Dorene, you recently began Goldrock Press (www.goldrockpress.com). Do you find it’s filling a niche other publishers have failed to address?
Isolation is a huge factor in this great big country of ours. I live 850+ km north of Winnipeg. I grew up in the little town of Sioux Lookout, Ontario, which is close to where I raised my kids. I began my first novel in Red Lake, Ontario. Red Lake is 2,000 km north and west of Toronto.
When you live in the far north, you have little opportunity to network with other authors, attend writing workshops, or meet agents and editors. You have, in fact, little opportunity to get published! I have a passion for mentoring emerging authors and in particular, Aboriginal authors from isolated northern communities.
Aboriginal authors are becoming published more and more these days (see http://twgauthors.blogspot.ca/2009/10/sleeping-giant-awakens.html and http://twgauthors.blogspot.ca/2009/12/sleeping-giant-awakens-part-2.html ) but there is still a need for more opportunities and more awareness, especially of our northern writers. Goldrock Press is a very small company (just me actually!) which publishes and promotes the work of mostly self-published authors, but we are together seeking to create more awareness of writers who live way up north.
Marcie Redhead has had her work published in the anthology Voice Behind the Mask and in a newspaper, Urban NDN. Frances Bradburn and Corrine Clyne were published in the anthology Isle of Mirage. Corrine’s work has also appeared in Indian Life newspaper. Her story “The Beauty of Drew” was shortlisted for an award in The Word Guild 2010 Canadian Christian Writing Awards. That same year, her poem “Wings of Life” won a novice writing award.
Frances and Corrine are both working on their degrees right now so don’t have quite as much time to write, although Frances is still composing and performing new songs, and Corrine blogs at http://corrine-clyne.blogspot.ca
This year you are among the panelists who will be discussing “Writing Fiction that Entertains while Addressing Real-life Issues.” Who, in particular, will benefit from attending? New writers? Experienced authors? Those who are considering writing fiction?
I think this is an issue that will be of interest to both novice and experienced authors. Every well written book has a clear theme, which by definition is our message to the reader. And every person alive has a set of beliefs and values, which influence their actions, including writing. What we believe will come across in our writing but in the fiction genre, people are also looking for a “good read.” They want to fall in love with the characters, get entangled in a compelling plot, and be whisked away to places they have never been before. While my books do tackle real life issues, I hope people will thoroughly enjoy them as well.
On your April 6 blog post (http://www.dorenemeyer.com/) you shared some of the poems you collected years ago. Have you ever tried your hand at writing poems?
Yes, when I’m wrestling with some of the toughest, deepest heart issues, the words tend to come out best in a rambling poetic sort of way. A poem was actually my first introduction to Write! Canada back in 2004 when I won free registration through the God Uses Ink Novice Writing Awards with my poem/prose “Writing with Passion and Integrity.” We didn’t have much money then so the free registration made all the difference! My husband and I rode down on our motorcycle, tent-camping along the way.
The poem/prose that I wrote for A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider is shortlisted this year in the “short story” category of The Word Guild Canadian Christian Writing Awards. I originally wrote “Bannock and Sweet Tea” in the above mentioned “rambling poetic sort of way” but the editors revised it into more of a prose than a poem format for the book (it took up fewer pages that way!).
What would you say to someone thinking about trying their hand at a new writing style?
I encourage all my writing students to try their hand at many different genres. You may be surprised at the joyous release you feel when unconstrained by your current writing style. N. J. Lindquist and I are teaching a Continuing Class this year at Write! Canada entitled “When I Write, ‘I Feel God’s Pleasure.’”
The title is taken from the words of missionary and Olympic runner, Eric Liddell (of “Chariots of Fire” fame) who, speaking of God, said, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.” If your writing has become a drudgery instead of a joy, then it may be time to think of trying your hand at a new writing style.
I guess, just continuing with the above theme, cut yourself loose, set yourself free to be all that God meant you to be. Don’t be afraid of failure. Rejection will come (it’s part of the business) but don’t let it stop you. Ignore that little voice in your head (that sounds like your grade two teacher or some nefarious relative) telling you that what you are writing is dumb, and no one will ever want to read it.
Yes, we need to pay careful attention to the advice and critiques from our teachers, editors, and eventually our readers, but not to that niggling little voice that would erode our self-confidence and steal our joy. Pick up a pen right now (or a keyboard!) and write. Write for the joy of writing. Write to feel His pleasure!
Dorene was interviewed by Stephanie Nickel, co-lead of the Write! Canada PR team.