Blogs by Macey Delena Baggett Wuesthoff
Author Interview With SellWritingOnline.com
12/15/2004 10:19:04 PM
Interview with Sellwritingonline.com
Welcome to the Sell Writing Online 'Author Interviews'
You'll discover revealing interviews by authors who are living their dream. They share valuable insights and information to help all writers discover how to succeed.
Below you will find the list of questions asked of Macey Baggett Wuesthoff.
Her bio follows the interview.
1. Writers are encouraged to write daily and find their voice. Do you feel you have more than one voice in your writing?
MBW: Yes, I feel I have many voices. I have my central narrative voice that I use with my general prose writing. Then I have my characters' voices, all of which are different and unique, and which I feel overtake me and my work so that each piece of writing comes out with a different voice. For instance, my first novel SACRIFICE is told from the point-of-view of a sheltered fourteen-year-old rural girl, so the voice there differs greatly from that in my second novel THE BOX, which is told from the point-of-view of a seventeen-year-old drug addict living in the housing projects of Chicago.
2. When did your passion for writing begin?
MBW: It began when I was growing up as an only child in a single parent home in the tiny town of Florence, Alabama. I lived at the end of a desolate dirt road, with my mother, neighboring grandparents, and a few pets and farm animals as my only companions, which wasn't exactly an environment of vast childhood recreation! So it is little wonder that I started entertaining myself by making up stories the moment I was old enough to pencil simple drawings and words- -at the age of five-and-a-half years old. And I never stopped. I drew juvenile comics and wrote picture books as a child. In school, my writing evolved through the usual academic cycles: reports, compositions, and eventually research papers. I started writing short horror stories at age twelve, and things took off from there. Classmates approached me and begged me to write their papers for them. My teachers pushed me to enter writing contests and join advanced and supplementary literary classes, and urged my mother to encourage me in my writing abilities.
3. What inspired you to keep writing while collecting rejection letters or struggling with writers block?
MBW: It might sound silly, but largely, my mother, grandmother, and stepfather, who never, ever stopped believing in me and my writing, even when I did (That's in the dedications page of SACRIFICE). Also, all of those stories you hear about the great writers who had their greatest works rejected a bunch of times before seeing them get published helped keep me motivated. I know one non- fiction writer who now has twenty-something computer books published who always says, "You're not a real writer until you can wallpaper your bathroom with your rejection letters." I kept (and still keep) telling myself, "The greater the number of rejections, the sweeter the coming successes." Finally, there's the good old day job. Sweating in the trenches and getting treated like you're a lower form of life than algae on a daily basis...well, if that doesn't keep you motivated, nothing will.
4. How do you come up with ideas for your writings and why do you feel you choose some over others?
MBW: I understand that many writers struggle with this, but I simply do not. Strangely enough, I never have to come up with ideas; they come to me--in droves. When I'm in the shower, when I'm working, when I'm driving home, when I'm eating, when I'm dreaming...it can be downright maddening at times! It is often like an overflowing faucet that I have to literally turn off. I have a running list at home of novel and story ideas that keeps growing and growing beyond my current capacity to write them. I honestly feel they will exceed my lifetime. The way I choose which ones I write about is which one pulls on me the most, which characters' voices I hear calling me the loudest, which stories keep nagging me and keeping me awake at night.
5. Are you a daily disciplined writer? Do you find it difficult to stick to your schedule? Do you have certain tricks you use so that you don't stray from your writing?
MBW: Sadly, I am not very disciplined at all and find sticking with a daily schedule very difficult. The closest I come is forcing myself to get out of bed early as opposed to sleeping in and write. Currently, the most difficult challenge I'm facing is balancing my day job with my writing while promoting my newly-published and first novel SACRIFICE (you can't expect your publisher to do all your promoting; you have to do a lot of it yourself.), all while dealing with the effects of multiple schlerosis, with which I've recently been diagnosed.
6. How much time do you devote to marketing your book/s and what kind of marketing do you recommend?
MBW: Mind you, I am still new at this game, but I recommend doing anything and everything to get your name out there in as many venues as possible and for which you have the time: Review writing, both for books and products (Epinions.com is an excellent place, AND you get a minute royalty from there); interviews like this one; home- printed materials, such as business cards, brochures, and bookmarks that promote you and your book; sending to the media news releases about yourself, your book, and news events pertaining to both, then call the media to follow up to make sure that they received the releases; TV and radio broadcast interviews, if you can get someone to schedule one with you; and last but certainly not least, book signings.
7. How do you prepare for a writing idea for fiction? Do you outline the characters, setting, plot, etc. before you begin to write?
