Monica Stoner, Member at Large Through a series of fortunate events, Susan Elizabeth Phillips visited the LERA chapter of RWA to chat about the life and business of writing. She got to know her audience by asking the usual question about how many in the audience were published (a lot) how many were nearly published, how many were writing on a regular basis and how many were telling lies to themselves. She nodded to the sheepish hands raised at this last question, and moved on into the meat of her talk.
She spoke frankly about how she produces best selling award winning books, from “monkey writing” on yellow pads to final edits. SEP is a pantster of the first degree, pulling stories from a phenomenally creative mind and the world around her. Itâ€™s an arduous process, she writes slowly and the rewrites are a bear. But itâ€™s the way she writes.
For those who admitted to not producing the pages needed to finish a book, she offered suggestions on how she gets past the blocks, and how to pull pages out of our heads. “You can fix a bad page, as long a you have a page to fix,” was one of the aphorisms offered. Yes, weâ€™ve heard it all before, but to hear such from someone who has long since arrived and still suffers from the angst and insecurities so many of us deal with brought it all home.
As the hour wound down, she reminded the published among us to bring copies of our books to the signing that night so she could introduce us. When someone commented on her generosity, she said when she made a similar remark to Sandra Brown, also known for her generosity to other authors, she was told “High tide floats all boats.” The goal is to keep writers writing and readers reading.
That evening, as many members of LERA as could make it showed up for the talk and signing at a library, to ensure she would have an audience. As if she truly needed help filling the chairs. Before she started to talk about her own books, she held up the books brought by LERA members, one at a time, while we introduced ourselves and our writing, so the readers in the audience could jot down the information about authors new to them.
High tide indeed. I want to be her when I grow up.
One of those books I held up was Teach Me To Forget, a story of hidden pasts and possible futures. My writer self is Mona Karel, who is much more fun to be around.