to do so far about the Sheldon Poor Farm is the difference between the 19th century newspaper articles and the 20th century articles.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I do, too! A newspaper story I need to go back to featured an incident that took place in the mid-1800s in a town right down the road from where I live now. Apparently, this young man entered a neighbor’s house in the middle of the night, walked up the stairs to a bedroom where a visiting young man lay sleeping and wailed on his face with a hatchet. He then turned around and walked home. He claimed to have no memory of the attack and chalked it up to sleepwalking.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yikes!! I read a book several years ago that told the story of a man in the UK who dreamed a man was attacking his wife, so he fought back and strangled the intruder. In reality, he strangled his wife. (This is a true story.) I was totally creeped out by it, because my husband also acts out in his sleep at times. Now, walking down the street with a hatchet… I dunno.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. What a pleasant and informative interview, Liz! I enjoyed hearing about your writing process and your thoughts on the difference between writing and promoting a novel and short fiction. We writers of the 21st century are fortunate to be able to share our thoughts via the internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hi, Liz. Great interview; loved listening to you talk about your novel; the writing process; and the ups and downs of writing and publishing. I hope to see images of ‘the tin cow’ posted one day. Good luck with the second novel; hope you’ll be able to get your primary research done at some point soon. Happy Day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for listening and commenting, Goff! I’m planning on posting the images of “the tin cow,” probably during the winter doldrums when people need cheering up. (Although that will be summer for readers in the Southern Hemisphere. Perhaps they have summer doldrums?)

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, it was the good life for sure! I also remember that year fondly because I had a first grade teacher who was just like you. Mrs. Robicheaux. Her class was the only one in twelve years of schooling that included art.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Awww… that’s so nice to say. My first grade teacher was the only one who read aloud to us in elementary school- The Little House. I don’t remember art in elementary school at all. At least I had art in high school. We learned Batik, with hot wax and dye. So, those are my only two memories.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jacqui! We were living on Martha’s Vinyard at the time, and the cool kids had in-ground pools. 😉 But Daddy rigged up the wading pool with the slide from the swingset, and my brother and I were perfectly happy.

      Like

  10. A wonderful podcast, Liz!!! I love listening to your voice. Is it possible that stories dictate the time that is required to write the narrative? You have a remarkable way of inspire others to seek a creative path. I love the idea of taking photos of backroads.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much, Rebecca! I appreciate your listening and commenting. I would say that stories dictate when they need to be written and the best way into the narrative. I was fortunate to have a first-rate creative writing professor when I was starting to learn the craft in college. He advised us that sometimes a writer doesn’t have the life experience or the craft expertise to write a particular story and needs to wait. I took the advice to heart, and it has served me well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, Liz! I believe that a story comes when it comes. Remember Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls?” I found his thought on how the story came into being.: ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’ was a problem which I carried on each day. I knew what was going to happen in principle. But I invented what happened each day I wrote.” Ernest Hemingway

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, I remember For Whom the Bell Tolls. (A graduate seminar in literature ruined it for me, I’m afraid.) Hemingway ‘s take on writing the book is framed in a way I haven’t seen before, as a problem to be carried on. I know what he means , though, about knowing what is going to happen in principle but needing to invent what happens each day he writes. It sounds as though he didn’t write with an outline. I watched an interview with a mystery writer the other night, and she made the point that she doesn’t write with an outline because if she arealdy knows what’s going to happen , there is no reason for her to write the book. A writer after my own heart!

          Liked by 2 people

  11. Liz, you were one of the best interviewees I’ve ever heard on this kind of podcast: clear, direct, human, informative, helpful, humble. I loved it! And it completely reinforced my long-held opinion that we have many things in common. I’m so honored to “know” and follow you, and I’ll continue to admire and learn from you. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. And it was all true. Thanks for the good wishes; I’m fine but have been buried with copyediting projects. I’ve had a blog post 90 percent ready for nearly a month, with no time to finish the last 10 percent. Soon, though. Soon. You do inspire me.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks! I’ve been wondering when you might have a new blog post go up. Speaking of copyediting, I did include the Conscious Style Guide in the writing process course I just finished developing. I have an entire week devoted to editing.

          Like

  12. Excellent interview, Liz. I liked learning more about the history of Telling Sonny and how it came about. And I could relate to your challenges with marketing. I think we all start off in the same boat. It’s the hardest part of being an author by far. But look at all these comments. You’re doing great.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Congrats Liz. Plus what a lovely photo. Days of “insouciance”. Though we all still are those little kids deep inside. (I didn’t know you had a daughter. California is a bit far away, but I hope you keep in touch, and that you will be able to visit soon.
    Hope all is well?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Brian. Oddly enough, since the Corona virus hit, we’ve been keeping in daily touch with our daughter through texting. All is as well as can be expected in my little corner of the world. I can’t say the same for the rest of the country. I hope you and your family are doing OK.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I am listening to the podcast, Liz, as I write. It is lovely to hear your voice; I feel very much a part of the conversation.
    Fourteen years is such a long time to have invested. The writing of the novel, I can only assume, must have parrelled a number of events, feelings and introspections of your life!!
    All these things aside, Liz, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the podcast; what a wonderful interview. Congratulations. It would seem you thoroughly deserve all the credit that is coming your way.

    Liked by 3 people

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