MBW: I write only fiction books. With non-fiction, I am brave enough to stick with short articles only, albeit I've considered doing a humor book or memoir. For fiction, I've tried doing formal outlines like the writing workshop gurus instruct you, but they just don't work for me. I sort of have the outline in my head of how the story will go. Instead, I use a trick that my writing partner taught me and write the story in "scenes" as they appear in my head. If a scene from the middle of the story or even the end comes first, that doesn't matter, I type it out on my computer anyway. I make a brief note in parenthesis above the scene of where it will occur in the story, and once I feel I have enough bones, flesh, and blood for my story, I start connecting the parts to make the being whole.
8. How many rewrites do you usually write before submitting to a publisher?
MBW: As many as I have to to connect those scenes together and get the errors out of there, and after that, as many as my meticulous writing partner puts me through, which is usally two-to-five per chapter.
9. Have you had any bad experiences in working with a publisher/agent or failed publication/payment of writings done? If so, how did you handle it?
MBW: Yes, two. One was with the agency through whom I met my writing partner. It was an online agency that basically charged $75 to post your book online for 3 months and supposedly invited editors and agents to view the manuscript. Well, you can guess that they basically just took our money and did nothing with our work. We both figured out we were fools, hooked up as partners, and cut our losses, and pulled our work after our 3 months expired. The "agency" is now out of business.
My other nasty experience was with an e-publisher that was supposedly also making strides to go print-on-demand as well. After I had signed on with them and my manuscript had been through the first stage of editing, all of a sudden, all of the staff who had contracted my book and previously worked on it resigned, and I had no assigned editor, no anything. My book was in limbo, and the new staff and company owner was tight-lipped about why everyone else had left. So I contacted the old staff and some former authors, who were also backing out of the company with the old staff, and found out that the staff and authors were leaving because the publishing company owed them money and wasn't paying them. One staff member told me he was owed over $8,000! Needless to say, I quickly wrote a letter of notice ending my contract as well.
10. Who are your favorite authors, and why do they inspire you?
MBW: Stephen King: He is the current Horror God. He inspires because of his ability to scare, remarkable gift with words, ability to stand the test of time, breaking his way into commercial fiction yet having some of his novels make it into high school reading lists (indicating a break into literary fiction, too), and most of all, making a career and living out of his writing, giving me hope of one day doing the same.
Edgar Allen Poe: The Father of Horror. He has been a great inspiration to me in my work and a large part of the reason I started writing horror in the first place. He was one of the few writers that they made me read in school whose works I enjoyed.
Nathaniel Hawthorne: He runs a close second to Poe, and I like him for many of the same reasons. "Young Goodman Brown" is my favorite Hawthorne story and is a huge inspiration for my novel SACRIFICE and for my short story "A Question of Faith." (to be published in Nickolaus Pacione's upcoming anthology "Tabloid Purposes," or see www.authorsden.com/macey for purchasing details for this story.)
Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume: They are great children's writers who sparked my interest in reading in the first place with their wonderful "Ramona" and "Fudge" books.
About The Author:
Macey Baggett Wuesthoff was born in Florence, Alabama. She attended undergraduate school at the University of North Alabama, where she was presented with the Phi Kappa Phi Student Scholars Award for written research. Additionally, she spent one of her last semesters as a public relations intern writer and succeeded in getting several of her articles published by the local and regional media. In 1999, she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in Language Arts, secondary education.
In June 2001, Macey's horror story "In Death's Face" placed second in the Philadelphia Writers Conference Short Fiction Contest and was published in the 2001 Philadelphia Writers Conference Anthology. In June 2002, one of her few nonfiction works, a feature article on her personal struggles with endometriosis, also earned a second place award at the Philadelphia Writer's Conference, this time in the category of magazine writing. This article was published in the 2002 Philadelphia Writers Conference Anthology. Sacrifice is Macey's first published novel, but she has written various other horror novels and stories as well. Tabloid Purposes, an anthology featuring two of her short stories, is scheduled for publication this fall. She currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband Nathan and their Chihuahuas, Medea, Pandora, and Athena.
Publisher's page: http://amberquill.com/Sacrifice.html
Self-designed home page: http://www.maceyshouseofhorror.com
AuthorsDen home page: http://www.authorsden.com/macey
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More Blogs by Macey Delena Baggett Wuesthoff
Author Interview With SellWritingOnline.com - Wednesday, December 15, 2004
At Last--My Newsletter Opens! - Wednesday, December 15, 2004
HO-HO-HO! Christmas Contest From My Publisher of SACRIFICE - Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Best News All Day... - Friday, August 06, 2004
Life's a Breeze Now That I'm a Published Novelist--NOT!!!! - Friday, July 23, 2004